How to Create a Content Calendar for Your Blog
You’ve just brought on a new client. Good for you! Now it’s time to get to work. What’s the first step?
I don’t know, I think I’ll just wing it.
Said no (successful) attorney, ever.
You would never “just wing it” for your clients. You immediately calendar important deadlines, reach out to opposing counsel, delegate tasks among your associates and staff, plan, prioritize, and repeat.
But when it comes to a content marketing strategy (or any administrative task, for that matter), many attorneys take a very different approach. The “just wing it” approach. And honestly, it is understandable. Small firm and solo attorneys are incredibly busy, and juggling client work, administrative tasks, and marketing is difficult and burdensome.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be. With your content strategy in particular, devising and executing a plan will not only make your life easier, but will help you bring in new clients online.
The first step? Create an editorial calendar for your blog.
Devising a content calendar can be as simple as keeping a word document with a running list of post topics, or marking your calendar to remind you to publish a new post. When I was in private practice, I stockpiled content and scheduled it so that even during busy weeks, a new blog post would still appear on our website.
TIP: you can schedule posts to propagate on a particular day and time. Most platforms, like Wordpress, make this incredible easy, allowing you to keep posts in queue, schedule them, and forget about them.
Here are the five steps I used to create - and automate - blog content.
HOW TO CREATE A CONTENT CALENDAR
1. Identify your why.
Your purpose in blogging is threefold: to educate, inform, and solve a problem. In light of this, consider your client base. Are they insurance companies? Individuals who have been injured? Defendants in a criminal case? What problems are they facing that have led them to seek an attorney? What will they want to know before meeting with you? Your writing style, as well as the topics you discuss, will vary based on your intended audience as well as their particular needs and goals.
2. Draft a topic list.
Once you've clarified and refined your mission behind your blog, devise a running list of topics that are consistent with it. Do not worry about how you will flesh out these topics: simply write out the ideas. Here are a few tips to help you brainstorm:
Scan your email inbox and comb through your clients' most common questions. The answers to these questions are blog post topics!
Make a list of your firm's recent victories in court and the legal basis for the rulings.
Check out your blog and pull up older posts. Have there been any changes in the relevant law since you wrote the posts? If so, refresh, update, and re-post these old articles.
Check out our list of the five blog post topics you've never considered.
3. Track your data.
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, study the reports to see when your site sees the most traffic. Schedule your posts for those days and times. Typically, weekends and evenings are not good times to post, since people tend to disconnect from technology when they are at home with family.
BONUS: Study your content as you post it to see what topics, styles, and types of posts generate the most engagement.
4. Use scheduling tools.
Websites like Trello are fantastic resources in managing a content calendar. I like Trello in particular because the drag-and-drop feature allows you to easily, and visually, map out your content for particular dates and times.
Once your plan is in place, you can start to create content, schedule posts, and get back to your client work. Having a plan will take decision fatigue out of the content creation process, so that you can focus on the execution rather than stressing out about how to get it all done.
There's more where this came from.
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