How to Create a Blog Post Editorial Calendar for Your Business

Now that 2019 is rattling on down the track, well on its way into February, are there any goals you’ve already let slip?

I bet I can guess one of them: I bet your blog posts are falling behind schedule.

Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us. Blog posts are difficult to write, simply because they take time to research and plan - and that’s only if you know exactly what you’ll be writing about in the first place.

Often, if you haven’t got any ideas, it can take more time than you have spare just to sit down and think of an engaging topic that’ll grip your readers. Before you know it, a week’s gone by and your blog post is still in the planning stages. Is that where you’re at right now?

What you need is a blog post editorial calendar for your business.



Taking the time to create an editorial calendar will save you hours of anguish in the future, erasing the guesswork from writing your blog posts.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Set Your Goals

Are you writing blog posts to enhance your branding? Are you using blog posts to promote your products? Do you want your blog posts to give additional support to your customer service team?

Whatever your aims, make sure your whole team knows exactly what you’re working towards.

Step 2: Plan Your Schedule

When do you want people to be drawn to your website’s blog? Mondays are great for new product releases. Tuesdays and Thursdays are unproductive days, when readers are more likely to be checking your blog out than getting their task list done.

Fridays are treat days - perfect for a flash sale. Plan out your blogging days and you’ll never miss another post.

Step 3: Define Your Audience

 Who are you writing your posts for? If you don’t know, it’s time to think about who you’re hoping to reach and what action you’d like them to take when they’ve read your blog post.

To make things simpler, group your target audiences into ‘tribes’ – for example, experts, new customers, information addicts, browsers. Then you can write posts targeted at one or more of these ‘tribes’, rather than sending it out into the great wide world with no set audience in place.

Step 4: Set Your Topics

 Pre-plan your topics based on your schedule and your audience ‘tribes’.

This is much easier than it sounds, because it means you can use the seasons, national holidays and big events to inform what you plan to write.

Stuck? Give the Hubspot Blog Ideas Generator a whirl. It’s an absolute marvel.

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Step 5: Create Your Editorial Calendar

Whether you use a digital calendar or you write your editorial schedule on actual paper with actual pens – that’s what I’d do! – make sure it’s accessible to everyone who needs it, and can be edited to incorporate bright new ideas as you go along.

Step 6: Educate Your Team

Ensuring your team is entirely onboard with your shiny new editorial calendar is key to its success. Bring your team into the construction of your calendar as soon as possible to increase their personal interest, and make sure they know how important blogging is.

Once they see how much easier life will be using your company’s blog post editorial calendar, they’ll jump on it in no time.

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Still struggling to get your blog posts completed? Need a little support with your web content and business blog? Not to worry. Get in touch with me today and I’ll talk you through all the different ways I can help your business keep on top of its content marketing.

 

Three Resolutions Your Business Needs to Keep in 2019

It’s the start of January - and you’re probably full of good intentions and big ideas. I love the motivation the start of a new year gives me; what about you?

A new year marks a new start – a clean slate where we can forget the bad habits we accumulated over the past 12 months and dive into a year where we never forget to respond to an email, never eat chocolate for breakfast and never, ever forget our business cards.

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While some resolutions are doomed to fail (I’ll eat chocolate for breakfast if I want to, thank you very much) there are some great new year’s resolutions for your business that if you keep up, will help your enterprise grow and succeed. Here are some of the best new year’s resolutions you can make that’ll keep you motivated, bring in new customers and push your business to the next level.

Regularly Update Your Business Blog

Your company blog is vital to your success in 2019. Keeping your website updated with fresh content is essential for your search ranking, and it’s the perfect opportunity to talk about your new products, shout about your success and reveal new information about exciting plans that may be afoot.

Start off small. Setting aside half an hour twice a week to research, write and edit your blog posts means you’ll easily manage one blog post per week. Feel that achievement!

Of course, if you really don’t have the time, or you need a little support, contact me. Helping businesses out with their content is what I do best.

Keep Your Social Media Ticking Over

How’s your Twitter account doing? Are you answering all your Facebook messages?

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Ignoring your social media accounts can seem like the only way to deal with them when you’re busy but honestly, in 2019, your customers will be reaching out to you via social media more than ever. Making your accounts a priority will make them far less scary and gain you new business. I promise.

Take a look at Buffer’s useful tips on using social media to your advantage, and while you’re at it, have a gander at their post scheduling tool. I use it, and honestly, it saves me so much time.

Carry Out A Web Audit Twice a Year

Ever wondered what your customers think when they reach your website?

Take some time to walk in their shoes by carrying out a web audit. If you’re not sure what one is, don’t worry, I’ve written about them before in my blog. A full web audit means talking a deeper look at the content on your website, and running through it with a fine-tooth comb to see what needs to be amended, what needs to be removed and what could be enhanced to make your website earn its keep.

Trust me, it’s well worth doing.

Want some help getting that new year’s motivation going? I’ve got plenty to go around. Get in touch today and let’s talk about how a freelance copywriter like me can help you make the best possible start to 2019.

Until next time..

 

 

2018: A Year in the Life of a Self-Employed Copywriter

Well, well, well…2019 has crept up on us all a bit, hasn’t it?! It seems like only…well, not as long as 12 months ago…that I sat down at my desk, pen in hand (yes, I still always write my to-do lists with pen and paper) on January 1 2018 to map out the year ahead.

I didn’t know it then, but 2018 would turn out to be my busiest year as a self-employed copywriter. I also didn’t evisage it being such a lovely, long, hot and sunny summer and that there would be so many slices of delicious cake to scoff. Okay, I did predict the last one.

I’ve decided to start my year off right by looking back on some of the inspiring projects I’ve been working on over 2018, with some absolutely top notch clients and friends. So without further ado, let’s dig in!

Relaunches and Rebrands

I was chuffed to be selected to work with London-based digital marketing agency Voodoo Park on the total refresh and relaunch of the C2C Trains website. I’m proud of how this project worked out, and I’m thrilled that my copywriting and web content skills were able to bring Voodoo Park - and its client’s - vision to life.

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I was also happy to be the copywriter of choice for Leeds-based recruiter, Thorn Baker, as part of its new rebrand. It was a joy to work for a fellow Yorkshire-based company, using copywriting to help their website work exactly the way manager director, Paul, wanted it to.

As well as working with a number of acclaimed marketing and digital agencies in 2018, I also officially launched The Occasional Reporter, with its all-singing, all-dancing website. Shortly after its full launch, I took multiple orders for a fellow marketer for his clients for Christmas/corporate presents.

Excitingly enough, I’m also now in talks with a Premier League football club (I’ll be able to reveal who later this year) about stocking some of my The Occasional Reporter bespoke front pages in their club shop!

Hiring Some Help

I’ve been so busy over the past few months with copywriting, The Occasional Reporter (and scoffing cake!), that I’ve enlisted the professional support of two new freelancers.

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Award Wins

In 2018, I was chuffed to win not one but two awards for my work as The Occasional Reporter. The first was a Jacqueline Gold #WOW award, run by entrepreneurial legend Jacqueline Gold, CBE, Chief Executive of Ann Summers’ and Knickerbox.

The second gong I was presented with was a highly sought-after Shooting Stars award. This award is given by Huddersfield Town Football Club Foundation to leading local businesses in the area, and mine was handed over by Sean Jarvis - the Commercial Director of Huddersfield Town.

You can read a bit more about my awards in this blog post, which I posted on The Occasional Reporter’s blog last year.

Getting Technical

Over the past year I very much enjoyed getting my teeth into some technically-focused articles for an engineering client on behalf of H20 Creative.

Engineering is a topic I don’t often get to write about and I relished the challenge of getting each and every detail exactly right. Thankfully, the client was chuffed to bits with the work I provided for them (full testimonial coming soon)

 I Enjoyed 5 Minutes of Fame. Well, Kind Of.

The Yorkshire Post is close to my heart, and I was glad that in 2018 I was able to write a piece for my favourite local newspaper (except the Examiner, of course!) about how my Dad’s love for music inspired my own passion for music and writing.

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Brand New Clients

It wouldn’t be right of me to write a blog post about my past year without taking a moment to speak about some of the fantastic clients who’ve hired my services along the way. After all, what would a copywriter be without businesses to write about?

Thank you to Helen Taylor Aesthetics, the Breton Shirt Company, Agile Acoustics, Dental SEM, Ibiza Angels, MA Living and The Stoneacre Group for their support. I look forward to working together again in 2019!

Here’s to the New Year

And, as they say, that’s not all. As 2019 begins with earnest, I’m enthusiastically sending emails and signing off invoices with a flourish. No rest for the wicked! It’s time to knuckle down and get to work for an even better year ahead. I hope you’ll join me?

If you’re looking for a dedicated copywriter with experience in a whole host of industries from recruitment and entertainment to engineering and manufacturing, get in touch. I’d love to speak to you about how we can work together this year.

Until next time…

 

 

How to Be a Copywriter (By Those Who Do It for a Living)

You quite fancy becoming a copywriter, eh? I like you already. Copywriting is a great career choice - and all the very best people write for a living. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?

So, don’t just listen to me. Before you bust onto the scene like a pen-toting copywriting machine, take the advice of the people who make up this very blog. Copywriters in various stages of their career, they write for agencies, for themselves, or in-house for a brand - but they all have one thing in common: they worked blinking hard to carve for themselves the life they want. Saw it, wanted it, got it. YES!

You can do it, too. Read on…

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Make Some 'Pen' Pals

"Make friends." says freelance copywriter, Elise Dopson. "Whether you're chatting with other copywriters on Twitter, sharing their work or striking up an email conversation about the struggles you're both facing, friends make this job less lonely (which is ironic—we spend most of our time writing for humans on the internet, but still feel lonely in real life). Since making this my top priority since I started freelancing, I feel much less lonelier—and even have a lovely bunch of people who send referrals my way when they're fully booked (and vice versa). The opportunities are endless once you're "in" with people in the industry."

Just 'Go For It'

"So for me, I think the most important thing is to go for it." says André Spiteri of Maverick Words. "Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. It’ll never be. Get a portfolio together and start pitching. The more you work and learn, the more you’ll improve. "

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Set Up a Blog

Alex Fassam from The Curly Haired Copywriter is fairly new to the industry, having recently took up a position on the Infinity team.

He says: “I knew I wanted to become a copywriter more than anything but I knew no-one would hire me with little to no experience. The best thing I ever did was set up my blog. It was my way of A) Showing people I could write B) Expanding on ideas I’d learnt about during my studying on copywriting C) Showing prospective employers I could manage a site like WordPress. It worked like a charm and I’ve landed my dream job. I couldn’t be happier!"

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Use Social Media to Your Advantage

"Invest time in social media - it's an important part of your marketing, so don't feel guilty about spending (quality) time online. Don't be bamboozled by the jargon, it can make writing seem more complicated than it is. Befriend other copywriters - they're a lovely supportive bunch! And finally, but importantly, know what you're worth and don't undersell yourself." - those are the wise words of Megan Rose, who runs her own freelance copywriting business over here.

Hone Your Craft

“I’ve only just got my first job as a copywriter, so I’m still pretty inexperienced myself.” says Simeon - junior copywriter at Pink Squid. “But one important thing I’ve learnt already is to work on mastering different tones of voice, instead of simply relying on the one that feels most natural to you. It seems obvious, but it’ll give any new copywriter a huge advantage if they start off doing that. “

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Put a Portfolio Together

"I’d say there is absolutely no substitute for having a portfolio of relevant work." says Paul French, a copywriter who works at legal firm, Eversheds Sutherland.

"You need to try and work out what sort of copywriter you want to be - creative/long form/jack of all trades and also if there is an industry you want to specialise in. Then either find relevant work experience or work for reduced rates to get some work behind you, which you can use to leverage more work (freelance) or a job (in/house/agency)"

Don't Work for Nothing. EVER.

Rebecca Pearl Messagelab Communications has some sound advice via a piece featured on the Professional Copywriters' Network website.

She says: "I don’t think you need to work for free while you’re building up your portfolio. I didn’t. Of course you won’t be charging the amounts you will with five years’ experience under your belt, but I don’t see any reason to ever work for free. There are always paid opportunities for talented writers. You just need to find them, which is also good practice."

And here’s a tip of my own…

Never Give Up

When it feels like you’re getting nowhere, just keep going. Believe me when I say persistence (and hard work) is key.

Are you a copywriter? Have a tip or two to share? Ping me a message and I’d be happy to add it here. Let’s make this the biggest and best guide for anyone who wants to get into the wonderful world of copywriting.

Until next time…

 

The Best Tools for Creating Better Web Content

Have you ever looked at your web content and thought that it could be even better? But you can’t work out how?

Sitting down and looking at your content after reading through it hundreds of times can be a fool’s errand, especially if you wrote it in the first place. It’s easy to start glancing over parts you really should be paying attention to - and before you know it, you’ve made very few amends and the whole afternoon’s gone. We’ve all been there.

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Web content is difficult to tackle. The fact that you’ve already got a website packed with up-to-date information and written content is a credit to your planning and motivational skills. Plenty of businesses haven’t looked at theirs since their website was created in 2016. While that might work for them (although spoiler alert - it almost definitely isn’t) you know you need to up your content game.

Luckily for you, there are a few trusty tools you can use to help you create attention-grabbing web content. Grab a notepad, or open up a Word doc, and let’s get started.

Get Some Fresh Ideas!

Thinking of great ideas for web content can be a time-drain if you’re not in the right headspace for it. These apps are perfect for brainstorming when it’s just you, yourself and you at the keyboard.

Ideaflip is an ideas machine that helps you sort out your buzzwords into valuable concepts. Think of it like an interactive doodle pad, where your scribbles can be shared by your whole team.

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Get to know Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator. You’re not too good for it. Even the greats use this amazing little tool to fashion blog posts out of thin air. Whether you’re having a low-motivation day or you’re just struggling to see how a topic could be flipped a couple more times, this app is a really handy way to quickly get back on track.

Improve Your Style and Sentence Structure with ProWritingAid

If you’d like a bit more feedback on your writing than what Yoast can give you, ProWritingAid is the perfect app for you.

It takes a good look at your writing and suggests improvements, just like your favourite teacher. Unlike your favourite teacher though, instead of using a red Papermate to correct your work, the ProWritingAid app flags errors and suggests improvements that you can instantly change in your document.

 Sort Your Tabs Out With OneTab

Do you ever feel like you’ve got ten thousand tabs open while you search for relevant content online, and you don’t want to let any of them go? But it’s affecting your computer’s performance? And you’re terrified it’ll crash before you’ve had time to take what you need from each of them?

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Get started with OneTab and all that terror and glitchy wonkiness goes away.

This useful little app turns all your open tabs into a list of URLs, so you’ve got a workable list to go through and your computer gets to cool down. Everyone’s a winner.

Have you got some different tools you use everyday to help you create sparkling content? I want to hear about them - why not ping me a message?