How-to: Practical Content Development in two (easy) pieces - Part I

Having identified the need for a content development plan, the next question is how to build one that can practically be delivered to ensure quality content actually appears on your website.

The method I've found to work consists of two components: a content publishing schedule or calendar, and a content template-come-checklist. Years of building and working with content management systems and marketing folk proves this works.

The first part, the content publishing schedule, might also be called your editorial calendar. This is a literal plot of content items against publication dates.

Assuming your outline plan set your publication interval, you know if you're trying to fill slots on a daily, weekly, monthly or whatever frequency; you then need to choose dates and start assigning content items to those publication dates. Mark those on your calendar just like appointments. By assigning the intended content to specific days within your calendar you begin to get a feel for your production load.

You should lay out an editorial calendar to cover, say, three to six months of publication. Not only does that show you visually how many content items you need to produce, it will help keep you on track to meet your committed publishing schedule.

Later in the planning process, you'll have more work-back dates to add in to the calendar, telling you what you need to produce, by when, in order to meet your publishing dates.

Exactly what goes into your schedule is up to you; it's your content, structured how you want it. In the case of the last client to use this method, the content plan aligned with the organisation's delivery plan of workshops, seminars and publications. You'll have your own themes, topics, perhaps a programmed series of content to post.

We'll cover an additional method of content development in a separate post; for now, try to remember to be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-based. RC

Image credit: Lego dublo by Arto Alanenpää , from Wikimedia Commons