How to Rock an Awesome Content Plan

May 12th, 2015

how to rock an awesome content plan like Convince and Convert

Did you know Convince & Convert‘s content plan includes publishing 8 to 10 blog posts every single week?

I’ll speak for the rest of us: holy moly!

For a team of only 3 people involved in the content planning process at Convince & Convert, that’s a massive amount of content that they:

  • Review
  • Optimize for keywords
  • Create graphics for
  • Edit
  • Share with social media and email

 

“It’s hard to wrangle all the content and get it all onto a calendar that’s actually up to date,” Jess Ostroff, Managing Editor for Convince and Convert, laughs as she explains some of her biggest challenges.

“We’re a smaller team, and we have to be nimble. Things change all the time, so we need to be flexible with our content plan and posting schedule.”

So how do they actually publish all that content? It turns out, there are a few things they do to save time and work more efficiently to execute their content plan. And these serve as great examples for other doers like you who want to publish more content smarter and faster.

Let’s take a look at how you can execute your content plan like Convince & Convert:

1. Plan All of Your Content With a Single Content Calendar

plan all of your content with a single content calendar

Convince and Convert publishes a ton of different content types. They create podcasts, videos, emails, and blog posts, and use their blog as their content hub—the source where any of their readers can get the latest information from Convince & Convert.

One Calendar to Rule Them All

As you can imagine, all of that content has potential to get messy when it comes to planning. That’s why Jess organizes everything in a single content marketing editorial calendar for WordPress using CoSchedule.

“We publish 5 to 7 guest posts a week, along with podcast show notes and highlights posts. In addition, we are doing 3 episodes of a video series per week and 4 emails,” Jess explains. That’s a ton of content to manage.

“I can’t use the Mac or Gmail calendar for content because it’s just too much. I need a separate calendar for media side of things, and that’s why we’re using CoSchedule for all of our content.”

Plan the Best Times to Publish Your Content and Share It With Social Media

Jess and the team used to publish their content early in the mornings. But with a remote team spread out across the country, publishing times were a problem.

Social sharing for brand new blog posts needed to spread the word immediately after publish. Sometimes, that meant that someone needed to be awake at odd hours of the night to make sure sharing went as smoothly as planned.

And because Convince & Convert works nimbly to test the best times to publish their content, it was even more difficult to manage the initial promotion of their posts.

With CoSchedule, the team plans their content and social media together in a single editorial calendar to manage their entire execution and initial promotion. And that helps Jess test different publishing times while never having to reschedule social messages—even if she moves the entire publishing date.

a social sharing timeline is an element of a good content plan

Separate Your Email From Executing Your Content Plan

“In the past, I’d have to keep guest posts in my inbox that I hadn’t used yet. I couldn’t get too far with our calendar because I couldn’t let content get lost, but it was tough to get it into WordPress quickly,” Jess explains how executing her content plan overwhelmed her email.

With CoSchedule, now her process looks like this:

  • Receive guest post inquiries via email.
  • Respond with direction.
  • Receive the draft via email.
  • Add the draft into WordPress through their CoSchedule editorial calendar.
  • Execute the content plan with CoSchedule.

 

The Big Takeaways for Rocking an Editorial Calendar Like Convince & Convert

  1. Plan all of your content with a single editorial calendar to get organized.
  2. Test the best times to publish and share your content for optimal results.
  3. Manage your content execution outside of your email inbox.

 

2. Organize Your Content, Organize Your Team

content plan team management

Makes sense, right? The more organized your content plan is, the more efficiently your team will work. 

Work Even Better With Your Contributors

Let’s face it: You work with guest contributors to lighten your team’s workload. But an inefficient contributor process can be super time-consuming, too.

As Jess explains, “Once pitches are reviewed, CoSchedule saves a ton of time going back and forth reviewing. When it looks good, we’ll get it on the calendar. I can now say, ‘We have an opening on this day; you’re good to go!'”

When Jess works through draft posts in CoSchedule, she communicates with her guest authors super-efficiently through email, then finishes the entire editing process with her editorial calendar. And with her frequent contributors, she can even:

  • Assign them posts to write through the Convince and Convert CoSchedule calendar.
  • Chat via comments that automatically trigger emails to her contributors.
  • Assign them tasks for due dates.

 

And by knowing exactly which days the posts will publish, she can easily let her guest authors know when they can jump in and help her promote the content.

Help Your Entire Team Get on the Same Page

“Sometimes, people on our team are like, ‘What’s going on?’ Instead of asking me, they can go into CoSchedule and see,” Jess jokes. It’s funny, and it’s a real time-saver.

Now that Jess manages nearly every piece of content Convince & Convert creates in a single editorial calendar, the entire team can see what they’ll be working on in the weeks to come. It saves Jess time because she doesn’t have to find the answers from her email to know what content is coming up—because everyone can see it in the tool they all decided to use together.

The Big Takeaways for Organizing Your Content Plan Like Convince and Convert

  1. Plan a consistent process for receiving and reviewing guest post inquiries. Convince & Convert went from publishing 1 guest post a week to publishing 5 to 7 a week by figuring out a great way to manage awesome contributors all while saving the team time.
  2. Agree as a team to minimize the number of tools you use to execute your content plan. From there, minimize your email by working together with that tool.

 

3. Plan Way Ahead (And Execute Quickly)

Convince & Convert knows exactly what their audience loves. They use that knowledge to plan their strategy, then they execute that plan with their content marketing editorial calendar.

Here’s what their content plan looks like:

Topics: Jess uses CoSchedule to coordinate topics for their awesome Definitive emails. That gives their curation and creation direction, and it’s all visible to the team through their calendar.

Content Outlook: Jess usually works up to 2 months in advance for drafting posts. That’s a ton of content when you think about publishing 10 posts a week! Planning in advance helps Convince and Convert publish consistent content, and gives them time to review the best content for their blog.

Content Editing: Jess and her team work about a week ahead to execute their content editing process. That includes the nitty-gritty details like awesome headlines, search engine optimization, graphics, editing, and their social sharing schedule.

Big Takeaways for Planning Your Content Like Convince and Convert

  1. Plan the topics you’ll cover before you start executing to give your content creation and curation direction.
  2. Plan your posts up to 2 months out. This could be as simple as knowing which keywords you’ll target and using those as your tentative headlines for content just for planning’s sake.
  3. Work on content drafts way ahead, and add them to your calendar as soon as they’re near final draft. You may have a few edits and enhancements to work through, but this way, all of your content is in one place, and your entire team can see what’s coming up.
  4. Use this week to finalize your content that will publish next week. This gives you the chance to work ahead to ensure no snags when your content publishes.
  5. Block out time to complete specific tasks. Jess even blocks out entire days to dedicate time for email, blog post submissions, and reviewing scheduled content.

 

What Could Your Content Plan Look Like?

what could your content plan look like?

Convince & Convert has nearly doubled their traffic year over year. While we know traffic isn’t everything, this is still a huge achievement.

Jess and her team do that by publishing more content. And as you could guess, that requires efficiency in their content plan.

By managing their content all in one place with CoSchedule, Jess saves 20 to 30 minutes for every guest post. With an average of 6 of those a week, that’s about 10 hours a month just for Jess!

Add in time savings for Lisa with social media (and the comfort of not waking up super early to schedule social messages), and you can guess how the time savings adds up for every person on the team.

“Every time we upped our posting schedule, we upped our traffic. We almost doubled our traffic year over year since Convince & Convert started. We asked ourselves, ‘If we publish 2 posts on Tuesday and 2 posts on Thursday, why don’t we publish 1 more on every weekday and see how it goes?’ Since we have a bigger posting schedule, we see more traffic and more engagement on social media as well. And we get more people to sign up for our email newsletter, which is the goal.”

Imagine what you could do with 10 more hours every single month. Not to mention publishing more content to get more engagement and interaction for your hard work!

Here’s the good news: You can make it a reality today with your free content plan template.

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