You have a good idea what direction your webzine or blog is going and who you’re trying to target. However, you keep having new ideas about amazing content that can quickly devolve into tangents, and your overall magazine structure ends up being quite disorganized. An editorial plan with a strong emphasis on your website’s SEO aspects is what you need to sort everything out. But how you should do it? Let’s follow a simple step-by-step guide to building an SEO-wise editorial plan.
- Know what a good editorial plan is
There’s a (not so) slight difference between an average editorial plan, and a successful one that can go beyond just formats and structure. The standard plan is just a simple and straightforward list of “to-do” things that will help you sort your priorities through the year. An excellent editorial plan, instead, must take into account many other different things such as audience targeting, content quality and a practical overview on how do you plan to achieve all your goals.
- Define your long-term goals
Much like a good business plan, an editorial plan must look at the long-term as much as the short-term. Where do you want your magazine to be in 5 years from now? Some things like domain authority or online reputation require time to be properly established, so the earlier you set your priorities straight, the better. A long-term goal planning will help you define your vision, and it must be shared with all the people who work with you (writers, editors, reporters, etc.).
- Understand who your readers are
Content that does not target a specific audience is nothing but words falling on deaf ears. It’s a waste of you and your collaborators’ time. You need to narrow down your target as much as possible – know their gender, age, preferences, interests, where they come from, and when they prefer to read your blog. The more you know about what people who read your website want, the better. If necessary, try to talk with them directly with online surveys you may post on Facebook or send to your mailing list.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses
Sometimes the best, strongest page that is bringing you the highest traffic is a relatively unknown post you totally forgot about. Other times you really hit the nail on a great page that quickly became viral, and you definitely want to replicate that success. You need to determine which contents proved to be the strongest, both in terms of traffic and links they were able to attract. Run a full website SEO audit to know everything about your current rankings, determine which are the most relevant keywords you want to focus on and the juiciest links that worked better so far.
- Set the type of content by reader
As soon as you know what works and for who, you can define what you are going to offer to your audience. Short articles may work better during the weekends, while videos can get better shares on social so you want them on pages with great headlines that catch your readers’ attention without even opening them. Plan your strategy to maximize the results, but never forget to change it if an A/B testing proved your initial theories to be wrong.
- Always keep Google happy
Not everything you write should be aimed at a human public – some of your articles should be sacrificed on the rankings altar to appease the Almighty Google God. If a column got a nice organic ranking, you absolutely want to boost it as much as possible because it’s going to passively help you in the long-term more than anything else. Other articles that reinforce your website identity or provide powerful internal links can go a long way to achieve this goal. You may need articles that fish for good keywords just to reinforce them on other articles you know already have a good placement on Google SERPs.
- Know what you can really deliver
The best plan is worth nothing if you cannot deliver what it’s written inside it. Are you able to write all that content by yourself? Do you have enough workforce to help you build all those pages? Do you have enough money to pay them? There are a lot of efficient ways to lower your hiring expenses and get additional hands, such as by hiring freelancers only to do what is needed or… well… by exploiting interns (that’s a terrible thing to say). Bottom line, only plan what you can afford to do.
A good plan will go a long way towards providing you with an engaged audience, and it’s the first step in your path to success. So take your time writing it down, and don’t forget to review and revise it whenever it’s needed!