When all your coworkers are out of office, it can be tough to maintain a strong content marketing cadence. These tips can help.
After months of blood, sweat and tears, you’ve got an editorial content calendar that you’re tremendously proud of. It’s color-coded, broken down by theme, and includes contributions from SMEs throughout the entire organization. When you first launch it, everyone’s excited to play their part—but then…
As the mercury rises, the vacation notices inevitably start popping up.
Some of the most important voices on your blog have gone off-grid and turned on their auto-responders, and the team members still in the office need to shift their focus towards urgent projects, leaving them little time to draft engaging content.
That means if you’re not careful, your editorial calendar can slide way behind schedule before you know it, leading to a nosedive in your site traffic and overall engagement levels.
Or, even worse: you can stick to your calendar, but end up producing sub-par content that you’re embarrassed to share.
But don’t panic, it’s not too late to nip the summer content slump in the bud. Try these tips:
Instead of interviewing SMEs, dig into their digital archives
You’re not likely to pry your CMO away from her scuba diving trip long enough to share her pearls of wisdom for a new blog post, but don’t worry—you have other modes of incorporating her authentic voice through content repurposing. Look to recent conference speech videos, webinars, internal presentations, and even informal memos to find engaging content from your internal SMEs, and spin those rough ideas out into new content formats such as blog posts, infographics, and LinkedIn social shares.
Create an expert round-up featuring external sources
Round-up content pieces can share great insights and have huge viral potential, thanks to your sources’ propensity to share the content with their own social networks—but best of all, they’re extremely quick to assemble, so they’re a great option if you’re on a time crunch before your own summer getaway. To streamline the process, create a Google Form where sources can answer your questions directly. Then, either reach out to influencers you’ve personally identified, or consider sharing the questions more broadly on HARO or a Twitter call-out (you’ll likely get more responses this way, but need to spend more time filtering to make sure your sources fit the piece). If you have a firm deadline in mind for responses, make sure to share it upfront, so your sources recognize the urgency of the situation. A little copyediting, assembly, and formatting (ideally with some headshots and block quotes thrown in for visual interest), and you’re good to go.
Resurrect your older content with new additions
Rather than focus on new content, it’s also a great time to scan through your archives to see which articles are getting stale and could use some fresh insights. Check all of your external web links and replace broken ones (they hurt your SEO), add new research data, and add some updated cultural or seasonal references to some of your older pieces to make them more relevant to your current audience. You can then feature the refreshed content on your home page and get some extra love from social shares (and hopefully the Google searchbots, too).
Find a reliable content partner to fill the gaps
Finally, the easiest way to make sure that you’re filling your content pipeline is to take it off your own plate altogether—choosing a content marketing agency or freelance writer to build up a library of high-quality deliverables to carry you through summer. Look for a partner that has great reviews, a strong editorial process of their own, and the capacity to scale to meet your needs—trying to manage an unproven writer from Upwork, no matter how low the cost, means you’ll likely be putting out fires when you should be relaxing poolside. Rather than doling out piecemeal freelance work, you want to put enough of an investment into the partner relationship that they’re motivated to take the time to fully understand your brand: At Eucalypt Media, for example, we typically engage on projects for a $5,000 minimum, which allows us to fully dedicate ourselves to building a collaborative process that will often build from there into a long-term relationship. It might take a little time to go through the onboarding process, but once you’ve connected with the right partner, you can rest easy that your content strategy is in good hands.
Once you’ve worked out a game plan, go pack and enjoy your own vacation! Getting unplugged from your work environment will help you come back refreshed and at the top of your game, so you’ll be able to take your content strategy to the next level upon your return.
Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than a decade.
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