Today we will be covering what I had originally mapped out as Day 5 and Day 6. For Day 5 we will be taking all of the ideas you came up with during the brainstorming sessions and grouping those ideas into content ‘types’ or sections of your site. Then you will decide the schedule for how many posts (or videos or whatever kind of content you plan to publish) you want to create over the coming year. For example, the number of reviews, interviews, news summaries, etc. that you expect to create each week or month. This will be the basis for your content calendar.
Finally, for Day 6 you will take some of those content types and create templates for them – a list of the primary data elements or components you will almost always have when you publish that content type. For example, a Plugin Review would have a headline, a summary and ‘hook’, a link to the plugin download, an image of the plugin or publisher logo, and standard ranking in 5 different criteria, and maybe a few screenshot of the plugin in use.
Day 5 – Content Calendar
In this lesson:
- Grouping your content ideas, and then ranking, scheduling and assigning them
- Creating regular columns, features, and content types from your list of ideas
- Using WordPress as Your Editorial Calendar and Workflow system
- Outsourcing you content and getting the most for your money
- Finding experts to write – for free
Now that you have created a long list of ideas for content, it is time get organized and sketch out your plan.
What I like to do at this point is go through my list and begin to group my content ideas into 8-10 (or more) different content ‘types’. Think of these groupings as things like a series of articles, a column or a section, like a newspaper column. For example: Dear Abby, the sports section, the restaurant review section, etc.
After you come up with your primary content types, you will begin to map those content types onto your calendar spreadsheet according to the number you plan to produce or publish each week or month. For example, you may decide to do one interview a month, 4 product reviews each month, a tutorial every other week, a hot topic news article each week, etc.
Once you have decided the frequency of each content type, you can begin going through the calendar and put your specific content ideas on the calendar – like the list of the first 10 products you plan to review, the 12 people you would like to interview this years, etc. Obviously you may not be able to go too far into the future with product reviews if you are in a market that gets new products every month, and you will not map out the hot news items ahead of time because those will come from Google Alerts, for example.
The next thing I want you to do, if you use wordpress, is install a free plugin call Edit Flow.
The link to download it is http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/edit-flow/
Edit flow will provide you a full calendar and workflow within your wordpress site, and will especially be helpful if you manage multiple writers. I will be posting a video walk-through of Edit Flow in the future, but I think you will find it fairly intuitive to use without any training.
Day 6 – Content Templates
In this lesson:
- Where to get 35 free templates to jumpstart your articles
- Creating Custom Post types in WordPress for some of your content types
- Goal – Fill in the blank content creation
- Creating and managing a library of Content snippets to reuse – images, descriptions, definitions, diagrams, stories, etc.
- Content Curation – how does that really work?
- 10 steps to preparing your content checklist for publication
The final step of the process is to begin to create content templates for each of your content types. In the Planning Guide I provided a template for a product review. The same principle will apply to almost every content type that you have. Templates allow you to turn content creation into a fill-in-the-blank process. Like I said earlier, the brain works better when answering questions compared to staring at a blank sheet of paper (or blank computer screen).
Here is a excellent resource to show you what some high quality content templates look like. I use these all of the time:
Here is my list of the templates they had available at one point – I use it during my brainstorming process but also during my writing session and when I want to create my own templates:
Finally, I want to share a plugin that can be very helpful for taking your templates and building them into your site design.
The “custom content type manager” plugin allows you to take one of your content types and create what is basically a form within wordpress to enter each data element, and then create a template in wordpress for that custom post type. There is a video on the plugin page that will walk you through this, and then I will be doing a video as well. Let me say at the beginning that you will need someone that understand wordpress and a little PHP in order to get the most from this plugin, but the results will be amazing for certain types of content, such as product reviews. I will go through how I would use it for a “WordPress Plugin Review” content type as I used in the planning guide.
(Video coming soon).
Content Snippets or SoundBites
Incredible video from Susan Harrow discussing the power of soundbites – this is the type of content you need to inventory and reuse over and over again.
Content Curation (see page below)