This week on WPblab we have Laura Coronado the Communications Specialist at WebDevStudios. Russell Aaron and Jason Tucker will be talking with Laura about some techniques for starting and maintaining an editorial calendar, plotting your posts and allowing yourself to be flexible in order to remain timely. If you or your staff haven’t created an editorial calendar yet now is your chance to get yourself educated on it, use the social link here to share this content with your coworkers and friends on social media.

Laura Coronado is the Communications Specialist at WebDev Studios (which is over several other brands).  She manages content and social media for 4 brands in total. She has been using WordPress for over a decade.

Laura uses a spreadsheet to help with planning & keeping everything organized. She always has pen and paper handy (Bridget uses a notebook to plan out her content).

  • On her own blog, Laura doesn’t have an editorial calendar at all
  • It depends highly on your own goals and plans – WebDev does have a calendar
  • She likes spreadsheets because they are simple and there is transparency – no buffer between her and everyone else at the company

Plugins:

  1. Editorial Calendar – can manage multiple authors, accessible from WordPress dashboard, drag & drop capability, can schedule & edit schedule, shows you visually where things are in the calendar – highly recommended
  2. CoSchedule – Premium plugin, all the way up to enterprise level – has all the bells and whistles

Can also use Hootsuite for light scheduling and planning/tracking of posts.

Russell – “I don’t have a filter! And usually it’s not grammatically correct.”
He doesn’t use a schedule, it’s more stream of consciousness. He thinks it and just has to get it out on the blog.  He voice blogs.

Laura doesn’t like to rock the boat and prefers to do what is easiest for the people she works with. She’s just grateful that their people are willing to write for the blog & will happily take the blog articles in whatever format they come – google doc, pen & paper, word doc, etc.

Hot Tip: There is more than just paragraphs.  Bullet points / numbered lists / headlines and subheadings are great.  Don’t be afraid to format!

Russell uses his headphones to record and utilizes Google Keep to store his content. Every 4 sentences he’ll skip a line to break up his paragraphs. His articles focus on two things: what is the problem & what is the solution?

On the WebDev calendar they have the due date and the publication date. For her, the due date is usually 24 hours before publication.  It gives her time to work on it, proofing/editing, etc. She usually receives the blog post on the exact due date.

Russell works support and never knows what’s going to come in on a given day, so sometimes his blog posts will arrive at the very last minute (or rarely, he misses the deadline). This is why editorial calendars need to have some flexibility.

She recommends having a strategy for when blog posts don’t come in on time.  Maybe going to WordPress.tv and finding a great talk to highlight.

What’s good about video is that video takes time to watch which means more time on the site and great engagement!

Jason loves that with us (Sherie & Cheryl) recording the show notes, we’re creating extra content that can be used on social media and on the site.  The more content you have the better!

One of the things you need to figure out from the beginning (and keep analyzing) is how often you want to blog.  Then establish the best days and times to blog. Then you can start planning your calendar. She only plans out about 2 months in advance to make sure to keep things flexible! There’s always going to be timely/seasonal topics that you want to touch on, so it’s important to have room in the schedule for that.

When you are planning out far in advance, choosing “evergreen” content means that it can be pushed to another date if you have something timely or significant that comes up and needs to be posted first.  Such as when Ben came to her and said we really need to address GDPR and should probably get it posted in the next few days.

Laura does not (yet) have a disaster plan, so it can be a bit worrisome wondering what would happen if she was available. It’s probably something that should be written down (style guides, guidelines, etc.) so that others can jump in when needed.

She also thinks that WebDev (and any company really) could really use a Style Guide.  How you format your text, how and what you post. That way if someone takes over for you, the tone doesn’t have to change.

She loves using Buffer for social media.  She has that and the WebDev site all day long so she can monitor and make sure things are going out when they are supposed to.

You need to keep on top of things and keep the site and plugins up-to-date – if the site goes down, so does your ability to create and share content.

Bridget always recommends not to automate the entire process when posting to social media – inevitably, things will break – there are lots of moving parts to keep track of, and chances are something will get missed.

Sharing posts across multiple platforms can be iffy.  If you daisy-chain them, chances are your content is going to look horrible on at least one of the platforms.  Try to use an app that will let you post the same content directly to each platform instead of sharing from one platform to the other.

Using Rebrandly to create their shortlinks.  WDS.AF

Russell uses a plugin called InstaGo to redirect traffic

What is the payoff for WDS? In the end, the editorial calendar & content strategy is designed to support their marketing strategy, which in the end, supports their business goals.

They have found that their old blog posts were very technically oriented, which is a great audience, but they’re not the decision makers. Who they really want to talk to is the marketing & business executives. They have to decide if their old posts are worth re-posting and if they will reach the right audience.

They’ve identified 3 older blog posts that could be updated and need to decide if it’s worth the time to update them and re-present them or if it’s not worth the time sink.

If something lives on the internet (like a blog post), it’s important to make sure it’s kept up to date, especially in regards to rates/fees for services your company offers. Sometimes it’s better to choose to delete old content instead of refurbishing it. Russell worked for a financial company and had a post with rates in it – set up a plugin to scrape the current rates so he would never have to worry about updating it but it would still be current.

If you decide not to update an out-of-date post and delete it instead, how do you handle the dead link?  Laura suggests redirection to something that is more relevant or current.

WebDevStudios is communicating all the time so they work hard to keep things interesting. Sometimes they include contests, and hidden ‘easter eggs’ but all of this takes planning.

Tools and tips of the week:

  1. Laura – Loves to use Grammarly, but it does have some conflicts with WordPress – it will make you a better writer
  2. Jason – Ginger – it’s a chrome extension that helps with proofreading & Grammar.
  3. Russell – Composer – it goes into all the dev projects and pull all the necessary files for each person

Show notes contributed by:

Cheryl LaPrade – @yaycheryl

Sherie LaPrade – @heysherie

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Participants

Russell Aaron
Jason Tucker
Laura Coronado
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