03.23.20175 min read

How Automated Tools Can Power Your Editorial Calendar

You’ve got the style of Vogue, the insights of the New York Times, and the comedic impact of Second City. Every blog post, newsletter, and landing page you push out to your audience makes a splash. However, if you’re one of the many marketers struggling to get into the rhythms of publishing regularly, it’s time to look at automating your editorial calendar.

This isn’t the automation that steals your job or makes your connected toaster talk to your Smart Car; it’s the textbook application of how intelligent tools can help supply you with a steady stream of content ideas that power up your editorial calendar and keep you in a regular publishing cadence.

Here’s how a range of different automation tools can turn you into an idea machine.

Use the calendar

When you adopt an editorial calendar, you gain the perspective to strategically look ahead for content opportunities. An event like Women’s History Month provides you with the chance to profile the female innovators in your industry, for example. Check out major national holidays, seasonal changes, and various international recognition days a year in advance. Plug these hooks into your calendar to create relevant, timely content.

Track what’s trending

Join conversations that are already happening. Automate your content ideation by using social listening tools like Sprout Social or Brand24. With social monitoring tools, you can track what’s happening on major networks around subjects like:

  • Your brand
  • Keywords
  • Hashtags
  • Competitor brands
  • News events

Customized social listening—combined with keeping a regular eye on what’s trending on major social networks at a high level—gives you insights into what your audience is talking about right now. Similarly, track the topics that major industry publications and blogs are publishing as well.

Conduct an automated competitive analysis

Fleshing out your editorial calendar can often be as easy as understanding what your competition is publishing and putting your unique POV or spin on those topics. Your goal isn’t to copy the competition; it’s to understand their strategy and create better, more in-depth, and useful content for your audience. Two ways to gain insights include:

  • Track their most popular content: One way to see what’s resonating is to use tools like BuzzSumo. Plug in a URL, and it will give you a list of what content is most popular by links or by shares. Use your own version of popular topics to fuel your editorial calendar.
  • Understand their keywords and SEO: Use a keyword tool like Moz’s Open Site Explorer that allows you to plug in a website and find out what keywords it’s ranking for. You can see where competitors are getting their links, which pages are most popular, and more. Get different insights into the keywords and language consumers are using for your industry.

Check out suggestion tools

Automation can take things further than just helping you analyze the competition or keep a pulse on bigger conversations. A variety of suggestion tools take your basic ideas and turn them into content gold. Here are a few to try:

  • Google Suggest: Open your browser to Google. Type in topics you’re thinking about, such as “content marketing.” Pay attention to what Google’s suggestion feature offers. “Content marketing app” quickly leads to content marketing applications, content marketing approach, and content marketing apple (I don’t even know!).Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 3.24.15 PM.png
  • Portent: With Portent’s Blog Title Generator, just plug in your topic and it’ll start suggesting different permutations to tackle. My test run brought examples ranging from the intriguing “17 Ways Content Marketing Writers Can Increase Your Productivity” (win!) to the entertaining “Why Content Marketing Writers Beat Peanut Butter on Pancakes.” Delicious, but probably a no-go.
  • Inbound: Inbound.org offers its “Kill Writer’s Block” app which suggests general title frameworks that can help spark ideas.

Automate your follow-up campaigns

Once you’ve developed a funnel that captures your ideas and turned them into blog posts, email marketing campaigns, and more, schedule them out on your editorial calendar to publish them on a regular schedule. From there you can capture your leads via forms and follow up with them via automated follow-up emails to push them down the sales funnel. Consistency is key to seeing the value of content marketing, and an editorial calendar combined with the right automation tools can lay the foundation for your success.

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