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Optimising Your Content Calendar to Capture Seasonal Traffic

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    Creating content on a regular basis can be a very challenging task. In addition to creating quality targeted, relevant pieces of onsite content, take your strategy further by investing time into creating an optimised content calendars.

    Content calendars (aka editorial calendars, content schedules etc.) are used commonly by media verticals such as magazines, newspapers and online publisher sites to coordinate content efforts. However any business can create a content calendar that is optimised according to a set of targeted keywords and the seasonality of a business.

    Why is optimising content calendars so important?  An example would be, you may not find too many visitors looking for ‘singlets’ in the middle of winter and the term ‘tax return’ probably won’t be so popular during the Christmas break.

    To optimise your content calendar consider the following points: The What, When, Why & How.

    The What: Determine your industry topic and associated keywords

    I run a hat shop, so I will focus on the hat (specific) and clothing accessories (broad) industry throughout this post as an example. Therefore keywords that are relevant to my business include ‘hats’ and  ‘caps’.

    The When: Analyse keywords through search trend intelligence tools

    I have decided to analyse the search term word ‘hats’ in Australia for the past two years. The primary tool I use is Google Trends (formerly Google Insights).

    The results that you want to pay focus two are the peak in search interests in the graph. As you can see below there appears to be peaks around April as well October, November and January of every year.

    The Why: Develop explanations for seasonality

    Remember we want to be able to create content topics that are not only relevant and targeted but also timely. So the question you need to ask here is: Why is it peaking?

    Start to draw from your personal as well as industry knowledge of the market to determine the causes and origination of these topics in order to make an educated guess.  Think about special occasions, events, deadlines that may trigger the peak in interest. If you can’t come up with anything solid, ask your colleagues to get that brain juice flowing.

    Regarding my hat shop, let’s start with the peaks in April. Looking at the surge in April 2012, it appears that date of 8th April 2012 coincides with the Easter break of 2012. To cross-reference my inference, I analysed the search interest around the Easter 2013 break (31st March) and lo and behold, there is also a surge in traffic! With the October-November traffic, I believe that this has a connection with Melbourne Cup and in particular the fascinator hats.

    Now with my hat shop (similar to many retail businesses) the origins and causes may be easier to identify, given they are common knowledge.

    If your business is say a B2B company such as an accounting firm that focuses on tax returns, you could look at certain deadlines set by ATO that may influence the search trends. For example, the below shows the search trends for ‘tax returns’ peaks post July (most likely due to the start of new financial year), sharply decreases as it approaches October and has another small surge in traffic (one reason could be that they are rushing to meet the deadline for e-tax tax return services) before trailing off.

    The How: Brainstorm topics & develop a content calendar

    By now, you should have recorded all the peaks and the possible causes of the spike for the targeted terms.

    We want to now utilise the intelligence we have to design a content calendar to get the best return of investment not just from an SEO but also from a social media angle as well.

    The last step is to put together an editorial calendar (aka content calendar, content schedule, whatever term is being adopted) and start to map out when you should write an article on each topic and also what to write about.

    Now that I know my hat business is a boom during Easter, I will schedule in an article to be published on the 1st April 2014, giving the article 4 weeks to capture all the seasonal traffic (Easter day is 29th April).

    If you do not already have a content calendar, Crazy Egg has a great post on free calendars you can download. If you like working with Excel then you can easily create one yourself!

    I hope this has been helpful and I hope that all your content will ‘make it on time’ for whatever surge in search interest is coming up this year!

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