Cross-posted from Adfero Insights

Being the content manager for a blog is tough. How do you not only find relevant information, but package it in a way that is consistently fresh, interesting and exciting to read?

Building out an editorial calendar will help you immensely. But first, take a step back and think very carefully about your target audience. Marketing your content starts with a true understanding of your audience and what they ultimately want out of your site. Put yourself in their shoes: what are their motivations and challenges? What can you provide them that no one else can? What kinds of posts will keep them coming back or make them want to share with their networks?

Next, you need to develop a strategy for amassing and sorting through lots of information that you can use and/or repackage for your own content. Your job will be much more difficult if you scour the same old new sources day in and day out for the same type of story. While you’re sipping your morning coffee, why not…

  • Create and monitor a Twitter list of people who post relevant information
  • Join Facebook groups or organization listservs to keep a pulse on conversations
  • Find similar blogs and add them to your RSS feed for daily review

Original content is equally important for your blog, but usually much harder to come up with. If you’re looking for a place to start, offers the following tips to build up your original content:

  • Attend events to find out what the industry is talking about. Then write about it!
  • Conduct expert interviews with the people you know your audience wants to hear from.
  • Find human-interest stories to build the community and bring the audience together—people want to relate to others and to what they read online.

Once you’ve got the content creation part down, here are some tips to maintain a robust content strategy on an ongoing basis:

  • Draw up a yearlong editorial calendar with key dates (holidays, organizational landmarks, etc.) to plan content.
  • Follow a weekly plan that is in line with your editorial calendar and stay on track. Consider regular posts that your audience can expect (e.g. a news roundup every Monday or a monthly interview series).
  • Read the news on a daily basis for issues that could impact or interest your audience so you can be among the first to report it.
  • Talk to your networks to compare strategies.

As you know, there isn’t a single set of best practices for content creation and planning so it is important for each of us to find what works best for our audiences, our organizations, and/or our clients. Keep reading, keep testing, and keep learning.