This week we speak to Himani Kankaria, Digital Branding & Marketing Consultant, about the importance of planning content and preparing content calendars.
Where to find Himani:
Content calendar template: https://bit.ly/3sBzTkj
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Sarah: Hello, and a very warm welcome to the Women in Tech SEO podcast. I am Sarah McDowell, SEO Content Executive at Holland and Barrett. And I am your host today. It is not just me. On my own. No, I have the wonderful Himani Kankaria joining us today to talk about planning content and preparing content calendars.
Himani is an independent digital marketing and branding consultant e-commerce content consultant and content specialist. Welcome to the show, Himani!
Himani: Hey Sarah, thank you so much for having me on the WTSPodcast. I am super honoured to be here.
Sarah: It's an absolute honour for you to spend your valuable time with us today. So let's kick things off and get to know you Hamani. So can you give us a brief overview of yourself, what you do and how you got into this wonderful world of SEO?
Himani: So I've been in this digital marketing industry for more than 11 years now.
When I started with SEO back in 2010 and like about, I worked in house for around six years, and then I became a consultant working independently with the B2B companies, including the SAS company. So, you know, I like focusing on helping business owners to understand their business goals and help them align with the marketing goals.
So based on that, I am, you know, also preparing the roadmap. And helping them help the team to work on their roadmaps. So, you know all of those 11 years of my journey, I have learned SEO, I have learned creating content. I have also tried mastering the skills to create the content that, you know, ranks on page one of Google and also on Google features.
And you know, I would love to add that, you know, for three and a half years, I've been trying my hands and working with a couple of e-commerce businesses through e-comm cheetah. I am associated with e-comm Quito as an e-commerce consent content consultant. I had them. To the content of in commerce campaigns.
So it was like, you know, back in 2010, I had an option to either go into the development side or I would go into SEO. So I don't know what clicked in my mind. And I immediately picked up SEO and it's like, you know, I am. Learning every day, something new and growing with all the new things that are coming up in our industry.
Sarah: Sounds like you're very passionate about this industry. It's lovely to hear that. How are you feeling if I move this on and do some quick-fire questions?
[Quick Fire Questions]
Sarah: Okay. So this is the Women in Tech SEO podcast. So let me ask you some questions about this. What would you say empowers you to be the brilliant woman that you are today?
Himani: I would say I have got three pillars for this. One is the family support, you know, on top of what my husband and my child are supporting. I've got great parents and parents-in-law who are super supportive in everything I do also. I've got another pillar that comes from my mentors and my med of flying or virtually.
They have been pushing me a lot to do better every day. And lastly, I can not forget the brilliant WTS community. I'm a part of it because there, I see people, you know, helping each other, no matter where they are, you know, what place they are there, they are not too judgmental. And, you know, they help us and motivate us to do everything that we do.
So, you know, these are the things that are helping me to become better every day.
Sarah: Wonderful. I love these three pillars there. They're helping you and empowering you. What, one bit of advice would you give a woman? Starting in the industry.
Himani: I would like to, I would say an emphasis on learning. So I would say that there is always room for improvement.
You must keep your eyes, nose, ears, and even hands to overcome them because you know, if you stop learning, you stop growing. So, and let me tell you, there is no age bar for learning. So keep open for yourself.
Sarah: Definitely. And I mean, I don't know if you'd agree with this, but I think this is especially the SEO case, but you're never gonna know everything.
Oh yeah. There's always something that you can learn and always something that you can improve on isn't there. Absolutely. Folks. You've heard it from him only first. Wonderful. Right. Let's get stuck in today's topic. Which as I said earlier was so we're going to be talking about planning.
And preparing content calendars. So the first question, and let's start with the basics. How would you describe what content planning is and why? Why is it important? Why do we need it?
Himani: Content planning is a vague way to plan the content that we want to push out for all of the four marketing activities. So everything, you know, whether you are going out you know, pushing out the content on social media, whether it is an email, whether it is through blogs or whether it is something written on your website.
Everything is under content and to plan it, I mean, it is important to the planet because you don't, I would like to share a couple of reasons for doing and planning this condom thing first is it helps us set goals. So say, for example, if you want to write content. Aside, you know, there is a separate goal.
So even if he wants to, you know, look at the keywords and choose the different topics for badly you know, usually that we do, we look at the keywords and choose the content topics or prevailing look at the current competitors that the content they are writing and immediately start writing them without understanding what will be the outcome.
Yeah. So a content plan helps us to understand what we want to achieve after investing in content. So whether it is going to cover a website or any other platform, it needs to have a goal which content planning helps you. Another reason could be at home because it helps us and our team be disciplined.
Conduct planning not only helps us plan the content but even makes us stick to the plan because we are humans. We are, we tend to make mistakes. We tend to forget things. So that helps us stay disciplined for two hours. Another thing I would like to say is that you know because a content plan is a documented plan.
We can keep a track of what we have planned, why and how so.
Sarah: Yes. And I suppose I want to just quickly touch on your first point about the purpose. So whenever we're creating content, I suppose some companies may fall into the trap of wanting to create content because they know they have to do it, you know what I mean? Like content is important, but they don't think of the journey or how, where does this content sit, sit within like the bigger picture of my business. So I suppose Pappas is very, very important.
Himani: Absolutely. Absolutely. Even what happens is, you know, sometimes there is confusion between brand awareness campaigns, raw lead nurturing, and even the lead conversion campaigns. So, you know, there are times that the based on the purpose, the content types, the messaging also the first and because, you know, I emphasize a lot on brand positioning messaging.
Sarah: So when it comes to your content planning, would you say content calendars are the best way for you to achieve planning? And for those who have, this is the first time that they're hearing of this tab. What, how would you describe a content calendar?
Himani: Okay. So, yes.
To answer your first question. Yes. Content calendars do play a major role in planning the content and helping me to achieve all the targets that we have set because what happens is like I said earlier, you know, the purpose, the audience, what competitors are writing, what keywords we, one more time.
When we want to target and how they want. I mean, how we want to publish when we want to publish all of these things comes into the content calendar, and that is the reason why it becomes important for the content team, for the SEO team and other marketing teams as well to understand. What we are going to do with the plan that we have, the goals that we have.
So if I talk about what a content calendar would include, then I would say that it would have content topics, also the channels that you want to target, or whether you want to write for a website, which is a landing page or guest blog, or whether you need to write content only for social media. Our website blog based on that you will also write to the target audience.
Sometimes people get confused with the target audiences because there are two types of times your audience for every business. One is the exact potential customer. And others are the influences. The people who consume your content, share it with the actual potential customers of yours.
So that is the reason writing down the target audience, you know, content calendars you know, plays a major role. So next is the goal, right? Like I said earlier if you're good. I mean, if you have your current website receiving traffic at a hundred K and you want to restore a hundred K, you need to have that goal written in your calendar, that is what I want to achieve.
And also what happens is your goal. So you know it is attached to many other things. Say, for example, I want to boost the traffic through this content. I want to increase my ER, you know, I want to increase the rankings. I want to increase. At the, I mean I went to strengthen the internal linkings that are good.
I want to create better infrastructure, better navigation for the audience on the side. So those are the micro bulls that all shows should be present on your content. Plus keywords too. Do you want to target how much traffic do you estimate out of those keywords? If there is any featured snippet type attached to it, what would be the user intent behind the searching discount?
Particular content? What competitors are right. How we went to create your outline, whether you will need to explain your FAQ's or not, what kind of entailing internal linkings you would add? What could be the word count? Very, very important thing because you know, word count differs on the type of queries or type of topic that you're writing.
If you're writing about topics, it would have a limited word count. If you're writing how-to content, it will have a detailed word count and a listicle that would have. Different word counts. So this is very, very important. Also what schema tags you would include if you have added FAQ is you would need to add efficacy, schema attack as well.
What I prefer is the graphics you would want in your content. Who will be the writer? When are you estimating to publish it? When are you publishing it? And what is the status? These are the things that I feel conduct and a must, must, must have.
Sarah: So it sounds like the content calendars that you create are quite detailed.
And do you think that's important? So the more detail that you can get in a content plan, the better.
Himani: Yes absolutely. And let me tell you, this is not a one person's job.
Sarah: No, it doesn't sound like that avenue that you've got going on. Yeah. Okay. So I'm guessing then there'll be like a couple of you then that is sort of looking after a content calendar.
But do you think so? If there are a couple of you, you still need to have sort of one person; it's sort of like project management.
Himani: Yes. Having a project manager is important because it helps. And then that person would make sure that we stick to the plan and that we are achieving.
We are going to achieve the results that we are expecting out of the planned content. So yes, that plays a very good role.
Sarah: So, obviously there's, there's a lot there that you can, that you can add-in. So for people who are just doing this for the first time, it might seem daunting with all this information.
So are there any sort of quick hacks or anything that you can help to sort of speed up the process or is that not the goal?
Himani: Yeah. So you're asking me that, is there any way that the teams can speed up can create the content calendars faster to make sure it is like it helps achieve their results, right?
Sarah: Yeah, because in my understanding it is if something feels quite laborious in SCA or it takes a lot of time. Can be a solution or something that you can help speed up the process. So I don't know if that's what can be done when talking about content calendars.
Himani: Absolutely. So I would like to share a couple of things that I am following, so that could help our listeners as well. To use those best practices are quick acts while creating content calendars.
So like I said, I would like to mention again, that we can divide the different tasks to the different team members. So, you know, a junior person can focus on doing keyword research. You know basic keyword research and someone would do competitive analysis and another can do graphic brainstorming.
The graphic design team can take over. Task-based on competitive analysis. So that was, you know, a wonderful quick hack to implement. If you have a big team, if you don't have a smaller team, what you can do is you can yourself. Well, only a couple of things are required.
There are only a few things that you can focus on which I mentioned earlier, which is the purpose, the audience, what competitors are doing, but Kivas you want to target. And when you want to publish and what will be the estimated traffic you would expect, expect these six things you will have added in your content calendar with a small team, you will still be able to achieve.
70 to 80% of your goals. Wonderful.
Sarah: And is there any way that I don't, I don't know if this is possible. I imagine that sometimes content calendars sort of getting created. And we may forget about them, you know, how you get likes are taken into other areas and things like that. So is there anything that you can put part of the process so that you're making sure that you refer to yourself, you and your team are referring back to the content calendar?
Like, should you be reviewing the content regularly? Should you be updated regularly? Should you be looking at where you are? How can you make sure that the content calendar becomes integral to their team's process? I suppose.
Himani: Right. So usually what happens is I have a couple of companies where creating content calendars and managing and maintaining them are different.
One of the companies we have is using a tool that looks like a content calendar. So you know, with these fields, we include all of those things in the tool. It is coda.io. So, you know, that tool helps you to, you know, remind you that, you know, this content is expected to be published over here. So it's just good that you know, you don't need to.
Checking on, but most of my clients are using Google Sheets or Excel sheets to maintain the content calendars. So for that purpose, what we do is when we have the dates on the calendars, we mark those dates into our work calendar. With an even saying that we are, you know, about to, you know, publish content in this week, we are due to publish content.
So then we can check with all the things, whether, you know, the content is ready, whether we have received the content or not, we can set different deadlines. By the way, we can, you know, have a separate deadline for the writer and we can ask the writer. Based on that timeline that, you know, we are, do you want this?
You can see whether the content is already or not. If you are facing any challenges, we can help you create the content faster and deliver it on time. Also once the content is ready, we can ask the graphics team. If the graphic is ready. The SEL team determines whether the schema tags and all of the other optimization things are ready or not to be implemented on the blog.
So, I believe that you would need at least three days before you publish content to make sure everything
Sarah: is in place. Definitely. You want to sort of giving yourself a bit of buffer for anything that goes wrong, I suppose. Is it important for a content calendar to be flexible?
So obviously it's good to have a structure and a plan because that's the whole point of a content calendar, but do you need to have a bit of flexibility to sort of like, maybe there'll be like changes in like business goals, maybe there's a trend in the topic or do you know what I mean? Like, do you need, is it important for flexibility and how do you sort of build flexibility?
Himani: Right. So that happens a lot of times, especially with companies dealing with news, most of the time there is news to be rolled up. And also, you know, e-commerce companies have such a drastic change with the calendars because there is some event coming up, the campaign is planned on the spot or something like that.
So yeah, that happens a lot. And it is very much important to keep up. You know, buffet off at least one week that what we can do is whenever you start planning a content calendar you can begin and you can keep a buffer of one week of say, you know whatever it counts, like say, for example, the event is we keep a gap of one week after two weeks, right?
Say, for example, we planned that. We can expect the news to come in 15 days. So what we do is after 15 days, we will keep a gap of one week. And if, say, for example, it doesn't happen. After 15 days, we will push the plan that was after that one week before. To the previous week, and then we will push the buffer one week to the end.
So that's how we manage that. You know, most of the time it is not that every week we have to publish one content, there is always a buffer of seven days so that if there is anything that comes urgently, we can put it on.
Sarah: Yes. And that seems like a pretty yeah, easy process there or something easy to sort of implement yourself into your plans.
So the last question then because you believe it as we've already been chatting for 25 minutes I need it at the time fly.
I feel like we've covered a lot though in this short space of time. But are there any that you've mentioned at all previously, but are there any additional resources or tools that can help people with their content planning and putting together content?
Himani: Absolutely. I use SEMrush SEO content too. So that helps me with competitive analysis. So most of my, you know, competitive analysis comes out of that too. So the time is saved here a lot. So that's also one I could be saying. Can be considered as a quick hack over here. It comes with the laugh or recommendations for the competing blogs.
So that helps a lot while creating content calendars. And also I prefer using surfer SEO to plan the content calendar, and also they have got Some you know, beta version as well for the content calendars who I am just exploring that. And it was pretty good. So those are the two tools that I prefer using.
And I always ask the team at my clients to use it because it speeds up the process of creating the content calendars. And also I have created my content calendar template, which I keep on evolving from time to time. I also share that as well with people.
Sarah: Wonderful. What I will do is I'll get you to send me the link to that, and then I'll make sure that I include that link when I share this episode and also in the show notes.
So, yes I'll share that with our listeners. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with us.
Sarah: If people want to carry on the conversation with you, how can they do that? Where can they find you?
Himani: They can find me on Twitter. It’s @himani_kankaria.
Sarah: Wonderful. And I would just like to say, thanks for listening to the podcast we are available on all your podcasting platforms. If you want to find out more about the podcast sponsoring opportunities or apply to be a speaker, visit womenintechseo.com/podcast/ and you can also find us on Twitter, we are @techseowomenpod. To find out more about the brilliant Women in Tech SEO community, that my fellow co-host founded, Areej AbuAli, and how to get involved visit womenintechseo.com. I think the only thing left for us to do is for us both to say goodbye!
Himani: Goodbye and thank you so much for having me. It was wonderful chatting!