We made a mistake.
Okay, a few actually, but at Ladder, we’re not afraid to admit when we do something wrong.
It’s part of our goal to be as transparent as possible, whether it’s on our blog or in our communication with clients. You can see that in the content we publish – we’re happy to share what we do with as much openness as we can.
So back to the problem at hand: we started making silly errors in our content marketing – typos, late articles, delayed newsletters, sloppy execution. It was time to evaluate what was going wrong.
After all, if we’re trying to create the world’s most useful marketing blog, we’re absolutely going to hold our own feet to the fire.
But the goal wasn’t to punish ourselves. We have the benefit of trust and collaboration among our (admittedly small) internal marketing team to do the right thing for one another.
So, what happened?
- We’re too busy: As a small team, we don’t have the luxury of time to handle everything from writing a blog post to publishing it to running PPC ads to sending out a newsletter to monitoring and reporting on performance to…well, you get the idea.
- We didn’t review well enough: Things slipped by, not because we were making mistakes, but because we weren’t catching them structurally through an editing and oversight process.
- None of the errors were bad: Realistically, the mistakes we were making weren’t existential for our content marketing strategy and we were still producing articles people love to read.
But let’s be clear: these are not excuses.
Again, if we don’t hold our feet to the fire, we don’t practice what we preach when it comes to transparent, data-driven, efficient growth strategy.
So with that, I brainstormed with Malaika, our content marketing strategist, to figure out exactly how we fix our content distribution schedule to avoid these mistakes.
One of our solutions: a new blog posting schedule.
New Blog Posting Schedule
Our old blog posting schedule was a bit of a mess because it didn’t account for the fact that every Tuesday and Thursdays ended up being overloaded with work.
Here’s a general overview of what we did in the past:
- Mondays: Select a blog post topic and create a general outline; work on other projects (PPC, CRO, social, etc…)
- Tuesdays: Write and publish a blog post; distribute new blog post on various channels
- Wednesdays: Select a blog post topic and create a general outline; work on other projects.
- Thursday: Write and publish article AND send an email newsletter; continue distributing new blog post on various channels.
- Friday: Work on other projects + company all-hands + Ladder Learnings.
You can probably see the bulk of the work happened on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that’s when most our mistakes would happen.
Ideally, we needed to have a system that evenly spreads out the work across all 5 days of the week, while still accounting for special circumstances throughout the week. Here are a few ideas we came up with:
Option 1: A Monday/Wednesday Content Publishing Schedule
We could transition to a Monday/Wednesday publishing schedule and continue to send our newsletter on Thursday. The full process would be:
- Fridays – Prepping post for Monday; attend company events.
- Mondays – Finalizing and publishing blog post by 12 p.m.; distribute blog post on various channels; work on other projects for rest of day.
- Tuesday – Prepping post for Wednesday; continue distributing content.
- Wednesday -Finalizing and publishing blog post by 12 p.m.; distribute blog post on various channels; prepping email newsletter.
- Thursday – Finalizing & sending newsletter between 1pm-4pm, working on other projects rest of day.
Option 2: A Monday/Thursday Content Publishing Schedule
We could go to a Monday/Thursday publishing schedule, moving our email newsletter to Wednesday, but we refocus our centerpiece article to Tuesday. The full process would be:
- Friday – Prepping post for Monday; attend company events.
- Monday – Finalizing & publishing post by 12 p.m.; distribute blog post on various channels; work on other projects for rest of day.
- Tuesday – Continue distributing Monday’s blog post; prep email newsletter.
- Wednesday – Finalizing & sending newsletter from 1pm-4pm, prep post for Thursday; working on other projects rest of day.
- Thursday – Finalizing & publishing post by 12 p.m.; working on other projects afterward.
Option 3: Mix Up The Length of Our Blog Posts
We could refocus on one small or listicle style article (maximum 1000 words) and one large article (1000+ words, content-heavy), and keep the same publishing schedule.
Option 4: Focus on Revamping Old Blog Posts
Alternatively, we could focus heavily on updating older posts. We could publish one new post a week, and then update and redistribute 2-3 posts a week.
From the start, we didn’t like #2 and #4.
#2 felt like an illogical progression in work over the course of the week, and just didn’t vibe with our work style.
#4, while useful, would waste an opportunity to tackle more new keywords and topics in favor of always bumping old posts. We love writing new things, and that would hurt our ability to do so.
In the end, we went with a hybrid of #1 and #3, with a bit of #4 sprinkled in.
Here’s the final process:
- Fridays – Prep a light (but useful) image-rich post for Monday; use rest of day for company events.
- Mondays – Finalize & publish blog post by 12 p.m.; distribute new content on various channels; use rest of day for other projects.
- Tuesdays – Continue distributing blog post published on Monday; prep a longer, content-heavy blog post for Wednesday.
- Wednesdays – Finalize & publish post by 12 p.m.; use rest of day for other projects, spend some extra time updating old articles with useful new information. For example, check out our update to our ICO marketing strategy article.
- Thursday – Prep & send newsletter by 1 p.m.; use rest of day for other projects.
There’s a great logical flow of work and responsibility in this process that lets Malaika and myself have well-structured days writing and prepping content, while also being able to handle all our other responsibilities.
But that’s not all that was wrong with our process…
Editing and Review
We were doing no editing and review at all. That’s entirely on me – I didn’t do enough to be proactive about it, instead just saying “yeah if you need my help on anything, I’m here!”
But, that’s not the right way to do a review at all. It has to be formalized and structured with an actual process so that we’re not letting anything slip by.
So after some discussion, we came to this conclusion: editing and review should really only take 15-30 minutes, with an hour maximum of added time to be allotted to it.
Here’s how that process looks:
- Mondays: Article finalized by 11 a.m., with up to 1 hour of edit time, but a minimum of 15 minutes
- Wednesdays: Article finalized by 11 a.m., with up to 1 hour of edit time, minimum 15 minutes
- Thursday: Newsletter ready by 12 p.m., with up to 30 minutes of edit time, and scheduled for sending at 1 p.m. in MailChimp by 12:30 p.m.
Simple, but set in stone. That’s what was missing, and now that we have it, we’ve managed to catch a lot of small errors that we could have gotten embarrassed by. The system’s working, and we’re happier with how things are going so far, but we’re monitoring and making changes as needed.
We’ve also learned a lot during this process that could help your company avoid the same mistakes we did.
- Think quality over quantity. Always prioritize creating and publishing high-quality content at a pace that makes sense for your business.
- Invest your resources wisely. If you have a small marketing team, focus on creating content that your team can realistically produce. In other words, it’s probably unrealistic to expect three blog posts, a webinar, a recorded video, and a 10-page e-Book in a week from a marketing team of two people with a limited budget.
- Don’t be afraid to admit when something goes wrong. We’re all far from perfect, but one of the best ways to make improvements is to acknowledge a problem and work on a comprehensive solution to fix it–just like we did in this post!
We can’t promise we won’t mess up again–so, our apologies in advance–but we do promise we’ll always be transparent about it.