The best way to ensure you always have plenty of content to post and keep consistent to your brand and business goals is to create a monthly content plan. I’ve seen some really organised people do these three months at a time and others prefer to do it monthly or fortnightly.
I like to look at the whole twelve months first. I start with a 12 month calendar [a month to a page] and put in all the public holidays, special events, school holidays, product launches, themes, sales etc that I know are a given every year. This gives me a great basis for what content I can put around it.
Once I have this I can easily pick a month to focus on. I never plan too far in advance due to the nature of my business and how things can change so quickly and become outdated. For example, when I did my 30 Day Marketing Challenge I was writing it as I went and although it put some pressure on me to get it done in time, I also knew the information is current and up to date.
In saying all this, there are some topics that can easily be written in advance and stored away for a rainy day when you really need some content but can’t think of anything. I am currently writing a guide for starting your own Freelancing business at the moment and lucky for me it is not as time critical….although it also means I take longer to get it done as there is no pressing deadlines. Don’t be afraid to put some pressure on yourself to get things done!
Now, onto the important information. I will break the content plan into two categories, social media and blogging.
We’ll start with your social media content plan.
There are four main categories your posts can fit into.
Day to Day Life – use to show brand personality and build trust
Profiles of you, staff, contractors etc
Behind the scenes images and stories
Showcase your expertise
Surprises coming up that you’re working on
Coffee pictures 😉
Product or Service – what are you trying to sell
New product or service posts
Product research (yours or someone else)
Endorsements & Sponsorships – involves a third party
Collaborations with other businesses
Utilising other brands or influencers to promote your product/service
Local area sponsorships
Charities you support
Events & Promotions – both set in concrete and ones you create
Key events such as Easter, Christmas, Mothers Day, Fathers Day
Events you are attending
Online “events” you create such as “me day”, “our first birthday” etc
Questions and information you can request from followers to produce user generated content.
Great, quick ways to get people to interact are posts such as “Which do you prefer photo A or B”. “Like if you eat the stalks of your broccoli, comment if you don’t”.
You can easily plan some of these types of posts in advance and pre schedule them in Facebook, Buffer, Hootsuite, Latergram – whatever tools you are using for advanced scheduling. Just remember always schedule Facebook posts within Facebook so they are not penalised.
Now that you have the different types of posts you can incorporate into your content plan, start mapping out different questions and posts that you can include on each of your social media channels, remembering that you can feed all of them to Twitter.
Blog posts are a little harder to come up with as they need to add value and be generous with your knowledge as well as link into your SEO plan. I always recommend doing some keyword analysis prior to working out your blog posts as this way you are achieving two things in one.
I find a great way to decide on blog topics is to get a big piece of paper [or a page per problem] and write some of the problems your ideal customer experiences that you can solve, ie: lack of marketing dollars, not getting organic reach in Facebook, can’t find enough hours in the day to get everything done etc. From there I come up with specific posts coming under four topics.
Story, behind the scenes, what you’ve done.
Interviews, Q&A’s, Case Study, Pro’s/Con’s/Comparisons, Brand profiles
Instructional (my favourite for business)
How to, lists, step by step, series [number of posts on the same topic], ultimate guide to, don’t make the same mistakes, in depth focus on, infographics.
Video, audio, podcast, periscope, meerkat, current event related, opinion piece, FAQ’s, giveaways, promotions, collaborations, throwback [recycled material]
I find the best way to plan is to have the problem at the top of the page then create a blog heading based on each of the options under the four main headings. An example of this would be.
PROBLEM: Lack of marketing dollars
Secret inside look behind the scenes at my marketing plan
What I did to avoid paying huge marketing dollars while still promoting my business
How I made six figures using social media
Let me take you step by step through building your business organically
Top Ten ways to market your business with no budget
My interview with Richard Branson and his top business tips
Why I don’t agree that Facebook is the number one marketing channel
30 Day Marketing Challenge (30 different posts)
How to launch a new product with no budget by collaborating with other brands.
That list took me five minutes to do so imagine how many you could come up with if you dedicated an hour to this task using multiple problems. Once you have the list completed you can schedule into your content plan which days you will publish each post and then sit down and write them.
I find the best way to accomplish writing is to turn off my social media, put my phone on silent and just write. I will set a time limit ie: 1 hour or 3 hours depending on what I have to get done – sometimes I go over this time and other times I struggle with every minute. I find on my worst days, some of my content will be terrible but most of it will be useable with just a few tweaks. The more you do this the quicker and easier it will become. I now love my quiet writing time and really look forward to when I can get it. The key is being disciplined and write regularly.
If you do this exercise fortnightly, monthly or quarterly you will easily have enough content to share and keep your ideal customer engaged.
This content plan will become your bible, you will be referring to it everyday, tweaking it, expanding it and basically letting it do the thinking for you. Once this plan is created you will come to LOVE promoting your business.
Of course there is one negative, never have a plan so structured that you feel you can’t do spur of the moment posts [relevant to your ideal customer of course].
Christmas is not far away, why not put some plans in place to ensure your social media and blogging doesn’t get forgotten in this busy period as this is the key time people are going to be looking to buy!