How to create a content marketing plan you’ll actually stick to
Has this ever happened to you?
You told yourself, “This is the year I’m going to be more consistent with my content!”.
“I’m going to post on social media 5 times a week!”
“I’m going to publish a blog every second Tuesday and email my subscribers once a week!”
And then you just, well…
You might have started out strong, but then other business and life priorities took over and suddenly it’s been weeks (months?) since you posted anything.
Or you might be managing to publish content semi-regularly, but it’s all scattered and last-minute, and you feel like you’re just ticking a box rather than creating strategic content that’s moving you closer to your business goals.
If you’ve ever been in this position (or you’re still there), you’re not alone.
Creating content consistently and purposefully is something many business owners struggle with – but there are some things you can do that’ll make it easier and more achievable for you.
In this article, I’m going to share the 5 steps to developing a content marketing plan that’s realistic for YOUR business, so you can confidently hit those content goals.
Step 1. Get clear on WHY you’re creating content for your business
The first step to creating a content marketing plan that you’ll not only stick to but want to stick to is to get clear on WHY you’re creating content in the first place.
(And no, because so-and-so told me to isn’t a good reason!).
Because the truth is, you don’t have to create content.
It’s not mandatory, and there are certainly other marketing strategies you can use.
But if content marketing is part of your business-building strategy, it’s important to understand why you’re doing it and what you’re hoping to achieve.
Once you understand the bigger picture and how your content fits into this, you’ll feel a lot more motivated when it comes time to write, record or create it.
For example, some reasons for creating content for your business might include:
- increasing your brand awareness in your target market
- becoming known as a thought leader in your field
- attracting more qualified leads to your website
- building and nurturing your email list
- creating a library of strategic, engaging content that you can repurpose to save time and stress as your business grows.
Step 2. Decide what type of content you’re going to create
With so many content channels and options available, deciding what content to create can feel overwhelming.
And overwhelm is a big reason why people don’t get started or avoid creating their own content!
That’s why I recommend keeping it simple and choosing one piece of core content that you’ll create regularly, and 2–3 channels you’ll use to promote it.
For example, your core content might be a blog, podcast or video (i.e. something that lives on a platform you own), and your promotional channels might be your email list and 2 social media platforms.
When deciding what your core content is, it’s important to play to your strengths.
This means if you don’t enjoy writing, a blog probably isn’t the best choice for you (unless you’re happy to outsource it).
If you decide to create videos or a podcast for your core content, this doesn’t mean you can’t have written content though.
For example, you could use a transcription service like Otter.ai to transcribe the audio, and then get a copywriter to turn this into a search-engine optimised blog post to extend your reach and attract more people to your site.
Step 3. Choose a realistic content schedule
When you’re a busy business owner, the pressure to create content is real.
Email your subscribers twice a week!
Post multiple times a day!!!
The problem with following this advice is that it doesn’t take into account:
- your personal situation
- where you are in your business
- what your capacity is like
- how big your team is (or whether you even have a team).
Producing a quality piece of content week after week is actually a lot, unless you have a team supporting you or you’re just starting out and have a small client load.
And if you set a content schedule that’s too ambitious, you’ll likely fall off the rails (and once that happens it’s hard to get back on!).
So my advice? Start small.
Choose a content schedule that almost feels too easy to maintain (because once a month is better than never).
For example, a simple publishing schedule could be:
- One blog post a month
- 2 emails a month (one could promote the blog, the other could be a sales or story-based email)
- 3 social posts a week
Once you’re in a routine and consistently achieving your content goals, THEN you can add more.
Step 4. Plan your topics in advance
When to comes to creating content, TIME is one of our biggest challenges – and nothing wastes more time than sitting down to create a piece of content and not knowing what topic you should focus on.
To avoid this, I recommend separating your content planning and content creation.
Brainstorming, researching and planning your content in advance will help you stay focused when it comes time to create your content.
And it’ll ensure your content is more strategic and less ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants’ too.
I like to plan my content and my clients’ content quarterly, but some people like to do it annually or monthly. It doesn’t really matter, as long as it works for you!
When planning your content, it’s important to think about what topics you want to be known for, and the information your ideal client is seeking.
It’s also helpful to look at your calendar and see what topics naturally fit.
- What are you promoting or launching and when?
- What’s happening in your industry?
- What’s happening in the wider community that might be relevant for your business?
Step 5. Use a project management tool to keep you on track
Once you know what you’re creating and when, you’ll need a way to keep yourself accountable (or if you have a team, to know who’s doing what and when).
There are lots of project management tools that can help you with this, many of which are free.
I personally use the free version of Asana to manage my and my clients’ content calendars, but there are lots of other options available, including Trello, Monday and ClickUp, or even a simple Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet.
To get the most out of these tools, I recommend creating a workflow that maps out all the steps that need to happen to transform your content idea into a polished piece of content that’s ready to share with the world.
This will help you see when you need to have certain steps completed in order to achieve the deadlines you’ve set.
Mapping out the steps will also help you work out which parts of your content creation process you can outsource, which will allow you to really ramp up your content efforts and stay on track with your content goals!
And that’s it! By following these 5 steps, you’ll be able to create a content marketing plan that you’ll actually stick to so you can achieve those business goals.
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