Now that we are almost coming to the end of the year I thought it's the perfect time to share with you how to create you content plan and get ready to use it successfully in the new year. Working without a plan in any industry, niche or even in your personal life is extremely hard, messy and has proven track record of more failures than if you actually decide to plan your actions. So why make your life harder when you can do it differently?
#1. Set your goals and objectives
The first thing you need to do when creating a content plan (or any other plan for that matter) is to clearly set out what you want to achieve in quality and quantity. Use SMART objectives, which means:
Specific - in most cases include numbers, but can also be a specific result
Measurable - you can measure their success either in quantity or quality
Achievable - you have the resources to make it happen
Realistic - don't cut yourself short, but also don't get your head in the clouds about what you can do
Timely - set in a specific time frame
You will use this part of your content plan not only as a reference and motivation to achieve your outlined goals, but also when it is time to assess the success of your content marketing campaign, which is something we are going to talk about in more detail later this month.
#2. Get to know your competitors
It is especially hard for startups to figure out what they need to do to reach the right audience in the right way. The good thing is there's no industry or niche today (no matter how specific) where you won't have competitors and that is a good thing because you can see what they are doing to get customers. You can learn from them and tweak their approaches to reflect on your brand, your values and accelerate the success of these approaches by underlining your USP (unique selling point).
#3. Get to know your audience
You would have no business if you don't have customers, meaning when creating your content plan you must throughly research your audience and find out what they like, when, where and how they like it. Then apply what you have learned in practice.
#4. Decide what components to include
This comes easy after you have done step 2 and 3. You have seen where and how others attract customers and you also know what interests your ideal customer. In addition to this however, you should also be in line what is currently trending in content marketing and see how this fits in your industry and business.
#5. Decide where and how to use content components
The platforms you publish and share your content on are very important. How you use your content will also be a huge part of determining how successful your campaign is. So if you are targeting people above their mid-twenties with families or developing countries go Facebook. If you want to reach more black Americans be active on Twitter. Your target market are Millennials? You must learn how to use SnapChat effectively. Of course, this does not mean you should just be active on one place and rest assured you are doing great. You must be everywhere where your ideal customer is, but most active on the places where there's a bigger concentration of your ideal customers. Focus on the method of delivery of content that is mostly preferred by your target market, but don't completely abandon other methods.
#6. Create a timetable and write it all down
Creating a timetable for your content plan will make it much more organised, will help you keep track of your outstanding tasks and progress and will be a great tool for assessing your SMART objectives. Writing it all down will make it 5 times harder for you to drop everything down and start doing things chaotically and untimely. I am a notebook girl (oops, not very environmentally friendly) and I like having my timetables and daily plans written on paper because I for some reason it gives me a greater sense of accountability to what I have to do. However, my content plan for this blog was only created digitally and I still managed to write all the topics I came up with for the period of 6 months. If I can do it, you can do it too!
Check my Blog Schedule for 2017
#7. Make full use of scheduling
Once you have the whats, wheres, whens and hows of your content plan it is wise to look for ways to make full use of scheduling. Creating content will take up a huge amount of your time anyway, so if in some weeks you are less busy sit down to create content for the future (in accordance with your content plan) and schedule it to be posted later. I do it with my social media channels and sometimes with the blog. Of course there are specific rules and secrets of scheduling content, which we will talk about next week. Until then, have a go at creating your content plan and let me know how did it go.