If writing a new piece of blog content every week sounds like your strategy, STOP! There is a better way to write content, increase engagement and get more leads whilst increasing your productivity and reducing the anxiety that comes with coming up with new ideas. The first step to getting a head start on the competition and their content is, you guessed it, have a solid, content plan in place.
Not having an underlying content strategy and formalised plan will see you writing half-assed content in the moment, whereas having a strategy will have you writing content with direction.
It’s common for business owners [and marketers] to simply produce blog articles each week and quite often they are doing so with no strategy or plan.
develop the strategy first
Before you get started with producing content, start with strategy first. At the core, your content strategy should answer your ‘why’, your ‘who’ and your ‘how’. Are you looking to attract more leads into your business, or are you looking to educate your audience on a subject matter that you are an expert in? Who is your audience? What are their pain points and how do they consume content? Your content strategy needs to stand hand in hand with your marketing strategy and should be documented in the same stroke.
Content planning is tactical, it needs to answer to your strategy, and you need to determine who on your team will do what and when. Now that you’ve considered your strategy, here is how you can build your content plan for the next 3 months.
start with a central topic
Off the back of your content strategy, you can determine the direction of your content. What are your clients burning questions? What goes bump in the night and has them checking under their bed before they go to sleep? What challenges are they facing in their lives or businesses that you can help them solve? Because whatever it is, you should be providing them the answers for that. These are the sort of central topics that you can base your content strategy on for the next three months.
From these three topics, pick the one that you believe is the most relevant. Collaborate with your team or clients to come to this conclusion.
Sit down with the members of your team who will be writing the content and branch out from the central topic [those big unanswered questions your audience has]. Another good way to determine what your central topics are is to go straight to the source. Speak with some of your current customers or prospects and ask them what some of their biggest challenges are.
If your central topic is ‘winter gardening,’ then ‘winter vegetables to plant now’ and ‘how to prepare your garden for spring’ are natural progressions from the core topic. From this brainstorming session where you map out your content, you are really looking for 6 pieces of content which can populate your fortnightly release of content. If you are feeling brave, have your last content piece as an eBook or a checklist to summarise your previous content [not a copy and paste job though!].
Use this template below to help you build on your ideas.
Assign your team members to a piece of content intermittently, don’t let the content fall solely on one person or let one person write two pieces back to back. Instead, make sure when you are planning out your content for the next 3 months it is spread evenly over your team. Set reminders in your calendars and hold each other accountable when writing your content. There is nothing worse than having your audience expecting content on Thursday at 8:30 am only for it not to be there.
don’t be like everyone else
Perhaps the most important tip of all is to be an individual in your content strategy. What is going to make your clients stop in their tracks and click through to your article? I can bet it’s not going to be some generic content piece that they have seen half a dozen times. The content which makes for the best reader experience is the content that is exactly that, an experience. Providing the same article to your audience that they have read a dozen times is not going to make you stand out. ’10 Accounting Tips for 2019,’ is not exciting! ‘Why AI is the future of Marketing,’ is bo-ring. ‘File for bankruptcy 101,’, unoriginal. Make your content as unique as you can and that is where you will see the most engagement. Add value to your audience instead of just releasing something into the world for the sake of it.
If you need help with your content strategy and planning, the team at businessDEPOT Marketing loves all things content.