Part 1: How I Plan A Months Worth of Content (And How You Can Easily, Too!)
Getting focused is the first step to preparing for any type of content marketing. I'm sharing with you a 3 part series detailing out exactly my process.
Planning out your content can be a real game-changer in your digital and social marketing strategy. When I say “content” I am referring to blog posts, social media posts, and email marketing newsletters... anything in the realm of digital marketing.
So how do I plan months worth of content… and get it all done? The answer lies in 3 parts:
First, you have to know how many pieces of content need to go out for every platform you are present on.
Second, you have to do a little content mapping.
And lastly, you have to create space on your calendar or to do list to execute it.
Let’s talk it out so you can get a rock solid plan to a full content calendar that will rock your marketing!
THE FIRST STEP TO PLAN MONTHS WORTH OF CONTENT: KNOW YOUR NUMBERS.
Freedom. It is the way most business owners go about their marketing strategy.
They want the “freedom” to post here or there whenever they feel like it or have something cool to share. They want to feel intentional, organic.
This is a sure fire way to never master online marketing as a business owner, and show the inconsistency in your brand and brand messaging. You don’t want that, do you?
Whether you are a service based or product based business, you have to consistently connect the right offerings (yours) with the right people at the right time. Aka marketing.
There are many forms of marketing: Networking, word of mouth referrals and referral networks, distributing printed collateral, publication features, and appearances (think TV, interviews, podcasts, etc.) are a few examples. None of them are bad, but all of those forms of marketing take quite a bit of money or work or exposure to maximize your efforts.
Content marketing is different.
The barrier to entry of marketing your business online is extremely low. Sure, you can pay to enhance your content marketing strategy, but you don’t have to. Content marketing can work for you long after you put in the effort. Think SEO benefits and long-term shareability (unless you delete the content, it can be shared over and over again!). Plus, even better if your content is evergreen content. And if you’re a service-based business owner, you have a unique opportunity to create a cycle with your content marketing strategy. More on that in a minute!
If you’re like most creative entrepreneurs I know, you see the value in social media, blogging (but it is often viewed as an uphill battle), and maybe even email marketing. But you get stuck in the actual coming up with ideas about what to write or how often you should be posting. And while I think it will be different for everyone, I can show you what I do in my business to hopefully give you a starting point!
1 – 2 times per week. On a weekly basis, I publish one new article similar to this one. The similarity comes in the depth of the pieces. To teach you something of value, I can’t just slap up 300 words and hope you get the full scope of my concepts. I used to write upwards of 5 times a week when I had a strategy of growing my traffic counts quickly, but these days I focus less on traffic and more on serving my customers through really high-quality posts.
With blogging, the key isn’t to post as many times as you can, but rather to consistently post. My readers have come to expect one helpful post per week, so I keep it up. If I do a second post per week, it may not be as in-depth. I still take care to create something valuable for my readers, but usually, these extra posts are quick and to the point to help solve a problem or question for my readers.
Let’s say you are a wedding planner. If you can commit to one useful and in-depth post per week to build up a resource of articles for your couples to refer to during the planning process, that would be a great start. From there, you could schedule in a quick second or third post per week that is less writing-intensive like an image-heavy post of a recent wedding or styled shoot you were apart of and maybe a post that gives your clients some visual inspiration with a mood board.
Boom! Instantly you have a plan that is manageable to keep up with!
1 post per day, 6 days a week. In the past, I would post MUCH more than once per day on Instagram, but since the platform changed the game with the algorithm, my strategy is very different these days. I have found that posting once per day is plenty and that one post has a more prolonged engagement “shelf life” over 24 hours.
If you look at the trend, I actually have a rinse-and-repeat schedule for content post topics on Instagram. I call them content buckets. Having set of 5-6 topics for each day takes a ton of stress off my plate for coming up with new daily ideas. Because social media is social, I only have a brand promotional item per week. You don't want to sell, sell, sell... your followers will get annoyed for all the shameless self-promotion.
My focus isn't Instagram, but on a perfect month of content here's my rundown of the types of post I share:
On Mondays, I share about thoughts on business and being an entrepreneur, generally tied in with an inspirational quote.
On Tuesdays, I share about my weekly blog post.
On Wednesdays, I share about thoughts on life, wanderlust inspo.
On Thursdays, I share about my actual products – social media templates. On Fridays, I share snapshots of our home.
On Sundays, I share some personal thoughts from the week and weekend as I prepare for a new week ahead!
By having a clearly defined system of what to talk about, it is Enormously easier to batch schedule and write captions for our favorite square platform! I don’t always pre-write my captions each month, so I have some flexibility to share more in the moment thoughts, but I do pre-arrange all my images so that I’m not rushing at the last minute to find a picture that works. I use Planoly to schedule all of my Instagram content and LOVE it!
Pinterest is my highest source of traffic to my website and the blog. It drives over 67% of my website traffic! I don’t actually spend too much time on the scheduling part of Pinterest because it goes along with blogging. When I write a blog post, I create a Pinterest graphic. Then I use Tailwind to schedule the pinning of that graphic plus any other relevant images from the post for the date of publication and well into the future.
My typical pinning schedule is automatically set up to send out pins across various boards on the publication date, the day after, a month later, and 180 days back. If the content is seasonal in nature, I’ll also add in re-pinning of the post for the following year to coincide with the season.
To be honest, I don’t focus too much effort on my Facebook Page. It’s just there. We all know that FB pages are basically the worst, ha! It’s a great platform for local business that have a storefront. It’s a great way for search discovery and truly connecting with your local community.
For an online business, it can be a struggle. If this is you, DON’T waste your precious time and effort on there, and direct that focus to where your tribe hangs.
I have social sharing templates set up in CoSchedule that will automatically push my blog content to my FB page and will sometimes share Instagram posts over there as well, so the page isn’t completely silent. It’s be “all business” on it. Just my personal preference. I share my blog posts there, and that is about it! And, because FB isn't exactly my favorite when it comes to Ads, I've outsourced this out to my marketing gal.
What is Twitter? Haha! But seriously, Twitter really isn’t my thing. I never really got traction over there, and that’s a-okay with me. I use this to share relevant industry news and have some sort of present. Between Squarespace and CoSchedule, both services push my blog posts over there and that is about as far as I go.
Regarding consistent content, my email marketing strategy revolves around my weekly mailing list for my weekly Wednesday newsletter. We talk about business and life over there in a more casual and real way. I share my newest blog post, freebies, and templates before they become available to the public.
It is one of my favorite ways of connecting with my tribe! Many times the content topic revolves around my main blog post for the week, so it is a little easier to come up with words to write about!
So with ALL that said, I consciously schedule and create 10 pieces of content every week (2 blog posts, 6 Insta posts, 1 freebie template, and one weekly newsletter). For the four months, I am planning to step away for maternity leave, that’s just about 160 pieces of content to execute.
Don’t run for the hills just yet! I promise we can make it happen!
Next week I'm going to share exactly how I map out my content and thinking strategically about your content buckets, why you have them, and how to use them effectively over time to accomplish your goals.
Can’t wait until next week and need to get on it with February content? Here’s my February Social Content Planner. I’ve laid out content ideas that with along with the month of February.