What does it take to have a plan put together that makes sense? Is it easy for you to actually follow through on so you’re not having to change everything later? Some of our plans will need to change for certain emergencies. But how can we plan and create content marketing so that it’s as simple and easy on us as possible?
When you don’t plan or work off sporadic ideas, it makes marketing much harder than it needs to be. Marketing is simply getting out from behind your work to show up in front of current and new audiences. Plans take the work out of marketing so you can show up with confidence with what and why you’re sharing your story.
What if you don’t plan your content marketing?
You could come up with content ideas every week, month, or quarter to support your marketing goals. Without that plan, each piece of content is bound to have some side effects that you’re not wanting.
1. Your marketing doesn’t set up your sales
There are 8 different marketing objectives that you want to address. The highest priority is that marketing makes selling easier and more fun. When marketing can do that, it makes business seem so much more fun. Marketing could be outsourced if it isn’t the gravy for your biscuits.
Successful marketing uses content that sells and content that connects. One type of content without the other doesn’t reliably grow your business.
2. You waste time with content creation
Not knowing the next few pieces of content makes batching the work difficult. You could spend 1 hour to write and 30 minutes to edit. Then another 30 minutes to format and publish one piece of content. Or you could spend 2 hours to write, 45 minutes to edit, and another 45 minutes to format and schedule 3 pieces.
One piece of content took 2 hours to create without batching. Three pieces of content took 3.5 hours to create with batching, or 1 hour 10 minutes per piece of content.
You might also waste time if the content itself doesn’t help reach your goals. The content should set up the conversation, leading up to the next offer you’re providing. Connect people with the transformation you offer and start relevant conversations. All content, as silly as an individual piece may seem, must have a purpose.
3. Creating your content feels gross
Content is harder to create on the spot which means the content feels icky, sleezy, slimy, gross. Of course, when content doesn’t feel good, you won’t want to show up. You don’t want to create any more content. Your business blends into the background until you ultimately give up.
When you have a plan and you know how to follow through, you’ll have content that lights you up. It’s talking about the thing that lights you up because you love what you do. You’re passionate about your mission. Your marketing should reflect that passion.
Why you plan content marketing
Plan content marketing for action taking so you have validated content ideas. Then follow your content calendar. What are the action items that you’re going to take to follow through with each step of that plan?
1. More than content ideas
Content calendars have more than topics, titles, or keywords. Planning also allows you the space to outline what content to include in each piece of content. There’s no room for writer’s block. When it comes time to create it, you’re going through the outline and filling in the blanks.
2. More than one content marketing platform option
You aren’t only coming up with blog content ideas. If you chose to use the same content for your email marketing, then that could work for you. You could also use the same content for social media marketing as well. Your blog post outline becomes part of your social media content plan.
Your content goes through more than creation and publication. It’s also distributed to the people whose lives you’re about to change. Marketing messages need to be seen and heard many times. Expert estimation ranges from 7-33 times before a stranger will buy into your offer. In the Internet age of information, I suspect 33 times is the more accurate number.
3. More than a to-do list item
You’re not creating content for the sake of checking off a marketing task item. You’re creating a marketing plan that’ll set you up for success when selling which means sales are easy and fun. Your business can bring in money and not stand in as an expensive hobby. The business supports you, your family, and your lifestyle.
You want your marketing and sales built on a solid foundation. It’s streamlined and simplified for you. You can be successful and impact more lives to change the world, one client at a time.
What to do to when you plan and create content marketing
Let’s outline what you’ll do to make sure your content marketing plan is simple. There are 5 parts to this outline.
1. Identify your content pillars
Content pillars are the topics or themes of all the content that you will create. They can be broad or narrow but it must be related to your industry or niche, the offers you have, and your expertise. Typically, there are 3-5 content pillars that you want.
For example, a health coach may cover diet, exercise, and lifestyle content. Those are very broad topics that are relevant for a health coach’s offer, niche, and expertise. You’ll want more specific topics, such as diet plans and food preparation for the diet content pillar. Then get more specific with the exercise content, such as running and weight lifting.
You want very focused content to help someone interested in your offer to prepare to invest with you.
2. Find content ideas for each content pillar
Content ideas come from all sorts of places. My current favorite method is asking the people you want to help with what they struggle with. You want to talk to the person who’d be interested in hiring you if you could help them. Find out what you need to create in your content so you can help them. They’ll come to trust you to help them and then they’ll invest with you. You also could do keyword research from Facebook groups or search engines.
3. Coordinate your launch plan with the marketing plan
This is where the marketing content that sells relates to your offers. Warm-up your people with content that introduces the purpose of that offer. Then coordinate it so that it works out to set up the sale to make closing the sale much easier.
4. Create content in batches
You can create that big piece of content and that will be the thing you break apart to make into smaller pieces. This works for most people, especially those that are on a time crunch and can outsource the rest of the stuff.
What might be easier in the beginning, or if you can’t seem to sit down long enough, create smaller pieces of content. Then that big piece of content is a collection of a few posts put together.
This might look like social media posts combining many different types of content. You publish the social posts in one week. Then at the end of the week, you take 3-6 posts together to integrate each part for flow as if it was one piece at a time. The writing that works on social media will work in blog posts and vice-versa.
5. Schedule when content should publish
Make sure everything coordinates with the business and personal plans. Account for vacations, childcare, and other obligations so your marketing fits you. Ideally, content is scheduled 2 weeks before publishing. This prevents emergencies from delaying your business while you tend to the issue.
Does your content that you’re creating feel intentional or is it a random idea that you came up with?
If you’re ready for a simple content marketing plan without the learning curve, get a strategist for a day. I’m available to help you with your content marketing needs. But hurry because I have a limited calendar availability. I am one person, after all.