‘Content Plan? What Content Plan?
Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, as a small business owner are you’re a bit overwhelmed and a bit exhausted by it?
Would you like to be in a better place this time next year? With content planned so you can relax and spend more time talking to your family and doing things you enjoy.
How do you do it?
I’m going to talk through my preferred framework for creating a content plan. Follow these five steps and you can easily, with a little bit of work, create a plan that will see you right through the next 12 months.
Don’t miss this step. It’s the biggest one and the easiest one for small businesses to miss. You have to be really clear about two things:
- know your business
- know your audience
Spend time thinking about what it is that makes you special as a business and what it is that your audience wants from you. Understanding how these two can come together is key.
What are your goals?
Why are you on social media?
There’s no point being on social media if you’re just posting for the sake of posting. There needs to be some kind of strategy and reason for what you post. If you’re not convinced then do check out my recent blog “7 Reasons why you need a Social Media Strategy”
In terms of goals, what I mean is:
- are you looking to get ‘brand awareness?
- Are you quite new to social media?
- Do you need to spend time getting people to know you and understanding who you
- What is the personality of the brand, the products and the services you have or
- are you further along in that you need to find people who are willing to leave social media and go to your website, your e-commerce site to buy from you?
You need to understand those goals because that determines what type of content and how you’re going to post.
There’s no point sitting down, or at least you’d like to avoid those times, when you’re sitting down just staring at the screen what shall I post today? Oh my goodness I haven’t done anything. I need to just put something up!
Really you should be strategic and think about what your content is and that means taking the time. Step away from your desk, get a pen and paper and think about what it is. What ideas do you have? Write them all down. Don’t discount anything – no idea is silly at this point. Write down anything that could be useful and that could serve your audience. What your product and what your business does.
Then do some research. – There are lots of ways to do research
- It could be on the social media platforms themselves.
- You could use Google.
- A third-party tools or
- Ask your current audience.
Don’t undervalue just asking your audience questions about what it is they would like from you. It’s probably the easiest and best way to get targeted information.
Once you have your bank of ideas and you’ve done your research it’s then time to decide what makes your “cornerstone content”. These are the key messages that you need to get over. They should be something that instils what you did in step one about what your business is and what your audience want to know. Identify those key bits of information and then build everything else around that.
4.Social Media Know-how
Of course, you do need to understand social media platforms. Each of them has their own little nuance
- do you use hashtags
- do you not use hashtags?
- should you be joining in Twitter hours?
- On LinkedIn are you taking advantage of the stories options they have now?
You may need to bring in some expert advice here (do check out some of my other blogs) but there’s no reason you can’t play around have some fun experimenting and seeing what your audience prefer.
Don’t forget to check the insights or the metrics to see which posts have responded well and keep a note of what works well and what doesn’t.
Lastly, it’s about planning. As I said right at the beginning really the ideal, the nirvana we want is to have a plan that we can stick to so that we’re not in that situation where we sit down and wonder and panic about what we’re going to post.
The way to do this is to start off using your cornerstone articles spread them out.
Are they relevant to a particular time of year? Think about what your products or services are. Are there peaks and troughs in your business that you know about and therefore particular key bits of information should be planned around that?
Once you have an idea of what you’re doing in your business you can decide how that works into an annual plan.
What is an annual plan?
Take a step back and break your business down into quarters. Take quarter one and think about what’s happening in your business, what’s happening social media world. How can your cornerstone content fit into that? Work through quarter one, two, three and four.
Don’t panic – you don’t have to have them all laid out in heaps of detail but getting that high-level view is really key to stopping the overwhelm later in the year.
If things change, as a small business we can move quite rapidly. If things change then you can change the content too.
Once you have an annual plan it’s then time to build on and work through the quarterly plan. Take each quarter (and I would work a quarter ahead) plan that through so, if you’re thinking about quarter one, think about January, February and March. Break it down into much more detail. Again, bringing in those cornerstone contents and key dates for your business.
Schedule future planning sessions
Finally, schedule a plan where you’re going to sit down and repeat this at four times throughout the year. At the end of march sit down and think about q2. At the end of q2 sit down and think about q3.
Also, build in where you can sit down and think a month ahead and perhaps a week ahead or bi-weekly. Build-in time that you’ll create content. Tap into your batch creation process. Tap into the mindset where you are thinking about planning and doing content that’s key.
The last thing to say here is that it doesn’t mean that everything’s scheduled. There’s nothing beats on the spot engagement. You can leave space if that’s how you like to work but at least have a plan and know what you’re talking about in that week.
To summarise the five steps are:
- Be clear about your foundations
- Set goals
- Brainstorm ideas about what content your audience wants
- Take time to brainstorm ideas.
- Create a plan
if you’ve liked what you’ve seen then you might like to come and join my FREE Facebook Group or sign up to my weekly newsletter on the right hand side menu.
if you’d like to book a free 15-minute consultation with me to see how I can help you please use the link below. We can work on your content and strategy or perhaps you’d like some help on that social media know-how – its amazing what we can cover in 1hr.
If you’d like help building a social media roadmap for your business or are interested in my training or ‘done with you’ packages get in touch today