If you read our blog about Building Your Audience and the Content Marketing Process, let’s move on to creating a content plan.
What is a Content Plan?
In practical terms your content plan should be a document that brings together your ideas on content that you are going to publish on your website and other digital marketing activities – specifically supporting email campaigns and social media updates across the various social media platforms you have a profile on.
Strategically it’s about planning and thinking about what you want to be communicating, and then breaking that down into bite-sized chunks over a period of time.
What goes into a Content Plan?
1. National Events / Holidays / Seasons
First, we can plan in content topics that happen at set times of the year – these could include:
- National holidays – Christmas, New Year, Summer holidays
- National events e.g. commonwealth games, rugby or football tournaments
- Seasons – Winter
- National trends – does the current fascination with a tv series have some parallels you want to talk about?
Depending on the business or industry you are in, you should be able to tap into seasonal themes either to link back into the topics you want to talk about, or just to be sociable/friendly!
2. Industry Events / Business Activities
a) Industry Events
There are always events and things going on (or in the news) in almost every industry. Here are a few different types:
- Specific industry events, seminars, meetings
- Industry campaigns – that you could sign up to and comment on
- Industry or related items in the news – that you could comment on
b) Business Activities
- What’s happening in your business?
- What new products/services are you launching/re-vamping?
- Are you involved in charity/environmental events?
- Is there a particular aspect of your company ethos you could talk about? e.g. your attitudes to environmental issues or responsible employer topics.
- Are you going to an industry event/meeting?
- Are you speaking at an event?
- Have you just got some press coverage?
- Have you just won a new/important contract?
3. Website Content (New & Changes)
Next, it’s time to brainstorm and plan out the content you are going to create or update.
Let’s talk about website updates first…
You need to make sure content on your website is up-to-date and relevant. Prices, packages, industry standards, company & personnel details – all should be kept current and appropriate to what you are trying to do as an organisation. There are many reasons why website visitors stop looking at your website, don’t let obvious out-of-date content be one of them!
New content could include :
- blog articles on topics covered in points 1) and 2).
- a journal of your business activity
- if you are in the tourism business it could include what’s going on around you e.g. events, a daily photo blog
- case studies of your projects
- testimonials from clients
- awards or achievements for your business
- details about new products and services you are offering
- .. and so on
4. Email Marketing Activity
There are probably 5 main streams of activity
– committing to a regular newsletter send out. Maybe monthly or every other month
ii) Blog Updates
– telling people who have signed up that there is new content to read
iii) Reactive/ad-hoc news
– sending an email campaign based on an event or change of legislation
– a seasonal topic
iv) Product/Service news
– telling people about new products and services
– telling people about availability of products
– tell potential customers about time-relate offers or discounts
5. Social Media
Next we want to plan out what we are going to be saying on social media. At the moment our focus is on the content we are creating but we’ll be covering each social media platform in more detail in future lessons.
So, having created new content or revamped existing content we want to tell people about it. For each piece of content we can update social media a number of times
1 new post created
Facebook: initial facebook status update including link + 2 further updates at a later date
Twitter: initial tweet including link + 2 further tweets at a later date
LinkedIn: initial post link + further reminder update a month or so later
… and so on.
You can see how one post/page created is going to have at least 10 social media messages going out!
The document link below is a template for you to use, adapt or throw away & make a better one yourself!
Content marketing frequency and time commitments
As a business you really should be making a commitment to publishing something new or adapting existing content on your website on a weekly basis. This may sound tough at first but once you get into the habit, it will just be one of those weekly hour long tasks that you get on with.
If you are able to achieve this and then use that content for sending out updates to social media and via email – you’ll have a great little content marketing engine.
- adapt the template or setup your own content planner
- sit down (with your team if you can) and add in the content you have now
- have a brainstorm for potential posts and content changes over the next 3 – 6 months
- layer over the content changes, ideas and phrases to use on social media
- add into the schedule a regular email slot