Since the start of 2020, at least once a week, I have sat with a client to discuss their content. I have then spent a good hour or two after that, creating a full year’s content plan for them. Now, it would be self-serving for me to say if you want to get yours in order, just give me a call. But the reality is that most people are capable of creating a content plan themselves. For the clients who I have created the plans for, I have given them the same advice, but for one reason or another, they have opted to have me do it for them. This is fine because it is work that I enjoy, and it helps me control the content flow. But, as a small business owner, I also understand that not everyone has the money to pay a copywriter to create and produce a 12-month content plan for them. So, to make your life a little easier, I have compiled 11 simple steps you can follow to create quality content plans.

Before I get started, I’m sure you’re wondering, what is a content plan? And how can it help my business? A content plan is what you will use to set up your marketing for a set period. They can range from in-depth monthly plans which plot out your blogs and social media posts for the time or can simply be a 12-month blog post plan. Regardless of the type used, a content plan can help you lock-in on your target audience, while also ensuring that your marketing flows to potential new audiences.

Like I said, creating a content plan doesn’t have to be stressful, so let’s now dive into those tips:

1. Carry out a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis is a strategy used to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This is a tool which can bring clarity to your marketing by identifying what your competitors are doing and what areas you can target to reach a greater audience.

2. Know your Goals

Your marketing goals might be broad like trying to reach a wider audience. Or, they can be refined, like trying to develop brand awareness and drive customers to your website. Knowing these goals will help you lock in the tools you need to implement for great content.

3. Know your audience

Identifying your audience can be made a little easier by creating some buyer personas which will help when tailoring the content toward particular demographics.

4. Know your brand

Before you dive into creating your content plan, you need to ensure that you have a method for reflecting your brand in your content. Ways you can achieve this include ensuring your ‘voice’ is reflected in blog content, your logo is present in all images, your values are represented in all graphics and content etc. This is arguably one of the most important steps, so you need to ensure it is considered in every step from here.

5. Assess which channels you will be sharing your content on

Most businesses have a presence on Facebook. But if you are creating a blog post, you will want to share it on more than just Facebook. So, consider where your audience spends most of their time and ensure that you are creating a presence there also. And, don’t forget the value of email marketing!

6. How will you publish?

There are many, MANY tools which make automated publishing easy. Everyone has different likes and dislikes in this area, so examine an array of them to work out which is easiest for you.

7. Now you are ready to create the content calendar
Literally, grab a calendar for this step because you will want to ensure you set dates for publishing content. There may be certain days of the week where you know your customers purchase more or when they are interacting with your website more. Those are the days you will want to ensure you are publishing the best content.

8. Look for niche holidays to sculpt your content around

I use Days of the Year to help me find niche topics to celebrate. i.e book lovers day, children’s reading day etc. Certain other fields, such as medical services, financial services etc, may have specific months or days which they use to raise awareness, so tapping into those may also help sculpt your content.

9. Brainstorming

This is the fun part! Now that you have all the data, you can finally start creating your content plan. Start by inputting those special days of the year, then fill in all the other blank spots with those commonly asked questions or behind the scenes glimpses, or fun facts. I give a few other ideas in this blog.

List of Content Formats, from HubspotList of Content Formats, from Hubspot
A handy list of content ideas from Hubspot
10. Document your strategy
The Content Marketing Institute believe that those who have a documented content strategy will ‘feel significantly less challenged with every aspect of content marketing’. Meaning, having a plan will help you feel calm and confident in your ability to create quality content. Keep your content plan somewhere you will look at it regularly, so it can keep you on track.

11. Review your strategy regularly

It isn’t enough to just make the content plan and follow it to the letter. You need to consistently review your content plan to ensure that you are achieving your goals.

So, there you have it. You are now on your way to creating 12 months of quality content. If you still feel that your plan could use some refinement, please contact me, but I’m sure you’ve nailed it.