As you can probably tell by the title, today I’m going to talk about content strategies and some of the prep work you should do before you begin mapping things out. I don’t know about you, but I love a good content strategy. The thought of having a good content strategy motivates me to move forward and organize my messy thoughts and ideas in one place. But here’s the thing: There are some crucial steps that need to be dealt with first before you can create a truly effective plan.
Before we jump in, it’s necessary to understand what a content strategy is. UX Planet says that the purpose of a content strategy is to “ensure that everything is valuable to both the business and the reader, and that the content is maintained over time.”
Content strategies involve more than just planning out when and how you will write words and record videos. They give purpose, vision, and direction to the content you create, ensuring value and consistency.
Content strategies are meant to be well thought-out structures detailing what you want to create. They should also include guidelines on the frequency of posts. Content strategies include content calendars, checklists, blogging workflows, and much more, and are useful for outlining a game plan for content AND preventing potential problems that are often overlooked.
In case you need some extra help with all this, I created this FREE resource that will guide you through creating a solid content strategy for the next 90 days in 90 minutes. Yup, creating a good strategy in just 90 minutes is TOTALLY possible! Download this resource NOW and then come back to this page to continue reading this blog post!
You’re now probably wondering what type of prep work is involved in creating content strategies and what steps you should be mindful about. Let me break it all down for you.
Content comes in many different forms depending on what industry you’re in or what type of business you run. Generally speaking, content is anything you create, whether it be blog posts, copy, videos, ads, or live training sessions. It’s pieces you produce to serve and educate your audience or to simply connect with them and build relationships. Some common platforms for publishing content are blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, podcasts, etc.
Before you get stressed out about how this looks like A LOT, think about this: chances are you’re already creating content for your audience every single day. People often get intimidated when they hear the word “content” because it sounds like a lot of work. While creating content is definitely hard work AND can be a long process (like I mentioned in my last post), there are systems that can be put in place to help you maximize your time and energy.
Evaluate what worked and what didn’t work this year. Gather data and see if the numbers reflect the work you’ve put in. Pay attention to your most popular blog posts, most liked and commented on posts on social media, and most successful opt-ins, and write them down.
This will help you understand what your audience likes seeing and what kind of content gets the most engagement so that you can keep creating similar content that aligns with your customers’ preferences.
If you are not tracking blog posts analytics or social media stats, it is time to set things up NOW so that when you do this exercise again, you will have data to look at.
With trends constantly changing, it can be hard to stay up to date on the ins and outs of all the available digital media platforms. FB ads for example, have become a majorly trending tool in the entrepreneurial world, but I have no desire for learning how to create and use them (at least, not in this season of my business). Our time is money. We have only 24 hours a day (several of which should be spent sleeping!) so we need to focus on only a few things and do them really really well.
While the first step is to realize that you can’t do it all,the second step is to decide which areas and platforms will bring BIG returns for your business. It’s important to pick the platforms your target audience uses as well as platforms you enjoy so that you’ll be more likely to stick with them.
It’s tempting to look at big brands such as those of Amy Porterfield, Jenna Kutcher, and Brands That Book and attempt to do everything they do because you think that will bring you success. Take a deep breath, my friend! Evaluate your capacity. How much can you do realistically?
Don’t just blindly follow big trends. My best tip is to pick one or two platforms and master them. Then try some other new things as your business grows. Remember, it’s okay to grow slow.
When planning content, it is helpful to look at the big picture. Write down your main goals (keep the list small and specific). You can do this on a piece of paper or in my free guide. This will help you create content that is relevant to your ultimate business goals.
Now that you have a good idea of what you want your year to look like and which platforms you want to invest your time in, you’re ready for the actual content planning phase. While you can totally map out ALL your content for the entire year, I recommend breaking it down into quarters instead.
Take time to map out your posts and schedule them into your workload. If you need some extra help, you can use my blogging process for creating and publishing blog posts from start to finish.
We covered a lot.