A Content Creation Plan
Content marketing is not a new strategy, but because you don’t have a content creation plan for your business, it’s one you’ve likely been neglecting.
As with most things in business, unless you have a plan or a system in place to help guide you and hold you accountable, the work isn’t going to get done.
Chances are you’re currently in a position where you have way too many competing projects and more tasks than you know what to do with competing for your attention.
Who has time for a content creation plan?
A content creation plan is not something you should push to the back burner, because having a plan in place is what will finally help you start leveraging your content in a meaningful way to get the results you want.
If you’re looking to:
- Gain credibility and authority in your industry or niche,
- Grow an audience filled with people who know, like, and trust you, and
- Finally have a cohesive plan in place that helps you not only share your message and knowledge with the world, but that also helps you sell your products and services to your followers…
…then you’re in the right place, because I’m about to give you my content creation plan right here and now.
A 7-step Content Creation Plan
The whole purpose of having a content creation plan is so that you have a set of steps to follow that will help guide you and hold you accountable.
Simply put, if you can follow these 7 steps consistently, then you will gain credibility and authority, grow your audience, and be able to sell your products and services to your followers without feeling gross or guilty about it.
Great – let’s do this!
Click here to download the audio for Part I of this II Part series!
Step 1. Determine your content topic and type
Do you ever feel like you’re guessing as to what content you should create?
How do you know if the content you create will be useful for others – and therefore a success for you – before you spend the time to create it?
There are several different ways you can come up with topic ideas and different content types, and once you have a list, it’s all about testing and asking your avatar for feedback.
Here are a few places you can find topic ideas:
- Visit other blogs – what are the leaders in your industry or niche focused on?
- Engage in Facebook Groups where your avatar is hanging out – what questions are they asking or struggles are they sharing?
- Check out industry magazines – what captions are on the cover, and what topics do they feature inside?
- Get a question via email ever? There’s another topic :)
Your #1 goal with your content should be to serve your audience and keep them coming back for more, so it’s important that you choose a topic that will resonate with them.
By doing your research and keeping a running list of topic ideas in your Workflowy or Asana, you’ll never run out of ideas that you know your avatar is interested in.
Once you have a running list of topic ideas, it’s time to test different content types.
Until you know what content types resonates most with your avatar, you should be posting a variety in order to see which performs best.
For example, you might create a how-to blog post, then a story-based blog post, and then a comparison blog post if you’re focused on creating a blog.
Or maybe you’re focused on social media – you want to grow your Instagram or YouTube channel following, and so you would want to test out things like a before & after video, then a time-lapse video, and then a lesson-based video.
Be sure you have a metric you’ll use in order to compare the different types of content you’re posting so you can prove which ones gets:
- The most engagement
- The most shares
- The most views
- The most conversions
Once you’ve tested and know what your best performing content topics and types are, it’s time to focus on the goal of your content.
Step 2: Set a goal for your content
Ever feel like you spend sooooo much time creating your content, but that it’s not helping you actually accomplish your business goals?
That’s probably because you haven’t taken the time to set a clear goal for your content or a strategy to make sure that everything you’re putting out there is working together.
Once you know the result you want from your content, it’s going to be a whole lot easier to create it.
But how do you set a goal for your content, so that you never feel like you’ve wasted time in creating it?
First, every time you sit down to create a piece of content, ask yourself:
What is it I’m trying to accomplish here?
You might be creating a piece of content in order to:
- Gain credibility and authority
- Grow your email list
- Promote a product or service you offer
Next, make sure you get super specific, because now it’s time to create a Call To Action (CTA) to put in that piece of content.
For example, if you’re creating a blog post and your goal is to grow your email list, then you should have a CTA throughout that post asking people to optin for a checklist or guide that will help them take action on whatever you’re talking about in that post.
Step 3: Choose a medium (and repurpose)
First blogging is all the rage, then everyone is talking about video, and oh!… you HAVE to start a podcast!
How are you ever going to find time to do do ALL of these things?
Good news: you don’t have to.
When you’re working on your content creation plan it should be focused on ONE medium.
You have to decide where is YOUR avatar is most likely going to be searching for content, and THAT is where you should focus.
Of course, you should be excited about creating content on that medium, too.
So, is that medium going to be:
- A website or blog?
- A podcast?
- A YouTube channel?
- A social media platform?
No matter which medium you choose, you should have a website that serves as your home base: a place where anyone who discovers you can go to learn more about you and what you have to offer. This is important because it’s a place you can own, unlike the ‘rented space’ on YouTube or social media.
Once you’ve found your medium, it’s time to put together a repurposing strategy; no content creation plan is complete without one!
A repurposing strategy is meant to help you leverage your content in a more powerful way. Instead of just posting a blog, or creating a video and putting it on YouTube, you’re also sharing it across other platforms.
Doing so will help you grow your reach, and therefore, grow your audience.
For example, if your medium is blogging, imagine the power of taking every one of your blog posts and turning them into:
- A downloadable checklist to help grow your email list
- A podcast episode to reach those in your audience who might not have time to read your blog
- A slideshow on YouTube for those who are more visual
- A image post on Instagram for those on-the-go
The possibilities are endless, and your repurposing strategy should be geared towards meeting your avatar where it’s most convenient for them.
Remember: no matter where you’re repurposing your content, it should share the same, original goal.
Click here to download the audio for Part II of this II Part series!
Step 4: Establish a frequency
I’m not the first person to tell you how important creating consistent content is for gaining credibility and growing your audience.
However, I might be the first person to tell you that only YOU can decide what frequency is best for you and your audience.
In order to establish a frequency that’s going to work for you and your audience, ask yourself three questions.
1. What does your current schedule allow?
This isn’t about setting a totally unrealistic goal for yourself; it’s about figuring out what you can manage and then creating a plan to help you crush it!
2. What would your avatar want?
This isn’t just about you and your scheduled; think about your perfect reader/listener/viewer. Put yourself in their shoes, and given their schedule, their commitments, the pain point you’re helping them solve, how often would they want to consume your content?
3. How might your frequency help you reach your content goals?
It’s important to consider your content goals when establishing your frequency, because if your bigger goal is to 5x your audience, then you need to be able to prove you can do that based on the content you’re creating.
So if you look back at the past 3 months and you can attribute 2x growth because of your content, then do the math: what frequency is required to 5x your growth?
Finally, you have to commit to it.
Establishing a frequency means nothing if you’re not going to follow it, and this content creation plan is meant to help you be able to do just that.
Step 5: Create a flow
When you create a flow for your content, you’re creating predictability, peace of mind, and you’re making it a whole lot more efficient to create it repeatedly.
Even if you plan on creating free-form content, there are multiple ways you can still create some type of flow to help you save time and create smarter.
Here are some examples of ways you can create a flow for your content:
- Create an outline you can follow as you’re creating your content;
- Create a checklist that will help you confirm you’re not missing anything every time you sit down to create content;
- Create a template so it’s easier for you to start;
- Create a content bank so you’re never wasting time researching before you dive in.
Batching is also an important part of your flow and can make content creation way more efficient and your frequency much easier to commit to.
Batching is the process of taking like-tasks and doing them multiples times at once versus one at a time over multiple days.
A batching example
For example, say you’ve determined you’re going to publish a blog post one time per week. Without batching, you might find yourself creating that blog post the night before it’s supposed to go live – because, well, “other stuff got in the way.”
But with batching, you created that blog posts weeks ago, and it’s already scheduled to go live. You don’t even have to think about it.
Sounds great, right?
With batching, you sit down one day per month and over a four hour time block you create the outline, the intro and outro, and any images necessary for four blog posts.
Then, the next day, you sit down and over another four hour time block you complete those four blog posts – one at a time, but all in the same time block.
In two days, you’ve created one month’s worth of content.
Now all you have to do is get that batching method on the calendar to make sure you’re actually setting those two 4-hour time blocks aside to create your month worth of content!
Step 6: Get feedback from your audience
It’s tough to know whether or not you’re creating the right content for your avatar, and sometimes even tougher to know who your avatar actually is – especially when you’re first starting out.
Lucky for you, creating content is an exercise in continuous improvement, and the fastest and best way to continuously improve is to ask for direct feedback from those who are consuming your content.
This will not only help you confirm you’re creating the right content, but it will also give you key insights into who your avatar is based on the conversations you have with these individuals.
So how exactly do you go about doing this?
1. Ask your audience for a one-on-one conversation
This is the BEST way to get direct feedback straight from your potential avatar. Ask them what they like, don’t like, and what they want more of when it comes to your content.
2. Create a poll in an FB group where your avatar is hanging out
See what the majority of those who are interested in your content have to say about a specific question or topic that will help you learn more about them.
You could also put together a survey to find out more about your avatar if you already have an existing audience.
3. Create engaging content
Never be the one to end the conversation.
Every piece of content you create should keep your reader/listener/viewer involved to the very end, and whatever your CTA, it should be so intriguing and easy for them to take action on that they can’t help but do it!
Close out your content with a question to continue the conversation. Or share your email address so they can reach out to you directly. Always let your avatar know you’re there for them and that you encourage interaction.
Once you start having one-on-one conversations with your avatar you’ll never have to guess as to whether you’re creating the right content or not.
Step 7: Put together your content creation plan
Now that you’ve built a solid foundation; made a lot of important decisions about your content’s topic, type, goal, medium, frequency, and flow; and you’ve started getting real feedback from your ideal customers, it’s time to put it allllll together in a content creation plan.
Having a content creation plan will help you:
- Gain credibility and authority in your industry or niche,
- Grow an audience filled with people who know, like, and trust you, and
- Not only share your message and knowledge with the world, but that also sell your products and services to your followers.
It will also help you implement things like:
- An actual schedule for ongoing content creation, and
- An ongoing promotional schedule so you’re not just spending time creating your content, but also getting it out there for your ideal customer to find!
So given everything you’ve established thus, it’s time to put a plan in place you can follow moving forward, and your plan should include scheduling (actually put it in your calendar):
- Your creation time (always stay 1 month ahead)
- Your publishing time (always stay 1 month ahead)
- Your repurposing time
- Your promotional time
Then, it’s just about rinsing and repeating!
With your content creation plan in place, you’ll never have to start over at square one again.