‘Content Marketing Planning 101’ – planning content in a smart way for your business

I don’t know about you, but every year when I do my planning, I have the most wonderful hopes, dreams and plans for social media and content.  And I mean – A-MAZE-ING; award winning journalism that is certain to trend on Facebook and Twitter.  Unfortunately, these ideas don’t always translate into physical content, as paid for work for customers and other important aspects of the day to day running of the business naturally and understandably tend to be prioritised in the ‘to-do’ list.  Social Media, blogs and content for my website and emails generally populate a position fairly low on the ‘to do’ pile, but after attending a Marketing and PR Masterclass last year, I am determined to commit more time and energy to content in 2023 and create – and execute – a positive Content Marketing Plan this new year.

But why is content so important? For a start, as a predominantly ‘virtual’ workforce, we don’t have a physical shop window for people to browse if they want to learn more about what we do and how we can help them.  However, by creating interesting, engaging and relevant content that reflects our personalities and positions us as thought leaders within our industry, it is possible to start building a positive relationship with a customer before they have even spoken to you!  A good content marketing strategy, particularly one that incorporates some relevant keywords that potential customers could be typing into the search engines can also help a greater number of potential customers to find you in the first place, with a little help from some keyword research and search engine optimisation!

One of the great things about unique content is that it can be used in a variety of different ways: you could use a blog on your own website, or as a guest blog on another site (like LinkedIn Pulse, for example).  You could also use some of the key points from the blog in a newsletter to your customers, or as social media ‘breadcrumbs’ that lead interested members of your social media audience back to your website.  You could collate your content into an e-Book to give away as a free lead magnet (just be aware of the GDPR implications!), or use it for physical marketing materials to give away at exhibitions or networking events.

So how can you make the most of your content in 2023? Here are my ‘top tips’:

1.) Decide to invest time in your business, and block out a chunk of time (or regular blocks of hours) for the activity, as you would for any customer.  If content creation is just another ‘if only’ task on the task list that doesn’t have a deadline, the likelihood is that it just won’t get done to the standard your business needs or deserves.

2.) Be tactical about topics – don’t waste your time on random topics, sit down and think about what you want to achieve with your work.  Want to use your written content for search engine optimisation purposes? Write articles with titles that incorporate relevant keywords that your target audience are actually searching for.  Want to challenge the status quo in your industry and stir up some debate around your work?  Create an article that conveys a new take on an old topic in a clear, concise and well supported way (i.e. no big or bold claims that aren’t supported by research-derived facts and figures or first hand experience) to ensure that your argument is robust and professional.  You don’t need to shy away from emotive language in the title though – make sure that your title is eye-catching and emphasises the controversial topic that you are discussing.

3.) Stuck for ideas? Why not use a diary of national and international days (not just important cultural and political days, like International Women’s Day, but some more ‘off the wall’ dates, like National Bog Snorkelling Day, etc.) to create relevant content that is interesting and occasionally a little fun!  You could also consider using ‘Themes’ to inspire your monthly content – for example, January could be ‘New Beginnings’, February could be ‘Love your job’, etc.  Having themes allows for a consistent voice from month to month across all platforms, and it can be a little easier to think of content once you have a more general theme in mind!

4.) Make it personal – let’s be honest, reading content that is overtly ‘sales-y’ can get a little tedious, even for your die hard fans.  Mix up your content with a combination of sales posts, content on topics close to your heart, and content that gives a taste of life ‘behind the scenes’ in your business to add a personal face to what could be perceived to be a ‘faceless’ remote workforce.

5.) Schedule your content! You may be the King or Queen of multi-tasking, but manually uploading content to your Social Media channels daily can quickly suck hours from your day! If you’re anything like me, logging on to Social Media for business purposes always results in at least one non-business related video view! Using a tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, or ContentCal, will enable you to write and schedule content on a weekly or monthly basis quickly and easily, so you have a regular presence on Social Media even if you aren’t logged on! Just remember, though content is fabulous, engagement is key, so you will need to set aside some time to engage with other businesses on each Social Media platform in order to raise the profile of your business in a positive way.

We hope we’ve been able to inspire you a little when it comes to content creation in 2023 – it really is worth investing some time and effort into developing a Content Marketing Plan and ensuring that you see it through, as it can help to increase your online visibility and boost your reputation, both positive things if you are looking to reach out to new customers this New Year!  Happy writing everyone!