Knowing how to plan content is important to any business, and there are a wide range of tools you can use when content planning. After all – “fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.” It’s a bit arrogant, isn’t it? However, when it comes to content planning, it’s bang on the money.
Here are the five key elements and methods you can adopt to make your life easier when planning content:
- What to post and when
- Why have a content plan
1. WHAT TO POST AND WHEN
A recent study estimated that there are over 1 billion users on Instagram month. There’s so much content being shared, ready and waiting to be consumed. To make sure your content gets recognised you need to be really considering the content you circulate, and this is where a good content plan comes in handy.
It is not enough to simply post anymore. You need to be considering video motion content, social media campaigns, blog and thought pieces, joint ventures, webinars etc. These are the approaches that will get your brand noticed and help to bridge the gap between consumer and customer.
So, in essence, you can definitely post whatever you like, whenever you like. However, in order to effectively utilise social media as a marketing tool you must embrace a content strategy. Let’s do it with passion or not at all.
2. WHY HAVE A CONTENT PLAN
Think of your content plan as a complimentary document to your marketing strategy. A well-structured content plan means:
- You can ensure your content aligns with your business’s goals
- You can spot content dips before they arise
- You stay organised
- You can maximise on your time
If a content plan is not something you have implemented from day one, it can be daunting trying to figure out where to begin in order to start planning content.
Start with understanding why you need to fashion a plan. Remember that it’s completely for the benefit of you, your team and your brand. It might seem like a vast task, but it will make your life so much easier, and your future self will be thanking you learning how to plan content.
Once you and your team are fully on board with the idea, conduct a research phase into online content planning tools. There are many online content plans (some free, some you have to pay for) that will make it incredibly easy to slot your content into a pre-made planner. And this will be the perfect option for many.
But for some, who feel that pre-made planners lack individualism, you can make your own. At Millrace, we created our own using Microsoft Excel and have the plans saved in Teams. This makes it super easy for the team to dip in and out of the plan and to update where necessary.
If you are structuring your own planner and not using an online tool, consider these fields:
- Content type (video motion, blog piece, mailshot etc)
- Platform (where it will be shared)
- Assignee (who will be producing it)
- Due date (hold yourself accountable with a weekly due date)
Planners are really helpful for mapping what activity is required for the content. Take a step back and consider if the content you are creating is best suited for more than social media, will it also be received well as a blog piece, case study, website update, mailshot, or press release?
Things become much less chaotic when they’re organised, and you can map your content out weekly, monthly or seasonally to best suit you. Seasonally works for us and allows us to clearly visualise what our client’s online presence will actually look like.
Once your content is mapped out and assigned to the right person, make sure to allocate a time frame to it – so you know when you need to have the post ready for.
It can be a bit overwhelming when you first process that you need to lay out each piece of content you’ll be posting for the next couple of months. But once you’ve started creating a skeleton document and have outlined your initial content ideas, you’re halfway there.
If a genius idea pops into your head after your content plan is made, you can simply add it in. You don’t have to worry about finalising the plan, because ideas will always pop up. Your aim shouldn’t be to finish the plan, but to start it with the intention of continually adding to it; knowing how to plan content is also knowing how to be adaptable after all.
WE ARE A CONTENT MARKETING AGENCY (BASED IN CARDIFF) AND THIS IS PART THREE OF OUR CONTENT MARKETING SERIES
FIND PART TWO HERE: