Plan Your Content in 5 Easy Steps... Over 3 Months... From 1 Blog
When you're running a small business as we do, you're rarely bored. There's always so much to do, that a working day feels more like a whole entire day!
If you're a sole trader or have a very small team, then selling your product or service might seem like everything, but it is often just one small part of the whole machine.
Throw marketing, social media, advertising, product photography, invoicing, accounts, suppliers, chasing leads and sending quotes into the mix, not to mention hundreds of little jobs that no one ever sees and you'll understand why you're exhausted all the time and why some things end up falling by the wayside. One of those things is often creating content.
With the rise of social media and the sheer number of people using it around the globe, if you're a business looking for any kind of advantage, it's something you can't afford to ignore.
That said, coming up with new, unique and engaging content for a multitude of platforms available is an experience that only people have had to deal with in the last 5 to 10 years.
It can be overwhelming to think of content, plan it, design it, write it (if it's a blog) and then post it.... then repeat ad infinitum. Sometimes the creative well you keep drinking from dries up.
If you're just starting out and looking to create a name for yourself and some brand awareness, it can be even more fear-inducing. This is especially true if you're not sure what to post.... or where.... or when.... or how often; panic no more, the CubeSquared team are here to help.
What if we could show you in just 5 steps, how you could plan 3 months of content from this 1 blog? Sound good? Read on!
PLANNING NOW SAVES TIME LATER
With everything going on, achieving success with this 5 step mission means that planning is going to be your secret weapon.
"A goal without a plan is just a wish" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Having your content ready ahead of time is going to be the difference here. Not only does it save you time, but it also:
Ensures your brand maintains consistency, both in tone and schedule.
Gives you more creative space to come up with something worth posting, rather than doing it all on the fly.
Gives you more time to focus on the other things you need to do when running a business.
Allows the content to do the work (i.e. building brand awareness, driving website traffic, etc.) while you're running the business.
With that in mind, let's look at each of the 5 steps that will make you a posting behemoth!
STEP 1 - Categorise Those Blogs!
It's common when you start to think about your blogging or social media content to draw a blank about what topics to even post about. Before you think about the individual posts, it's a great idea to divide them into categories first.
You want to create categories for your posts that you are:
related to your business, product or service.
Here at CubeSquared, we divide our blogs into categories related to the services we provide; web development, SEO, copywriting, digital marketing, etc. We also are passionate about better mental health, so we occasionally also write about that too.
Obviously, your categories, assuming you're in a different field, will be related to what you do but whatever it is, think about how you can categorise your posts into ones that are relevant to you.
To gain the trust of those visiting, your blogs must show that, whatever categories you choose, you know the topic, have a level of expertise in it and can credibly discuss it (especially when / if you get comments). This will ensure they like your content and will come back for more.
STEP 2 - Brainstorm!
Once you've got your categories locked, then you can start to brainstorm some topics for each.
As you start to come up with topics to blog / post about write them down under your related category headings.
As you start to come up with ideas, you'll soon start to generate many different topics under the same headings.
Just one topic can often throw up lots of variations and ideas that you can write about. Write them all down.
If you're struggling to get the ball rolling, put yourself in the shoes of your customers.
What will they find useful to know? If they were searching for things related to your product/service, what would they type into Google?
If you've got a client persona, take a look at that and put yourself into their mindset. What might they be interested in? Often these search terms or questions can be brilliant titles for your blogs!
You can have as many categories as you like and they will grow over time but on the first pass, we'd recommend coming up with around 3 or 4 topics for each of the categories you've created.
If you've got 3 categories and 4 blogs for each and aim to post one per week, that's enough for around 3 months of content! Go you!
Let's not forget, one of the main benefits of having a blog on your website and posting regularly is its ability to improve your SEO. This gives you a great opportunity to drive traffic, build awareness and demonstrate your expertise in that topic.
STEP 3 - Turn Those Blogs Into Social Media Posts!
So far in this blog, we've talked about social media posts and blog posts as two different pieces of content, but they don't have to be. We can use snippets of the fantastic content within those blogs as their own social media posts.
Not only does this save you from having to think of even more new content, but once you've taken snippets from the blog, they can also act as an advertisement for it.
Utilising a longer-form blog post to create shorter social media posts like this is called 'splintering'.
Social media, at least when done from a business perspective of building your brand not only should be engaging but should also be about directing people, driving that traffic, to your website.
Driving traffic to your site is a precursor to making those all-important sales, so splintering your blogs can only help achieve that, but also creates consistency across all of your content.
If your blog is a list, i.e. '10 Ways To Do This' or 5 Tips To Help You Do That', then use some of those 'things' can be used as posts on your Twitter, Facebook Page, Instagram or LinkedIn profiles.
If, for example, you use 3 of the '10 Ways...' and 2 of the '5 Tips...' as social media posts, then that's another 5 posts done as each one becomes a social media post in its own right.
If each blog, regardless of its topic can generate another 3 social posts and multiply that from the 12 blogs we've just planned, that's another 36 posts done.
This also helps you to encourage people to find out more about the others things on the list, driving people to the site to read the whole article.
STEP 4 - Unrelated Posts!
The previous step works really well for list-type blogs or for those where you can reuse content, but not all blogs lend themselves to splintering.
What do you do if you need social media posts that don't come from blogs? We're glad you asked!
So we've already come up with 12 blogs and another 36 social media posts, but we're not done yet. You'll still need a few more variations to keep people interested or just to keep your content fresh.
The joy of social media is that the posts you can put up can be incredibly flexible. They don't HAVE to be just one thing.
Depending on the platform you're using, posts can be filled with anything from photographs, videos, product launches, testimonials, motivational quotes, special offers, hashtag games, job vacancies, memes, retweets/reposts of other people's content, the list goes on!
It's this flexibility that gives you the option to create posts from anything and about anything (within reason) but whatever you choose, make them visual in nature. engaging and balanced so it doesn't become just one-dimensional. You want your business to have a personality and your social media should represent that.
STEP 5 - Create A Content Calendar!
This won't be the first post in which we've talked about the benefits of having a content calendar, but it's definitely going to be another one!
Whether you're a 'planner on the wall' kind of person or a digital calendar convert, having an easy-to-follow schedule to help you manage your blogs and social media posts will be a massive help to you when it comes to scheduling them.
Not only does it save you precious time, but keeps you accountable and helps build and maintain consistency.
Start to plan out your post on your scheduling tool of choice. Start with the blogs (one a week will be more than enough), then add your social media posts, both the splintered ones and the standalone 'filler' ones (i.e. quotes, photos, offers, etc.)
Feel free to tweak the order of them to suit whatever marketing campaigns, sales or promotions you are planning to they support the big picture. Remember to vary them to keep your followers interested and engaged.
In just a few simple steps, you've already created 3 months' worth of content which will hopefully give you more time to do the rest of the things on your To-Do list.
Whilst it might be a little time-consuming to set up a content calendar the first time (especially if the concept is new to you), the real benefit of it comes next year (and every following year) when you can just reuse the template over and over again.
SQUARING THE CIRCLE
Like it or not, social media isn't going anywhere and, if you're running a busienss of any size, it's going to play a part in your marketing strategy. The same with blogs and their impact on your SEO. Both of those things need your attention because your competition are giving theirs.
We get that, when you're running a small business, it can be daunting and if you're not particularly familiar with the digital marketing side of things, even more so, but we're here to help.
We hope that we've showed you that, even if it seems like it's just one more thing for your already long To-Do list, there is a way to increase your posting, enhance the quality of your content and still give you time to do all the other things. If you need any help, please get in touch and we'd be happy to look at how we can assist you succeed.
How do you plan your own social media and blog posts? Has a content calendar become part of your marketing arsenal or do you have a different workflow? Let us know in the comments below.