Developing a content plan is key to reaching your ideal audience and connecting with clients.
The goal of a content plan is to make it easier for you to create and market content to your ideal audience. Without a plan, you’ll likely struggle to choose a topic for your blog, newsletter, and social media posts.
When you have a content plan, you know exactly what topics you’ll talk about when, taking the guesswork out of the big question: “What do I post today?”
While it takes some work up front, creating a content plan saves you so much time and energy in the long run. You don’t have to rack your brain for ideas when you’re in a rush. You don’t have to spend time rifling through all your ideas trying to find the one you like today. It’s already set for you!
Planning your content ahead of time = less headache, more time
This year, I decided to plan my content in advance and I’ve already saved so much time and effort! Plus, now that I know what I’m writing about each week for the next quarter, it takes a lot of stress and hassle out of my work week.
I’ve also found a way to repurpose the content I use on my blog for my newsletter and social posts for that same week. (Content repurposing is the key to making the most out of what you develop, so you aren’t constantly creating content from scratch.)
So if you’ve never planned out your content before, you might wonder: Where do I even start? That’s why I’m sharing 7 steps to develop your content plan.
7 steps to develop your content plan
Your quarterly content plan can be planned in one sitting. Simply follow these 7 steps.
1. Brainstorm all of your content ideas.
Take time out to simply brainstorm ideas for your topics. You can free write a list. You can do a mind map. You might already have a running list of ideas somewhere in your phone or in Google docs. The point is to get all of your ideas out of your head and onto paper. This list can be a living, breathing document that you add to anytime you have a new idea.
2. Categorize your content ideas.
After you’re done with your brainstorm, go back to your list and categorize your content ideas. You’ll likely notice certain themes of posts. Group like topics together. Try to find 3-5 categories and group those posts under the appropriate category. (For ex., my categories are Business, Branding, Marketing, Messaging, and Mindset).
3. Decide what content you’ll focus on at what times of the year.
After you’ve categorized your ideas, think about your plan for the next few months. Are you launching anything? Promoting a product or service that falls under one of the categories? If not, you may choose to do a mix of all your content categories to add variety to your content plan.
4. Decide how often you’ll create and share content.
The first thing to do before you start populating a content calendar is decide what type of content you’ll create and how often. Maybe you blog once a week, do a weekly newsletter, and post on social 3x a week. Alternatively, maybe you produce a YouTube video once a week and post on social daily. Plan out the various types of content you’ll need to create for the various channels, along with the cadence.
5. Choose a weekly or monthly content theme.
To make it much easier on yourself, consider choosing either a weekly or monthly content theme. (For example, if yo’ure a health coach, maybe you choose a week to focus on foods, then another week to focus on exercise, or yet another week to focus on mental health. Using the categories you’ve developed, choose a theme for each week or month. This makes it easier you to create content for all channels around that content theme.
6. List out all the main content topics.
Once you assign a theme to the week or month, plan out your content for that time period. If you plan to blog weekly, choose a topic that you’ll focus on for each week, and make that topic the same focus for your newsletter and social media channels.
7. Use your blog content to populate your social media content.
After your blog posts are developed, use the content to create posts for social media. Use a quote, tip, or example from your blog post to share on your social posts. Your weekly newsletter can be aligned with the same topic. In essence, you can create one long-form piece of content that can be repurposed for all of your other weekly content needs!
Finito! It’s done!
How often should you develop a content plan?
I recommend you develop a content plan on quarterly basis. This makes the process more manageable, and allows you to see how your content plan is working, so you can make any changes necessary for the next quarter. Plus, online business changes so quickly that a plan that lasts longer than a quarter may likely require some revisions along the way.
So try planning your content for the next three months and see how it goes.
Want these 7 simple steps to developing a content plan in a downloadable infographic?