In the military, the general plan of attack or defence involves making extensive arrangements. Arrangements are made before actually engaging the enemy and intended to disadvantage that enemy.
You might not be in the military, but you are in the middle of the war for content creation. With so much content out there, you need to plan to stand out in the crowd.
Whether for content creation or the battlefield, a plan needs to have two fundamental aspects. You need to have a plan that defines a set of intended outcomes (ends) along with actions (means) by which those outcomes are to be achieved.
Ask yourself the right questions to make a plan. What is your niche? What kind of content do you want to create? Where do you want to create content? Where do you want to be in 6 months? What do you expect as an outcome of your content creation? With the answers to all these questions, you can design the means to meet your ends.
You need to make an elaborate plan but not spend elaborate time on it. You need a well-structured plan to start with. Design it in 2 hours with these techniques:
1. Create Your Content Pillar
Time to Invest: 15 Mins
Also known as a content bucket, the content pillar is a specific topic or theme that can be subdivided into sections. Your pillar should focus on an expansive topic, leaving just enough room to dive more deeply into the concept with supporting materials. Every content pillar should have a topic cluster.
A topic cluster is where you expand on what you’ve included in the content pillar. Linking your pillars with clusters will strengthen your plan and give it a structural flow.
2. Categorize Your Content
Time to Invest: 30 Mins
Being able to find particular content in your content plan is crucial. Many content creators categorize the content based on the genre the content belongs to. Lifestyle, Fashion, Books might have been the categories you are using so far.
But with a content bucket, it is impossible to use such categories. Categorize the content based on the medium you want to post it on. Also, consider the format of content to categorize them.
3. Make Your Content Serve a Purpose
Time to Invest: 10 Mins
You should have a clear aim to create content. Ask yourself questions like, to whom should the content be relevant? What benefit does our audience receive from consuming our content? What kind of experience can you deliver to the audience through your content? Zero down the purpose of you creating the content.
Brand awareness, audience engagement, website traffic, lead generation, increase in ROI are some things you should consider. Set the topic cluster of our content around that purpose. Events, holidays, product launches, contests and other such time-sensitive events should be included in the plan. Based on the purpose you have decided upon, use formulae to create certain types of posts.
4. Choose a Formula to Execute Your Strategy
Time to Invest: 10 Mins
Your audience understands that you are engaging with them to promote your brand. They are willing to see what you have got for them if you give them what they need.
Too much branding and you will seem to be salesy and marked as spam. Make a fair trade with your audience. Balance out the educational or informative content with promotional content.
How to do that, you ask?
Use Joe Pullizi’s 4-1-1 formula (Content Marketing Institute):
- 4 pieces of curated content, shared from external sources.
- 1 piece of original content, produced by you.
- 1 piece of promotional content, aimed at marketing sales.
Or you can use the Golden Ratio by Rallyverse:
- 30 per cent Owned
- 60 per cent Curated
- 10 per cent Promotional
Or the Rule of Thirds:
- 1/3 of your updates are about you and your content
- 1/3 of your updates are for sharing content from others and surfacing ideas
- 1/3 of your updates are based on personal interactions that build your brand
5. Streamline & Structure
Time to Invest: 25 Mins
Put all of these together in a planning tool that you are comfortable with. Set date and time for every stage of research, conceptualization, writing, and editing. Google spreadsheets, Google calendar, Basecamp, Trello, Todoist are a few of the tools you can use.
Make sure to put up the SEO keywords you want to inculcate in your content in the structure of your content. Maintaining a calendar gives you a resource to refer to later. You can track back on the updates you posted and you can review your posting rhythm and consistency before you plan your next.
6. Schedule Your Posts
Time to Invest: 30 Mins
It is nearly impossible for you to manually plan, schedule and publish posts for each social channel at its peak times. But you don’t have to worry as the tech industry has come to your rescue. You can use automated tools to upload your content as per schedule.
This will also ensure that you meet your deadlines as well. Buffer, Hootsuite, Zoho and Sprinklr are some of the tools that you can use.
We understand that this can sound intimidating! But, don’t worry, we can help you out!
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