Content marketing: we hear this word all the time and there are so many meanings attributed to it, and sometimes this can be a bit of a headache for some. Whether you are a small business owner, a blogger, a content creator, or whatever other titles you use to describe what you do, if you have an online presence, you NEED to have a content strategy for your platforms. In this blog post, I’m going to share everything that I know and teach about content planning, hoping that it will help you to have more clarity around this and that you will be able to create an editorial plan for your own platforms.
The truth is, before I became a digital content strategist, I thought that being a content creator couldn’t possibly be such a hard job. I mean, you just had to post some pictures, look cute, and write some meaningful words, right?
I didn’t have a clue about what it really took, maybe because the people that were doing it made it look so easy, or because I never really looked into what it took to create content.
Well, if you have the same thoughts I once had, let me tell you what really goes on behind the scenes: market research, shooting, brainstorming, creating, repurposing, more research, trying and testing, engaging, editing, do I need to add more?
I think by now you know that being a content creator can be a full-time job in itself, but I’m not saying this to scare you. I also know that there are so many experts out there and so many people giving different advice and opinions, that it can become quite overwhelming, right?
That’s why I wanted to make it simpler for you so that you can have a full picture of this world, because the truth is, when it comes to content creation, you can’t just wing it. You need to be very strategic otherwise you won’t see the growth and results that you wish to see.
So let’s dive in!
What is content marketing?
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According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.
This is a very straightforward definition, but to explain it in even more simple terms, it basically means that you create a strategy focused on giving your audience the content they need to see (even though they may not be aware that they need it) and you build a relationship with them, which leads to trust, which leads to them taking whatever action you ask them to take.
That’s why I said before that you can’t just wing it. First of all, you’ll end up feeling stressed about it most of the time, and second, you won’t actually serve your audience in the best possible way. So now I would like to cover a few points to explain to you the benefits of content planning.
Why is content planning important?
1. Content planning is important because it helps you to ditch the overwhelm
The truth is, before you can serve anyone, you need to serve yourself. If you are constantly worried about showing up and creating content and thinking about new ideas etc, you can end up feeling burnout pretty quickly. You can’t sacrifice your mental health for your online presence, but it is possible to have both, and that’s why content planning is important, because it will help you to avoid getting overwhelmed most days, whilst still allowing you to show up as the best version of you.
2. Content planning helps you to build consistency
I don’t know about you, but in real life, I don’t like inconsistent people. I don’t know if it’s because of my personality type, but if someone is part of my life, I want them to be fully in, just as I want to be fully in for them. And that is exactly the same with your online presence. How do you think people will see you if you disappear for weeks, or if you show up two days then ghost until the week after? I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like that, and they don’t either. But when you have a content strategy in place, this problem is solved! The beauty of planning in advance and then scheduling is that everything will be automated and go out at specific, regular times, so you never have to worry again about disappearing or being inconsistent with your platforms.
3. Content planning helps you to build authority
Another very important aspect of having a content plan is that you will build your authority. Why is that? Well, when you put in the time to strategically think about the kind of content you want to share, you will make sure that you share helpful tips and advice with your audience, to show them that YOU are the expert and that they can trust you. You build your authority over time, and it goes hand in hand with being consistent. But the more you show up with valuable content, the more people will trust you and you will become their go-to person in a specific area.
4. Content planning helps you to create great content
Did you ever post something even though you felt it wasn’t that good, just because you had to post something? Well friend, when you spend time planning in advance, you won’t get that feeling anymore! The thing is that last-minute content creation doesn’t usually produce the best results. And that is because you are in a rush and just need to get it done, but it might not be the best piece of content you will ever share. So this is another reason content planning is essential: to make sure that you create amazing content that your audience will absolutely love!
5. Content planning helps you to gain more time
We could all do with more time in our day, right?! Well, that’s another amazing benefit of planning your content ahead of time. When you are very strategic and you have a clear plan to follow, you will actually gain more time to do other things that move the needle in your business, or you will be able to simply enjoy more time to relax. The pressure to always be creating and always be online will go away and you will be able to gain back control over how you spend time in your day.
How do you plan content?
There are definitely many different approaches to plan content, and there isn’t a right or wrong way, as long as you achieve your results.
Also, I don’t want to go into too much detail about this on here because I’ve written a more detailed post about it, so check this out if you want to know how to plan content for your platforms.
What are the best tools to plan your content?
This is another question that I get ALL the time, and rightfully so. I’ve tried so many different tools and resources when it comes to content planning, and I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite ones. I’ve put them all in this FREE guide for you, and I definitely recommend you check it out to find out about the top 15 tools (which are mostly free!) to plan your content every month. Surprise surprise… I also included the best types of content that connect and convert with your audience, so you definitely do not want to miss out on this!
What are some common beginner mistakes in content marketing?
When it comes to this, I’ve seen so many people making mistakes in content marketing, and I’m not saying this to shame anyone, but to help fix the problems so that you won’t struggle with them again. I think the top 3 things I see in terms of “mistakes” are these:
- Mistake n.1 – thinking that you ALWAYS need to create new content.
This will not only steal a lot of time from you as you’ll have to spend it creating fresh content, but it will also put huge pressure on you that is just not sustainable in the long run. There is a solution to this though, and you can find out about it in my free guide.
2. Mistake n.2 – not talking to the right people.
If you want your audience to connect and engage with the content you create, you need to talk to the right people and give them the content they need to see. That’s why it’s super important to do your market research and be very accurate when you create your content.
3. Mistake n.3 – not analysing your performance.
The key when you are a content creator is to regularly monitor your performance so that you know what is doing well and you can create more of that. If you keep publishing content without ever seeing how it’s actually doing, it might take you a lot longer to see the results you hope for.
Final thoughts on the importance of content planning
I know that I’ve just shared so much information with you, but I told you I was going in with this because I truly want to make your life simpler and more productive! I encourage you to read this a few times if you need to so that you can truly understand why content planning is important, and finally get the results you want on your online platforms, be it social media, your blog, your email list, etc.