If you’re like lots of business owners, you’re great at what you do but you don’t necessarily love writing and creating content to build your brand and authority. That’s probably why your blog sits neglected a lot of the time, despite the promises you make to yourself that you really are going to get serious about it this month.

Having a Content Plan is a bit like have an exercise program that you use at the gym – it keeps you on track and focused on your goals. And sometimes you need an expert (like a personal trainer) to help you prepare a program that targets your goals and gives you a strategy that matches what you actually like doing (a great personal trainer isn’t going to have you doing hours on the rowing machine if you actually love lifting weights and want to improve muscle definition). So, why not get help from a professional to plan your content? Our Content Planning Consults will get you working out in a way that works for you.

If you’re confident enough to DIY your content planning, what are the top elements to consider? We like a quarterly plan, as it’s long enough to have some business goals to aim for, while short enough that it’s not overwhelming.

#1 Type of content

Where does your greatest ‘bang for buck’ lie? Social media is ephemeral – a small percentage of your followers see it for a short amount of time but if it converts to sales for you, then it’s worth investing time. Blog posts are around for forever, good for SEO, great for sharing on social media and in newsletters, and are an excellent tool to build your authority – but are time-consuming to create. Newsletters get you straight into your fans’ inboxes, but you need to create material they want to consume and take action on. Ebooks, checklists and other downloadables build your authority and help develop your list, but are even more time-consuming than blog posts to create. That is a lot of pros and cons – and you probably have more that are specific to you. Think carefully about where to focus your energy.

#2 Frequency

How often can you truly commit to creating content – whether for social media, blogs, newsletters or downloadable content like e-books and checklists? Be realistic with yourself. If you aren’t going to outsource it, what will be achievable? Back to the exercise analogies – don’t do the equivalent of trying to go from couch potato to jogging 5kms every morning.

#3 Your goals for the content

Before you plan your content, think about what your goals are. Make a list of the actions you want people to take over the course of a quarter, as a result of consuming your content. Here are a few ideas to get you started: sign up to your newsletter, buy a particular product or service, ask you a question, perceive you as an expert.

#4 Style of writing

Next, think about the different styles of writing you want to adopt over the course of the quarter. List the variety of styles you want to incorporate – persuasive, informative, controversial, entertaining and so on.

#5 Topics for content

Only now should you start thinking about topics. Map out, over the course of the quarter, the goals/call to action, style of writing, and then the topic for each piece of content. Think about how the content works with other content across the quarter (and from past quarters) – how can you create links between planned and current content?

Once you’ve got that all planned out, commit time to writing. Is it a piece of content a week, or are you better off batching it and having a ‘writing day’? Experiment and see what works for you.

And if it’s all too much like hard work, outsource it! We love creating content for our clients – we get into your head and understand your style and ideas, so no one will ever know you don’t write your own stuff.