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Planning your online content

Whether you’re just starting out or up and running, one of your goals for 2015 could well be to get organised, and chances are your small business will have an online presence. Social media, blogging and newsletters are now considered the mainstay of any marketing strategy, but it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the continuous need to churn out content across all your platforms. It’s no longer acceptable to be on social media for the sake of it, you need to make sure it feeds directly into your whole marketing strategy and actually benefits your business.

So how do you beat the burn-out and ensure you are always one step ahead of the game?

You need a content plan.

What is a content plan?

A content plan is a tool which allows you to plan exactly what posts you are putting out onto which channels and when, helping you to ensure that everything is in-sink and your key messages are getting out there.

The content plan takes the form of a big calendar, often a spreadsheet, on which you can plan everything in advance. There are several great free tools you can use to help you set up your content plan. If you Google ‘free content plan’ you’ll be directed to a number of websites offering templates that you can download. If you use Google Docs, you can also find some useful templates in their resources, and this is also useful if you want to easily share your plan with your team.

How does it work?

So, lets say you have a blog on your website, a newsletter which you send to your subscribers, and a Facebook page. You’re going to be at a big event in February, and you want to make sure everyone knows about it. In your content plan, you will input the date of the event, and then work backwards to make sure you schedule in a blog post and newsletter in good time before the event. You can also plan your Facebook posts in the lead up to the event to create a buzz and make sure everyone knows what’s happening.

Or perhaps you have a Twitter account but you are struggling to think of new tweets day-in, day-out. You can use your content plan to plan the theme for your regular tweets. So for example Monday might be #MotivationMonday. Wednesdays might be a tweet about your new service, and Friday might be a #FollowFriday. Plus you can plan ad-hoc tweets around special events to ensure you don’t forget to include them. Keep a list of possible tweets in your spreadsheet, and then on days when you are stuck for something to say, you can look at your content plan and choose a corresponding tweet without having to rack your brains for something interesting to send out.

And if you want to be super-organised and save even more time, you can also use a platform such as Hootsuite which enables you to schedule your social media posts in ahead of time. Happy planning!

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