Easy steps to help you create a basic content plan for your business Image by expresswriters from Pixabay

Easy steps to help you create a basic content plan for your business

Mention the word content or publishing and it’s easy to get in a tangle or to recoil in horror at the thought if you are new to this.

But actually if you keep it simple you can quickly build up an effective basic content plan for any article or post you wish to create and publish.

Here are some easy steps I’ve put together based on my own experience which I hope will help

Hopefully you will find them useful!

The most important thing to do from the outset is

Determine who the audience is for each article

Don’t be tempted to say ‘everyone’ here – believe me people do.

No, it’s much better to have a clear idea, and think about it you normally know who your target ‘customer’ or ‘prospect’ is that you want to reach – so write for them.

Next you want to:

Work out how much they know about what you do or the service you offer

You’ll sometimes see this talked about as ‘the funnel‘, (or even AIDA, if you know a bit about marketing) but basically it’s whether they are really familiar with you and your service, or just interested in it generally and are likely to ‘stumble’ upon you when googling about it.

Then, you have to:

Decide what you want them to do

Once they have read or watched your article, post or video. This bit is usually referred to as the ‘call to action’.

Types of call to action you could include

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Content Connective helping businesses with content strategy and creation

At this point you then need to get into the writing proper. This is what I would do:

1. Research the topic – looking at relevant articles, reports etc
2. Determine the format (ie blog post, social media, press release, or even video) and possibly target word count or length
3. Interview or speak to anyone you need to in the business, or an outside expert/contributor
4. Write the outline/first draft and send for approval (unless of course it is you, in which case – review what you have written)
5. Agree/make any amends and produce a second draft
6. Make any further amends and agree final version
7. Think about how you are going to illustrate your article or post. For example do you need photos/graphics or video to accompany the piece, who will do this, and how will they be produced?
8. Publish your final article or post – or if you’re not publishing right now, then schedule when and where it will be published and any related social media posts you are going to do around it
9. Monitoring and analysing how the article has performed and whether tweaks are needed.

So to sum up here are:

Four easy steps to help you create your post or basic content plan right now

1. Identify the target audience(s)
2. Assess their level of subject and product awareness
3. Research target keywords
4. Determine a call to action or response you are seeking from them

And finally a top from an ex-editor (don’t forget the ‘follow up‘)

Now I would look at the final article and ask myself what ‘follow up‘ articles could I write about? This basically means are there any topics I have mentioned which I think I could talk about in more detail, and therefore create extra posts and articles or content. When I was a journalist, it was always drilled into us by our editors that we had to have at least two follow up ideas for every story. You don’t have to do it, but actually it’s a good way of thinking of extra things you could write about, without having to come up with something new every time.

Based on this I could write some of the following;

  1. How do I know who the audience is for my content?
  2.  How to carry out basic keyword research
  3.  How to analyse if people are reading my stuff

That’s not an exhaustive list by any stretch, but you get the picture.

So let’s say for this post, I’m assuming that you have googled ‘how to create a basic content plan’ therefore I’m working on the basis you are fairly new to this or don’t feel confident doing it yourself. So now I’m thinking ok, what will you do next, I know, I’ll add an image about me and my services and ask you to get in touch. And that essentially is it.

These days I believe that all business need to think like publishers. Hopefully you can take this on yourself, now, but of course I’m happy to help too – so get in touch if you found this useful and would like to discuss working with me.

Or if you’re particularly interested in this then you can check out other sites too for example Express Writers and their handy blogs (you might recognise the founder Julia McCoy who I follow on FB in the Pixabay picture above) or take a look at sites like HubSpot which has some great blogs to help you too

Shaun Lowthorpe founder of Content Connective is focusing on content marketing, training and business journalism