Mastering Your Content Strategy & Calendar
Mastering Your Content Strategy & Calendar

Mastering Your Content Strategy & Calendar

Posting content on the fly might feel like freedom, but I think what you’re really doing is creating more stress for yourself and confusion for your audience.

Consistency is a huge part of growing and nurturing an audience and when you disappear for weeks or months because you don’t have the energy to create content for your business (like I admittedly did in the fall of 2023), your audience starts to forget who you are and why they were following you in the first place.

This week on the podcast, I’m sharing how to master the content planning process, including tools to use, getting some consistency under your belt, and overcoming the challenges that anyone who’s creating content for their business faces.

Tune in now!

Mentioned in This Episode Podcast

Transcript:

0:10
Hey there, and welcome to The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast for service driven business owners who are ready for some real talk when it comes to marketing. There’s so much buzz out there about marketing and content strategy from people who aren’t actually doing the work themselves. And then there’s us the true small business owners who are simply trying to make an impact on our own small circle of influence.

0:34
I’m Abby Herman, fractional Marketing Officer, content strategist and podcast manager for business owners who want to make their marketing feel easier and more streamlined, so they can get back to serving their clients and making those sales. Here we talk about real marketing strategies for those who are in the weeds and doing the work, not outsourcing it to big teams. You’ll hear from real business owners just like you who are marketing on a budget looking for easy to implement strategies, and who wants some guidance from people who are accessible and real. Thank you so much for being here.

1:08
I’m really excited today to dig into the topic of creating your content plan and content calendar. In today’s episode, we’re not going to get into all the details around actually making your plan, but rather talk about overall, why it’s so important to have a content calendar, and what steps you can take to start yours. I have a mini course that walks you through the step by step of creating your own unique content plan, complete with topics and cadence and about one hour of audio content plus a workbook. By the end of the mini course, you’ll be ready to start creating your own content because you’ll know exactly what you’re creating when and where you can get access to that mini course at thecontentexperiment.com/shop. For more information, and it is price for accessibility.

1:59
The course called your 90 day content plan is your guide to creating a content plan for your business that aligns with your offers, streamlines your ideation process, makes creating the content a no brainer and gives you time back to do what you do best. So head over to thecontentexperiment.com/shop To find out more.

2:23
So let’s talk about why having a content plan is so important. I shared a little bit about this in last week’s episode, Episode 252. But I’ll talk through it a little bit more here as well. Your content plan is or should be based on your business and your marketing goals. And having a plan allows you to create some structure around that. It’s about knowing what you’re going to create in advance so that when you sit down to actually start creating, you don’t feel like you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall, you have a process, you know what your audience needs. And once and you have the ideas started out already, so that the whole content creation process is so much easier. Having a structured content plan also gives you a lot of clarity and consistency, which is so important. When you are marketing your business, it will help to keep your audience engaged and interested even when you don’t really feel like creating content. Because hopefully, if you have a content plan, you have time blocked off on your calendar to actually create.

3:30
Now I’ll talk a little bit about something that I shared last week around the conversations I’ve had with people or that I had seen people post about online. And that is that a lot of people think that having a content plan means you are married to really specific content and that you’re stifling your creativity. And honestly, that is not true at all. Having a plan gives you a guide. And you get to decide how you execute on that. I rearrange podcast topics all the time for myself and for clients. And when you have a plan in place, and you create your content ahead of time, you give yourself freedom to grow outside of that content. What I mean by that is that you can get online and get inspired by something and then create content about that. Knowing that your regular content is running behind the scenes, your content is consistent, and high quality and educational and you get to publish content that feels really inspiring and fun to you on the fly.

4:35
So something to think about if you’re feeling like a content plan is not for you. And I guess you probably wouldn’t be listening to this episode if that was the case. But hopefully, I’ve convinced someone here that you do need a content plan and I hope that I inspire you to start creating one, have a plan. Create that content and batches and then give yourself the space to create on the fly. When you’re feeling inspired to do so. So what are the steps to actually creating that content calendar, that content plan. Hopefully you listened to Episode 252. Last week, and you heard all of the different ways that you can identify and brainstorm your topic ideas. And then you need to take those ideas and put them in an order that makes sense to your audience and for your business. I like to map out my content calendar into kind of a flow where I’m teaching about one big topic over the course of a few weeks, that seems to make the most sense to me, and allows me to focus on a particular big idea for a few weeks at a time, then I don’t feel like I need to cram a ton of information into one episode, although usually I do. Oops.

5:47
Now, if you listened to that last episode, you’ll know that one of my favorite ways to generate content ideas is by talking to my audience, I think that getting your audience input is probably one of the most beneficial ways to generate content ideas. And I do that through an audience survey. I’ll share more about that in episode 255. But in the meantime, you can grab my free challenge for developing your own audience survey by going to thecontentexperiment.com/ask. Your audience survey should help you to understand what kind of content your audience wants, and what platforms they want it on. That’s actually why I started my podcast in the first place. Because most of my ideal clients were listening to podcasts. So know what kind of content you want to create, and where and how often you want to publish it.

6:39
Again, consistency is key. So whatever cadence you decide on, make sure that it’s something that you have the time and resources to maintain it. It’s important to note here, that your content creation is not actually creating the content. So me publishing this podcast because way beyond just what you’re listening to right now takes time to develop the topics, it takes time to outline or script out each episode. Then there’s the promotional piece, where I have to create shownotes and social media content to share. I’m trying to do a better job at creating reels and Instagram stories also to help gain more brand awareness and so that you can see my face, which also helps to nurture my audience, you guys a little bit more.

7:28
And of course, there are resources I use in order to make that happen. There’s tools that I use, and of course, the resource of time and money that all of this process takes. So while I actually do all of the content creation myself in one way or another, I don’t do all the behind the scenes work, like putting the episodes on my website, or scheduling the social media, or creating the graphics, or even loading the audio to the host, I have a team member who does that for me. And this is something that we do for clients as well. They record their audio or video and my team and I take care of the rest. And that comes at a cost for the client, it’s obviously not free, it takes a lot of time. And it’s important to understand what that investment is on your end, if you are looking to hire that out. Or maybe it’s something that you’re looking to do at some point in the future.

8:22
So keep that in mind. And understand that paying someone to do the behind the scenes management of the content for you is not cheap. So factor in to your budget, what that’s going to cause before you decide what kind of content you’re going to create. If you’re going to do it all of all yourself, then factor the time that it’s going to take into your plan as well. And of course, there are timelines and deadlines that are a part of any content creation process. Those timelines and deadlines will look different depending on if you’re doing all of the content creation and implementation yourself. Versus if you have someone on your team, do it versus you’re hiring an outside agency to do it for you. This is super important. And it’s not always easy to stick to it.

9:14
I’m actually trying something new in 2024. Inspired by one of my amazing clients. She schedules one day a month to record four or five podcast episodes, she records both audio and video at the same time. And then she takes those episodes and she sends all of them to her editor at once. Once the editing is done, I get to do my part, which is all of the promotional pieces of the content. And let me tell you, I am so impressed with her dedication to get ahead on the podcast. As of this recording, we’re about two and a half months ahead on the recordings, which allows me to do my job better and to get ahead and there is absolutely never a content emergency. So I’m taking a page from that clients book. And I have scheduled out recording days and content creation days for myself. And I’m putting boundaries around my own client work so that I can get that done. I know it’s not always going to be perfect or possible. But this is something that’s really important to me. And if your business growth and showing up for your audience is important to you, I encourage you to do something similar.

10:23
Now, of course, that this requires some pre planning, which means having each episode ready to record weeks in advance. But a little bit of work toward this every week, or every couple of days, we’ll get the job done. And that’s exactly what I’ve done in order to prep five episodes to record all at once. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ll check back in in, I don’t know a couple of months and let you know how this process is going for me. Alright, so let’s talk about tools and tips for managing your calendar. So this is a really important step. Also, there are so many tools out there to help with this. And I do plan to share some of my favorite tools in a future episode. But I will tell you that I’ve played around with a lot of different options. I have seen content calendars in Excel spreadsheets in Asana, clickup Trello, I’ve seen content calendars mapped out in air table, and even seen some in long scrolling Google Docs, you really have to use what works for you, and what will keep you on track. Sometimes that’s going to be a combination of different tools.

11:38
And if you’re a team of more than just you, I highly recommend investing some time and even money in having your content calendar in something like clickup. This is what I’ve been using for my own business. And it’s what I use for some of my clients as well. Other clients opt to use Asana or Trello, because that’s what’s already been built into their team, they have larger teams. And that’s totally fine. As long as people are actually using the tool. If you’re not using the tool, there’s no point in having it right. And I can say I’m totally guilty of this. And I’ve worked really hard to get into clickup on a daily basis, so that I’m maintaining my own content, calendar, and frankly, my own tasks, too. So that’s why I like using clickup, because I’m in there every day for my tasks, and to dues and projects and things like that. So it just makes sense to have it all in one place. Because ultimately, the different steps in your content planning strategy in your content creation strategy, those are all going to be tasks that would hopefully ultimately be in your project management system.

12:51
So when you think about content planning, there’s always going to be challenges. Always, maybe you have a creative block, you get sick, you’re traveling. And so you don’t have the resources that you necessarily need. Maybe you have just a really busy calendar, maybe you have a personal emergency. But having that calendar, and knowing what’s happening down the road is so incredibly important and will help you to stay on track. And batching your content and being ahead of the game can help you not feel so stressed when you have an episode that quote unquote, has to come out tomorrow or next week or whatever. If you’re ahead on your content and you get sick, or a team member gets sick or goes on vacation, your content is still on track. And if you’re ahead of your content, and you want to take a vacation, you can. Again, this is why a content calendar is so important, and in my opinion better than flying by the seat of your pants. Sometimes you might be creating content or batching it and you feel like things are a little bit stale, or like you’ve been talking about the same topic for weeks and weeks.

14:02
And I totally get that this is why having a calendar put together. And having content ready to publish is so important. It allows you to pop in on days when you don’t have something publishing and allows you to create something that’s more timely and maybe trendy or that just feels more inspiring for you. And I think that can be really helpful and refreshing. Workflows are something else to consider when you’re looking at your content planning. My team and I have really specific workflows that we use. And they do shift a little bit from client to client just because of how the client records their podcast or their YouTube videos, or just based on our schedule with that specific client. But knowing what order tasks must take place and how the processes will flow and what tools will use is really important. This is especially true if you have multiple people on your team or if someone wants to take a vacation or We’ll be away for a period of time.

15:02
Something really important to mention here is that if you are consistent if you’re batching, if you’re creating content on a regular basis, it is so much easier to stick with a flow. If you look at cleaning your house as a comparison, if you have a process for cleaning your house, like maybe you do your laundry on Sundays, and you clean your bathroom on Mondays, and you deep clean the kitchen on Wednesdays, and you clean the floors on Thursdays, you’ll never feel like you have to do a bunch of backtracking. And you’re not spending your entire weekend cleaning, you have a system for how you do things, and they flow. But let’s say you skip the floors on Thursday, and you save them for the weekend when you’re trying to do your laundry in your floors at the same time. And you know that if you skip a couple of days at some of the other cleaning tasks that you do, then you’re bombarded and you have so much work to do on other days, it’s completely overwhelming, nothing ever looks quite the same. You don’t do it as well. And you end up feel like you wasted an entire day on cleaning when you could have been doing a little bit at a time when you stopped publishing content on a consistent basis or stop creating it consistently. Or you get off your flow somehow.

16:15
It’s like a domino effect. It messes up so many things in your business in your client work. And maybe even in your personal life too. When I have to rush projects, or when I don’t hear back from clients about projects, or they’re late delivering their podcasts or audio, it throws our entire system off. And that, my friends is when mistakes happen. That is when things start to slide. The same thing happens if you’re doing all the content production yourself too. So try to stay on top of things as much as you possibly can, and hold the boundaries around the time you have scheduled to create your content. It’s hard, I struggle with it. But when I maintain those boundaries and do what I say I’m going to do when I say I’m going to do it, everything is better for it. I said I was going to record five podcast episodes on this particular day. And even though I have plans with my daughter this morning, I am up and I am recording because that’s what I said I was going to do and I’m gonna get it done.

17:19
I hope this episode helped you understand the why behind mastering your own content plan. Effective Content planning is so crucial for any online marketing strategy. I would love to see you start implementing these practices so that you can see a difference in how your audience responds to your content and how good you feel about it. And if you’re ready to start building your 90 day content plan right now, you can get a private mini podcast with an accompanying workbook at a tiny offer price at thecontentexperiment.com/shop. It’s ready for you right now and it will walk you through the process step by step in about an hour. If you found value in what you learned today, I would be so honored if you would leave a rating and review. And don’t be shy about sharing the episode with someone who might need it. The more you share this podcast with others, the more we can get it into the earbuds of more business owners just like you who are looking for easy to implement strategies and want some guidance from people who are accessible and real. That’s what you’ll find here. Thanks so much for being here. Take care.

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