Content. You’ve heard you should be creating it for your business-but what is it and what should you be creating? Content is basically anything you create online to provide value to your intended audience. This includes blogs, videos, social media graphics, podcasts and even emails. These create awareness around your business, build rapport and position you as an authority in your niche. The primary purpose of creating content is not to sell your products today, but to build a brand and earn the trust of your ideal customer or client, leading to purchases down the road.
Now on to what to create…
I wanted to share with you my Monthly Brainstorm Worksheet. It’s the same form I use with my clients to map out each month of social media posts. It’s basically a monthly brain dump that helps you sort out what you’ll be posting to your blog, emailing to your list and posting on social media.
Here’s what you’ll do. You’ll want to block out a half an hour to sit down and plan out your marketing updates for the next month. (I suggest batching this task, and choosing a certain day of the month that you do this every time, to help you get in the groove-Maybe it’s the third Friday of each month.)
1. Print out a fresh copy of the Monthly Brainstorm Worksheet and fill in the month you’re planning.
2. Choose a theme for that month. (I plan the themes in advance with my clients using a one year calendar so it’s part of the whole picture and not chosen willy nilly.) This will focus your content on what your clients and customers need from you at this time of year. If you’re a local gift shop, your themes may be based around holidays or seasons. A lighting store might focus around a specific room of the home, or style of lighting.
3. If you have a blog, you’ll brainstorm what you’ll post that month, sticking with your theme. It’s helpful to think about your clients and customers’ questions around this topic for inspiration-if you’ve not read my blog post about coming up with blogging topics, check it out!
4. Plan your emails for the month. Will you send an email each time you post to the blog? Maybe you send emails just once per month and summarize your blogs then. It’s more likely to happen if you write it down!
5. Think about what you’ll post on social media. In keeping with your theme and whatever you have going on in that month, sort all of your ideas into the following categories.
Promote: This is where you’ll share your offers and let people know about your products. You have to remind people of what it is that you do on a regular basis. Remember, social media is not a sales flyer-but it’s smart to promote upcoming events, current freebies and sales a few times each week. Having an ad budget is imperative in today’s social media environment. If you need help getting started with ads, reach out to set up a free breakthrough session!
In-The-Moment: Let us in behind the scenes of your business. Show us snippets and glimpses of how your product is made, your team doing what they do best, and everyday activities that make your business special. People connect with people, not things-so put yourself out there!
Teach: Every business has something to teach it’s followers. For example, I like to share tips on my social media accounts that will help small businesses get found online. Someone who sells calligraphy prints can teach us all about the papers and pens she likes. And a fitness professional can share daily exercises that we can try on our own. If you share value on a regular basis, people will continue to come back to your blog and social sites for more! And, you will build that trust that is required for them to become a paying customer in the future.
Share: Here’s where you can share industry articles, local events, photos and quotes by others. Sharing from other people’s accounts is a great way to boost them up, and takes the burden off of you for creating all of your own content! (Note: always give credit and tag the original source-especially on Instagram-Facebook’s share option brings the original info with it into the post.)
Try to come up with around six ideas per category for the month. But, don’t worry if you can’t get to that! This is your foundation for posting, and things will come up throughout the month that you’ll want to share!
Stuck on this one? I offer consulting to help you get your content in order, and make a plan!
6. Note closings and announcements. This is basically a place to jot down anything that doesn’t fit in the other categories.
So there you have it-a month’s worth of content planned within a half an hour! Yes, you still have to write the blogs, emails and posts-but now when you sit down to do that, you’ll know exactly where to start!
I recommend printing out a worksheet each month, 6-12 months in advance and keeping them in a binder. Then, if you think of something that will need to be posted in a later month, you can add it to that month’s sheet. This will serve as your idea storage place and you’ll never be unsure of what to post again!
The next step after completing the worksheet, is creating the content! Try to share your updates in a mixture of ways from photos to videos to custom graphics you can create yourself with Canva. It’s a great idea to schedule a block of time on, say, Mondays to schedule your posts with the Facebook Scheduler, Hootsuite, Buffer or Later. This will give you a solid foundation of several posts per week and you can fill in with real-time photos and updates.
Still feeling overwhelmed? Maybe it’s time to chat with me so I can help you get your content out to the people who need to see it! Sign up for a free 30-minute breakthrough session!