Hello my friend! I want to start with an old saying ‘less is more’.
If you’re anything like me then you probably want to be creating content daily, doing lives, tackling video, launching podcasts etc.
The trouble is, with all the enthusiasm in the world we can’t do it all, there has to be trade offs. Hence why we pick one medium, one platform and go all in.
But the same goes for the content we publish.
In my space I could create a unique content piece a day, probably multiple times a days there is so much to say on the subject.
But that can lead to massive overwhelm! Where do we focus? What do people want to know? What are the most important pieces of content we need to putting out into the webosphere that’s going to have an impact and help us grow?
Well that’s exactly what we’re going to look at today!
I want to introduce you to an SEO method called ’Topic Clusters’.
Hubspot coined the term and explain it in their video here;
But this isn’t just for search engines, this is actually a great way for us to structure our content plans.
Now let me just say right here, right now, the method I am going to describe to you isn’t the right method. Nor is it the only method.
It is just a method that can help you to get super clear on creating a content plan.
Many content creators have varying methods and what’s important is that you find something that works for you.
At the end of todays post I will link out to some excellent resources on creating content ideas & plans so if my method doesn’t resonate with you, you can formulate the exact method that suits you, your personality & your schedule.
1. Start with your objective in mind. Why are you creating content in the first place?
I’m going to use Gardening as an example niche.
Let’s imagine I love to garden, I love talking about gardening I love helping my friends with garden design and I’d love to build a business selling gardening education & tools.
Potential sources of income include;
Armed with this knowledge, I know that I want to create content and build a community of keen gardeners who may want to buy my books, my courses, my services and / or my products.
Based on my target market my focus is going to be an image heavy blog & social media posts which I will use to grow an FB Community around my niche.
So I know why I want to create content, who I want to create content for and the platform and medium of choice to deliver my content.
2. Within your niche think of 5 main topic clusters. Topics your audience are interested in.
In my gardening example my main topic clusters might be;
3. Research 10 questions per cluster
I’m being specific here for a reason. I’m looking to get to just one meaty piece of content per week which will form your ‘core content’.
So 5 topic clusters x 10 solid questions = 50 pieces of content. Roughly 1 per week.
Now you may know your niche so well that you can formulate 10 questions per cluster standing on your head with your eyes closed. If however, you’re unsure of what your audience really want to know, you’ll be happy to hear that market research is far easier these days than the people who used to greet you on the street with a clipboard!
Referring once again to Brian Deans Content Marketing Hub, in his article How to Find New Content Topic Ideas, he recommends 15 strategies to help you come up with dozens of content ideas in a matter of minutes.
My favourites are;
AnswerThePublic.com – This is a free tool which brings up hundreds of questions the public are asking about your niche across the web.
Just type in your main keywords and let it do it’s thing!
YouTube – This is my go to for anything I need to learn about, so it makes sense to see what my audience might be searching for on the second largest search engine in the world!
Podcasts – What’s already working? What are other brands in your niche who appeal to your audience talking about that you can get inspiration from? (Note I said ‘get inspiration from’ not just copy. Look at what’s working and figure out how you can present something similar from a different angle)
Look for podcasts with high ratings and reviews, as then you know they are resonating with the audience and delivering relevant and popular content.
Another of my favourites that Brian didn’t mention in his article is;
Amazon Books – Type your main keyword into Amazon Books and start looking at the ‘Content’ pages of relevant books. This alone will give you hundreds of ideas!
Using the above strategies, here are 10 questions I came up with for Garden Design. Now bearing in mind I know nothing about gardening (my Sister is the gardener in our family), it still only took me 20 minutes to create this list of what I hope are pretty quality questions. (I’ll run them by my sister later!)
By the end of this exercise you should have around 50 solid subjects you can turn into awesome content which is directly related to the objective of your business while meeting the needs of your audience.
4. Create a Content Calendar
I used to be absolutely pants at creating any kind of content calendar.
I’d sit for an entire day plan out the next month meticulously and within a couple of days the whole thing had gone to pot & my calendar was abandoned.
I have scratched my head for years, read umpteen articles on the subject, downloaded free templates and all sorts!
It was only when I listened to this excellent podcast by Amy Porterfield that the lightbulb went on and I realised I was trying to do too much!
I wanted to do an MIHM vid on Monday, a FB Live on Weds, a travel vid on Fri, FB group posts, IG posts, my email, grow my YouTube audience, promote a list builder etc etc etc.
And in my mind I thought I needed different content for each medium to really show up in a big and valuable way.
It was so overwhelming I ended up spending more time planning than doing.
It wasn’t until I drilled down and began to focus on one core piece of content a week that it all started to come together.
You may think that’s not enough content for you to get a foothold in your market place, but the mistake people make all too often is creating copious amounts of content and never leveraging it!
That’s why in the next few days I’m going to show you how to take that one piece of content and dominate your market without too much extra effort, ensuring that your one piece of weekly content gets seen and shared!
That’s our aim here folks! :)
So with that being said, how do we create a content calendar?
Well the beautiful Ms Porterfield along with her awesome podcast also offers a free downloadable content calendar if you’re a fan of google docs.
I personally, use and recommend however, Trello.
It’s completely free and very visual, so if you’re a visual person, you’ll love it!
Here’s a board I created using the Gardening example.
You can see that I created a list called ‘Ideas’ to add in any and all ideas I might have for content I’d like to post / share. Then I created my main topic clusters as separate lists and added a ‘card’ for each main post I want to write & publish.
(You can also do it by date if you like, by medium, whatever makes sense to you.)
But here’s the magic in Trello, you can add a calendar view from their ‘power up’ section, so once you’ve added due dates for each of your posts, you can then see it visually on a calendar.
From there you can add cards directly in each day.
So you can see here, I set each of my posts to be published on a Monday, then I added on what I would post in the group through the week, so I’m planning out exactly how I’m going to consistently engage with my community throughout the week of my post.
How you decide to schedule your core content is up to you. You may choose a core theme or cluster a month, or rotate your topic clusters as I have done here.
There is no right or wrong, it’s purely based on how you want to deliver your content to your audience.
But once you have set this up, this becomes the basis for your content and engagement for the next 3, 6, 12 months depending how far ahead you want to schedule.
In the next few days we’ll talk about re-purposing content and adding a second platform for you to quickly and easily distribute your content without overwhelming you in anyway, but I wanted you to start by focusing in on one platform so you can get super consistent and get over that initial fear barrier of creating regular content.
So that’s it for today my friend.
I do hope it’s helped.
Go and get your content calendar created either using Trello, google sheets, a tool of your choice or a good old fashioned paper and pen, it really doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something that you can easily look at and follow and most importantly stick to!