Your Content Plan

by | Apr 3, 2020

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!

Developing Content Ideas

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.

The YLB Method

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;

  1. Books, ebooks & video courses on various elements of gardening
  2. A ‘done for you’ gardening design service
  3. An ecommerce business selling gardening tools

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;

  1. Garden Design
  2. Grow Your Own
  3. Garden Tips & Tools
  4. The A-Z of Garden Plants
  5. My Garden

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!)

  • Where to get garden design ideas
  • What’s the best garden design software
  • Gardens from around the world
  • Garden design for beginners
  • Garden design for dogs
  • Garden design for small gardens / unique layouts
  • Garden design features – rockeries / lighting / water features etc
  • Garden designing on a budget
  • How to design garden walkways / paths / steps
  • Designing garden beds

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.

Repurposing Content

In all my posts I strongly recommend that you pick just one content medium and one platform.

This is because clarity is power my friend! The clearer you are the more action you will take and action is the name of the game!

Photo by unsplash-logoKid Circus on Unsplash

The challenge with thinking you want to make videos for youtube, and grow your Insta account and run a facebook group is that all of a sudden the whole thing becomes overwhelming and we end up stopping before we have started.

So it’s super important to focus on your core content and the platform that content is created for.

However, there is nothing stopping us, once we have created that core piece of content, actually turning it into other content that can be used on other platforms.

Now again I caution you, don’t go crazy here. Personally I would pick just one other platform to get started until you can recruit a VA to help you expand your distribution.

But let’s take a look at all the options available to us for repurposing and widely distributing our core content.

Going back to my gardening example. My goal is to create image heavy blog posts for my FB Community.

There’s nothing stopping me taking the images I’ve already created for the post and creating a daily post on IG with that image, linking back to the blog, or linking to join the FB Group. (You have to add your link in bio in IG, but you can use a cool app like Linktree to add multiple links)

Here’s an example of my links for my YLB Instagram account.

One of my goals for YLB this year is to master FB Lives. After recording the live, I can extract the audio and upload as a podcast.

Make it easy on yourself to re-purpose. Don’t create ‘new’ content. Take what you’ve already created and see how you can quickly and easily turn that into something else which will fit nicely on another platform thereby giving you the opportunity to grow an audience on the platform too.

Now take note! The second platform is just that. Your first platform needs 95% of your efforts. You can switch focus to the second platform once you’ve built the first to solid numbers & engagement and you have the time and resources to start focusing on the next platform.

Then you do the same. You repurpose the content on the second platform for a third platform and so on. That’s how solopreneurs without big teams grow.

Whenever you see someone who seems to be everywhere overnight. Actually dig into their background because I’m pretty darn sure they will have put a few good years of hard graft into becoming an overnight sensation!

Let’s break this down.

12 Ways to Repurpose Just One Piece of Weekly Content

So you have created your main piece of content, for this example I’m going to say it’s a blog post, but you can start with anything, a video, a podcast, a FB Live, whatever your weekly core content is and then just swap these suggestions around.

  1. Create your core piece of content. (In this example a blog post)
  2. If relevant (i.e, if it’s a long post with a lot of info) create the post as a PDF and add a download link for people to download and read later.
  3. Take from your blog post quotes or paragraphs you can turn into images to be used on Instagram or Facebook.
  4. Take the same quotes / paragraphs and use as tweetables or posts on your social platforms of choice.
  5. Turn your blog post into a video script and record a video or Live to host on FB, YT, IG.
  6. Break up the video into mini segments to distribute across social media.
  7. Extract the audio from the video and upload as a podcast.
  8. Use a small segment of the podcast to create stories for IG & FB.
  9. Listen to your audience, read their comments and anything relevant, take a screenshot and use as testimonials to post across social media or questions to post and answer.
  10. Utilise your original article, plus FAQ’s from your audience and create an article for Medium.com
  11. Find questions on Quora.com relevant to your article to answer with snippets from your post
  12. 12. Turn your blog post into a shareable Infographic

I’m sure there’s hundreds more! In fact let me know in the comments below any more you can think of and I’ll add them in here with a link back to your site or social media account.

Other Resources

In the meantime here’s an awesome podcast by the lovely Amy Porterfield on 10 Ways to Repurpose One Single Piece of Content. In it she breaks down how to repurpose a podcast as that’s her jam and has some great ideas! Well worth a listen.

Also, the King of Content – Gary Vee has published two decks which I’d like to share with you because they are the best guides out there right now for creating & repurposing content, but I ask you do not become overwhelmed.

Please remember this guy runs a multi million dollar digital agency and has an entire team of people who do this for him and his clients day in, day out.

So take from it that which is helpful to you and leave the rest, ok?

No 1;

86 Pages of Insanity – The Gary Vee Content Model

This is an insanely detailed overview of how he produces one piece of content and how his team then chop it ups and distributes it.

Takeaway – he produces one piece of ‘pillar content’ which then gets dissected and turned into lots of other content.

He may do that daily but we’re starting with weekly. What I have called your ‘core content’ is like Gary’s ‘pillar content’. You create that main piece and the split that up easily to post on your second platform.

No 2;

How to Make 64 Pieces of Content in a Day

Here he walks through how to create content on the fly. This is a huge mindset shift from wanting production quality to be excellent to just creating and posting. It’s also a huge challenge if you’re not 100% sure of yourself and are already scared of putting yourself out there!

But if you’re full of confidence and want to share your message with the world then what are you waiting for?

In fact just yesterday (as I write this) I gave my good buddy Dan a 10 day ‘content on the fly’ challenge for his new brand Wandering Worthy. His task is to record a 60 second video every day for 10 days and without editing upload it to his IG feed! As he’s a total action taker he got to work [email protected]

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-e67OdgRbI/

Lastly, be sure to check out Brian Deans section on repurposing content on his content marketing hub. He gives some fantastic practical examples of exactly how he has repurposed his own content over the years.

Don’t overwhelm yourself!

I stand by what I said, if you are all on your own and just starting out, focus on your main platform and one other to get started. As soon as you’re able to hire an awesome VA, then move onto a third platform and so on.

There are no rules here, you make it work for you.

If you can only do core content on your main platform for a year so be it!

Grow as quickly or as slowly as it works for you my friend. That’s it.

Content Publishing Tools

Ok so let’s look at some tools to make your life easier!

Here’s what I use;

1. Trello for content planning

A bit of a newbie to Trello, I’ve found it a game changer when it comes to planning out content. I love the fact I can add in ideas for posts and then drag them into the different lists when they become more than an idea.

I love that I can view all my content on a calendar right from within the app and add cards and items directly into the calendar.

As a visual person this is right up my street!

How can you use this?

To plan out your weekly core content and the repurposing redistribution across the web.

2. Planoly for Instagram Scheduling

Oh my gosh, I went through about 10 different Instagram apps. I tried Later, Plann, Command, Hootsuite, Buffer (which I love for FB), Tailwind, and some more I can’t remember, but Planoly for me consistently came out at the top.

It’s easy to upload photos, add captions, hashtags, location etc & schedule.

The hashtags for me was a big deal as that can be a huge time suck. But Planoly lets you add hashtag groups so when you create a post you just click on comment and add hashtag group, pick the hashtags relevant for that post and add them in as your first comment. Easy peasy.

How can you use this?

To schedule in advance a week or a months worth of content on Insta!

3. FB’s own built in scheduler

I schedule in a couple of weeks content at a time at the moment in my FB Group. Mainly because I’m running a 100 day challenge and have a post a day for the 100 days.

The built in FB scheduler is good enough although it’s pretty rubbish on mobile. So a solid alternative is Buffer. I used Buffer for years, a few years back but haven’t had call to use them again just yet. If I were looking for an all round scheduling tool however, they would be my go to.

How could you use this?

To schedule a weeks worth of engaging questions into your FB Group.

4. VSCO for fast photo editing

I’m a visco girl!

I was told by my daughter that apparently that’s not something to be proud of. But I don’t have time to individually edit all of my photos all of the time and the general filters in the apps and on Instagram aren’t great.

So I have a very specific filter I use in VSCO to enhance all my photos. I personally like super rich, vibrant color, even though right now pastels seem to be in fashion. (I’ve never been a pastelly kind of girl).

I actually have a little routine for all my FB group 100 day challenge pics.

Firstly I upload the photo into a little app called Inshot. I’m not recommending it as it’s a little buggy and I’m looking for something better, but it lets me quickly and easily add text in the bottom corner to say where & when my photo was taken.

Then I import to VSCO and add the filter.

Then I upload to….

Typorama for super fast stylish text on photos.

Oh my gosh I think this must be my favorite tool ever!

I am not a designer by any stretch of the imagination. I can’t put colours, fonts, styles together for love nor money.

Which is why a little app like Typorama which allows me to add my text and select from a multitude of text style over my backgrounds is absolutely brilliant! Saves me so much time and hassle, I love it!

Example of an Image enhanced by using VSCO, Inshot & Typorama

How could you use this?

You could take quotes of things you’ve written or said, overlay them on nice backgrounds and post on your second platform.

5. Canva for custom images

So over the years Canva has improved a great deal also making it far easier for the non designer to design. There is a little bit too much customization you have to do for text designs for my liking and no matter how hard I try many of my designs come out looking rubbish (hence why I love Typorama).

But they really are a brilliant app for headers, profile pics, blog images and such like. Highly recommended.

How could you use this?

Let’s say you made a video, you could take screenshots of your video and upload onto Canva, creatively add the sentence you were saying at the time and upload to your second platform.

In fact, I created the ‘Action is the Name of the Game’ image above using Canva, to show you how I did using Loom to record my screen as I did it!

6. Loom for quick videos

Recently introduced to me by my tech guy. Loom is awesome for screen videos.

Whereas I used to fire up screenflow, do a video showing my screen and / or me, then save, render and upload, Loom does it all in a flash!

You press record either the screen, the screen and the camera, or a specific part of the screen and almost by the time you’ve finished recording and hit end, they’ve given you a link to the video.

Huge time saver!

How you could use this?

You could record your screen as you go through your heavily visual blog post explaining it step by step and upload to YouTube.

7. Anchor for podcasts

Ok so I’ve done an entire section on this in Day 17 so I won’t go into it here, but it’s a huge time saver. Go check out the section on podcasting – Day 17.

How could you use this?

Either quickly and easily record your blog post as a podcast or extract the audio from a video and upload here as a podcast.

8. iPhone built in camera

So for Christmas this year my lovely husband bought me a Canon Powershot G7 Mark III and I love it!

It takes the crispest, clearest images and I can set it up so it records me with a fuzzy background behind me which looks so professional. I will definitely be getting to know my new toy more over the coming months.

I have to say though for total ease, as in, it’s in your pocket, I still pull out my iPhone to make a live, a story or take an ‘in the moment’ photo.

My daughter got the new iPhone 11 for Christmas from some relatives (I wasn’t happy) and her camera is even better, so there really is no excuse to create content on the spot so it were.

These clever techies are making it easier than ever!

How could you use this?

Impromptu FB Lives, IGTV, Stories, videos etc.

See how easy it is these days to take content you have already created and repurpose it across the web without it taking too much extra effort!

More Resources

Here are some tips and resources from other reputable sources on great tools for content creators;

https://optinmonster.com/best-visual-content-creation-tools/ – This is an awesome roundup of what look like some fabulous tools! I will 100% be giving some of these a go this year!

In fact for this action guide I’ve already been using Imgflip Meme Generator which I just discovered a few days ago. Great fun!

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/content-marketing-tools – This is a much more sensible adults guide to content marketing tools. Booo, I wanna play with fun apps! 🙂

Summary

So that’s it for now 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!

Please share with anyone you think this might benefit. Thank you 🙂