Have you ever sat down to create an Instagram post or a blog post and found that your mind has gone totally blank and you have no idea what to post? If so, you’re not alone! Not knowing what to post is a common problem coaches face when it comes to marketing their businesses.
In this post I’ll be sharing how I plan my content and a bunch of content planning ideas to help you get started.
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What is content marketing?
Before we dig into content planning, a quick refresher on what content marketing actually is.
Content marketing is basically all of the stuff we create in our businesses that communicate something, that are ideally helpful in some way – educational, inspirational or entertaining. It’s the Instagram posts, the videos, the podcasts, the blog posts etc.
It can make up a sizeable portion of what we do to market our businesses so it’s worthwhile spending time getting your head around it all and creating some kind of sustainable content marketing system, which content planning would be a part of.
How my content strategy has changed
In the past I used to sit around and spend a lot of time thinking, ‘what the heck should I post today?’ Then I would try and create content for lots of different individual places so I’d want to write a blog post and post on Instagram and do a video and I’d see all these things as separate pieces of content. No wonder I was getting stuck for ideas!
It was basically a lot of work that I just didn’t have time for, so what ended up happening was that I’d get overwhelmed and become really inconsistent.
When I realised this process wasn’t working for me I started experimenting more with a joined up approach to my content marketing so adding a video to a blog post on the same topic. Then finally I created The Wholehearted Business Show which is a video that becomes a blog post, podcast and YouTube video (part of what you’re reading right now!)
This joined up approach has saved me loads of time, made my content better and helps me get visible in a number of different places.
How I plan my core content
I create a core video for The Wholehearted Business Show on a weekly basis and I plan quarterly so each content planning session I need to come up with 12 content ideas.
I’ll mark out a time in my calendar and have a content planning session where I’ll have Pinterest, YouTube, Google Keyword Planner and sometimes also Ubersuggest open. I’ll also have my ‘Quick Ideas’ Notion page open which is where I add all those top of my head ideas to when I’m just going about my day.
I’ll use my Notion Content Planner (included in my Notion Planning Templates) and I’ll sit down and start coming up with title ideas. Some of the ideas might be based on SEO research, Pinterest or YouTube SEO others might just be topics I feel called to talk about.
Often I’m really inspired by thinking about some of the questions my clients have had for me as if they have had that question, it makes sense that others will also have that question too, and these questions can be really fun to answer in a piece of content.
Another thing I do in this process is map out when I have specific things going on like promotions so that I can tie my content into that. For example, I’m talking about content in this post because next week I’m launching Connecting Content, my new 4 week live programme!
Yet another thing I layer in is looking at cornerstone content and content clusters which is something I cover in my Blog School programme, so I might think about content ideas that work in with that.
Once I have all those 12 content slots filled with an idea I’ll start on creation.
I tend to batch up 3-4 videos in one go, so I’ll look at the 4 content ideas I have coming up, make notes, record the videos, edit them and then turn them into the episodes of The Wholehearted Business Show YouTube Channel, Podcast, Blog post etc.
That’s basically my content planning process and what I’ve found is that having ideas prepared, even if I tweak and change things it makes a huge difference to showing up consistently.
So that is how I plan my core content for The Wholehearted Business Show.
But what about other platforms like Instagram and Facebook?
Planning content that isn’t your ‘core’ content
Once I have ideas for my core content then it’s about repurposing and filling in the gaps.
A lot of what I post on Instagram is repurposed from blog posts, podcasts or it’s older Instagram posts that I’ve revamped.
But even with content repurposing I still need to come up with ideas to plug those gaps depending on how often I want to show up.
Currently I post to the Instagram grid four times a week and almost daily on stories and I also post in my client only Facebook group.
I tend to plan for these places on a week by week basis – the downside of this is that these are usually the places where I become inconsistent if life goes a bit crazy behind the scenes, but since these aren’t my main platforms that’s not the end of the world.
I use Planoly to schedule posts for Instagram and will sometimes use Facebook’s native scheduler for my group.
Coming up with ideas for your content
When it comes to developing general content ideas here’s a list of my favourite ways to spark inspiration:
Pinterest and YouTube
Type a keyword related to your niche into the search bar on either of these platforms and see what comes up. Without clicking through to the video or post, look at the title. What could you create based on that title? How would you answer that question?
Something I’ve started doing lately is recording quick videos of myself ready to edit into Reels. Now, if I have a random idea come into my head, I’ll whip my phone out and record myself and just have the video saved in my camera roll. When it comes to creating Reels for Instagram I just edit those rough videos into a Reel by using the captions sticker.
Turn your Instagram Highlights into a Reel
I noticed the other day that you can turn your IG highlights into a Reel which is a great quick way to repurpose something.
Document don’t create
Gary Vaynerchuk once said, ‘don’t create, document’ when it comes to creating content and while I don’t generally resonate with his business approach this I can get on board with! This works super well for Instagram stories and Reels because it’s just about documenting the things you’re already doing instead of having to make something new.
Think about conversation starters
In terms of engaging content for platforms like Instagram and Facebook, polls and questions are really effective for growing engagement. Think about what questions you can ask and what conversation starters you can use to get people interacting with you and your content.
Address the problems or questions your clients have
As I mentioned earlier, I think this is a great method of coming up with content ideas. Just think about the questions your clients have had for you. Can you create a piece of content that answers those questions? The likelihood is that if your clients have these questions then others who would be well suited to work with you will also have those questions too!
Listen to your gut
Sometimes I just get the feeling that I need to create something on a certain topic. It’s not strategic, it’s just a gut feeling and often this is some of the best content I create! Don’t forget that content creation should be fun, it doesn’t have to be all SEO and strategy, the connection piece and actually sharing what you feel called to share is really important too.
Planning your content your way
As I said above, I plan per quarter for my core content, batch create once a month and then repurpose and ‘fill in the gaps’ for platforms like Facebook and Instagram weekly.
But what’s going to work for you with your content planning might be totally different!
You certainly don’t have to post once a week (once a month can be totally fine when you’re starting out).
It might also be that planning ahead in advance and batch creating just doesn’t work for you – some people need to be more spontaneous and ‘in the moment’ and that’s fine if that works for you.
Another thing you could consider in the content planning mix is outsourcing elements to a VA. I’ve done this and it’s been so helpful at keeping me focused, accountable and consistent.
Want to create a content marketing system that works for you
Connecting Content is my new 4 week live programme where together we’ll be creating a complete content marketing system that works to get you clients, grow your list and build your business. You’ll also get access to three of my content related programmes Blog School, Pinterest Magic and How to create a multi platform content show.
Check out Connecting Content here to learn if it might be right for you.
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