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How to create a content plan and why you need one

All businesses will be creating content in one way or another, whether it’s social media posts, emails to clients, website copy or writing a blog. Content will form the core of all your marketing efforts, particularly digitally.

If you commit to creating content regularly and consistently, your marketing will begin to reap the benefits. To do this, you need a content plan and process in place.

The advantages of content creation

By committing to following a good content plan, your business can start to see these benefits.

  • You can build more trust for your brand.
  • You can start to reach new audiences.
  • It can drive sales leads and help with converting people.
  • It can reduce your marketing costs.
  • You can get improved search engine optimisation for your website.
  • You can position yourself as an expert in your industry.

How do you come up with ideas for things to talk about?

The problem isn’t coming up with the ideas. It’s that most people don’t have a process in place to record the thoughts when they do come. The first thing you and anyone else in your company who will be responsible for creating content should do is create a place where you record all your ideas and all of the things that resonate with you. Using a free online tool and app like Notion or Trello can be great for this. These tools make collaboration easy, and the things you put in there will be easily searchable and sortable.

There are plenty of ways to get inspiration and find things that resonate with you. You can read a book, listen to a podcast, attend a webinar or watch a YouTube video. It might even strike at the unlikeliest of times, while watching a cooking show or while you’re having a swim. Make sure you always have a way to capture your thoughts close at hand. You can review them and sort them into more fully-formed ideas later.

Decide on your content themes

What do you want to be known for? The more niche you can go, the easiest it will be for you to start to be recognised as a thought leader around that topic. Do you specialise in accountancy for a particular industry, or do you concentrate on specific services?

Choose three to four themes or content pillars maximum that you’d like to be known for and that you want to focus your attention on. This will also make it easier for you to come up with ideas for your plan. 

Examples of themes you could choose:

  1. Accountancy software (or a specific software product)
  2. Pensions
  3. How to reduce business costs
  4. Tax advice
  5. Excel tips

Always make it about them

Your content should always be as interesting and relevant as possible for your audience. It should help them in some way and give them value. It’s your responsibility to create unmissable content for your target market, and it’s a waste of time to put out boring content or something that has been done a million times before. Make it new and put your spin on it.

Create an editorial calendar

Instead of making a very detailed plan, create an editorial calendar with broader topics that you want to talk about month by month according to other things that are happening at that sort of time in your business, seasonally and in the accounting calendar.

Choose a channel

You’ll be best off choosing one channel and focusing on optimising that first instead of jumping around. Whether it’s a social media channel like LinkedIn, video or email marketing, nail one first, and then you can think about repurposing content and using it across different channels. Always make sure you’re tracking the effectiveness of your content in some way. Keeping a weekly report that shows key stats like follower numbers, engagement levels, and click-throughs will show you what’s worked well and what hasn’t so you know what to do more (and less) of and will help keep you motivated to continue.

If you’re starting from scratch, you will need to work on your plan for at least a few months before you begin to see the real tangible business gains of your content creation. Still, if you apply yourself to publishing content consistently, in whatever form that takes for you, and know that you will only get better, you will see those benefits. 

Further reading:

Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.

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