Do you find it hard to think of creative content ideas and stick to a content plan for more than a few weeks at a time?
It all starts with content planning and that’s exactly what the 2019 Media Diary is designed to help you do. It’s an A4 desk diary that includes hundreds of awareness days and key dates to help you plan your media content for 2019. There’s also useful planning tools to help you with annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly planning (and save you tons of time in the process).
Invest in the 2019 Media Diary and, not only will you save time and money on your content planning and creation, you’ll never run out of ideas again.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to planning 52 weeks of content using the 2019 Media Diary:
1. Block out some time for content planning
First things first, set aside some dedicated time for your content planning. If you can, go off site. Find a cafe you like to work in – a quiet hotel lobby - anywhere where you can focus on this task uninterrupted. You’ll be much more productive and creative this way.
2. Create your annual content plan
It can be helpful to approach your content like a videographer. Start with ‘wide shot’ of your business - looking at how to shape your content across the year - and gradually zoom closer, until you’re focusing on quarterly, weekly and daily content.
So let’s start with that ‘wide shot’ of your year. Think about the key things that are happening in your business in each quarter of the year. When will you be launching new products/services? Are you doing any speaking? Will you be attending any industry events? List at least three key things for each quarter.There is a planning sheet on page 10 of the diary to help with this. If you’re in the Media Diary Owner’s Club – perfect if you want some extra training, support and accountability to help you make the most of your diary – it’s also available as a printable. Find out more about the difference between the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club.
Once you've written down what you're going to be doing each quarter, see if you can find two or three awareness days/key dates in the diary you can use to inspire content ideas.
For example, if you have a pet business, you might want to create some timely content around Crufts dog show in March. If you design clothes or accessories, you could create some content around London Fashion Week in January. And if you run a food business, you might plan some content around National Doughnut day in June.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking some of the dates in the diary aren’t ‘serious’ enough for your business. With a bit of creative thinking, it’s entirely possible to make them work for you. For example, parenting blogger Jenni Fuchs turned Hedgehog Day into a round-up of hedgehog picture books for children - which turned out to be one of her most popular posts that month. Read: how to double your web traffic in 10 easy steps.
In this phase of your content planning, try not to overthink things. There’s no commitment; just because you write something down doesn’t mean you have to do it.
Some media diary owners tell me they struggle with this first task because they don’t know what they’re going to be doing in their business in 2019. If this is the case, you have a business problem not a content problem. This means you’ll need to go back to the drawing board and plan out what’s happening in your business in each quarter before you move onto your content planning.
Others say they fear writing anything down in case their business plans change in the future. Again, it’s important not to overthink this. You’ll always have to factor in change in any business and it’s much less time consuming to tweak a plan you’ve already worked on than to start from scratch. Just apply your best thinking right now.
3. Create your quarterly content plan
Once you've created your annual content plan, you can zoom in a little closer and start your quarterly content planning.
To make life easy for yourself in 2019, I suggest you create one key piece of content a week, whether it’s a blog/vlog, podcast, Facebook Live or infographic and repurpose it into multiple pieces of content (more on how to do this later).
This means you only need to come up with a list of 12 ideas for each quarter - ideas that complement the key business activities and dates you’ve already identified in your annual content plan. Simple when you put it like that, right?
Here’s two methods you can use to create your list of 12 ideas (or you can combine the two).
Method 1: Base content around your customers’ questions - Start by making a list of 12 questions your customers ask you regularly - both generic questions and specific ones about your product/service. Then look to answer these questions through your chosen content form.
For example, my prospective customers often ask me questions like this about content planning.
- Why do I need a content plan?
- How often should I be publishing new content?
- What kind of content should I be creating for my business?
- What are the biggest mistakes people make with content planning?
- How far ahead should I be planning my content?
- How flexible should I be with my content planning? Is there any room for spontaneity?
There’s six content ideas right there.
They also ask me quite specific questions about the 2019 Media Diary:
- What are benefits of buying the 2019 Media Diary?
- What’s the difference between the Media Diary and the Media Diary Owners’ Club?
- Can I see inside the 2019 Media Diary?
- Will the media diary help me if I have a product-based business?
- Is the 2019 Media Diary suitable for business owners based outside the UK?
- I bought last year’s media diary but I didn’t use it. Should I buy it again?
There’s another six content ideas - some of which I’ve already turned into blog posts.
Method 2: Create content for each stage of your customer journey
The digital marketing expert Dan Knowlton talks about the need to create three types of content designed to attract customers at each stage of the buying journey. These are:
- Awareness content
- Consideration content
- Purchase content.
For example, my podcast episodes tend to address a specific problem listeners are experiencing e.g. how to make more sales in their business, how to get engagement on social media or how to generate passive income. This is awareness content - because it’s raising awareness of the problem and how I might be able to help.
I wrote a blog post about my content planning toolkit - 2019 Sorted, called Six Compelling Reasons to Invest in 2019 Sorted. This is an example of consideration content as I’m addressing prospective customers’ concerns and helping them make a buying decision.
An example of purchase content would be the Facebook Lives I hosted to launch the 2019 Media Diary. They were aimed at those who were interested in buying the diary, but wanted more information - including how and where they could buy it.
There are no hard and fast rules about how much of each type of content you should create - it really depends on what you’re selling and when. For example, if you’re launching a new product/service in February it makes sense to focus on awareness content in January and create more consideration and purchase content in the weeks leading up to (and during) the launch.
I’ve now shared two possible approaches to creating a list of 12 content ideas for each quarter of the year. If you're part of the Media Diary Owners' Club there are printables and proformas to help you do this.Most people struggle to plan content in great detail beyond 90 days, so put a date in your diary to plan for the next 90 days. Just being able to look across the first 90 days will really take the pressure off.
4. Create your weekly content plan
With your quarterly plan complete, you can zoom in a little closer and create a weekly content plan for your business.
This is where content repurposing comes in. Now that you’re focusing on creating one key piece of content a week, start to think about how you can break that down over a week.
For example, you could record a video, strip out the audio and turn it into a podcast. You could use a resource like rev.com to generate a transcript and turn that into a blog post. Then you could pull out some soundbites from the transcript and turn them into infographics for social media (using a graphic design tool like Canva), audio trailers (using a resource like Headliner) and video trailer (using a tool like Kapwing). If you focus on making that cornerstone piece of content work as hard for you as possible (by repurposing it in different ways), you’ll soon have enough content for every day of the week.
And don’t be afraid to post your content more than once. People are busy and may not see it the first time round (or even the third, fourth or fifth).
5. Creating your daily content plan
Now that you know which key pieces of content you’ll be producing each week and how that can be broken down into lots of smaller pieces of content, all you have to do is work out which piece will be published on which platform each day
In the 2019 Media Diary, there’s space for you to plan what content you’re going to post on each of your social media channels on different days of the week – perfect for visualising how each week of your social media content will look.
If you've always found content planning an overwhelming, arduous job, you'll love how easy it becomes when you have the 2019 Media Diary sitting on your desk.
Get a copy of your 2019 Media Diary and if you need more support and accountability you can get that in the Media Diary Owners’ Club. Find out more about the difference between the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club.