4 Easy Steps To A Balanced Content Plan (+FREE Template)

Creating content is a pain.

There. I said it.

The hardest part is just to know where to start. What do your readers want to read? Do you even have a something to share with them? You ponder and ponder on this and before you know it, you haven’t written a single post in weeks. Yikes!

So now what? You know that a core part of your business is giving your readers value (because you’re a smart awesome business woman), but you find it hard to sit down and write the posts on a moment’s notice. Running to catch up is your default mode.

That stops here.

As a former editor-in-chief, I have been on all sides of content creation – and frustration. And getting frustrated about generating ideas is a real thing even in the magazine business.

Since magazines work three to six months ahead it can be really hard to anticipate where your audience will be. Not just that… you have to take in account upcoming holidays as well. I have known magazines to close the curtains and pull out the Christmas decorations in June to brainstorm their Christmas issues. And I myself have been bouncing around in my sparkly dress with baubles in my hair in June for a Christmas shoot for one of my magazines.

But, once you get the hang of it, it’s not hard. And you can totally create an awesome, balanced and kick-ass content plan for the coming three to four months.

It just takes a little effort at first to build the routine… but once you do, oh boy, you never have to stress about ‘what am I going to write about now?’ ever again.

So let’s dive right in shall we?

Use a content calendar

If you want to have a good content plan for three to four months in advance, you need to actually do some planning. It’s that simple. You can’t (and you don’t want to, trust me) hold 4 months of content in your head. And no, scribbling a random list at the back of your journal where you can pick and choose from won’t work either. I can’t say this enough:

You need to have a good, solid content calendar.

A template works great for this. You can fill in your topics and see what’s coming up within seconds. It will save you a ton of time and stress figuring out what to do next.

Another bonus: you can see at a glance if your topics are building on each other. This is key in a good content plan: you’ll take your reader from where they are right now to where they want to go.

That’s all there is to it.

Readers come to your website to learn something. They want you to solve their problems. Even if they don’t even know they have a problem. Actually: especially if they don’t know they have a problem with something.

But, you have to meet them where they are. As much as you love your subject, business or hobby, you are the expert and your readers are novices. So if you talk to them, expecting the same background knowledge as you, you lose them. They will get confused, click away and all your awesome knowledge is lost on them.

So start with the basics. A post like ‘Start with _topic here_’ or ‘The beginners guide to _topic here_’ is a perfect place to start. And then you build from there.

A content plan will help you map out this growth path. This is also perfect if you want to work towards the launch of your product – in fact, it’s the perfect way to prep your readers for your product.

So what are you waiting for? Swipe my content plan template and start creating your content plan to hook your readers.

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Monthly themes

So now you have the basis of a content plan (if not, go download it now and fill it up alongside this post), it’s time to fill it (yay!). This is where the magic happens. It might sound like a daunting task… but it’s not, I promise! It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of monthly themes (I lovingly blame my magazine background for this). They’re such a great skeleton for your plan and will create a cohesive feel across all your content. As a bonus, it helps you map out the reader growth plan.

To start: pick a theme that speaks to your readers where they are right now. What comes first?

Say you’re writing about marketing (because you’re a marketing queen right?). Start with introducing the readers to the different types of marketing. Shares ins and outs, new insights that will help them pick and choose which form of marketing will fit their business.

Note: this is not a repetition of everything that is already out there or a direct copy of the platforms description. Really help your audience decide which form of marketing is right for them (it’s super important to know your ideal client by heart and really speak to them).

So now you have your first theme: forms of marketing. What comes next?

Exactly!

Creating content.

You can dive into all the different types of content creations around marketing, pros and cons and so on. There’s your second monthly theme. And after that?

You’ve got it!

Growing your reach and audience of course!

That’s the beginning of a three-month content plan right there.

So now it’s your turn. Grab your free content plan and start filling it with your monthly themes.

4_easy_steps_to_a_balanced_content_plan

Series

Series can form a great basis for your content plan. I run a Monday morning series on my blog (check it out here). It features an awesome lady boss every week who shares how she sets her week up for success. It’s inspiring, I get to connect with other bosses and it shows up every Monday on the blog without fail.

Series come in all shapes and sizes and you can really go to town here. Staying in the marketing corner, why not create a series around Pinterest where you discuss one tip a week to make the make the most of it? Or if you’re more of a Twitter kinda girl, focus on that one. Or you can do a roundup every week with the latest on other blogs that will interest your readers (giving other people some love is a great marketing tool too!).

The possibilities are almost endless – and it’s a great way to build the knowledge of your readers (bonus: turn your posts into an ebook so they can download it)

Be in it for the long haul

It can be hard to come up with topics a few months in advance. I know and I struggled with that myself while I was a magazine boss. It can be so hard to come up with inspiring Christmas ideas in February (true story). So what can you do to make it easier?

As business owners, we’re into this for the long haul (if not, what are you doing here?) and that’s great news!

No really, it is. Here’s why:

Certain things will come around time and time again. Like Christmas, Valentines, 4th of July, they are all annual. So while you still have to come up with topics far in advance (there is no point to introducing a Christmas decorations DIY post on the 24th of December), you can take notes of your ideas during the holidays.

Come up with post ideas of things you could have written about. Create titles, add a few bullet points (this is super important! You want to make it easy on future you), and then add it to your content calendar for next year.

That’s right! No one said you should limit yourself to only working on the next two months.

So imagine this, you’re packing your suitcase and planning to go on an amazing holiday, and you rush to finish the last things on your blog, and finish scheduling your social media updates. While you’re doing this you notice this would be a great post to help your readers prepare for their holiday.

Make a note of it!

Seriously, do it right now.

Make a note of it, add bullet points and add it to your calendar at a time that would be most beneficial for your readers.

That, my dears, is how you make things easier for yourself.

Are you ready to create your own awesome content plan? Start with grabbing your content plan template and start planning your own content right away.

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