There’s more pressure than ever to come up with creative content. Let’s face it, creativity has always been a differentiating factor. No matter how many constraints are built around the work you do, those who rise to the top are the most creative where it counts.
But in a world where we are bombarded with more content than ever and more than we could ever consume in 20 lifetimes, it’s essential to get specific about the 1,000 people you want to reach, your goals, and your content strategy.
And for small business owners, coming up with creative content is a huge piece of the puzzle. Unless you have an endless supply of content ideas rattling around inside your brain, though, staying in the creative zone is a challenge. While taking regular breaks and giving yourself “muse time,” is necessary, having a comprehensive content strategy can also help keep those creative juices flowing. Let me show you what I mean.
One Big Happy Content Family
First, all of your content (e.g., articles, blog posts, social media posts, videos) should be working together. This may seem obvious. However, if you aren’t intentional about the content you’re creating, it’s possible at least some of your content strays from your goals.
Here’s an example: I used to create blog articles and social media content without thinking about my business goals. I felt so much pressure to come up with something creative on a particular schedule that the actual content itself didn’t matter to me. All I cared about was coming up with something, anything to say in the moment. As a result, my blog became a dumping ground for ideas (good, bad, and downright ugly).
A business coach once told me that if I was recommending to my clients that they post to their blogs once per week, then I should be posting to my blog every day (what???). So I tried to keep up with that pace for a bit (ugh). Again, this had nothing to do with my business goals.
Because my only goal was posting something, anything, the quality of my content suffered and more importantly, it was totally confusing for my readers and followers. I’ve gone through a similar evolution with my LinkedIn content too.
Unless you want to continue being the best kept secret in your industry, you need to focus on creating one big happy content family. Everyone has a job to do, under the same roof.
To make this happen, you need a strategy. With Q2 on the horizon it’s a great time to take a moment and plan out your content for the next 90 days. The good news is that you don’t need to spend weeks planning. All you need is a quick & dirty content strategy.
How to Create a Comprehensive Content Strategy
Personally, I like to plan my business in increments of 90 days, then I do a monthly content plan (at the end of the month for the next month), and create my content a week in advance. I don’t think of myself as a master planner, so if you’re apprehensive about coming up with your own comprehensive content strategy, fear not! I’ll walk you through it.
For the bigger business plan, it can be as simple as asking yourself this question:
What are the 1-3 projects I want to work on for the next 90 days?
Once you know your projects, you can think about how your marketing and content fits into the picture. Here are the questions to ask and answer to create your quick & dirty content strategy each month:
- What am I selling?
- What type of content and how many pieces of content do I need to create this month (e.g., 2 blog articles, 12 LinkedIn posts, 2 videos)?
- What themes should I hit with my content (no more than 3)?
- What purpose does each piece of content serve (e.g., growing my audience, nurturing my audience, making an offer)?
- What calls to action (CTAs) do I want to add as links? Are there any freebies, I want to share?
Answer these questions and you have your quick & dirty content strategy. Then, you can create a content calendar with topic ideas each month (schedule a monthly brainstorming session to make this happen) and schedule time each week to create your content.
From here you can also consider repurposing options. Whether that means:
- Creating blog posts and then pulling them apart for LinkedIn posts,
- Or creating LI posts and flagging some for longer articles,
- Or building written content around short video clips or fun graphics,
One thing is for sure, you shouldn’t think of any one piece of content as standing alone.
Challenges and Questions
When I sit down and write all of this out in this way, it seems so simple. But I know that it’s far from simple to implement this kind of strategy. Also, in the recent past, I’ve been of the mindset that strategies are creativity killers. So I can understand if you’re not convinced.
Here’s what turned me around: Having a strategy means that I don’t have to think about my content until it’s time to think about my content.
Before, I would go to bed fretting and worrying about what I would write and post in the morning. It was a mental burden the weight of which I didn’t fully comprehend at the time. But it’s no wonder that I grasped for something, anything to write every time I sat down to create content.
Now, I fret and worry about what to post only when I’m brainstorming and only once a week when I’m writing my posts for the following week – though I’m obviously free to think about my content at other times. And because I do the brainstorming ahead of time, it’s easier for me to sit down to write my posts without fretting. It’s a relief to know that I’ve got my topic already.
Perhaps the biggest benefit is that when you think about all of your content at one time, you see patterns and make connections you would otherwise miss. That’s what makes it comprehensive.
The challenge for me is discipline. If I don’t do my brainstorming each month, then I’m back to coming up with individual posts on the fly. And if I don’t write my content a week in advance (like I didn’t do last week, for example), then I’m back to feeling pressure to create something great when I am deep in the throes of my work week.
Still, for the most part, I’ve stuck to this strategy for the past few months and I’ve noticed a difference not only in how I feel about my creativity level, but also in how others engage with my content. In particular, my LinkedIn engagement has been up overall and while it’s possible that’s mostly attributable to algorithm changes working in my favor, I also think the changes I’ve implemented are working.
Do you have a comprehensive content strategy? Learn how I can help you develop your strategy here: https://thepocketphd.lpages.co/linkedin-roadmap/
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