Last month in the Digital Dining Room, the group’s mission was to identify their main business goal for the final quarter of the year and then to develop a content strategy to support it.
Here’s how we got them there:
Step One: Brainstorm ideas using a mindmap. Start with a topic in the center that relates to — and would help develop conversations around — your #1 business goal.
Ask yourself the question:
What does my potential customer want to know about this topic? What kind of answers might they be searching for online?
From there, come up with at least five different sub-topics, and drill down even further to find three or four smaller ideas for each of those. An example of how this might look if your #1 goal for the next three months were to get new travel-related copy writing clients (and you hadn’t yet developed any content around this):
NOTE: The mindmap is a great tool for brainstorming because it allows you to capture ideas without being too linear. Especially if you can put this up on a wall (whiteboard or easel pad) where you can see it for a few days and work on it as inspiration hits.
Give this process a couple of days. Try not to do this all in one sitting.
Once you have a bevy of ideas, the next step is to take an inventory of currently existing content. Have you already written a blog post that addresses one of your topic ideas? If so, now would be the perfect time to repurpose that into a slideshow or perhaps an audio file. Whenever possible, use what you’ve already created!
Step Two: Develop a schedule of content (blog posts, guest posts, pod casts, social media updates, etc.) for the coming three months. A schedule based on your unique ability to implement.
Use a calendar system to help keep you on track. I’ve got a social media conversation calendar template that you might find helpful for this. (You can grab a copy of it on this page.)
Whatever system you use, be sure to customize it using whatever channels you already use. This is your calendar. Own it. Also, stretch yourself a little with regard to the amount of content you put out. But not so much that you create unrealistic expectations you can never meet.
Currently not blogging at all? Then trying to blog once a week will probably make you a little crazy. But if you’re already publishing weekly, then bumping that up to twice a week might actually be doable. The point is to create a schedule that you can commit to.
One of our members, Evelyn Kalinosky, did such a fabulous job with this assignment, I’d like to share part of her work with you.
As you can see, she’s put together a solid plan for the next three months. That doesn’t mean there isn’t wiggle room if something happens in her life (or in the world) that inspires her to start other conversations. She can totally do that.
And she can (and should) adjust this plan if she feels the circumstances warrant a change. But at least now, she’s got a good outline that she can use to measure her efforts. YES, MEASURE. (All caps were totally required there.)
Planning (as I’ve pointed out previously) is a way to organize our thoughts and make our ideas more concrete so we can track what works and what doesn’t. We want to count the number of leads this content generates (and from there, how many sales).
And we want a venue to see if our experiments work — where they work best — or if they need to be tweaked. And that’s what planning and strategy are all about.
How about you? Are you creating content strategies to support your business goals? Do you have questions about what I’ve shared here? Let’s continue this conversation in the comments below.