So, you’re ready to get started with your content marketing strategy. That’s awesome! I’m so happy to hear it. The first step you’re going to want to take is to set up a solid content organization system for yourself. Why?
Because it’s incredibly exhausting to dive into content marketing plan. And, if we’re being totally honest, you won’t stick with it if you don’t have a clear strategy to execute. It’s just like a budget or a financial plan – the plan lays the foundation. You still are doing the content creation and marketing work, but without a plan you’re not really striving toward achievable goals. Nobody likes to feel like they’re blogging into the void.
Start with a Workflow
A workflow is the best place to start – and it’s entirely unique to you. First, decide on the frequency of everything. That may sound overwhelming, but it’s all too necessary. Are you a once-a-month blogger? How about once a week? Do you want to do monthly newsletter? What about quarterly? How often will you be posting to social media? Are you going to try out something new – like podcasting? When do you want those to go live? Write it all out and stick those dates on your calendar or scheduling tool of choice. Set them up as strict deadlines so that you’re more likely to view them as a serious to-do.
Then, decide on a workflow that will help you best achieve these content marketing tasks. Personally, I’m a huge fan of workflow folders in Dropbox or Google Drive. Label them clearly – Blog Drafts, Ready for Publication, Archived. This way everything stays neatly organized and ready for you to access. No more digging through Microsoft Word files trying to find that half-written draft you worked on last week.
Finally, organize yourself by blocking out time to complete your content marketing tasks. I am a huge advocate for time blocking – so I’m going to suggest you take a full day (or afternoon) and knock out 2-4 blog posts. Schedule this once a month so that you’re always one month ahead of schedule. The same goes for podcast or video recording, social media posting, and organizing your newsletter or email campaign content. Knock out large portions of these tasks at a time so that you stay in the zone and then feel like you’re always caught up. You’re less likely to follow through with these tasks if you feel perpetually behind or overwhelmed.
Organize Your Ideas
Idea generation should be part of your content marketing workflow. Make space in your routine to save interesting articles that spark inspiration, notes you jot down, etc. Capturing these ideas can help make content creation much easier later on – and if you save the four or five articles you read on the topic you won’t be falling down any internet search rabbit holes while you’re trying to write a blog post.
The key to idea generation is turning your brainstorm sessions into concrete, actionable content ideas. I recommend having an editorial calendar to get yourself organized and on track. It doesn’t have to be fancy – just a simple way of tracking when a blog post (or podcast, etc.) is going live, the title (or theme), and any additional notes you have on the topic. Try to schedule out 4-6 months worth of topics. This way you won’t feel obligated to overwrite on any one particular topic, or worse, decide you don’t even have a topic to write about. You’ll always know what’s expected of you when you walk into a content creation session.
Tools To Use
There are many different tools to use when it comes to organizing your content marketing strategy. I already mentioned two – Dropbox and Google Drive. These are great for the storage of your content – but here are a few other to consider:
- Evernote. I personally love Evernote for clipping articles I find interesting, jotting down notes, and more. I have it connected to my cell phone, laptop, and tablet. This way I can always access my ideas if inspiration strikes. Definitely beats the sticky note method I was using until recently.
- Feedly. Feedly is a news aggregation tool, essentially. Personally, I use it to source articles from my favorite news sites and blogs for social posting and to cite in my blog posts. It keeps everything neatly organized based on topics that I set. It also has a ton of integrations so you can plug it into other tools like Trello, Google Docs, Slack, WordPress, etc.
- Buffer. Personally, I prefer Buffer to HootSuite and other social scheduling tools. But I encourage you to find what floats your boat. This makes it easy to schedule social posts ahead of time – I like to knock them out in month-long chunks but you can also just schedule for the week. It will take you much less time and you’ll be guaranteed a constantly-updated social presence.
- Toggl. This is a time tracking tool that can be useful when you’re trying to figure out how much of your schedule to block out for things like blog post writing, podcast recording, or social posting.
- Trello. This is the greatest online “to do list” tool I’ve found. The free version comes with one “power up” – and I recommend you select the calendar option. You can integrate it with your GCal (or whatever calendar/scheduler you use) and organize your deadlines by task-type.
Templates Are Your Friend
Michael Kitces recommends creating blog post templates in this post – and I completely agree with him. Having a set template that you can work off of significantly decreases the amount of time you’ll spend writing each blog post. More importantly, it creates a consistent post style so that your readers know what to expect from you. This gives a more professional feel to your business’s blog/podcast/social presence.
Although you might be eager to jump in feet first right now, you’ll thank yourself later for setting up a content marketing system before you get started. It will absolutely make your journey easier and save you time!