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The first five steps to creating a simple content plan

As a small business, knowing how and where to begin when it comes to creating a content plan for your marketing can be overwhelming. Yes, it can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. At the very least, these first five steps are a great way to get you started and help you clarify what you are trying to achieve with your content marketing.

1. Define your goal/purpose. 

What exactly are you trying to achieve by publishing content? Sales, subscriptions, followers, engagement – what is your specific purpose and end goal?

2. Research your audience.

Who are you trying to reach? What are they interested in? Where do they congregate? What social media platforms do they use? What problem do they need you to fix or address?

3. Outline your content pillars.

What are the key themes and ideas that represent you, your brand and your audience? For example, one of our clients sells ethically sourced, socially responsible jewellery, homewares and gifts. The content pillars we use for this client are: social responsibility, gift giving, hidden treasures and small business. Each piece of content reflects or leads back to one of these key pillars.

4. Choose your avenues.

You know where your audience spends their time online so now choose the avenues that are going work best when you want to engage with them. Is it Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn? Or is it Twitter or Snapchat or even a blog? Choose one or two of these avenues (you don’t need to do everything) and focus on those to start with.

5. Commit to frequency.

How much can you handle? This is really the key question. Can you post every day or is this unrealistic? Commit to posting regularly and consistently, whether it is once a week, twice a week or daily. Be realistic about what you can achieve and then stick with it. Start small – you can always build up to more later on.

When you have completed these five steps you should be able to sum up your plan in a brief statement. For example:

‘Our content will educate our followers, who are primarily small business owners, on best practice when it comes to content marketing. We will focus on education, innovation and cost-effective marketing ideas. We will primarily post on Instagram and LinkedIn, publishing one blog per month and four short-form posts per week.’

This is an easy way to begin, and when you’re just starting out it’s always best to keep it simple. These are the first five steps, but what happens next is up to you! Committing to following through on the plan means putting resources towards it, whether in the form of money, people, time or even outside help. Your level of investment will depend on your specific aims and capabilities. But by beginning with these five easy steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating targeted, meaningful content to reach your specific audience.

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