Creating content month after month is a challenge for even the largest company. And those companies have teams of people dedicated to the task. The Raleigh and Cary small business owners with whom we work are often interested in content as a way to reach their audience, but many find it difficult to produce that content consistently.
Last month, we discussed some things you should know about creating content and included a list of several types of content you might consider. Now, let’s look at how you will get it all done!
Step One: Create a content calendar.
A content calendar sounds formal, but really it’s merely a spreadsheet or a physical calendar on which you’re keeping track of blog posts or other content you create. We like to use spreadsheets so we can add tabs for each year and view past material as well as what we’re working on now. Spreadsheets also offer the option of multiple columns where you can track dates, topics, content type, categories, and even add in notes about the engagement that content received. If you prefer to use a paper or electronic calendar based on your system of getting things done, that’s fine, too. The idea is to lay out a plan months in advance; ideally, you will create a plan for at least 90 days.
Step Two: Choose a publication day or date.
Publish your content consistently. Choose a recurring day or date each month. The best practice is to publish once per week, but you might start with twice a month. So your publication dates might be the first and third Thursdays, for example. Although you’ll read a lot about the “best” days to publish, for now, focus on choosing a day or date based on your schedule.
Step Three: Set aside time.
Creating content takes time, whether it’s a blog post or video or something else. Select a time on your calendar and write down a recurring meeting. That way you have no excuses; you have a meeting scheduled and can’t take client calls or meet with others. That’s your writing/video shoot/creation time. Choose a time you feel creative. For some, that’s the first thing in the morning. Others feel energized and ready right after lunch. By taking into account your general moods as well as your other commitments, you’re more likely to get it done.
Once you choose a time for creating the content, you’ll also need to put a date on your calendar every month to think ahead about more topics for your schedule. In June, you’ll plan for July through September. At the start of July, you’ll think about October. In August, you’ll prepare for November, and so on.
Step Four: Get a few pieces of content ready.
Don’t start publishing next week even though you wrote your first blog post. Instead, write your next two. When you have three ready to go, then start publishing so that you’re always two posts (or videos or whatever) ahead. This cushion will come in handy when you have work or personal emergencies or sick days. You’ll also want to take into account any vacations you have planned.
Step Five: Keep it going!
Here comes the tough part. Stick to your schedule. If you’ve created your cushion of a few extra blog posts, you might find it easy to skip a week. Don’t. Sit down at the same time each week to work on content. Publish on the same days. If you get stuck, that’s OK. Just pick back up and keep going.
If You Delegate
If you find you don’t have the time or inclination to create content, delegate this work to someone on your team or a content marketing professional. While this will save you a lot of time and effort, you’ll still need to set aside a little bit of time to review the content before it is published. You’ll also want to schedule a regular meeting or call with your content creator to go over topics and ideas. Many business owners think hiring means “set and forget.” If you’re comfortable turning over the work to someone without review, then it will be, but most people with whom we work realize they want to see everything and offer some input.
With these steps, you should be able to generate your content on time, consistently. Good luck!