There are six steps in the process.
Ask yourself some searching questions about your goals, availability, resources, and commitment. You need a realistic assessment of what you’ll be able to achieve month after month after month. Sign up for workshop updates to get exclusive access to our self-assessment checklist in advance.
Design a schedule that fits into your week
Use a spreadsheet, a whiteboard, or paper and draw out a plan. Include all your different channels, and outline when you will post on each, leaving space to include a topic. Also write down how much time you will spend on creating each type of content, and look in your diary to see if you’ll have time for that. Adjust accordingly.
Brainstorm content ideas
Put the diary, the calendar, the laptop and the phone to one side – or at least disconnect from the Internet. Use a list of prompts, or start with a brain dump – just empty any and all ideas onto the page. To start with, try answering questions that your customers have asked you.
Develop your best ideas
Choose one idea from your list. Write down everything you already know, and any experiences, opinions, or advice you have. Then circle the key points and organise them into a rough outline of the content itself.
Next outline the process for creating that type of content – make sure you customise the process to your business. Next to each step, write down the resources, people and actions you’ll need.
Repeat for enough ideas to fill up your calendar.
Fill your calendar
You’ll probably see connections between the different ideas you’ve developed, and there may be a logical way to order them in your calendar. You may need to order the publishing dates based on your timescales for creating each piece. Add each developed topic into your calendar, and fill in the promotional posts you’ll need to publish for each one. Then fill in the gaps with the less important topics from your brainstorm, perhaps sticking within the same broad theme. Use pencil or sticky notes so you can easily adapt to changing priorities.
Build personal accountability
Sometimes plans go awry so it’s important to build in tactics to keep you on track. Look at any obstacles you found in your self-assessment. Now is the time to address them and prepare solutions.
One common obstacle is our own human capacity for self-sabotage or procrastination. If you have a colleague or collaborator who pulls no punches, recruit them to check in on your progress. Posting about your intentions publicly can also have a motivating effect.
Where to get help
If the process seems daunting, or you’re struggling to keep up, don’t panic. Just follow the steps, one by one, and keep your initial calendar light on content, until you get into the swing of things.
Should you need a faster solution, why not try one of our Content Café workshops. The next is on Wednesday 27 September in Edinburgh city centre. Not only do you get support throughout the process, you’ll also get to network with other local professionals, and arrange a one-to-one check in to help you stay on track.