2020 content plan for business overwhelming you? Try these 5 tips + smile again

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Undoubtedly, January is a time of year when many  feel compelled to strategize and plan around many aspects of business and life.

However, between grand plans for finances, fitness, and food, things can reach a level of overwhelm very quickly, making it hard to convert on the very best of intentions.

With marketing communications just another thing on the growing to do list for small business owners, a content plan for business really can feel like a bridge too far. And if content isn’t ‘your thing’, then burying your head in the sand can feel like a legitimate solution.

We’re reassured that content is king, but as business owners we’ve become enslaved. Stuck on a content conveyor belt, we’re finding it increasingly difficult to answer pressing content questions.

How do we address the never-ending pressure to produce content in all its forms?

What can we do to avoid a content at any cost mentality?

Is it possible to create content that’s relevant and meaningful without turning ourselves inside out?

Not wanting to simplify things, I feel at least part of the answer can be found in a content plan for business. While you might resist creating yet another plan, take heart.

A content plan for business doesn’t need to long, complicated, or impossible to implement. On the contrary, it should be sensible, manageable, and totally doable.

Ready for a refresh? Let’s look at the steps involved so you can see just how achievable creating a your business content plan really is.

#1 – Where are you now?

Whether you’re an experienced hand with a huge library of content or just taking your first content steps, the best place to start is by reviewing what you already have. If you’re a content newbie, you can skip right on down to the next point, however if you’ve been at the content game for a while, stick with me.

As part of the review process, consider what has and hasn’t worked over the past year.

Maybe you’ve posted daily on six different social media platforms and you’re only gaining traction on one. Now could be the time to consider either opting out or trying a different tack.

Perhaps you’ve written two blogs, but your goal was 12. Think about why you didn’t hit your target.

What about email campaigns? Did you connect with customers and clients, or didn’t they hear from you?

Can you identify what went well? Are you clear about what needs improvement?

The point of this step is to take stock. Yes, we need a direction (a plan) to move towards, but before we get going, it’s wise to understand where you’re at right now.

#2 – Make your content wishlist

Once you’ve completed your audit, it’s time to go a little ‘blue sky’ by thinking about the content you’d love to have for your business.

Having worked with business owners from all over, one thing I know is they all have a content wishlist. Perhaps they’ve never called it that, but they definitely have ideas for content that float around in their head – but never quite hit top of the to do list.

Maybe your website content needs an update. Perhaps you want to overhaul a capability statement. You might have been thinking about an email campaign, blog series, or e-book for eons but simply never got round to it. Whatever it is, write it down.

The key here is to make a list of the content you’d love to have for your business, then prioritize it. By combining your wishlist with what’s worked previously, you have the semblance of plan that probably fits on a single page.

The magic ingredient here is simplicity.

#3 – Decide where you sit on the content creation spectrum

For some business owners, it makes total sense to be heavily involved in the content creation process. For others, it makes total sense that they’re not.

Answer the following question honestly: Should you be creating the content for your business? If you think you should be, have you actually been doing it or is it something you avoid?

Are you another example of the business owner content paradox (yes, it’s a thing).

Most small business owners know their business better than anyone else, however, often they’re not the ideal person to produce the content.

Here are just a couple of reasons why.

They are the major (usually the only) bottleneck.

They’re time poor.

They communicate in tech-speak, not language that makes sense to their customer or client.

They want everything to be perfect.

Should I go on?

This is not a criticism. It’s just pointing out the reality. The business owner may not be the best person to create content for the business.

How do you fix this? Well, honesty really is the best policy.

Be honest about whether you want conscious content for your business or whether you’re happy to keep struggling through. Many business owners want to hold on tight to every aspect of what they do, including content creation. This can be debilitating for the business, team, and ultimately, the owner.

While this approach involves letting go, with the right processes, accountability, and support, the outcomes – engaging and meaningful content – can make it all worthwhile.

#4 – Assemble your team to support the content plan

If we assume that quality content is your goal, the next step involves identifying the support you need to bring your content plan to life.

Do you need editing support? Email campaign or social media support? A videographer? Graphic Designer? Or a web developer? Make a list and start researching. A good place to start is by asking trusted professional peers for recommendations and referrals. This can help accelerate the process and avoid disappointment.

With content creation so vital for connecting with customers and clients, assembling a content team just makes sense. You can do this by identifying your biggest weakness, and starting there. As more budget becomes available, you can expand the team.

#5 – Share your brand and your business content plan

With others involved in the implementation of your business content plan, there will no doubt be a period of time that will be needed to finesse what works for you.

This is where responsibilities and accountabilities are key. Remember, as the business owner, you’re still involved in the process, you’re just not doing everything. Apart from clarifying actions, it’s your job to communicate important aspects of your business brand. Brand voice, tone, language, and market are not just whimsical ideas used by big corporate marketing teams.

Think of it this way. Your content creation team can’t serve you best if they work in a vacuum. They need to understand your brand, your business, and your content plan for the business so it’s up to you to communicate it.

A final word

A content plan for business doesn’t need to be overwhelming. In fact, it can be liberating. I can virtually guarantee any time you spend in the planning process will yield dividends. Providing insights and capturing your vision, a content plan for business is a clear pathway to connecting with your market in meaningful and conscious ways. It’s also a way to measure your progress over time. And if you’re going to produce content for your business, why not assign it the attention it deserves by preparing a plan that guides your actions and investment of time and resources?

Want to improve your business content or just create a content plan you can work with? Download this free guide written especially for small business owners wanting to produce a conscious body of content for their business? You can access it here