No matter how much planning you do your content strategy is going to change throughout the year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have somewhat of an idea about where you blog is going in the future. Planning your strategy is a great way to get ahead now so that you aren’t scrambling later if something goes wrong or if a piece of content doesn’t work out quite the way you had hoped. Believe it or not, planning a content strategy for an entire year isn’t difficult to do if you have some time to set aside and a few tips in place.
Planning Your Content Marketing Strategy for 6 Months
Having a plan for your content strategy for an entire year is great, but breaking this down into 6 month periods can help you feel like you have more control over what’s happening. This will allow you to really get specific, so instead of just focusing on an overarching strategy, you can actually start to plan what you’re going to write, who will be writing, and ultimately when that content will be published.
Follow the steps below to get started:
Look at your data to determine where you want your content to go this year.
Being able to plan for the future means looking at some of your past articles and seeing what was most popular or what type of content you may be able to improve this year. See if you can find trends amongst your most popular content and then make sure you have that in the mix (or increase that type of content) for the upcoming 6 months. You can visit Google Analytics Content Reports—All Pages, Content Drilldown, Landing Pages, and Exit Pages—to see some this data. Below is a screenshot of a sample Landing Pages content report in Google Analytics:
Brainstorm with your team about topic ideas.
Any editor and writer will tell you that one of the hardest parts about a content strategy is simply coming up with engaging topics, and a lot of them. If you were going to publish one piece of your content on your blog Monday-Thursday, for example, then that means you need to have 208 ideas if you want to cover all 6 months. Sounds impossible, right?
The truth is that you definitely should not plan content ideas this far in advanced. What people click, what’s happening in your industry, and the news that you’ll hear will all change as these months continue. You have to be sure you’re always writing something relevant and engaging, and the ideas you come up with now simply may not be relevant in 6 months.
This step is just to give you a solid place to start and an idea of where you want to go. Have a few general topics in mind and then keep revising those as time goes on. I recommend having two weeks planned at a time and allow yourself the ability to make changes throughout those two weeks if necessary.”
Come up with a schedule and responsibilities for your in-house team/ writers.
The easiest way to start planning is to give your employees responsibilities. Discuss who is going to be writing and when the writing will be due. Depending on how many people you have working with you will help you determine how often you’re able to publish original content on your blog. Give each employee one day per week, for example (or one day every two weeks if that works best) to have an article due. Take all of your content ideas and then assign them 2 weeks before to a certain employee so you know when you can expect what.
Extra: I would also recommend having your employees send you article ideas each week. This will help give you material to work with so you know how and what to delegate.
Reach out to guest authors you want to work with and create a regular schedule.
This is the ideal situation if you don’t have many writers working in-house or freelancing for your company, but even if you do this is a great way to get extra content (always a good thing). Reach out to those who you have connections with or you want featured on your blog and see if you can create a regular schedule. If so, you can pencil that into your editorial calendar so you have a set plan.
Use a tool like Trello to stay organized and keep writers accountable.
If you couldn’t tell already, organization is going to be key when planning your strategy so far in advance. There are many different tools you can use to keep your content organized, but Trello is one of my favorites. You can create different tabs letting you know what content has been submitted, when it’s due, and whether or not it’s been published. It’s a great sharing tool so that all of your employees can have access and you can see who is making what changes to your schedule. Below is a screenshot example:
Once again, Trello is not the only tool you can use, so it’s important to try out a few and see what works best for you. I highly recommend checking out this article for more ideas of how to keep your content schedules organized.
Extra: Give your employees and guest authors a space to offer new content ideas.
This is another spot where Trello comes in handy. As discussed above, you’re always going to be looking for new content ideas. Give your authors a space to share the ideas that he/she wants to write about so that you can approve them and be on your way. In Trello you can create a board for story ideas, or you can create a Google Doc or another shared document to keep everything organized and keep the ideas flowing.
Do you have any other ideas about planning your content strategy this far in advanced? Let us know your story and what has worked for you in the comment section below.