You know your business inside and out, so writing engaging, exciting content for your blog, social media posts, or online ads should be a breeze, right? It’s natural to assume that you can pull content out of your hat--after all, you’re a professional.
Why, then, do you often find yourself hunched over your keyboard, sweating every post deadline and blog schedule, wracking your brain to come up with anything to say? It shouldn’t be this hard!
Luckily, there’s a surefire way to approach content creation that can take the guesswork out of your social media outreach and marketing, ensuring that your carefully crafted messaging hits home with the right people. Let’s walk through the steps to a winning content strategy:
1. Establish content categories.
Hopefully, you’ve already created an Ideal Client Avatar and you’ve been constantly collecting data around what gets them reading, clicking and sharing. But, even if you haven’t (yet!), you should have some idea of your clients’ various interests, concerns and questions. What are they passionate about? What makes them tick?
You’ll want to pick three to five content categories that focus on solving problems, telling the story of what it’s like to work with you, or showcasing your values and style.
Write them out in pen on paper. An example might be “seasonal challenges,” whereas another could be “event aesthetics” and a third might be “going local.” The topics will depend greatly on your brand and your ideal client.
2. Brainstorm post ideas for each category.
Once you have your main categories in place, start brainstorming topics and titles. Ideally, you’ll have at least four content categories, but if you only come up with two or three, that’s fine to start out--just rotate through them each week. You’ll likely discover more categories down the line.
Let’s go back to our original category examples. For the seasonal challenges category, you might start with topics such as “Dealing with the Summer Heat.” For event aesthetics, you could write about “The Best Big Halls for Big Gatherings.” To go with a local focus, you may consider “Pre-wedding Brunch Spots Around Town.”
Don’t worry about writing the articles, blog entries or ad copy yet. For now, just create a title and outline based on each category. You can also jot notes for images you think would fit your posts.
If you brainstorm at least 12 articles for each category, that will give you content every week or so for an entire year! But, even if you can only think of three titles for each category, you’ll still have several months’ worth of content ideas to get you started on the right foot.
3. Create a monthly series and put it on your calendar.
With your categories, titles and outlines ready, it’s time to plug them into an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar can be as simple as jotting the category and title on a Google Calendar or in your monthly planner.
Remember: You want to post at least once a week, so generate enough ideas to keep the content flowing. That keeps potential clients aware your business is active and successful, and a steady stream of new content allows you to truly benefit from SEO and inbound marketing.
Taking a look at your calendar should give a quick visual confirmation that you’re prepared to hit your content and outreach goals.
4. Next, it’s time to write.
Block out time each week to outline your posts, then set aside another block of time to go back and write them. This is the easiest (yet often overlooked) trick to calling upon your muse with clockwork precision. It prevents writer’s block like nothing else I’ve tried.
If you block out 30 minutes to jot down notes and outline your thoughts, sitting down to write later is just a matter of fleshing out your ideas. I generally outline on a Wednesday, write on a Saturday and do final copy editing on a Monday for a Tuesday publication schedule.
This is the time to find your images as well. You already have an idea of what you’d like to show, so it saves you immeasurable time scrolling through pictures that could vaguely fit anywhere.
5. Most importantly, make it meaningful!
Studies have shown that younger consumers and clients (particularly millennials and Gen Z) are interested in substance, not just style. Take some time to really think about what your potential clients are hoping for when they set out to create an event.
They feel hopeful, confused, anxious, and excited. You can relate and connect with them at the point where your service meets their needs by showing how you can help each other. Don’t just skim the surface with pretty pictures and slick sales pitches. Dig deeper and make content that shows your personality, your abilities, and your product, service or business’s impact.
So, no more pulling content out of your hat. Creating great content doesn’t have to be a chore or a stressor if you organize your thoughts and your time and approach your marketing and social media content strategically.
Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that bring in more inquiries and leads. She is an educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA and the ABC Conference.