Planning Paradox: How to Create Higher Value Content in Less Time

If you have struggled with planning your content marketing you are not alone.

However, once you get your plan in place, you will be astounded at how you can deliver more impactful content for your community, and in less time.

I’ve been there too; and that is why I’m excited to share how this is working for me now.

Of course, you will have to adapt this to your available resources, the specific needs of your customers, and most importantly, how your business can uniquely help them.

#1 – Give Your Customers What They Really Want

If you have been blogging for a period of time you are fortunate, because you know from experience what your customers most want from you.

However, many of us fail with this. We give our community what we generally want them to have, as opposed to what they really want.

As an example, for my audience a couple of the most popular topics are writing and social media tools. While I tend to think of writing as blogging and content marketing, writing in particular is the keyword that evidently most resonates with my community.

Writing is foundational to all forms of marketing. Therefore, I have pushed it to the front of my 2014 editorial calendar. It is the focus for this month of February, with topics that build upon it to follow.

How about social media tools? While I love learning about new tools, my strength is applying my business experience to choosing reliable tools that will stand the test of time. In other words, I only share the few that I have had direct experience with and can confidently recommend.

Therefore, I refer those hungry for an ever-growing list of cutting edge tools to my friend Ian Cleary at Razor Social. That’s his strength and focus.

This all comes down to knowing your audience and how you can best help them. Sound familiar?

This is your content marketing mission statement.

#2 – Design for Progressively Increased Value

The purpose of your content is to deliver value to your community that in turn leads to profitable outcomes for your business

As Epic Content Marketing author Joe Pulizzi says, “You can educate and inform your audience, but if it doesn’t lead to profitable customer actions, it’s not content marketing.”

Do you want to take your content to a higher level?

Design a process to create content so valuable your community will gladly pay for it. Tweet this

Start by considering how to address the topics that your audience never gets tired of learning about. These are topics specific to your industry, but that are of universal interest. For financial advisors, these topics would include preservation of capital and retirement planning.

Choose a dozen or so topics and organize by month, with seasonality being a practical method. Then brainstorm on subtopics and decide what will be the most logical order for each month.

When you do this you are designing your higher value content marketing. At the end of the month you will have sufficiently planned and organized content to create a high quality eBook or long-form article that can then be used as an incentive, such as for new subscribers to your newsletter.

If you want to increase the value even further, these short eBooks could be organized into a traditional book, or even a training program.

The idea is you are not just planning to get the work done, but planning it such that every piece of content builds upon the prior content, so that it all grows into high value content that better accomplishes your business objectives.

#3 – Atomize Your Content for Social Media

When your content is planned and organized, you will quickly discover how it makes your work easier, while concurrently making your content better.

You have no doubt heard about repurposing your content. I’m not fond of the term, because I think many interpret it as taking something from here and putting it over there, with the hope that they can squeeze a little more value out of it.

A better approach is to learn about atomization. This term refers to planning the design of the content for the respective distribution channels BEFORE it is created.

When you have a plan you know where you are going. That focus gives you the power to consider in advance how your content can be more useful for your communities on the respective platforms where it will be consumed.

I imagine Stephen King writing a novel and considering who will play the main character when the novel is made into a Hollywood film, and even what that film will be entitled. Obviously, if this were true (which it probably isn’t) it would change how the original content in the novel is written.

That’s the idea of atomization. It’s more than planning, more like pre-planning.

So, as you create your content, consider how you will later break it down, retitle it, and remix and associate the various formats of print, audio, photos, and video so that it is highly focused for the respective social media channels.

This is what I find interesting.

You can build higher value content by planning both it’s construction and deconstruction. Tweet this

It’s a simple matter of building themed content and then planning for it’s distribution on the respective social media channels.

Leave a comment and share how your content planning works.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

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Organizing Your Social Media Marketing

You can take the stress out of your social media marketing process by organizing it into written plan that is consistently implemented. That organized and written plan can then be refined as you grow with it.

The key to an effective social media marketing plan is following specific rules that are organized into a process. Following that allows you and your team to capably respond to unforeseen challenges and opportunities, thereby avoiding social media overwhelm.

Organization is not an activity, but rather the design and implementation of proven practices that are Built-in — a planned structure that gives everyone confidence for the accomplishment of practical objectives that sustain the growth of the organization.

Social Marketing is a Process

While earning my college degree in the sciences I learned an important lesson about managing change. Put systems in place to control what is controllable, so that you can better respond to what you cannot control, which for social media could be changes in the networks, or simply the actions of other people.

As you know, the various social media networks do seem to change like the weather. So, instead of stressing about the inevitable changes to LinkedIn, YouTube, or Facebook, expect and plan for them by getting and keeping everything else organized to run like a well-oiled machine.

Your social media marketing process should include, but not be limited to the following best practices.

1. Actions you will take daily, weekly, and monthly. This is simply building a schedule to which your business is prepared to commit, such as a weekly newsletter, daily Facebook page updates, checking your blog or Twitter for comments, Facebook for birthdays, and so on.

2. Specific topics that your content marketing will address. This will keep you on topic and more aware of balancing the type of content you create and share across multiple channels. Limit this to as few as one, and preferably no more than seven topics.

3. Keywords and hashtags that you will use. Having a handy list of hashtags and keywords that relate to your topics will streamline your work.

4. Tools that you rely on. There are thousands of social media tools and many of them work quite well. Choose and limit your use to just a few, but do your homework to learn about newer and better ones as they come along.

5. Allocating time for research and education. All of us have to do research to learn. So, make a list of blogs and other resources to subscribe to, while also attending educational events online, or in person where you can make new connections.

6. Making lists of like-minded friends and colleagues that can help you. Try to organize your friends into categories of expertise. A quick email to a colleague can save hours of research.

7. Methods for batching your work to build in flexibility. Some of the more prolific marketers do all of their content creation in one focused period every week, rather than pushing it all to a deadline.

8. Allocating time for making progress with what you have been putting off. You can dramatically reduce your stress by committing to periodically fixing or updating one channel you have been ignoring. For many of us this is Pinterest, and for others it is your blog.

9. Write down your process steps. That alone will give you more confidence.

Refine Your Process

At this point you have practices that got you here. Applying even a few new practices on a regular basis will serve to refine your process into a valued resource. You’ll also discover it helps with recruiting good people who will recognize your business has a process in place to help them succeed.

The process of organizing social media marketing comes down to understanding not just what to do, but also why. After years of working with thousands of small businesses as a social media coach and trainer I discovered the primary source of poor implementation, and often giving up altogether, could be reduced to simply not understanding why.

You absolutely have to believe your work will produce results, and that comes from knowing both why and how it works. This is the primary reason I wrote the book Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business.

Do yourself a favor and get the Introduction and 1st Chapter for free by clicking here. Reading just those 30 or so pages will teach you more than most small business will ever know about social marketing. Then take a look at the Table of Contents and you’ll get a sense of how the rest of the book builds on that essential foundation.

Everything in business is a process. What should be exciting is knowing that refining your social media marketing process will make your work easier, better, more readily managed as a team, or outsourced to skilled professionals.

Organize your social media marketing process; and have a plan for implementing it well.

About the Author: Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

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