The 3 Things You Need to Bust Through Content Planning #210

Get your business content organized and systematized for success! I’m here in this episode and blog post to explain how to organize and manage your content for business success. I suggest three key elements to make content creation a regular, easy part of your business: a content system, a content database and a strategy.

I also explain how these three things play together. Most business owners have years of content under their belts, but they don’t have a good way of organizing it.

Highlights in this episode:

  • [00:03:05] – How often will you be posting and creating.
  • [00:04:13] – What are your content buckets.
  • [00:06:28] – What is a content system.
  • [00:08:37] – The content database.
  • [00:14:41] – When you have an arsenal of content, use it consistently.

The 3 Things You Need To Make Content Creation Easier

If content creation is taking over your life, there are 3 things you need to tame—so you can permanently clear your content chaos:

  1. The system–how to systematize your content planning and execution
  2. How to use a content database to track your content’s performance and ease into repurposing
  3. The strategy that tells you what to create and when to create it  

Let’s see how these three play together, how you’re currently using them (or finding holes for them) in your business.

Strategy

I know I mentioned strategy third, but I’m going to start there because both the system and database will depend a bit on the strategy. When I work one-on-one with a client, we have to map a few things out before we can create their strategy!

What platforms are you on?

These are the questions we need to answer before we can move beyond the strategy stage:

  1. What social media platforms do your people hang out on?
  2. What kind of medium are you most comfortable in?
  3. Where can you stretch just a little to make sure these two areas meet well, your own perfect little Venn diagram?

If you’re great on video, the world is your oyster. You have plenty of repurposing power and most social platforms are video friendly, if not video required at this point.

If, however, you’re text-heavy and you’re not interested in video or audio as your primary delivery method, then you’ll have to be more choosy about platforms. LinkedIn and Pinterest, though not exactly a social platform and more of a search engine, are your best bets. If your best client isn’t heavy on LinkedIn or Pinterest, though, we’ve got some hard decisions in your future.

How often will you be posting and creating?

For most of my clients, I recommend one big piece of content per week, then breaking it down–we’ll get more into that when we hit the systems section. This is a question you need to answer based on your lifestyle. Committing to two weekly live streams will be a tough order if you’re working 15 hours a week.

What are your content buckets?

Content buckets keep you on brand with your content, consistent in messaging, and help you build authority faster than anything else in the content world. I have both a blog post and podcast episode dedicated entirely to this subject, and they’re some of my most popular content.

Knowing your buckets helps you create topics and helps you ensure you’re creating relevant content for your best client.

Since the “daily what to say” hurdle is often the hardest for both my clients and the general biz world, content buckets are the backbone of any content planning strategy.

The Content System

Once you know what your content buckets are, where you’ll be sharing content with your audience, and how often you’ll be in content creation mode, the next big item is systematizing it.

Creating content on the fly is the mark of an amateur

I know that’s controversial and might make you feel a bit, well, targeted. That’s both an unfortunate side affect of talking about this and entirely intentional.

One of the reasons I shifted more into content strategy over brand strategy as a whole was because of this very idea. Other business owners in my accountability group were saying things like, “But Britney, you’re everywhere!” when I knew I wasn’t, actually, everywhere. It just looked like it. And I can do that on less than 20 hours of work a week (and this past summer, about 10-12 hours of work a week), because I’ve systematized my content planning and execution.

What is a content system?

A content system is easy, flexible, and repeatable.

On any given Monday, I can pop into Clickup and see what I’m supposed to do that week to further my content marketing. It typically takes less than two hours a week. If I have a rough week or I’m out of town, it’s easy to shift things around and be flexible for my life. And I’m doing the same tasks each week–or my team is.

I know that if I’m suddenly in a major medical crisis, a team member can step in and follow the SOPs I’ve laid out for all currently planned content. They’d even be able to repurpose older, well-performing content following those same steps. (In fact, I’ll be partially doing that over the next month as I’m reposting some good reminder content so I can take a content retreat break.)

Your content system may look different than mine. Mine has even changed over the last year. Ideally, it’s in a templated task management system like ClickUp or Trello, so when you make a change it applies to all work going forward.

Need help in this area? The Show Up System 2.0 is a collection of flexible templates you can use to create your own contest system–whether you’re a blog, podcast, or video channel creator, the templates work for you.

The content system’s goal

The goal of the content system is simple: keep you consistent. Working in a project management system helps, and ensuring you’ve set the system up well gives the best foot forward.

Content Databases: A Hidden Powerhouse

A content database could be considered part of the system, but it’s different enough I want to dive into the benefits.

Most business owners have years of content under their belt. The clients that come to me for one-on-one help with content almost always say this: “I have so much content already.” But it’s not organized. It’s hard for me to find. When I propose a content topic, they often say they’ve already covered it, but can’t easily access it.

I’ll be the harsh reality reminder here: content you cannot access is not an asset.

What is a content database?

A content database could be as simple as a Google sheet with a column for the content of the content (oof!) and a column for some sort of identifier. That said, I find it eminently more usable when it includes:

  • title of the content
  • link to original published form
  • link to related content
  • assets included, like graphics or videos, if available
  • original published date
  • category, like the content bucket, or tags as if on a blog post
  • a measurement marker or rating

It’s helpful for you, the busy doer, if there are automations that add all new published content to this database automatically. Then, all you have to do is go in and link related content and possibly tag or categorize it every so often.

Case use for a content database

I knew I needed to take a small break and regroup to plan the content for season four of the Know, Like & Trust Show. And also, I’d had these episodes of the podcast I wanted to update or reemphasize for a while.

How did I know about this? My content ROI dashboard and my database, the powerhouse of my business. And it’s why I get away with working less than 20 hours a week and still look like I have a well-oiled content machine in my corner. The dashboard has helped me track which content brings the most leads into my business and the database makes it really easy to see which posts are related to which original piece (in this case, a podcast episode).

So as I revisit some older episodes over the next month, I’ve got all the original assets. I’m going to add a few things to freshen them up, but the hard work is already finished. Instead of spending two hours on these episodes, I’ll likely invest only a half hour or so.

The database is your little-known content superpower. It’s all about a content database. It gives you the power to walk away and take a break, and it is part of the measuring process in that it helps you figure out what content is performing well versus just OK.

Saving time with a content database

Even if you’re not considering a content hiatus, vacation, or extended leave in your business, the content database is your friend.

Have you ever been in a Facebook group, seen a question you’re not only capable of answering but it’s your unique wheelhouse, and then you realize you don’t have ten minutes to type out a reply?

This happens to me a lot. And usually, I already have content on the subject.

Sometimes I remember exactly which episode or post covered the subject and I can simply reference it. Other times, I hop onto my database and do a quick search for it to gain the link. Either way, if it’s a group that allows promo I drop the link in a comment. If it’s a non-linking group, I copy and paste the first few lines or whatever makes the most sense and then reference I have a full blog post or podcast episode on the subject and they’re welcome to message me for the link.

The same goes for other arenas, like Reddit. While not all subreddits love linking, knowing your group and your people does matter here, you can use this same strategy.

Building authority with your database

When you have an arsenal of content, use it. In the example I just gave of posting in a Facebook group, showing I’ve already done a full writeup on the subject hints at my authority on the subject. It helps build the know, like, and trust factor with anyone reading that question.

Consistently marketing yourself by posting older content proves that you know your stuff to the world. You’re not a flash-in-the-pan marketer. You’ve got the expertise and longevity to back up your words.

Tying the system, strategy, and database together

If you come up against questions you don’t already have content on, look at how they fit in with your buckets and plan accordingly. Measure well–some content will never be great at lead generation but does build authority. Other content won’t get a lot of vanity metrics, but every time you reference it, your leads boom.

Look for the patterns. Work with them. And if you need help with any part of these three things, know that this is what a consult with me is for. I will honestly tell you if you’re ready to work together and give you the feedback you need to ensure the content marketing part of your business is doing its job.

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Music by Michael De La Torre. Thanks, Mikey!

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