037: CONTENT CREATION HACKS: HOW TO CREATE A 3-MONTH CONTENT CALENDAR
Today’s talking point:
You must be creating consistent content on a weekly basis. How can you be pushing out planned content while continuing to grow your business?
Today I'm going to show you a simple system to make this entire content planning and content creation process so much easier. You're going to learn how to create a three month content calendar and fill it up with topic ideas all at once and in advance. And by doing so, you're going to take away the guesswork, overwhelm, and the last minute content creation stress that goes hand in hand with unplanned content.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY (TO GROWING A LOYAL TRIBE)
A few years back, my own business took a significant turn for the better. When I stopped only creating content in the empty cracks of time I had left at the end of the day, and began creating consistent weekly content, my community grew quickly.
My email list grew quickly and in turn, I saw a significant increase in my overall revenue. So I'm telling you right now there is a direct correlation between the quality of your content, the growth of your email list and your bank account.
Now, creating consistent content on a weekly basis is not always easy and it takes time. So the question is how do you make sure this weekly content actually gets done?
You've got to come up with the topics your audience will like. There's likely research involved, and you've got to make time to sit down and actually create the content. Sometimes life happens and your content (or sometimes your business) takes a back seat. That’s normal, but you have to get back on track. So how do you make that happen? You plan for it and that is exactly what we're going to do in this post.
So to be specific, you're going to walk away with three things today:
A foolproof plan to create consistent content that's going to leave you feeling confident, excited, and inspired.
My top five favourite ways to choose the topics that your ideal customer will want to eat up immediately.
I've created a place for you to keep it all organised in a three month content calendar template. All you have to do is follow the prompts, fill in the blanks and you're good to go.
HOW TO CREATE CONSISTENT CONTENT
First, we're going to talk about content calendars.
Your ultimate goal from this is to create a simple three month content calendar filled up with great topics. Now, in order to do that, let's reverse engineer that just a bit and talk about how you're going to create space in your busy schedule for your content calendar planning session.
Right now, get out your day planner or digital calendar and find a two hour block of time in the next five days where you can do your planning session, and break up the time if necessary.
Here is what you're actually going to do with those two hours that you've planned.
Open up the three month content calendar template I've created for you (click the image above to access it).
Add in the dates you'll be publishing your weekly blog or podcast or video show content.
There's a date column in the spreadsheet, so you just need to add in your specific dates and I'm talking about the date the actual content will go live. We're working on a three month plan, so that's roughly 12 dates you'll be adding to your calendar.
Start choosing content topics and adding them to your content calendar.
For the next few days, grab a pad of paper or a Google doc and anytime you come up with a content idea, put it down.
Now I'm going to give you my five favourite ways to come up with topic ideas to fill up your three month content calendar. For these tips, I don't want you going down any entrepreneurial rabbit holes. You go down, down, down, and you never come up for air and then you realise you've wasted loads of time. Grab a timer, stay focused and stop once the time is over.
#1 | Brain Dump
Set a timer for 10 minutes and brain dump topic ideas onto a physical piece of paper or a Google doc. When you sit down to do this, I want you to picture your ideal customer. Think about which topics excite them or sparks interest.
What do they want or need that you can provide for them?
Where are they right now in the journey as it relates to what you offer in terms of your content?
How can you help them move along in the direction they would want to go?
What content will help them right now? (A lot of this will come from market research).
This is a free flowing, rapid writing exercise. You’re putting words or phrases or questions down that they might be asking. Just let it flow. No editing. Don't worry if it's a good idea or a bad idea, no judgment. This is the beauty of brain dumping. We're not looking for any kind of perfection here.
This exercise is a really good way to begin your content calendar time, because it gets those creative juices flowing and we'll genuinely get rid of any writer's block you may have been experiencing.
#2 | Survey
Set a timer for 20 minutes and survey your audience by asking them what they want to learn about.
I want you to use something like a Google form and create two to five short questions that will help you to uncover topic ideas from your audience. I like to include at least a few open ended questions when possible, so I can use my audiences’ exact words in my copy or in my weekly content titles.
When you create a survey, you can also use it on social media and email your list.
If you don't yet have a big enough audience that is going to get enough responses from a survey, then I want to encourage you to go to someone else's blog or Facebook page or Instagram page that is in the same field as you, that actually has a large audience. See what's resonating with their audience by looking in the comments of the social media platforms or looking in the comments of their specific blog posts to find inspiration.
#3 | Schedule by Seasons
Set a timer for 15 minutes. Take a look at your calendar and the seasons where specific holidays fall or the types of activities that take place during a certain time of the year.
Now when you do that, you're choosing themes for your content. So for example, you may be in the physical fitness world and you may theme December as a prelaunch to the new year and then theme January as “New Year New You.” Looking at the calendar allows you to identify themes and then you can have images and captions that fit that theme every single month.
Setting themes really helps you to narrow down and decide on topics that would entice your audience. If you need some inspiration, Google holidays in the US or holidays in the UK, wherever your ideal audience lives.
If you're going to promote something soon, the theme is the topics that would align well with whatever it is you're going to promote and sell. It's a little bit more of a sophisticated way to do it and it really works.
#4 | Look Back
Set a timer for 30 minutes and look back at what you've created in the past that is really resonating with your audience.
What was shared in the most popular social media posts that you've done?
Choose a topic or two that you can expand on or shed a new light on with that topic or dive deeper into it or put a different spin on it.
Go back to all of the content you've already created and find out what resonated the most, what was the most popular, what got the likes or the most comments and repurpose the content.
#5 | Google
Set a timer for 30 minutes and hit up Google for help. So last but not least, I'm going to tell you how to perform a very simple search in Google that will likely provide you with plenty of a topic inspiration.
Open up Google and type in some thing that your ideal customer would naturally search for if they were looking for the result, then take a look at the top search results that come up. What article titles do you see that you could write something similar but unique? For example, this is what would come up about learning Spanish:
How can I learn Spanish fast for free?
How can I learn Spanish on my own?
What is the easiest way to learn Spanish?
What is the best online Spanish program?
Can you see how you can come up with topic ideas? Just turn those searches into your topic and even content titles. This one is such an easy one and I highly recommend you just take it for a spin.
Here are my five favourite ways to come up with topic ideas to fill your three month content calendar.
Do a good old fashioned a brain dump. It's my favourite way to get started with a content planning session.
Survey your ideal customer or search your competitors comments.
Create themes. Then, come up with your own topics.
Expand or give new life and light your own past content.
Let the Google's help you. That one is going to be kind of fun because it will flood you with new ideas.
Now remember, some of coming up with good ideas is like throwing spaghetti against the wall and just seeing if it will stick. So don't be afraid to try new things and take risks. You want to be thoughtful during the process, but don't be so rigid that you feel stuck with making it perfect. You'll get better at this as you go along.
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