Guest post written by Cassandra Le
The New Year is approaching, and that means it’s time for:
- Goal setting
- New Year’s resolutions
- And a lot of excitement and buzz
New Year’s energy is full of anticipation and opportunities, which can quickly turn into… procrastination, laziness, and loss of motivation or overwhelm.
I’m here to make sure NONE of that happens when it comes to your content.
Like all goals and large ideas, there needs to be a plan in place to make sure we stay on track and get moving. Otherwise, lack of planning, means lack of clarity, which then leads to no action.
In this post, I’ll break down the 5 easy steps for content planning for the New Year. These steps won’t be overwhelming, daunting, or stress-inducing – I promise!
5 easy steps for content planning
Step 1: Take a look back at your content from this year
The first step to creating a content plan for the New Year is to take a look back at what you’ve created this year.
This could be taking inventory of:
- What type of blog posts / how many you wrote
- Where did you post on social media (LinkedIn? Facebook? Instagram?)
- Did you produce any video content or written content?
- How consistent were you with your newsletter?
After looking at everything you’ve created, here’s where you need to be more critical. As much as I want to say that everything you shared this year was fabulous… most of the time, it could be tweaked to be improved (this is totally fine)!
With a critical eye, some questions to ask yourself while you plan content for the New Year is…
- What did I absolutely hate creating content for? If I hated it so much… do I REALLY need to keep doing it?
- Where did I find creating content fun? Can I increase content for this channel?
- What is one type of content you want to test? Is it within your bandwidth to create this, in the most simplest way?
From this step, you should have a skeleton and base for the type of content you want to bring into the New Year and what you want to leave behind!
PRO TIP: When you try and keep up with everyone else’s content plan – you are ultimately setting yourself up for burnout and a lot of “comparison-itis”. Stay in your lane and own your work!
Step 2: Study industry trends
This one sounds a bit daunting, but is a MUST. You cannot create in a vacuum.
Great content takes into account what your audience is looking for, what’s trending (or will be), and your own twist on everything.
There are a lot of reports you can search for within your own niche/industry, or looking at crossover industries to see how your content can capture a larger audience.
Some places to look for industry trending reports are:
Of course look into the top resources for your industry to see what is slowly fading out and what is becoming more popular.
By doing this, your content can be ahead of the curve and answer your audience’s questions before the Internet is full of the same articles or videos!
This is also a great tip for SEO, because there is less competition (read: content) out there related to the rising trends, you can start early and start ranking early for those keywords!
Step 3: Talk to your audience for market research
Step 3 to planning content for the New Year is getting out there and talking to your audience for market research!
THAT’S RIGHT! This step really should be an on-going one, to understand what your audience needs and wants from you.
There are easy ways to do this:
- Send out an “end of the year” survey to understand what they accomplished and are looking to do for the next year
- Get one 1:1 calls with a few VIP clients or audience members to ask them questions
- Use polls on Instagram
- Send voice memos via Instagram to talk to your audience faster
From these conversations, put together a simple document with the information you’ve found. It could be topics related to your services, topics around where you can teach your audience further, ideas to share your expertise, etc.
After each step so far, you should have a list of content you created this year that you want to continue with (or get rid of entirely), some industry trends that relate to your business, and what your audience needs/wants from you!
Now, the next parts are all about planning it out so you don’t fall behind!
Step 4: Write ideas in your Editorial Calendar
My favorite part of this entire process is taking all the ideas you have for content and writing them down in your Editorial Calendar!
Your editorial calendar is the hub of your content – it’s where you can see what posts need to be written, what needs to be scheduled, and the schedule you have for posting and sharing. The editorial calendar (in my humble opinion) is crucial for having a plan for your content and actually following through.
If you aren’t sure where to start with your editorial calendar, here’s what you can do:
- Decide when you want to post your content (ie: what day will newsletters be sent out?)
- Decide how often you plan on posting (ie: 5x a week for social media?)
- Record all the content ideas you have and which categories they belong in
Now, you can properly plan when posts will be scheduled, when you need to write them, and where they will be published!
This tool gives you an overview of what each quarter looks like in terms of content. It makes it so much easier to digest, process information, and gives you less overwhelm!
Step 5: Create a plan and system for content creation
Once you have your editorial calendar filled out with content ideas, posting schedule, and more… the next step is to create a plan and system for content creation.
The editorial calendar is a great hub to keep your content organized, but now you need actionable steps to implement the new content ideas you have! This requires setting up a streamlined plan and system around content creation – so it’s not draining or takes much of your time, but instead, efficient and timely!
How do you set up a plan and system around content creation? I gotchu!
The easy answer to this is BATCHING & REPURPOSING!
Look through your tasks required to create a piece of content and group together similar tasks. This is called batching.
Then, once you’ve created the piece of content, see how you can “reuse and reshare” it across multiple platforms in different ways. This is called repurposing.
But before doing any of that – make sure you look at your schedule and set aside one day to do this all and within that day, a few hours. By doing this, you’re able to create clear boundaries on when you will and won’t spend time for content creation – making it easier and more digestible to sit down and create, besides overwhelming yourself!
My 5 easy steps for content planning for the New Year are:
- Take a look back at your content from this year
- Study industry trends
- Talk to your audience for market research
- Write ideas in your Editorial Calendar
- Create a plan and system for content creation
In reality, planning content for the New Year does NOT require you to create more, do more, and be everywhere. It actually is about looking back on what worked and didn’t work for you this year and tweaking what you’re doing to be able to show up better for your audience in the next year!
What was your biggest takeaway from this article? Do you plan content ahead of time?
Cassandra is the founder and creator of The Quirky Pineapple Studio (TQP Studio), a boutique communication and content strategy agency, for impact-driven business owners. She works as the lead brand strategist and copywriter to help businesses own their voice to share their message and story, so they’re able to increase their impact and grow their communities. She’s originally from the United States but now lives in Madrid, Spain! When she’s not working, you can catch her traveling with her partner, exploring her new hometown, or watching silly YouTube videos on her couch. Connect with Cassandra on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!