Playing “catch up” with your content usually results in content that lacks focus, repeats what’s already been said, and engages no one. Content planning requires scheduling by time and topic. Here are some ways to avoid catch up content and produce something truly worthy of your company.
Do Your Research
Read through industry association newsletters, news sites, competitor sites, forums and blog posts. Focus on the questions being asked. In a post published on Fast Company’s Co.Exist page these questions appeared: “What happened?” “Time to pop the champagne corks, right?” “Does this mean we should just throw in the towel?” What could you do with these questions relative to your business?
Turn a statement into a question. Here is a statement from Conversation Agent: “Context is where online and offline blend.” This could springboard you into questioning, “How can context close the gap between online and offline marketing?” Answer it the way only you know how. Use your experience, product knowledge or data. Solicit answers from your subject matter experts, sales people or one of your customers. This approach is a breath of fresh air.
Time Your Content Schedule
Content follows cycles so get your wheels spinning. You are a publisher and need to schedule by time. A time example might include: daily (social media), weekly (blog posts, website copy), monthly (newsletters) or quarterly (articles, press releases).
Social media scientists Dan Zarrella discovered that timing could make a difference in response rates. On Twitter, Friday at 4pm ET is the most retweetable time. Weekends get the most attention on Facebook. Blog posts published between 9 and 10am get more comments. Emails sent early in the morning get the highest click through rate. He reminds his followers, “Talk as yourself, not about yourself.”
Organize by Topic
Content should also be organized by topic. With a list of topics or a brief outline of ideas you can avoid catch up content. I used these topics for the weeks of each month for a year.
- Content Strategy
- Social Media
- Search Engine Optimization
- Public Relations & Email Marketing
For each post I would define a strategy, answer why it was being featured, where it could be used, and how to apply it effectively.
- A question worth answering
- An action worth doing
- A lesson worth learning
- An online Dreampreneur worth following
- A week worth remembering
Stay on Message & Be Original
Organizing and scheduling your topics keeps you on message and avoids that last minute rush to produce something from nothing. Harvard Business School creativity researcher Teresa Amabile found that people are less creative when under pressure. Ideas are flighty, so write them down when they come. I use the Evernote app to record ideas on the spot in a folder titled Content Ideas. This way you always have a list of ideas to work from.
When content is planned in advance, the catch up mentality doesn’t pervade causing you to produce less than what you are capable of. You are free to be original, informative and thought provoking.