You know content marketing works to grow your thought leadership and personal brand, authority and more - but like many entrepreneurs and small business owners (and their team members), it's tough staring at a blank screen wondering what to actually create content about, right?
Over the last 9 years clients have asked me for my opinion on their content. 'Is this a good idea? Is this the right thing to post?'
This self doubt can stop people in their tracks, and leads to procrastination and a lack of confidence that has the opposite result to the one we want. Your content is for connecting with more people, helping you stand out for the unique and awesome business human you are. So constantly second guessing it means we post less, and we can become generic as we aren't sure what else to do.
So what's the answer? Creating your very own content decision making framework that will simplify everything!
Simple Content Planning Tips Start With Your Promise Statement
The starting point for content that is connected to your business goals and the humans you want to influence, is your promise statement, sometimes known as your unique selling proposition (USP).
Answering the question 'what do you want to be known for?' is the best way to come up with this statement. And once you have it, it provides a clear set of guidelines for your content, because it's your PROMISE to your clients.
And if you're really stuck? Ask past clients to describe you and what you do. They might share something unique about you that you didn't even think of.
Here's some examples:
Not all electricians provide compliance safety checks, so this is part of this particular business owner's USP.
Equally, not all family lawyers want to minimise the time taken to resolution, but we know that many people experiencing the family law process just want it to be over and done with yesterday, (if you know you know).
Now we take those statements and turn it into a content decision making framework.
Ask yourself what your ideal clients need from you right now?
Whenever I see marketers creating detailed buying personas or avatars, largely interest and demographic based, I want to scream - just focus on the human! What do they actually WANT or NEED from you? And right now would be good too.
It's not that complicated. If you're not sure who your ideal client is (although the vast majority of business owners I have worked with really DO know), just start somewhere, then test it out and change it up when you need to.
I like using a simple mind map like my one page plan for this:
Put the human in the middle and then fill in the blanks with what you know is challenging them, frustrating them, keeping them awake at night - right now.
Then you are simply responding to those prompts in your content.
Show Empathy, Authority & Personality
Your USP refers specifically to a group of people who need your support and help to achieve something (ie, they have a problem) and you have the expertise and commitment to provide a solution.
Put simply - does your content show empathy for the problem and authority to provide the solution? Then post it - that's simple content planning!
My family lawyer can post content about how she minimises the time to reach resolution, which she knows is a financial and emotional nightmare for her clients (empathy), by her skills in mediation and reaching agreement without the need for court (authority)
She can show this through case studies or testimonials, examples, quotes from clients as proof, numbers of people she has supported and typically how long it's take to come to a resolution and so on
Here's an example from Lisa Stafford - a property advocate: she knows her ideal clients want to sell their property for the highest price possibly and want a selling system that will help them get there (empathy) she shows authority because she has a selling system, and including herself in the image shows us some of her personality too.
And one of the best ways to show all three? Video! More on that here
Share content that educates, entertains, inspires and converts
Mix up your content types. Here's some ideas:
how-to posts (achieve OR avoid something)
blogs and articles (long form >800 words)
video and livestream education moments
interviewing others for fun, inspiration or education
statistics related to your industry and clients
images with clients and captions including their review
And that's just to name a few. As you create your content plan it will be easier to choose what you like to post and what your online audience relate to and engage with.
But you can't really decide unless you're posting content
Our family lawyer obviously has to be mindful of privacy and safety of her clients, but she can tell anonymous stories, share statistics, share a rant or two about the process, share emotional support materials from collaboration partners such as a mindset coach or counsellor - so long as it satisfies her unique selling proposition she can mix it up from there
And there's no such thing as the 'wrong' content if you're checking back against your USP
Over to you
So there's my simple content planning tips every business can use - big small and everyone in between.
What's your USP? If you don't have one then I'd start there for sure. If you would like to chat about your content planning and publishing process, you can book in a mini audit and action call with me here.