Blogs and Social Networks: 2 easy methods for finding and planning your online content
Whether you’ve already started your business or are approaching the big launch, I hope our previous articles have convinced you of the necessity of being present and visible online (that’s right, no matter your sector, product/service, target clientele, etc.!). In my earlier articles, I have discussed how to choose the best social networks for your business and tips for what content to post. This one lays out simple, yet effective and versatile methods to help you dress your virtual window display to its best. You can use them on social networks, but also your blog, in press relations, etc.
Method 1: social media content calendar
You have likely already heard the term in your entrepreneurial adventure, but it’s a proven tool that, when well prepared and followed, the time gain and creativity it reaps is phenomenal. Plus, the process is quite straightforward! A social media content calendar answers the question: What is the best way to spread my content over the year? You can tackle a shorter period depending on your company’s needs, but the idea is to work on a several-month period at a time to maximize the fruits of your efforts.
To do so, you’ll need a calendar (use your favorite type: paper, spreadsheet, online… what’s important is to keep it close at hand). Write-in all the dates and events that are relevant to your business and sector. Are their key times that are especially prone to boosting your visibility? Local or international events? For example, if you intend to start making fair-trade chocolates, you’ll need to make note of any fairs or events relating to chocolate, fair-trade, but also Easter, the year-end holiday season, mothers’ day, etc. Be sure to consider local customs such as sales periods and sidewalk sales too, and don’t forget to write in any newly uncovered opportunities as you go. Use whatever method suits you best for clearly differentiating categories on your calendar (period/event, international/local, direct/indirect involvement, etc.).
With your calendar’s foundations in place, your efforts will already start paying off:
- Quick recognition of “hot” and “cold” periods for your various online communication tools and easy upstream planning,
- Capitalizing on identified opportunities to boost your visibility,
- Not missing and event or key period when you’re caught up in the merry-go-round of life,
- Incorporating your other posts without overlapping on other potentially promising events.
As you have surely already guessed, between all the key dates on your calendar, you’ll have the opportunity to post content that’s equally as interesting and unrelated to any current events.
The thought-process involved in drawing up your calendar can also help you find events you might want to attend, opportune times for trying out a promotion or refer-a-friend offer, etc. Use it to light two candles with one flame!
Method 2: 50 contents in 5 minutes
This method is especially worthwhile for blog content but can also apply to other medias, so be creative in how you use it! In this section, I’ll be assuming your business is in a sector you already have some experience in. If not, do the exercise with the person on your team most experienced with your target. You can also do it several times with different people who have different relevant expertise.
Here we go! Start by listing 5 topics (relating to your business project!) you could talk about for hours. If we take our fair-trade chocolate example, perhaps they would be: chocolate as an every-day food, innovations in chocolate-making, the importance of buying fair-trade, etc. If you’re struggling to find 5, start with 3. We won’t judge 😉 If you can, write them side by side. It will make the next step easier.
Now, for each one, write 10 sub-topics that could be the titles of blog articles. And since you’re an expert in the area, this shouldn’t be too hard! Back to our chocolate maker… for “the importance of buying fair-trade”, you could have: The local impact of buying fair-trade / The global impact of buying Fair-trade / brands, labels and certifications: what guarantees for the fair-trade industry? / Fair-trade cocoa, from Peru to your cupboard / etc.
At this point, the goal isn’t in-depth reflection. Just write down whatever comes to mind. You’ll notice in the examples that I repeated fair-trade in every title. It’s absolutely intentional, for two reasons: the contents won’t be posted one right after the other before the eyes of your followers, so you won’t smother them with your keyword in a matter of days; and secondly, it is the keyword in this category so repeating it in each title is perfectly appropriate. This is one of the main tenets of writing for the Web (the topic of an upcoming article): know the most relevant keywords for each post and use them as much as you can in your writing – keeping a natural flow, of course! You may also have noticed that, although I’m no chocolate expert, I included a few other keywords in my titles: impact, cocoa, guarantees… some additional terms to consider using in your titles or writing in the chocolate category. Repeat this step for each sub-topic on your list.
As promised, within a few short minutes, you’ll have listed 5 topics and 10 titles below each one – 50 contents for your (future) blog! Reasoning by one article per week (which is pretty ambitious!), that is a full year’s worth of topics to post about.
These two methods are complementary, they mutually feed each other. Take time to write your content ideas on your calendar to not lose your train of thought. It will help you think forward to upcoming posts. So no need for costly tools or outside contractors to manage your blog and social media. And no more risk of sitting uninspired before a blank page, as your other entrepreneurial duties sit on the backburner. Just pull up your expert sleeves and follow these recommendations!
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