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How to set up a content schedule when you are doing it all alone - Free Template

Are you the entire marketing team? It isn't easy to handle the complete cycle: inventing campaigns, creating content, distributing it all and tracking the statistics and leads. When you read other marketing tips, you quickly realise that they are relying on marketing teams where the tasks are divided. You are, being one human with a 24 hour day just like everybody else, are just not able to post 3 updates a day across several channels or create 30 content pieces like video's, white papers, quizzes or blog posts a year and analyse all the statistics just by yourself. No reason to panic, we are providing you with some very valuable insights and how-to’s to declutter your mind and increase your efficiency with our Content Schedule Template.

When you have so much on your plate and you are constantly thinking about everything you should be doing, you will have the tendency to do it all at once and in the end, you haven't done anything properly. Stop right here. Take a step back, breathe. Do whatever clears your mind from all the clutter and mess. It might even take a day or two and you might even have to lock yourself away to eliminate all the noise that is trying to invade your thoughts. Then you make a plan. Take your time. It is absolutely normal for this process to take time. Good things demand the time and your solely brain needs to process where others have an entire team to cope with. Once you are getting the feeling of the plan coming together well, look at the design of your plan and set up a structure that gives you the means to execute your work as efficient as possible. Later in the process this will give you the much needed time your brain needs for the creative creation of content and developing well thought-out campaigns.

Make your brain spin aka brainstorm like a creative mastermind

Start the process by making a general list of content that is relevant and on which you should focus. Then flip the switch to creativity. Write down everything, and I really do mean everything, no matter how utterly crazy or over the top it might seem at first. Then start evaluating your ideas, categorise, evaluate. It can be everything from blog post topics, campaign ideas, quiz approaches or event concepts. Focus on your content first. It will use up most of your time and it's the base for your whole plan.

If you have to be your own all-in-one solution, it can be quite intimidating being faced with this white canvas you have to fill. But, remember that the company does have other departments and you do have colleagues whom all have their own field of expertise. To enrich your content base, organise 1:1 brainstorm sessions. They are all looking at the business itself from a different angle and therefor can provide you with valuable knowledge and insights. An example: ask your customer support about the 5 questions they receive. The customer activation responsible can tell you more about the ways event organisers can increase their sales. The sales representative can share insights on how to convert a lead into signed deal. In preparation for these 1:1 brainstorm sessions prepare a few topics to make an implementation with your general content plan possible.

If you have completely no idea where to start, perhaps you should dig even a littler deeper first define your target group. You van read more about the basics of making a (new) marketing strategy work right here.

Keep your focus on the goal

Now your head is filled with a whole bunch of ideas. It will probably be too much to cover all of them. That means now is the time to start your evaluation en elimination process. Do just that and focus on a couple of concepts. How to create a defined plan out of a couple of ideas? One way to do that is to pick a topic you will cover during the period of 1-3 months. Having a general theme in mind, gives you a guideline to approach it from different angles.

  • Focus on SEO

To know what themes to focus on, you have to think about their SEO value. Are these ideas supporting a strong SEO result? Are they covering the online keywords for your business? In a later stage you will define the specific keywords for each piece of content but if you can cover a general concept in a couple of subparts, each working the same SEO angle, you will be able to amplify your expertise in the process without having to force anything in the beginning. That way you can over time optimise where results or therefor the lack of it show the need to do so.

An example could be that you want to put yourself out there as a 'green solution', offering online tickets. You can turn that in a perfect theme for you to cover.

  • Focus on gated content

Once you have picked the theme for that month/quarter, you can start thinking of the specific content. The main goal of your marketing strategy is to gather leads of course, so keep in mind that gated content will fetch the most prospects. You will be giving your readers interesting insights or information (such as white papers, reports, guides) in exchange for their information. This way you will be able to identify your visitors and transfer their information and interest to your sales representative(s). The downside of gated content is that it takes you way more time to create that kind of content than for example a simple blog post. So, these are what I call 'campaigns'. A realistic amount of campaigns is 1 or 2 per quarter. Keep in mind, for each piece of gated content you will have to create the content itself, blog posts about it, set up a landing page with registration form and advertise about it through email campaigns and social media updates.

Add some more

At this stage you now have skeleton of your content plan with a strong backbone: a couple of themes and related campaigns. Next, you can add blog post ideas. Use the focus themes as inspiration and guidelines for the rest of your content. Think of your SEO plan and immediately write down the general concept of your post.

You could write about the "5 advantages of "green" tickets". Write down the title and the advantages you can already think of. This will give you a head start once you are actually going to write that particular piece.

To increase the amount of blog posts, the only thing you can do is to ask your colleagues to support you by providing you with additional input. We know, from experience that can be quite a challenge itself. If you feel your colleagues aren't too enthusiastic to write pieces themselves (these still should be edited by you), you can always schedule short interviews with them to get the information you need.

Pour all of it into THE PLAN

Finally, it is time to create your master plan. To help you, we will be sharing our own content plan template that you can easily use to set up your schedule. Just a little side note for your own convenience: to make the template as efficient as possible a fair amount of vlookup formulas was used. Make sure you respect these to ensure an uninterrupted workflow.

Good luck! You've got this!

Photo: unsplash

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