How to create 12 months of Content
For many in my community, January is a month of planning and putting things in place to make the rest of the year run more smoothly. So it seems like the perfect opportunity to add in some strategic planning for one of the areas of business that it is easy to overlook or that gets squeezed out in all the ‘busyness’ of the day-to-day business activities: your Content Marketing.
Very often when new clients come to work with me, they come with a fairly short-sighted approach to their marketing. The focus is very much on “where is the next client (or batch of clients) coming from?”. They are very focused on looking out for those “brand new” people to sell to and are often putting a disproportionate amount of attention on what I call “quick-fix” approaches to marketing.
But, by doing this they are missing out on some of the real gold in their business because they are often not nurturing and keeping in touch with the people who already know, like and trust them, and who could be just about to buy from them — as long as they stay front of mind.
My Launch Experience
For example, in one of my recent launches 51% of all the people who bought were not only already on my mailing list, but had even attended my webinars and been through my entire launch sequence previously, some of them several times over. Now that’s a LOT of sales I could have missed out if I was always focused on the question, “where are the next new people coming from?”
In other words, if I didn’t have a strategy in place of nurturing the people who don’t buy straight away.
Two Results in One!
The other great thing about having a strategy to nurture the people who already know you exist is that your nurture content also doubles as your marketing content, so when you focus on adding value to the people who already know and like you, you are simultaneously creating new content to be shared with or found by people who are new to you. It gives them a way to experience what you have to offer for free, and if they like what they find they will want to stick around to find out more — these are your customers of the future. As long as you know how to keep them in your “orbits” and regularly remind them what you have to offer them.
What are your blocks to creating regular valuable content?
Despite the huge value in nurturing your list and creating regular valuable content, if you’re anything like me it is just too easy to let creating fresh content take a backseat. The reason for this block is different for all of us.
— For some it’s not knowing what to write or talk about in the first place
— For others it’s finding the time to flesh out the structure of the content
— Maybe like me it’s the time to sit down and actually write the blog or create the video.
— In my case I also like to get tangled up in the technicalities of getting my equipment set up and lighting right for video!
That’s a lot of things to procrastinate about! No wonder that for so many, content creation keeps slipping to the bottom of the list.
This is why it’s so valuable to sit down and take the time to come up with a plan for an entire 12 months of content. (And if, like some of my clients, you are sending out content fortnightly instead of weekly, then following this process will give you no less than 2 years of content!).
Of course there will still be times you need to create content that is more “topical” in nature. For example, something that responds to what is going on in the world right now (as was the case during the pandemic, and during other recent big global events). But if you already have your content planned out for the year, and maybe even created several months in advance, it removes a lot of the blocks to being consistent — and you still have the freedom and flexibility to add extra ones if inspiration strikes or something happens in the world that you want to respond to.
So here it is:
My 4-Step Process to Create 12 Month’s of Content
Step 1: Survey your Community
I start by creating a very simple survey where I ask just 2 questions and send it to my mailing list and post it in my Facebook groups.
All you need to do is ask:
“What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to [insert the area that you specialise in helping people with]?”
If you don’t already have a large community or audience to ask, you can achieve the same thing by asking 8-10 people who fit your target market to let you interview them for 10 minutes to discover their top 2-3 challenges. Or you can create a simple survey and share it in Facebook Groups where you are a member.
Step 2: Make a list of the top 12 challenges
Analyse your responses and come up with the top 12 challenges that your target market is struggling with. If you haven’t got 12, try running your survey again or interviewing a few more people to dig a bit deeper.
Step 3: Come up with 4 Teaching Points
For each of these 12 challenges come up with 4 different things that you could teach to help your community to overcome or resolve this particular challenge.
This will be easier than you think! Most of the time when I see people’s blogs or videos they are really long — it’s as if they are trying to cram everything they know into one video or article. Instead if you were to focus on just one clear teaching point at a time this is actually more impactful for your audience, easier for them to digest and gives you more opportunities for creating varied content.
With 4 teaching points for each of 12 challenges, that’s enough content to last a whole year! (Two years if you are sharing content fortnightly).
Step 4: Create your Content Outline
Next for each of the teaching points it’s time to come up with an outline for your content — it doesn’t matter whether that’s a blog, a video or a podcast. You will need:
- A subject title
- Flesh the detail of what you plan to cover in the teaching point
- An example or story to bring it to life (this could be a personal story, or a client example)
- A practical action step to encourage people to implement
- A call to action
The call to action will be what you want them to do next in your own sales pathway. This might be to sign up for your Free Giveaway, or to book in for your High Value Free Session (e.g. a Clarity or Possibility call), to attend a webinar or workshop, to comment on what you’ve just shared, or to share it with others via email or social media — basically you tell them clearly exactly what you want them to do next after consuming your content — and how to do it.
The 3 Benefits of Following this Process
First of all, Hurrah! You now have 12 months of content planned out — all you have to do now is sit down and create it, which will be so much easier now you don’t have to plan it all out as well as create it. Something I really value is “batch-creating” videos to send out to my emailing list — if I’m well planned in advance I can create as many as 6 videos in one day. You can also batch-create blogs, articles, and social media posts. If your preferred content is Facebook Lives (which I’m a huge fan of as they are so effective) then of course you can’t create them in advance — but you can batch-plan your outlines.
Second, the content you’ve planned has been designed to exactly meet the needs of your ideal client group — no more second guessing what they will find useful — they’ve already told you what they need. Because the information you share is directly relevant it will help people stay engaged with what you are sharing and have them turning up time after time to hear more from you. The more of your content they consume, the more value they will get. The more value they get and the more they get to know, like and trust you, the closer and closer they get to actually buying from you.
Thirdly, as I’ve already said, all of this also doubles as fresh marketing content for people who haven’t heard of you yet — to draw them into your world and start getting to know you — so you are constantly growing your audience of people who are interested in working with you and who will take action when the time is right.
So, a well planned content strategy will be simultaneously attracting new people to your world, and nurturing and encouraging those who already know you to want to work with you. What could be better than that?!
I’d love to hear from you how you get on!
Will you be giving this process a go? If you do, make sure you come back and let me know how you get on. Just type in the comments below.
How to Create a Business you can Fall in Love with
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With Love & Gratitude,
Hi Catherine, thank you so much for this extremely helpful blog. It makes so much sense and takes the pressure off myself to be ‘coming up’ with
new material week on week. Referring to what you said below – do those 8-10 people have to be people I do not know or could they be friends/followers on my FB business page for example? Many thanks again, Katie x
“If you don’t already have a large community or audience to ask you can achieve the same thing by asking 8-10 people who fit your target market to let you interview them for 10 minutes to discover their top 2-3 challenges. Or you can create a simple survey and share it in Facebook Groups where you are a member.
Thanks for this Catherine – and perfectly timed for me. I’m working at establishing a new habit of batch wriing all my content on a Monday morning – I know, you were probably nudging me to do that back in 2015 – so this idea of at least having the topics in mind is hugely helpful and this time is falling on fertile ground.
We have to be ready to hear these things, right?
Oh my goodness, Catherine. This takes blogging from “never in a million years” to “champing at the bit and will definitely plan it for later in the year once I’ve got my website up and running and some workshops for parents organised”. I can’t believe how do-able it now seems. Thank you!
Brilliant – thanks so much for sharing this with us! It sounds so easy! I’ll try not to put my procrastination hat on before getting on with it!
Hi Catherine, what a great idea! I’m going to be implementing it too 🙂
Thank you Catherine, this will be great for my new direction this year. I feel relieved already knowing that I’ll be creating content that my audience actually wants to hear! We have 1,000 members on our mailing list already, looking foreword to sending out a survey and getting started.
Hi Catherine, What a great strategy, thank you. Very helpful at the beginning of the year. I am pleased to have a clear structure with this.
Thanks for this Catherine. I’ve been stalling for ages on creating a year long content strategy and had even bought a couple of books to help me along. I’d already surveyed my crowd so when I saw your latest blog post I thought I’d give your system a try.
With a half hour I’d managed to come up with ideas for more than 60 posts, which means I have a few ideas in hand for some extra Facebook Lives too!
Your blog post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks again!
Hi Shola, Wow, that’s a great outcome from half an hours work – nice one! I’m so pleased you found this process as useful as I did – AND that it came at such a perfect time for you. Thanks so much for sharing – that means a lot 🙂
Love this Catherine! I am changing focus at the moment (though still working with Teenagers) so need to have a marketing drive. What a great thought having 12 months emails all planned out!
Ooh, intrigued Vicki… I shall look forward to hearing about the new focus (do tell!). Make sure you have a brand new Captivating Introduction ready for the Community Meetup in March! Also with the blog content take inspiration from Shola (below) who planned out 60 ideas in just half an hour!
Glad you had a good trip to Toronto,
I just wanted to say I found the 12 months content structure really helpful & will definately be working through this as my website is just in the process of being updated & having a blogg page added & also an autoresponder in place so I can start to build my community.
Thank you so much for sharing this,
Much love Cherie Xx
Hi Cherie, I’m so pleased you found this helpful – as did I. And I’ll look forward to seeing the new website and blog when it’s ready! x