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Why you need a content plan: Part 1

November 12 2018

Picture showing a piece of paper with 'My Plan' written on it.

If you’re prone to panics that you haven’t posted on social media for a while, or you suddenly realise in September that you’ve already missed the deadline to get your new product into a Christmas gift, then a proper content plan is exactly what you need.

It is one of the tools we help clients to develop and use, and is central to our own work too. In a nutshell, a content plan sets out, by date, what content you are going to post on all your social media platforms and website, what PR activities you want to carry out, what you will include in your mailouts – basically all of your communications channels.

The format of the planner doesn’t really matter; you can use fancy software or a simple spreadsheet. What is important is that you have one place where you can pull everything together and make your grand plans.

Why are they such a great idea?

1. If you are working across different social media platforms, have content on your website you update, run a blog, send out newsletters to supporters, have a programme of PR activity, and have monitoring in place to evaluate all of these things, why would you not want to keep an eye on it all from one place? When you’re so busy on a multitude of tasks, not to mention actually running the business or charity, making life easier for yourself in any way you can is a no brainer.

2. If you try and plan your content on the hoof, you’ll inevitably go great guns to start with and then lose momentum. Having to think about what you’re going to do every day becomes very tedious very quickly. Having a proper content plan guides you through your initial wave of enthusiasm to get everything down on paper, or screen, and, crucially, gives you stamina to keep going. It avoids those moments when you suddenly panic and think, oh flapjack I haven’t posted anything on social media for a few days, I’ll just stick any old thing on.

Think about what your customers and supporters want to see

3. As well as keeping your mind on how important your PR and marketing content is, having a proper plan will also help to keep your target audience interested too. Handling multiple threads across different platforms is too difficult to juggle by brainpower alone. Planning = more interesting, better paced, logical content which takes your customers and supporters on the journey you want them to travel.

4. Proper planning will give you a better return on your activities because you can set them up to compliment and reinforce each other. Imagine you’re launching a new product. You know you have to feature it on all your platforms, fire off press releases, talk about it on social media, create images and videos, mention it in your newsletter, along with a whole host of other things.

A single planning document can bring together all of these elements in harmony, and make you feel much more in control. You’ll see much better results from work which has been proactively and calmly delivered than activities which have been thrown together in desperation.

5. Similarly, if you have poured money into and laboured over creating special materials or ‘assets’ for a campaign or product launch, you need to know you’re squeezing every last bit of juice out of them. A plan will let you see that they have been used on every platform in X number of ways, and you’ve taken all the opportunities.

Ready for more? Here are reasons 6 to 10 to complete the set.

By Hannah Upton

Next steps

Pay as you PR specialises in helping small businesses and charities to create a content plan that is tailored to their exact needs. Get in touch to find out more.