Have you started working on your content plan for 2021 yet?
If not, now’s a great time to do that. When you start planning in advance, even before January starts,you’ll be ready to tackle the new year.
(If you’re reading this in January or later in the year, don’t worry – today is a good moment to start anyway!)
What is a content plan?
Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a content plan and why do you need one?
A content plan details your most important communication goals and lays out a way to reach them. It can also be referred to as an editorial calendar or a content calendar. It can cover a week, a month or the entire year, and at this point of the year I suggest you work on an annual plan for 2021.
Remember that your content plan does not need to be anything elaborate. It can be a simple Google Sheet or a hand-written list – whatever suits your style. The point is that it will help you gain clarity on what you are creating content about and how.
Question N°1: What are the highlights of the next year?
A good place to start your annual content planning is to map out the highlights and milestones of 2021. They can be for example:
- Important launches
- Events, online or offline
- Industry events – whether you participate or not
- Seasons and holidays that are relevant to your business
- Anniversaries and milestones
- Theme days that are relevant in your industry
These events and occasions create a structure that makes it easier for you to fit everything in and make sure there aren’t any overlaps or gaps. Mapping out busy periods will also help you to see when you might need support with your communication.
Question N°2: Does your channel selection still make sense?
A new year is a perfect opportunity to review your channel selection. Which channels do you use actively, how do they perform and should you change something?
Review each channel’s goals and results to see which changes are necessary.
Question N°3: Do you need to change your publication frequency?
In addition to reviewing your channels, have a look at your publication frequency.
How often have you published new content? Are you putting the most effort into the channels that perform the best?
The beginning of the year can also be a good moment to launch new channels, such as a newsletter.
Question N°4: What content can you recycle?
Now we’re done with the review part and we’re closer to taking action and start planning the content.
Start by mapping out content types that repeat themselves regularly. These can be either content series, such as a monthly Q&A post or a weekly inspirational quote, or they can be content that is recycled as it is.
Both series and recyclable content allow you to fill in your content calendar easily and will speed up your content creation throughout the year.
Read More: 6 Ways to Repurpose a Blog Post
Question N°5: When are you creating content?
One final step to take! This one makes sure your content also gets created smoothly and effortlessly, so that you can focus on other priorities, such as working with your clients or developing your business.
Add to the calendar days when you’re planning the remaining content and creating it.
This is important if you’re creating the content yourself because planning assures you’ll have enough time for creating quality content. On the other hand, if you have help with this, add briefing dates and deadlines to make sure your team knows what to do and when.