Content creation is an essential pillar of any online marketing strategy. It can increase traffic to your website, help you grow your email list, and help you get more sign ups and bookings. It brings value to your target audience even before they've had a chance to work with you. This establishes trust and credibility, helping position you as an expert.
But in order for your content strategy to bring the best results, consistency is key. For most people, the hardest part of creating the content for that next blog, social media post, or email newsletter is getting started.
The two most common obstacles to getting started and creating content on an ongoing basis are:
You don't have enough time
You don't know what to write about
If you've ever dealt with either of these, they don't have to hold you back any longer. I'm going to give you a simple process you can use to create amazing content that your audience loves.
In this post, we'll address obstacle #1 - how to plan time for content creation.
If you're running dry on inspiration for your next piece of content, see my previous blog post to help you overcome obstacle #2: How to Get Ideas for Your Next Blog, Social Media Post, or Newsletter.
Creating a content calendar helps you plan ahead - and the further you plan ahead, the easier it becomes to produce valuable content on a consistent basis.
How to create a content calendar in 5 easy steps
You can either create your own content calendar or I've provided a basic content calendar template you can download below to start using right away. Since it's in spreadsheet format, you can modify it to suit your needs.
Once you've got your template, use the guidelines and suggestions provided below to save time and headaches on your content creation strategy.
Step 1: Decide how often you want to post new content
Set a goal of how many times a week or month you want to post a blog, an email newsletter, or social media posts. How should you decide on these numbers? It all comes down to your specific business goals and the types of services you offer.
If you’re teaching mindfulness online full-time and you offer individual 1:1 coaching sessions plus quarterly group classes, for example, you may want to put out content on a weekly basis and then ramp it up a few weeks prior to the start date of your next group class. Or if you have “evergreen” services (that people can book anytime), but your mindfulness business is more of a side project and you don't want to spend too much time on it, you may decide to only put out new content a few times a month.
The more frequently you put out new content, the more new people you will reach. Having a content creation plan in place ensures that key aspects of your marketing (like staying in touch with subscribers through consistent emails) don’t get swept by the wayside.
In general, if you’re trying to grow your business and get more clients, I suggest putting out at least one blog and one email newsletter per week in addition to several social media posts.
Step 2: Select three key categories to focus on
Having a few different categories of content will help you mix things up every week. You will rotate between writing about a different category each week. This keeps things fresh for your readers and makes it easier for you to find new content ideas.
Depending on your specific niche within mindfulness, you may find that people tend to ask questions related to certain topics already. For example, you could choose the following three categories to write about on a consistent basis:
- meditation tips and advice
- mindfulness in daily routines such as mindful movement or mindful eating
- applying mindfulness and compassion in key relationships
Once you've selected your three categories, give them a name. For example: 1) meditation 2) daily routines 3) mindful relationships. You don’t have to share these categories with others - this is mainly to help you with planning purposes (although you could group your blog posts by these if you'd like).
Also, don't forget to consider all of the content you've created so far! You've probably already written many great pieces or put together audios/videos that you could repurpose or expand upon. Do they tend to fall into certain categories naturally? Is there a recurring theme that you most enjoy writing about?
Step 3: Make a list of keywords and topics to write about in each category
Now that you’ve decided which three categories to focus on, it’s time to brainstorm some quick topic ideas. Come up with a list of at least 30 topics at the beginning of each quarter and then put them into your key categories (using the tabs in the spreadsheet).
Add to this list as new ideas pop into your head or as you come across inspiration from other online sources or articles you read. This way, you'll always have something to refer to and pick from - no more “I can’t figure out what to write about.” :-)
Remember to always keep your target audience in mind. What do they want to know about? Put yourself in their shoes to think about what they might be Googling in order to find a solution to the challenges they're facing.
Use a Keyword Search tool such as one of the following to help you in this process:
Type a phrase into Google and scroll down to the bottom to view "Related Searches"
UberSuggest (click on Content Ideas on the left side of the page once you type in a keyword)
Step 4: Set one day each week to create content around one topic
Decide on a content creation day each week. Estimate how long it might take you to write one blog, one email newsletter and your select number of social media posts. Then designate that time in your calendar specifically with this purpose in mind.
It might take a few weeks to get this process down and to know how long it takes you to create content, but over time it should become an easy, automatic part of your weekly process.
Now that you have your categories and a list of topic ideas for each, plug them into your quarterly calendar.
Step 5: Write the blog post first and then create related content
Start by writing a blog post about the first topic on your quarterly calendar. If this seems overwhelming, don't be afraid to write an “ugly first draft.” This where you simply dump your ideas on paper and then come back to it the next day to clean it up.
Once you've got your blog written out (the bottom of this article gives you some tips on how to make it more effective), use the general ideas from the blog to create a quick email newsletter and related social media posts.
Sprinkle in some tidbits and personal life stories if you'd like. This helps add in your personal touch and allows you to remain authentic rather than just writing purely about "business stuff." :-)
I suggest batching the work process by writing everything out in one Word or GoogleDoc first and then pasting it into your website and social media sites later.
Publish and check the box on the calendar as you complete each item. Adjust the calendar template or categories as needed based on feedback from your target audience. Notice what works - what gets engagement - and what doesn't.
Great job on putting together your new consistent content strategy and building a sustainable mindfulness business that helps so many people change their lives.
Now rinse, repeat, and watch your email list, website traffic, and bookings grow!
In case you haven't already grabbed your calendar template, you can do so below: