When developing your marketing strategy, do you take the time to plan your marketing content in advance?
Planning your content, whether this be days, weeks, months or even years in advance is a fundamental element of an effective marketing strategy. It can be applied to all aspects of marketing for your business, including your social media, email and blog.
Above all, pre-planning ensures your content calendar can run smoothly and the overall quality of your content is polished and professional, whilst also offering you a little extra time for yourself.
But how exactly does pre-planning your content help with all of these things?
No matter if you’re a complete novice or you’ve been planning content in advance for years, this blog has everything you need to know about:
- Why you should pre-plan your content,
- How to get started with and implement content planning,
- What to do in a content emergency.
What are the benefits of pre-planning your content?
Before we get into the tips and tricks for planning content in advance, let’s look at the undeniable value of pre-planning content:
- It ensures consistency,
- It will influence the quality of your content,
- It saves a lot of time in the long-run,
- It ensures consistency:
Audiences love consistency. And so do social media platforms. If you post everyday of the week one week, but only twice the next, you may run into problems with the algorithm. The Facebook and Instagram algorithms prioritise accounts that are consistent with their posting, which means they’ll show your posts to less people if your posting decreases.
Social media is not the only platform you need to be consistent on. Being consistent with your email output and publishing content on your blog will demonstrate that you’re committed to communicating with your audience. If you drop off the grid for weeks on end, your audience may turn their loyalties to another business.
Being consistent also helps with your brand image, as the more content you share, the more recognisable (and therefore memorable) your brand will become.
So, how does pre-planning your content help with consistency? When you pre-plan and pre-schedule your content, you’ll be creating a content calendar, so you are guaranteeing posts will go up. There’s no risk of getting distracted and prioritising other tasks, as your content is already there and ready to go – all you need to do is set aside time in advance to prepare it, and you’re good to go. Say goodbye to inconsistent posting and hello to better engagement and increased brand attention!
- It will influence the quality of your content:
When you’re pushed for time and need to get some content out quick, you’re likely to make mistakes here and there and forget a few of the key things you need to tell your audience. This means the overall quality of your content is reduced.
When you plan in advance, ensuring all the copy is written, the graphics are designed and the content is scheduled, you have much more time to think through your ideas, return and make edits, and make sure your content is as polished and effective as it can be. So, when people head over to your social media, emails and website, you’ll have a stunning selection of content that has been carefully crafted, rather than a few haphazard graphics and misspelt copy. This all contributes to the perception of your brand, so planning in advance will add a touch of extra quality to your business.
- It saves time in the long-run:
When you plan your content in advance, you also give yourself the opportunity to schedule it in advance. Setting aside some time – whether this be weeks or months in advance of when you want the content to go up – to schedule your content will mean you don’t have to worry about doing it manually. Your content calendar will, effectively, look after itself.
One of our favourite tools for scheduling content is Planoly, an all-in-one tool that allows you to schedule all of your content on every platform! Find out more about this awesome platform here.
The beauty of pre-planning content is that it gives you the back time you’d be spending publishing your content manually, so you can channel it into other areas of your business or, even better, spend it on yourself. That long-awaited bubble bath and weekend vacation is calling, so schedule your content and let it sort itself out whilst you spend some time on YOU.
Getting started with pre-planning content
In this section, let’s look at how you can implement pre-planning into your marketing strategy, and some of the key components that go alongside pre-planning.
Before you can start creating your content, you’ll need to make a plan of action. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re developing the plan:
- What platforms will you be using?
There’s lots of options to choose from with online marketing. You may find social media is your bag, or that you want to try email marketing. Whichever platforms you choose, knowing where you’re going to be publishing your content is the first step in the pre-planning blueprint.
And, whatever your decision, CANDESCENT has lots of resources to help you along the way. From downloadable lead magnet kits to professionally-crafted online marketing guides, there’s something for every angle of your marketing strategy.
- How far in advance do you want to prepare your schedule?
This is dependent on the type of business you are and the way you use online marketing. You may find it easier to create and schedule everything a month in advance, especially when it comes to product/service launches that you have a fixed date for. However, if there’s a few things up in the air, it might be best to work on a weekly schedule, so you have a better idea of when you need to publish content in advance of any updates in your business.
- What is the overall design of your content going to be?
This is crucial. Ensuring the design, tone and overall impression of your content remains consistent across all of your chosen platforms will offer the opportunity to establish a strong brand identity. Ultimately, this will make your brand more recognizable.
Make a decision on what colour schemes and font you want to use, and implement these decisions across all your content. Knowing what the design of your content is going to be before you start creating it will save a lot of time in the future, and it will make a huge difference to the impression you’re creating through your content.
Now you’ve got a plan, you can set your strategy to pre-plan mode. There’s a few key elements of content preparation that are crucial for ensuring your pre-planning game is on point. This step-by-step method can be applied for email marketing, social media marketing and blog content.
Step 1: Copy
Write all the copy out in advance and running it through a spell-checker will mean you’ve got quality copy ready to go when you need it. If you’re planning on using multiple social media platforms, write seperate copy for all of them (including stories).
Step 2: Graphics
Design all your visual material in advance so you have something to accompany your copy. We’re huge fans of Canva – if you’re new to the design game, Canva is the perfect graphic design tool to invest in. It has thousands of FREE templates and is super easy to use. Check it out here.
Step 3: Schedule
Once you’ve got your content prepared, you need to schedule it. Choose your preferred scheduling tool, and insert all of the content, setting the date/time/place you’d like it to publish.
Now, you’ve got yourself a content calendar! You know exactly when your content is going to be published, and you don’t have to worry about a thing. Just sit back, relax and watch it all unfold from behind the scenes!
What do I do in an emergency?
All the planning in the world cannot prevent content emergencies. A content emergency – such as an unforeseeable need to alter the copy/graphics or switch up the publishing order of your content – will mean you’re going to have to take another look at your content before it’s published.
Try and make the necessary changes to your content as far in advance as you can, so you’re giving yourself enough time and you won’t fall into the trap of rushing the job so you’ll make mistakes. Simply clicking pause on the scheduling tool and reconciling with the fact that your emails, social media or blog posts may have to be published a little later than planned will give you the time you need to ensure the quality is tip top.
If there’s an error with your scheduling platform, make your audience aware of this. Be transparent – a simple story on your social media platforms telling everyone your services are down and you’re working to resolve the issue will ensure everyone is aware of what your highly anticipated discount or new launch is running a bit behind schedule. Make sure to keep back-up copies of all your content (including the copy and any graphics/images) in a separate location, so if in the unlikely event that your calendar is wiped, you have plenty of back-ups and you won’t have to start from scratch.
Whilst your content calendar can be relied upon to manage itself, keeping a close eye on when your content is due to be published will help in an emergency situation. It’s too late to make changes once your scheduling tool has published the content (for example, if your social media post is going up at 9:30am, you’d need to make any changes in advance of that deadline). Even though you can trust your content calendar to manage itself, make sure you’re aware of what is being published when, so you can make the changes before it’s too late.
Pre-planning your content will work wonders for your business. It’s a simple and effective way to ensure your content is of a high quality and will guarantee to boost audience engagement with your business. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, as the saying goes, so investing a little time in pre-planning your content will help you build brand credibility and positively impact the overall impression of your brand.