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Content planning the good vs the bad

Content planning is a hot topic, you will see lots of courses, blogs, free downloads, group challenges, webinars and events all based on content planning.

Many entrepreneurs catering to small businesses, like to ‘promote the idea’ that you can plan and create your content really quickly and easily (often as part of a product or service they are selling). Obviously this is a very appealing promise if you are busy, stressed and time-poor, but the advice tends to leave out a lot of really important detail and focus on a very superficial approach to planning.

Think of your strategy like an iceberg.

Iceberg with a big portion under the water and ice sheet floating on the water to indicate deep and shallow content planning

Here on the right this penguin floating on a shallow piece of ice, and this is how I describe a bad content plan. It’s a shallow plan. It has no depth, there is nothing under the surface. You can see here how easy it would be to slip off and be left floundering or sink altogether.

The biggest problem here is that superficial content planning creates superficial content, which creates superficial results.

These results may get some likes, some shares some reactions on your social media, but if they are not tied to an overall strategy it’s like staging a series of ‘one hit wonders’. Taking up space online with ‘stuff’ – even popular stuff – is not necessarily going to build the relationships you need to build your business (but it can still eat up a lot of your time regardless).

On the left is how I describe a good plan. We’ve got the penguin sitting on top of the tip of an iceberg (the visible part) with a whole depth of substance beneath the water. This is the underlying strategy and focus that is unseen, but is a massive integrated part of what you do see. It’s substantial. It’s sustainable. You’re not in danger of slipping off and sinking all the time. You’re in a much stronger position when you have something substantial behind your visible content that you publish.

Create the right kinds of content

Having a clearly defined structure and content areas to focus on also takes away all the guess work and means you don’t lose time creating the wrong type of content.

The right kind of content to create, that forms the base of your content planning foundations are:

  • Content that promotes your business, and your products and services positively
  • Content that builds relationships and lets people get to know you
  • Content that keeps people up to date on your business activity and growth
  • Content that establishes your credibility and expertise
  • Content that expresses appreciation of customers, staff and general events
  • Content that communicates your values

Remembering to cover all of these bases in your content planning will enable you to create an effective content plan based on a solid deep foundations, not a superficial unstable approach.