A Content Marketing Plan Template for Stressed-out Creatives
Nobody wants to be the stressed-out one. We all want to appear like we’ve got everything under control, which is where today’s content marketing plan template comes in.
Not a day goes by without me being seriously grateful for getting to be a freelance copywriter but I know firsthand that keeping all the plates spinning can be seriously tricky. The truth is, if you’re someone who makes things or offers creative services, and you’re trying to juggle family, life and all your big ideas at the same time, you likely don’t know if you’re coming or going.
In this post I wrote about how I actually work out and plan my time (although I’ll admit that my perception of what I can get done in the time I have needs a little work). Today I’ve got a content marketing plan template that you can download here and I want to walk you through how to use it, step by step. You could also create your own in Canva for free or amend mine if it suits you better.
What’s On the Content Marketing Plan Template?
This template is two pages. The first page is a look back over the previous month and a plan for the month ahead. The second page is a plan for each week, which I print out on a Friday to work out what I’ll be doing in the week ahead.
I start by looking back over the previous month and working out what was good and what was bad. I rate this in the context of the plan I have for the whole year. (It’s never too late for you to make this kind of plan either. Who said the year can’t start on a random day in the middle of March?!) It might include things like sales being up or down, making progress or not on things I knew I wanted or needed to do, or even personal things around health or family. I just find that if you take a few minutes to look at how you’re going on it can be really encouraging, as well as helping you to focus. And I’m sure that focus and consistency is absolutely the key to progress. And progress, rather than perfection, adds up to take you to the places you want to go.
How I Plan and Organise Content
Whether it’s blog posts, a podcast, social media or emails to your list, your content is the way to keep on telling your customers who you are, what you believe in and what you do. And all of that takes time and planning.
After I’ve had a look back at the previous month I come up with four themes, one for each week, for the coming month. Here’s what it might look like for March, including the weeks where I don’t post anything.
themes for march
w/c 4th March - SEO mini series
w/c 11th March - content marketing plan template
w/c 18th March - super simple marketing
w/c 25th March - best brand email campaigns
These themes are things that customers have asked me about or I’m excited to write about. I then break them down into blog posts to publish each week and make sure I research titles using a keyword tool like this one. Of course you don’t have to publish weekly, you can do whatever suits you and what you know you have time for.
How to Use Page Two of the Template
Page two is for you to plan content by the week. In the top left box I write the week commencing date then in the ‘Brainstorm’ box I literally brainstorm every job I’ve got coming up for that week as well as any appointments or anything else particular to do.
In the ‘Sort the Days’ section I allocate all those items in the brainstorm to a given day, depending on how much time I know I have that day. The massive lesson Ive learnt in this department is that if I think I have six hours in a day when my boys are at school, it’s a fool’s errand to allocate a full six hours work. No one can consistently work at 100% capacity all day so 75% capacity, which means more like 4.5 hours, is a bit more realistic.
My ‘Sort the Days’ section might look like this
Mon - write 6 product descriptions
Tues - meet Maria, call with Kim, write blog post
Weds - webinar research
Thurs - write webinar
Fri - admin, planning, schedule pins
I usually add all of this to Todoist app and also include the exercise I’m planning on doing that day and any other things. I love it because it means I never ever have to spend time thinking about what I need to be doing on any given day and I reckon that saves a ton of time.
Breaking Ideas Down Into Blog Posts and Social Media Posts
The final two boxes at the bottom of the second sheet are for ideas for social posts (for me, one post on Instagram each day) and details of the blog post I’m going to write that week as well as the one I want to publish that week. I’m trying to get so much better at writing posts in advance.
The five social posts come directly from my blog post where I just draw out five different points from the blog and turn them into captions. That way I don’t have to post on the fly (something I’m useless at) and I stay on track with social posts that follow a theme for the week.
I take about 45 minutes on a Friday to work all of this out for the week ahead and it helps me to get on with the bigger picture for my business.
So, if you want to get planning and work out what to post and when, then you can download my template here and if you like it, why not share or pin the image below too so that a creative you know no longer has to feel the stress!