Most fashion and textile designers will know how important it is to plan designs and stay ahead of the trends… or indeed, in the spirit of sustainability, override forecasted trends with timeless design at just the right moment! It makes sense then, that you’ll want to plan your content for 2017, starting right now.
Keep in mind that the content you share on your blog, website, and other social media pages should be an easy entry point to your brand, but it isn’t all fun and games. Content planning is a powerful marketing strategy that can help establish a record year for your business.
Remember; content marketing strategies and content planning are not synonymous. They are two different types of strategies with different focuses.
- A Content Marketing Strategy is important as this is where you will determine how you can use your content to increase profits. You may want to start building a strategy first to ensure your actual content planning is effective.
- Content Planning is literally deciding what topics will be covered and what kind of content will be developed and when.
Reduce Stress With An Organised Schedule
Don’t worry, you don’t have to go it alone. I’m going to share some of my best tips with you. Plus, there are some great apps available that can assist you in the process of planning your content for the year. I recommend CoSchedule because it allows you to keep all of your planning in one place. You can also access a bird’s eye view of your entire year, inputting content or social media information to keep everything ship-shape and under one roof. If you have a large team, you might also consider DivvyHQ, which offers an easy way to work within and across teams, ensuring all the best ideas get implemented. Having an app, or at least a basic template, makes it easy to collect and organise all of your ideas.
The Right Timing
Before you start building or brainstorming content, be sure to decide how often you will share content online, in what form, and with what goal in mind. I recommend using a variety of media that is informative, entertaining and self-promotional. The latter should be used sparingly; don’t be overbearing with promo material! Don’t post more than once or twice a day; you don’t want followers to be spammed. However, you don’t want to leave them hanging either. Put up a new blog, article or social media post at least once or twice a week.
Marketing expert Melyssa Griffin suggests keeping a close eye on your Google Analytics to identify when your blog or website is most active. This way you can schedule your posts to take advantage of the busiest times.
Allow Creativity To Flourish
You might also be concerned that planning your content might diminish your ability to exercise your creativity. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When you have a solid plan in place, you’ll find you actually have more time to let those creative juices flow uninterrupted. Meanwhile, you’ll spend less time struggling to brainstorm topics to fill your daily or weekly content needs. Plus, this is still your business. ProBlogger Expert Nicole Avery assures that you can always replace a planned blog or article with something new if you find yourself inspired.
Build A Foundation
The biggest benefit of planning your content in advance is that you can strategically create a strong foundation to build on throughout this year and years to come. That means you can use your content to build value over time and simultaneously attract long-term followers and customers.
Leaving each post until the last-minute will mean you are more likely to present a mismatch of media, in terms of topic, tone, aesthetics and relevance. This could well result in sub-standard content which readers may or may not be interested in. According to content marketing blogger Sonia Thompson “No matter how good your instincts are as a blogger, real success comes from careful planning, not a series of in-the-moment decisions.” Establish a plan to ensure that your content is constantly growing from that baseline and consistently sharing your mission.
Maybe consider a course or workshop at General Assembly in London. They offer a range of courses, both online and on campus, covering topics from data analytics and digital marketing basics to java script and back-end web development. Everything you need for a hefty brand marketing strategy foundation. Whether you have limited time and budget, or cash to splash, there’s something here for you. I recommend starting with one of their upcoming day or evening workshops.
Maximise This Year’s Lessons
Your foundation for marketing may not have been established as well as it could have been last year. That’s alright. You can always pursue the growth of value over time. Start right now while your memory of 2016 is still vivid. Use the lessons you have learned to ensure this year’s content connects with your audience. As you make your plan, keep in mind which posts or articles got the most attention, which resonated with your target audience, and which ones fizzled out. Use last year’s failures to make 2017 a better year.
Other Topic Sources
You don’t have to rely on last year’s mistakes for this year’s content ideas. There are a bounty of other sources worth considering. Just like with your designs, you will want to keep an eye on what topics are on point. Magazines are a great source. Also, consider the time of year and what type of events might be happening. You can even poll your audience to find out what they want to hear about most.
There’s one more reason why right now is the perfect time to plan your 2017 content. After the enormous holiday push, sales tend to slow during this period. Consumers are worn out and reluctant to spend after last month’s splurges. This might sound like a problem, but it is actually the perfect opportunity.
This is your chance to get a head start with your planning. The pressure is off right now, so take all the time you need to establish the best content plan to ensure your design business is profitable. This groundwork will alleviate stress throughout the year and ensure you are maximizing your full potential.
We hope that all of this information will help you off on the right foot for 2017, harnessing your brand marketing power to above and beyond what you thought possible!