Planning Your Best New Content Strategy

In today’s world, everyone is in publishing. Most of us have at least one Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, digital newsletter, blog or website – a place where we communicate with our sphere of influence. If you are using any of these vehicles to communicate with your clients, you are a publisher. However, are you using them as strategically as possible? Do you have a strategic plan, and is everything you are publishing part of that plan? As you prep for the New Year, now is a great time to ensure you are posting with purpose. Taking some time now to plan out your content will ensure you stay in-line with your strategic goals and are never lacking for engagement! We’ve prepared this guide to help you jumpstart the process. Also, check out the online version for links to useful tools and a content planning worksheet!

Step 1: Review and Define Your Goals

You really need to consider your goals first. What are you trying to accomplish with the content you’re posting? Staying “top of mind” with past clients, providing useful homeownership tips, showcasing your expertise and providing real estate market updates are all great places to start. Reviewing your business plan is a smart way to ensure that you aren’t overlooking a particular goal, and can help you better define your content marketing strategy. Once you have identified your goals and determined a strategy, put them in writing and keep them all in one place. This will streamline everything and ensure that what you are publishing stays on point.

Step 2. Audit Your 2015 Content

Take a minute here to jot down all of your different communication vehicles: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog, newsletter, etc. Log in to each site, and pull the past year’s statistics. Set in place a process for this. Start with your blog. Take a look at the hits from the past year. Which posts had the highest page views? Did any have significantly higher click ratings or comments versus another? Move on to your digital newsletters and emails. Which stories were your subscribers most attracted to? Did any subject or keyword tend to drive more traffic than another? Finally, tackle your social media feeds. A great tool for this is SumAll. SumAll allows you to load all of your accounts and then analyzes which had the most engagement.

Step 3 Plan Out Your Content

Now that you have a good idea of what was successful (and what flopped) in 2015, it’s time to plan for 2016. While you can’t plan for every news item and story that you may publish, you can create an editorial calendar to start. Last minute items can be filled in when the time comes to publish. By setting up an editorial calendar, you can look at the week, month and year at a glance, and know that you have content scheduled that will help you meet your goals. Our Monthly Worksheet is a great way to get started on your editorial calendar. Determine a theme for the month, as well as the essentials that each month should have. Go ahead a sketch out some extras that you may want to add in as bonus content. We love the idea of creating a formula that works for your clients. To accomplish this, one example would be to include a monthly market update, a homeownership tip, a Chicago and/or neighborhood happening, in addition to a client story or review in every monthly newsletter. Once you’ve determined the formula for each platform (blog, newsletter and social channels) that takes into account your goals, it’s time to fill in the blanks: decide where you will get your content and who it will come from. Our monthly worksheet has some great ideas on topics to use as well as resources for ready-made content. Just be sure to make this content your own – even by adding just a few introductory sentences as a lead-in! You always want to make sure that your content stays in line with your tone and your brand – after all, that’s what your clients know and want!

Step 4: Schedule Your Posts and Differentiate Your Feeds

With your core content mapped out for the month, it’s time to schedule it! You need to schedule time to both gather and produce. Taking some time each month to fulfill your plan means that you’re working smarter, not harder! Many people are hesitant to repurpose content for fear of sounding redundant. But, if you check out your statistics, you’ll see that not all of your audience is reading your newsletter or engaging with your Facebook posts. Give your content the best chance at getting seen – put it everywhere! The key to this is differentiating your content. We’re not big fans of automating and publishing your content the same way on every platform, because if your audience does see it posted the same way everywhere, you will seem redundant. Instead, pull out different elements for different channels; differentiating the photos and quotes will ensure you’re publishing slightly differently on every platform. Here’s an example: if you’ve downloaded the monthly statistics for the city of Chicago and you want to use them for a blog post that clients can comment on, our FastStats make this incredibly easy! There is already quite a bit of commentary there for you to utilize. Take a minute to whip up some quick graphics with pull-out quotes from the blog, and then publish a different graphic on each platform, while directing the different traffic back to the original blog. It’s all the same content, just tailored especially for each platform! We love to use Canva for this – it’s quick and simple to use. Taking some time to establish your goals, analyze your past hits, develop a strategy for posting and schedule out your content will help you stay on the path to achieve your broader business goals and help to streamline your content planning and posting down the line. It’s just another way we’re helping you to make 2016 your best year yet!Digital_Extra

Check out our favorite Content Resources (with links!)

Content Planning Workbook (an editable PDF!)