It is essential that you create a content plan and identify periods of the year when you need to publish specific content on your website. Planning is key. Let’s pretend you run a B&B in Whitby and every April the Whitby Goth weekend takes place. People from all over the country visit the event and will be searching for accommodation.
Publishing content a few days before the event is too late, but if you plan ahead, a few months prior, you stand a better chance of attracting new customers.
Why a content plan makes sense
If you plan new content ideas regularly you will find yourself with a continuous flow of ideas to write about. This helps you to stay focused and not miss peak times of the year where you should be taking advantage of potential new customers.
Brainstorming content ideas
Firstly, put a notepad next to your bed because you will have content ideas at the strangest times of the day. I have lost count the number of times an idea has come to me during the night, and the next morning I’ve forgotten.
It is important to take some time out of the work environment and go to a local cafe, the library, or local park for brainstorming. Think about events that are happening during the year that would have a positive impact on your business.
Next, think about the type of content that people would search for if they were researching your destination or the type of service that your business offers.
These tools are great for building up content ideas for your brainstorming session:
Pocket – This app is available on every type of device. it’s an easy way to save an interesting article, or, an idea you’ve found online and want to come back and read it later. It also works with all popular browsers and over 50 other applications including Twitter and Instapaper. When you’re offline you can still read the content you have saved providing you have downloaded it to the app.
Google Alerts – This is a fantastic way to discover news on topics that are within your niche. You sign up for the alerts service by signing into your Google account and enter keywords. You then choose when to be updated; either as soon as content is published, a daily, or weekly update.
Flipboard – If you own a tablet or smartphone then you can create your own magazines based on the types of content that you are interested in discovering. The search functionality is easy to use and you can search by keyword or by topic. You can send content you enjoy to your Pocket app and read it later. Beautiful layout.
You Tube – When searching for content ideas your first instinct is to search on Google or Bing, but do not rule out YouTube. There are millions of videos on every topic under the sun, and it is a great place to search for ideas. While you might not feel comfortable sitting in front of a camera, the videos will give you ideas on some of the topics you might want to write about.
How to create a content plan
Now that you’ve brainstormed content ideas, the next step is to create a spreadsheet. In the first column add all of the content ideas you’ve brainstormed – in the next column write down the eye-catching title of the content, then make a note of what format (i.e. written, video etc.) the content will be published in.
Once you’ve populated your content plan with topics, in the next column add a deadline when the content should be published by – this is important to keep you focused and helps to prioritise. The next column you need to add the type of keywords that potential customers are going to type into the search engines to find your content.
When you think of keywords, don’t opt for one or two-word phrases – ideally go for three, four or even five-word phrases, because these will be easier to get ranked for on the first page of the search engine results.
We will not go into search engine optimisation in this article, other than to say you need to make sure that the keywords you have targeted are used in your content including the title. It’s important though that you write for the reader and not for the search engines.
You now have a spreadsheet full of content ideas, but rather than frantically creating the content at the last minute, take your time – create it in stages over a period of a week – giving yourself plenty of time to write and proofread before publishing.