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Creating a content marketing plan is good for your mental health

Let’s estimate that if you own or are a part of a small business with a social media presence, you’re putting out content each week at these numbers:

Facebook: 3 posts
Instagram: 7 posts
Twitter: 14 posts
LinkedIn: 3 posts

That means in a calendar year, you’ll be publishing approximately 156 Facebook posts, 365 Instagram posts, 728 tweets, and 156 posts to LinkedIn. On top of just publishing the content, you’ll also have to generate 12 reports to analyse it all (or 52 if you measure your data weekly).

That’s… a lot to fathom. And just the thought of it can feel mind-numbingly, overwhelmingly daunting. Enough to make you want to run away and ignore your social media presence altogether.

As someone who knows all too well the cold, threatening grip of imposter syndrome, looking at the big picture like that can leave you in a state of dread. It looks like a hell of a lot of work, and since there’s no expiry date on social media, it can sometimes feel like a chain you’re shackled to.

But I learnt a useful (if not slightly absurd) piece of advice recently: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Not only does the saying make you laugh, but it reminds you that looking at a giant task as a whole – like, eating an elephant – is not the only perspective you should have. Big picture thinking, for people like me, can often lead down a treacherous path of anxiety, procrastination and guilt at not starting straight away.

Which is why it’s so important to have a content marketing plan.

See the trees for the forest

Breaking a years worth of work down into week by week, day-by-day tasks is finding a way to make the ongoing nature of social media marketing far more digestible.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Work out what sort of content you want to be putting out.

Sometimes these categories are known as content “pillars” – because they lay the foundations for what becomes your overall look & feel. For example, a brand that sells clothing might have these content pillars: styling tips, new arrivals, lookbook photos, user-generated content/styling, sales, store shots, garment features, how its made.

Having these content types on hand will help to alleviate some of the stress of “well, what am I going to post?” when the time comes to actually make the content for the week. And if you want to, you can even assign a content pillar to each day of the week – like some brands do with #throwbackthursdays or #motivationmondays.

Just remember that content you create yourself is always going to be more highly regarded than pieces you repost and reuse from others. Especially “inspiration” images. If you’re going to include content created by other people, do so sparingly and make sure you credit the original creator.

2. Decide which channels each content pillar belongs to.

Sometimes a content type works better on some platforms than others. While article shares sit nicely on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, they’re not exactly ideal for Instagram or Pinterest.

3. Make a plan for when to tackle each task.

Perhaps you plan your Twitter posts month-by-month, but your Instagram posts week by week – this is where you decide how to distribute your time to all these tasks to make sure they’re completed efficiently and complement your workload.

4. Schedule your individual tasks in a task management app.

Since it ain’t always easy to keep up with every single thing that needs to get done, make sure you take the load off remembering and use a task management app to do the thinking for you. Create recurring daily, weekly, monthly, etc tasks depending on your content marketing plan, so that you can focus on what needs to get done right now. My favourite app for this is Wunderlist, and Asana works great too!

Clear the fog

Now, you should have a guide that is going to help you breathe easier when it comes to tackling the beast that is social media marketing.

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