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The best plan, is to have one…

The best plan, is to have one…

I was really impressed and inspired this week by one of our experts who had put together her own content plan and calendar for the year. Rachel Smith a Brisbane based expert and the author of a very popular book Underspent, has taken the time to document her strategy and the type of issues she would like to cover in 2019.

“Annual plan – I’m making a proper plan this year for blogs and content …. rather than just making it up as I go along.” This quote was part of an email sent to the Media Stable editorial team last week.

You will often hear me in meetings, or events like #MeetTheMedia, talk about being better prepared and organised for the media. The statement from Rachel rang true; “rather than making it up as I go along”…Which means being prepared to tackle targeted issues, events and annual milestones, without the need to scramble at the last minute. That’s not to say we have to organise everything down to the last second – we need to also be flexible and take opportunities to respond to news stories and events as they present themselves.

Here’s three tips on how prepare and document a Content Strategy and Calendar for your media goals:

  1. Document the issues and topics that you cover and would like to talk about. By writing them down, you can identify a number of the key issues and topics that you can then spread throughout the year. If you are financial planner or involved in money you might start with these words; Saving, Spending, Budgeting, Tax-time, Financial distress, Superannuation, Retirement, Holidays, Pocket-money  etc. Aim for at least 12, but list more if you have them.
  2. Assign these topics to months and start to add more words to them, create a headline and an introductory opinion on the topic. (It doesn’t have to be the whole Media Board entry). Most months will have seasonal traits – for example January is all about new beginnings, forecasting, health, fitness, saving, goal-setting. February is the final month of summer, school and Uni start for the year, resolutions fail and so forth. If your topics suit a certain month’s characteristics, assign them to that month.
  3. Develop the topics into full Media Board entries. Begin with a strong headline, identify the issue or problem and either set out to fix it or offer an opinion, backed by evidence or fact to a maximum 120 words. Ideally, you will want to do this a month out from releasing the content, so we can place it in our content schedule. If you are a confident and competent writer, you might look to put together a longer form piece of 600-800 words that could be considered for an opinion editorial piece.

You can generally get the plan and strategy document completed in an hour or two.  The rest falls into place as you go through the year but if you have content ideas and stories in place, your year in the media will be more organised, far more targeted and focused.

Rachel even took a photo of her plan and I have no doubt it is visible within her office as a reminder and inspiration. Why not do this too? And as always, if you need support or help the team at Media Stable are only a call or email away.

Nic Hayes is the Managing Director of Media Stable and the host of The Experts podcast.

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