There’s no way around it, I am a planner through and through! Growing up, I was always chomping at the bit to plan the next social get together for my friends (which often took the form of a party at my parent’s farm), so as a Marketer, I suppose it’s no great surprise that I love nothing more than to get my calendar out and to devise a detailed brand marketing plan. It comes as second nature to me to look ahead at upcoming industry events and brand milestones and plot them out on a google doc or excel file – (what can I say, I’m an excel nerd and proud of it!) However, it was recently pointed out to me that forward planning and getting everyone singing from the same hymn sheet is not everyone’s forte, so I thought it would be helpful to share some of my thinking behind integrated content planning. The aim of this blog is to help you to plan ahead and effectively identify opportunities to maximise your marketing impact.

To help me to explain my thinking on this subject, I thought it best to share a live example with you, so here goes…

I recently put together a detailed content plan which incorporated the different digital communication channels that a brand had available to them. These channels included their various social platforms, their blog, their website and a wide reaching newsletter. Prior to my involvement, the channels were (for the most part) being managed on a fairly ad hock basis, with little cohesion between them. Having asked some rather searching questions around the way the marketing was being conducted, I discovered there was in fact no plan in place, so I set about correcting this…

The first thing I did was to create a giant chart, with all the communication channels down the y axis and the dates for my plan charted out on the x axis. I included a row for events at the bottom and then plotted in all the key brand and industry events that I knew were coming up. I then considered all the other days of the year and wider popular events that people would be discussing on any given day. To help with this I used this entertaining planning website called Days of the Year. I looked at each day in the planner and considered the subject matter of the social content that would resonate best with the brand audience, but that would also pull in a wider audience. I thought about the days of the year and broader calendar events in quite a lateral way in order to tie them into the brand but also to ride the topic wave for that day.

By doing this consistently throughout the plan, I ended up with a content plan that was topical and timely. I then also considered how these different subject matters could be spread across the different marketing channels to support each other. For example, both a newsletter and social posts could help to promote a blog to increase readership. Also, by posting content that utilises a popular hashtag and also @mentions key organisers of events, you stand to bring in a much wider reaching audience than your original core following.

Although creating a planner like this that is varied and interesting, do not forget to leave gaps in your planner for curated content to be added. For example, sharing topical news, industry updates or shares from brand partners. In fact, I would suggest you set up google alerts around the key words in your industry so that you can utilise up to the minute information within your social channels, to give the impression to your followers that you have your finger 100% on the industry pulse!

I hope this helps to give you some practical tips on how to spot events and topics that can be used across your communication channels to maximise your brand impact, engagement and reach! I’d love to hear how you get on with putting this into practice.