How Much, How Long, How Often?

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brainstormThe hows of content planning can be one of the hardest challenges of successful marketing – sometimes they even surpass the struggles of content creation. Determining how many pieces of content you need and how often you’ll need them is the first step towards truly leveraging your content’s performance and ensuring you don’t come up short in a high-demand period when marketing your small business. Here’s what you’ll need to do in order to keep the proverbial pantry stocked:

Start With a Clear Content Plan

Take a look at 2 or 3 of the most well-known names in your industry and examine their posting schedule. Be realistic about the abilities of any in-house content creators you may have, including yourself. Is posting or tweeting x times a day or week feasible, or is it something that’s likely to be relegated to a frantic session between order packing or client maintenance? Reaching out to a content creation specialty company or appointing a social media manager will increase the fluency and consistency of your online brand image, offering benefits far beyond content-wrangling.

Finding a Good Balance

Attention spans are getting shorter and the demand for quality and well-supported pieces is getting higher, according to Tim Brown of Snap Agency. While Brown cautions that the 1700 word ideal from the article’s poll is skewed, he does agree that 1700 should be used as a firm upper limit on word count, if nothing else. In addition to the attention of your customers, the ever-present rigors of Google-courting are also in play, and Google’s shift toward preferring long-form content is becoming increasingly evident. Committing to longer posts now will see a site that is more likely to weather any upcoming changes by the search engine giant with increased stability, a benefit that can’t be overemphasized when marketing your small business.

Don’t Neglect Your Social Media

While each piece of traditional content, such as blog posts and articles, should be advertised through your social media accounts to increase reach, those same accounts need some individual attention as well. If you commit to a prolific posting schedule full of long pieces but aren’t responding to questions, compliments and concerns through your social media accounts, you run the risk of appearing self-promoting and tone deaf to needs. Make your social media posts part of your content plan, incorporating them as the middle component of the 4-1-1 rule of content creation – 4 pieces of traditional content, 1 piece of non-traditional content such as a social media post or white paper, and 1 content piece by a guest blogger or industry enthusiast.

Marketing your small business through solid content isn’t difficult if you stick to a balanced plan and make outreach a priority. You already have lots to talk about and share with your customers – new products, exciting industry news, contests and more – it’s just a matter of putting a little organizational spin on it to keep your content manageable. Look to your competitors for a range, narrow it down based on your abilities, and vary the formats you use to communicate your messages and a fantastic balance will be in arm’s reach sooner than you think.

Writer Bio: Delany M is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.

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