Berrak Sarikaya

Content Planning Tips for Solopreneurs

By: Berrak Sarikaya | December 7, 2016 | 

Content Planning Tips for SolopreneursAh, December.

The air is filled with peppermint and cinnamon, airports are filling up with those going back home to visit family, and we’re all making plans for 2017.

If you work as a content marketing professional in a big company or an agency, there are budgets flying around and you’re probably already getting your promotional calendar nailed down.

What if you’re a small business owner or a solopreneur?

Do you even need to bother with a content plan?

The simple answer is yes!

You absolutely do.

Being a solopreneur and small business owner means I need to walk the walk.

That’s why for 2017, I’ve committed to treating myself as a client.

For the next month, I’m focusing on content marketing strategy for my business.

Luckily for me, I’ve spent the past few years helping small businesses plan their content and have learned a few things along the way.

Content Planning Tip #1: Define Your Goals

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or one-man show, content planning falls flat unless you’ve identified clear goals for your year.

The questions to ask yourself are the same:

  • What are your business goals for 2017?
  • What are your marketing goals for 2017? How do they ladder up to your business goals?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is your budget?
  • How will you measure your success?

The answers to these questions will give you a roadmap for your content marketing strategy to help you create content with a purpose.

Content Planning Tip #2: Write Down Your Content Strategy

Fact: Sixty percent of the most effective B2C marketers have a documented content strategy.

Myth: Content strategies have to be complicated.

For 2017, I’m creating a content strategy based on the answers to the questions above.

Each question will represent a section of my content strategy, followed by the answers, the timeline, and tactics to approach the challenges.

If you’re just starting out with your own content strategy, a simple word document can go a long way.

Content Planning Tip #3: Who, When, What, Why, Where

That may feel a little off to you, but bear with me.

Who—Identify Your Target Audience

If you’re a small business owner, your audience is your existing and potential customers.

They’re the ones with the pain points and the content you create should be valuable to them at every step of the way.

For solopreneurs, it’s a little trickier.

It’s likely your success depends more on networking and word-of-mouth instead of five-star customer reviews.

Identifying your target audience boils down to the same question—what are the pain points you’re trying to solve?

What are you bringing to the table?

Who do you want to see your content?

The answer can be anywhere from potential customers to other industry professionals.

When—Break Out the Calendar

This is my favorite part about creating a content plan.

As a small business owner with a limited marketing budget, timing is everything.

You know the big shopping days, but it’s important to look beyond the obvious promotional opportunities on the calendar.

  • What are special events happening around your industry?
  • Within your community?
  • Around your customers’ lives?

For solopreneurs, the same rules apply.

Mark these days on your calendar and plan relevant content around them.

What—It’s All About the Keywords 

You want to create content your target audience will actually care about.

Don’t roll your eyes at me—you wouldn’t believe the amount of time I’ve spent convincing my clients of that truth.

This is where the beautiful and free keyword planner tools come into play.

It’s hard to be creative all the time, especially when you have a business to run.

If you’re just getting started, I highly recommend this resource from Moz.

Why—Channel Your Inner Five-Year-Old

There are two million articles posted every day.

Why should anybody read yours?

Even if your content isn’t selling something, it should have a purpose.

How many times can you answer the question “but why?” about your content idea?

Where—Share Where It Counts

The question I get asked the most often by clients is, “Why aren’t we doing anything on <shiny new social media network>?”

My answer is usually “because your audience isn’t on there.”

Be smart about your content planning and the rest will come.

What are your biggest content marketing struggles as a small business owner or solopreneur?

About Berrak Sarikaya

Berrak Sarikaya is a natural conversation driver and an Amplifier, motivated by a firm belief in owning who you are instead of trying to fit the mold. She loves penguins, speaks fluent GIF, and is obsessed with the three C's: Community, Content, Coffee.

  • Thank you guys so much for sharing this on Spin Sucks! I hope it’s helpful for those struggling (like me) to get started with content planning when you spend so much of your energy working on client work. Also, I created a free template for content planning with a custom editorial calendar if anyone’s interested. Click to download:

    It was originally a Google Sheet but the cloud is my enemy today.

    • Berrak, thank you for this and the the content planning template. Having a distilled guide for the key elements and progression of development is helpful!

      • I hope the template is useful, Hanna. Feel free to ping me on Twitter if you have any questions.

  • Tara Geissinger

    Solid advice here! I think the biggest key is planning content around what your customers are looking for AND posting it where they’ll be. I agree, so many times clients want to be on networks that *they* like, but their customers aren’t using. It’s hard, but customers don’t always read and do what we want them to! LOL

    • Thanks, Tara! It’s also easy to get distracted by what you think you *should* be doing, instead of focusing on what will work for you. Every business is unique!

  • Great article Berrak—a nice end cap to the excellent #ContentChat conversation we had with you on Monday. Thank you for sharing so many great ideas and helping solopreneurs gain the confidence and motivation to put their plan in writing.

    Recap here for those who missed the chat:

    • Thank you so much for having me on the #ContentChat, Erika! It can feel overwhelming for solopreneurs and small business owners who are just getting started. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned (and am still learning) along the way.

  • Aaron Orendorff

    Oh my goodness, Berrak … you have GOT to get that spreadsheet into the article. That’s the one thing I wanted the whole time I was reading and I’m glad I scrolled through the comments and found it.

    That thing is FANTASTIC and put all the lessons into actionable form!

    Thanks so much.

    • Thanks, Aaron! I actually finalized the spreadsheet after this article was finished – which is why it wasn’t in there. As I mentioned on Twitter, it’s also available over at my blog. There’ll also be a comprehensive guide coming in Q1 so keep an eye out 😉