Rickety Roo COHORT Week 9 + 10: Creating your promo + content plan

Episode Summary.

The words content plans and content strategy are often used interchangeably, even though they are essential to content marketing, they are different in meaning.


In this episode, Erika Varangouli gives a comprehensive guide for developing an effective content plan.

She talks about;

  • the difference between a content strategy and a content plan
  • What a content plan needs to achieve
  • 3 factors that shape your promotion strategy and more!


FCDC Cohort Sponsor.


A massive thank you to Rickety Roo for sponsoring our content Marketing cohort.

Rickety Roo is a digital marketing agency helping small to medium-sized businesses get better visibility online.

They understand what it takes to drive eyeballs, clicks, and ultimately customers for your business leveraging Google.


They provide the following services:

  • Local SEO
  • PPC Advertising
  • Web Design and so much more!


Launch your customer growth with Rickety Roo


Teacher’s Profile.




✍🏾Name:Erika Varangouli

✍🏾What Erika Does: Head of SEO Branding at Semrush

✍🏾 Company: Semrush

✍🏾Noteworthy:  Erika is also a public speaker, regular webinar host, and awards judge. 




Connect with Erika;





Key Insights.


💡Distinction Between Content Strategy and Content Plan


Erika clarifies the distinction between content strategy and content planning. Content strategy, she explains, sets the top-level direction, focusing on the why and how.


On the other hand, a content plan is an actionable document or calendar that details when, where, and how content will be created and published, including ownership and budget considerations.


💡 Components of a comprehensive Content Plan


Erika provides a comprehensive overview of what a content plan should include. She discusses the importance of specifying the where (platform), who (project owner and content creator), how much (budget considerations), and the overall purpose of the content. She also talks about the need for balance in targeting different stages of the audience and keeping the plan up to date.


💡Balancing Content Planning


Erika draws attention to the necessity of balance in content planning. She prompts the cohort to consider whether their plan adequately addresses various audience stages—awareness, consideration, and conversion—preventing potential alienation of segments of the audience. The content plan should reflect a strategic approach that aligns with business goals.

💡Content Promotion as a Core Element of Content Marketing Strategy:


Erika shares that content promotion, including distribution and amplification, is integral to content marketing. She argues that content marketers should actively participate in planning promotion strategies, collaborating with stakeholders like PR, link-building, and email teams.


While acknowledging that content promotion might not always be owned by content marketing, Erika asserts that content marketers should be key stakeholders in the process.


Content plan + Promo plan template

Presentation slides

Episode Transcriptions.


sandra Tabansi 0:05

I sent in my, it’s been a while since I sent in my, my. I want to say content analysis, I don’t know if you saw it.


Erika Varangouli 0:20

yes I am, I am going through them. And I’m responding to each person individually for now. So if I haven’t responded, it’s like I haven’t been able to read it in more detail. But Sandra, I am going through them as well. And reaching out to people. So I shouldn’t be able to get back to you within the next two weeks. I must finish everything by then. I’m hoping.


And this is a nice pass into the one thing I wanted to put to all of you before we get started today, I’m not so stressed. I think we can fit everything in today’s session. But as you all know, we are nearing the end. Okay. And I feel that the the core of what we needed to talk about in the, in the, in the lessons has been covered. As far as I’m concerned. There’s one more after today’s lesson, one more thing that is important to discuss, which is like reporting, and how do we report on the success of a strategy and what is done afterwards.


However, that is always like a very grey area for content marketers oftentimes before, because analytics teams or other teams are involved reporting is done elsewhere. Your work as a content marketer may end with a strategy and plan. So how its implemented, what’s happening is out of your control, not always, so. So I would like to discuss reporting and monitoring results from what we do as content marketers, I’m not necessarily sure this needs to be in a format off, you know, here are the metrics here are the platforms here are whatever.


So number one, I wanted to ask you for next week’s lesson. Two, send me in advance, like maybe by Friday, so in the weekend, I can I can add anything I may not have thought of into what to cover, send me questions around reporting, what would you like to cover in an one hour class around how to report on the success of a content strategy, okay. And that session can be done in a bit more interactive way or going over, kind of like, platform if you want to or something else.


However, disclaimer, I don’t want this to become a Google Analytics workshop, like this is not necessarily what this should be about. So please send questions in our channel on slack with with topics you’d like to discuss around reporting on content success. And then after that, we will be having two more sessions, which I wanted to turn into the type of session we did a few weeks ago, kind of like in the middle of of a cohort of picking up strategies and audits to present for you to present and then go over them and discuss learnings, findings, improvements, you know, all of that.


So the last two I don’t see as delivering necessarily like new things to absorb. But I’m open to your feedback. Do you think you’re missing something you would absolutely want to learn in this course. And then we can discuss Festus you usually have, like good ideas on on what you expect and what you want. Do you have any input here? Sorry for singling you out


Festus Eze 4:14

Oh, no,


Erika Varangouli 4:17


Festus Eze 4:17



Erika Varangouli 4:17


All right. Okay. Anyone else? Like is there anything like, is there anything at all that you would like to do together during this cohort? It doesn’t have to be like if I haven’t spoken about it, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t cover it. Like this is this is an interactive thing. So I need to make sure I cover also your questions on gaps about things so please speak up now.


Roshni Shaikh 4:52


Hi Erika, I don’t know if this is off topic, but I would really like to know about guest posting too. Building Authority as a company as well as an a professional individual. Is that something that we’ll be able to cover in this course?


Erika Varangouli 5:10

Let me make a note of that and get back to you. Thank you. I mean now, but after I hear everyone’s input, so yes. All right. What else?


Onize Muhammed 5:24

Uhm I don’t know if it’s possible for us to cover content distribution and repurposing


Erika Varangouli 5:30

Today. That is. Yeah, so that’s part of the promo plan. And yes, for sure. This is. This is definitely important. And we’re going to cover today. So Roshni, you mentioned guest posting. What else? Any other ideas?


sandra Tabansi 5:52

I, I was thinking of link building? I don’t know.


Erika Varangouli 5:58


sandra Tabansi 6:01

I don’t know if That’s possible.


Erika Varangouli 6:05

Okay. That would probably be a whole other cohort. But yes, I can address now. Festus, did you say something? No, just your mic being forgotten. All right.


Chitra Iyer 6:19

I have one as well. I was just wondering if we could you know, since we all also practitioners, it would be really great to hear about what are the new formats that seem to be emerging in content marketing over and above blogs. And you know, how you can read the cluster and topics read through those new formats, like, you know, podcasts are becoming a huge part of the content marketing strategy.


Original research reports, social media, of course. So there’s like a whole bunch of new kinds of stuff that are coming out, and it will be fun to talk with everyone on and how they are managing to pull the same thread through all of that.


Erika Varangouli 7:09

Okay. So what else go Peris? Go?


Peris muthinja 7:16

For me, Okay. I’ve been hearing a lot about AI taking over content marketing.So I don’t know if if you reached a point now where you’re, you’re incorporating AI, and content marketing. And how are you doing it?


Erika Varangouli 7:24

Okay. Yeah. Okay. Thank you very much. These are all honestly, these are all very valid inputs. So let me start addressing one by one. So, Roshni, you mentioned guest posting to build authority. My kind of like instinct around this is to not this would warrant maybe a separate like, workshop or webinar or per industry, but guest posting, over the years became such an overused and shady tactic that what I’m being cautious about is saying, Okay, if we want to do guest posting, here’s a method or strategy to do it, here’s how to find publications, here’s how to do this.


But then that doesn’t necessarily apply. Like it’s not a widespread kind of thing, or the very specific thing that if it’s not handled properly becomes a spammy technique. Right? I’m not saying all guest posting is spamming. It’s not it’s not I’m just saying that it’s been abused a lot when you mentioned guest posting for authority. And that kind of ties a bit into what you mentioned, Sandra about link building, right a bit, but I’ll tell you what sends these two have to do kind of with with building authority, many people do it for just the links, which is not a great approach.


It comes after creating your strategy, maybe as part of the promotion, or it can be a separate kind of like marketing approach like link building and in many companies or agencies is a separate function to content. Okay. It depends on the the size of team and everything. So I think it would be we would only touch those things very top level if we did here.


And I’m not sure like how savvy everyone is have been Only or they are or what kind of input would help. I don’t think you need me to tell you, you know, outreach to 1000 people, someone will say yes, or find sources by using that tool and just spam the hell out of everyone. Or just reach out to every publication and ask them if they want to guest post or here’s, I don’t know, a search operator to use. So you can find opportunities, like these are things that are out there, I don’t see them like being the strongest parts of this programme.


However, what I am thinking based on the other things I heard is that maybe I’ll wait to see your questions about reporting. Okay. But if reporting does not seem like a topic that will fill in the full session, let’s say next week, what we can do is we can go in a bit more depth about some of the promotional tactics. And then I would also need your kind of like, voting on our channel to say, okay, I can send you like a list of promotional techniques after today’s lesson, you will have to think of them as well.


And tactics, and then we can say, okay, in the next class, let’s go into a bit more detail about how to do this, this and that successfully. Okay. And I think that I’m happy to do but all the disclaimers in the world is like please with with things like link building, which is different to link earning or link acquisition, by the way, Sandra.


So Link building is kind of like a bit more intentional. And it requires also a different set of skills, it doesn’t mean that a content marketer can do link building Well, we can dedicate part of next week’s lesson, to go into a bit more detail about specific distribution or promotion techniques. But because there are so many of them, I think the best idea is for you to to vote for the ones that you see more in your profession or day to day lives, or the ones that you’re the least familiar with, and you want to learn more about and then cover those like three, however many we can fit in within a dedicated session about it. Does that make sense? I hope it is. Yes.


Okay. So all of that, let’s get on Slack. And and vote. Today, you mentioned about new formats. Do you know, I don’t know podcasts, everything? Yes. So that should already be part of, of what you’re working on in your in your strategy. Remember, when we started, I said content marketing. And what we’re going to do here is not just about writing blog posts to rank, because content marketing is is much bigger than that, we do tend to focus on the search part of things because this is where the majority of like content marketing requests may come from.


But content marketing then spans out to different channels, different formats. So today, we’ll touch on it again, a bit on how to come up with like the promotional plan. However, in your content, strategy, even the template you have a section to to determine, like additional types, or content formats you want to utilise to target something.


Plus, we never said in the first way that the main type should be content at all times, like written content or a blog post. So you always must consider that your competitor analysis, your SERP analysis, right, your topic analysis should show you what are the kinds of emerging formats as well. And by emerging and your trend analysis, you know, all of those inform the kind of content you suggest building. So please do not


Chitra Iyer 14:13


Erika Varangouli 14:14



Chitra Iyer 14:15

But obviously, you can’t use I mean, those will not be found by search or anything, right, like in a podcast or social media and everything won’t show up in search, alright.


So I’ve been told, but sometimes when I do a Google search against a Reddit community, and you know, thread, they’re happening there, or I get a podcast or you know, so it’s, it’s not always just that Google is only searching blogs or text content anymore. So just curious, how do you search into those new format.


Erika Varangouli

So so many of those formats will come up in search, and the more search develops like you’ll see the filters at the top I think we’ve discussed the previous time a bit, where you have like perspective so surfacing stories. It’s surfacing social content. Reddit, for example, Quora, even with the latest updates, they got a big boost in the SERPs. So even Google search, like without using any tools is a good indication.


Or you know, you’ll see image carousels, you’ll see video carousels and video being ranked like quite high or having the option to have it you’ll see shopping features. So all of those things Search and Google SERPs are an indication of formats. But you’re right Chitra. So what I would suggest is like either you, you can have like 10,000 tools and search everywhere, which is mental probably you can do if you’re working for one brand. And then you have the budget, have all the tools and look into everything.


But by looking at your competitors, you see what which of their content, like you’re doing an analysis, remember of how they performed with their site, initially, you did an analysis of what they do on social platforms as well and how that content is performing. And then you’ve done your analysis using tools as well to understand what performs in search, how your competitors are gaining traction, then you also have your your marketing knowledge.



So for example, depending on the client you have, or what you found, from your initial competitor analysis, you might see that, okay, one of the social platforms would probably work well, maybe you’re not still sure which one, your competitor analysis found that, okay, two out of my four competitors are doing great on Facebook, then is when you need to start exercising also your judgement, do not just blindly follow what a competitor is doing. Because they might be doing it because someone else did it before and they feel looked at.


And it’s not really that great. So if for example, you’re you’re working with a client, and you feel social media would be a platform for content, I would urge you like on Instagram on tiktok, you can perform searches with hashtags and see like the results it brings back you can see the engagements they get, you can see if there are influencer, on those platforms that talk about the topics that are relevant to you how you interpret that how you incorporate that into your strategy, whether you include like a plan to work with influencers, or whether you feel like, okay, none of my competitors is there.


But these hashtags are all relevant. And they’re getting like millions of searches and interactions. So that shows that my audience is searching here. So even without any tools that you pay to tell you like, Okay, how many people search for this on tick tock? You can start getting data, let’s say about whether that is the right platform or not. Regarding podcast you have you can do searches, like on Google, Google is sunsetting theirs, but you have like anything from Spotify. Podcasts are also like, I think, searchable on Google.


So so you can search for topics plus for podcasts, and then you can see what comes up and then you can see like, Okay, does it look like it has engagement? So these are things you always assess Now, if you’re asking me, okay, if I do this manually for every kind of content format, I need five years. Yes, that is the answer. So you start with what you find, I think as a basis and your analysis, and that started with Google competitors, the tool you’re using to see where they’re getting organic traffic from right. Or backlinks.


So So then, once you start looking into okay, what kind of content formats do I get in the SERPs, that shows you the directions you need to take with your content? We’ll get back to that very quickly. I wanted to address Peris, Peris, this question as well about AI and incorporating it. So one of the questions I had I think I asked her to kind of last time was like, I haven’t seen an assignment yet. Someone mentioning I used AI to do this. Has anyone used AI so far in this cohort to do something to deliver a task? No, no one. Okay.


So, so that to me shows something because from the start, I’ve put the slide in the end and I always repeat it to say use AI just put a disclaimer your you’ve used it because whoever did that, I wanted to discuss it with them and like how they do so you’re right parents that as content marketers, I’m not gonna go into the discussion AI is going to take our jobs we’re not going to that is irrelevant, but AI or It’s not, it’s a form of AI. We’re talking mainly about machine learning and large language models, right, Chat GPT, for example, or Claude, your client whose name came from Claude, the AI tool. So these are, can be very useful tools. And yes, that’s true.


That’s true. I’m very useful tools throughout this whole content marketing journey from, from starting and exploring ideas and trying to understand like, trends in the content. How good content is, depending on what you’re using paid or non paid, like chat GPT is very different depending on whether you’re using the paid version. But for content analysis for understanding where your gaps are for helping for getting help with like structure, your content, your briefs, your actual content and reviewing how optimised it is, there are tonnes of things you can do with AI.


So Peris, I’m hearing it if everyone else wants to do this, I’m happy to talk more about AI. But to do that, I will do this on the free tool basis. Because like I cannot, like deliver a whole class about like, I don’t know, paying for charge up to like we have to use what we have. So we can take one tool or two like we can take chat gpt for example or anything else you want. Claude any other free tool.


And we can take use cases from that and sort of go through how we would do it. I think in the previous lesson there was there was a workflow for AI. I’m not sure I don’t remember, but I’m pretty sure I had Oh, not workflow. There were ideas on how to use it to get the data you needed if you had no pay tools available, Roshni go.


Roshni Shaikh 22:03

Yeah, I wanted to ask you if you have the paid version of GPT.


Erika Varangouli 22:10

I don’t have it at home. We have it at work.


Roshni Shaikh 22:13

Okay. Okay. So I think it’ll be nice to see the possibilities of how you use it at work with the premium version so that, you know, we can learn about what we cannot do with the free version. Because some of us we are already working with greenwashing.


I haven’t used AI to write content, but I use it to do research to write back copy and optimised landing pages based on the reasoning and, you know, research basically. So it’ll be nice to see what you do with the premium version. Is that a possibility Erika?


Erika Varangouli 22:51

I think because it’s a company account. I’m like legally not allowed to do anything with it outside, like my working email.


Roshni Shaikh 23:01

Okay, Yeah.


Erika Varangouli 23:02

The thing is, and that has, like, for me has been, it has followed me throughout this whole cohort. Because I’m know like during this lessons, you’re given free access to like SEMrush to se ranking, I think another tool. But I know that in life, you may be asked to work with a very different tool, or many other tools or no tools at all. So you’re on your own. So I’ve always tried to balance it with like, okay, SEMrush I know you have now. And it’s quite an indicative like tool in the industry. Like it’s not totally different from, I guess SEO ranking, I don’t have it see ranking bird.


I haven’t seen it in a while. But ahrefs like, a lot of them have like similarities in how you use them. So but then I’ve always tried to also propose ways that you could manually do something. So worst case scenario, you know, you’re on your own, you have no paid tools. What do you do? Are you done as a marketer? Like, that’s it, you cannot do anything. So for me, especially with AI, because there are so AI when we say AI, like every tool uses AI nowadays, right? And SEMrush has like 3000 tools, probably using AI, cht gpt to like one of the most widespread out there.


I think the idea with using AI as it is now we don’t know how it will be in one to three years time and what it will be able to do like again, machine learning and large language models based AI. But the idea is, how do you understand its limitations, what it what you should not be using it to do? I think sometimes this is more important than knowing what to do with it. Because I’ve seen and I am seeing tonnes of like posts online, people selling stuff and saying oh, you’re not you can no longer need to do any of that you just need five minutes with Chat GPT, and I’ll show you how to do everything pretty much. And these are outright lies, you cannot do some things right now with free versions, like, as it’s put out there, you should not be doing something.


So about AI specifically, let me have a think how we can approach it in a way that is useful. What I would suggest to all of you is, throughout this course, any and all of the tasks and assignments you had, you could have use AI, even the free version to some degree. And, and I was curious to see if anyone uses it, and how you would bring it into the tasks.


So one, for example, idea is that revisit things you have done in your assignments, prompt AI, for whatever your thing is, is relevant to do to take this to the next level to check what you’ve proposed somehow, to add things you could not add because of time restraints. And maybe that could be a good way to discuss like in the last lesson, we can combine a bit of like, AI, here are some like workflows or use cases, let’s see who’s done it like sharing advance and say, for example, uneasy, I’ve used AI to to build further my content audit, I used it in this way.


Let’s have a five minute presentation during class to see how did you use it what the result was. And I think that would be a good idea to sort of see, I don’t want to talk at you about AI. Like right now, the majority of people in content marketing, talking about AI, including myself, are practitioners, we’re not theorists of AI. I haven’t built a large language model in my life, right? I’m not an engineer. So we’re all learning as we practice, mostly. So that was my initial thinking, when I included it from the first lesson is like, don’t be afraid of it. Go there and use it.


It’s free. It’s not going to hurt you. It’s like prompt, learn how to use it, what does it bring good results for what it does not do things in an acceptable way for you. And then understand whether you need to work on your prompting on expectations or how you incorporate it into your workflows. So let me have a thing. But I think I like the idea of having our last class be about like, either new emerging trends in search, I think chitra beyond the content formats, right? It’s your question kind of shows, Okay, where is this going? And, and the last class could be about this. Plus, like, how do we use AI in our profession? Right now, at least or currently based on his capabilities? Does that sound good? Okay,


Roshni Shaikh 28:09

we would also like to see how you use it. I know, I’m not asking you to show me like you said what to do with your works. Premium account, but you know, simple things like, is there some reusable prompt that you use more and more often, like, for example, if you want the AI to set a particular tone of voice, you know, a particular set of instructions that you give to AI to to recheck your content or anything like that, you know, if you can share that.


Erika Varangouli 28:46

Yeah, I’ll have a look. I’ll be honest, with a free version, there’s very little that I do with the free version, right? So but I am aware of its limitations. Because my role is no longer so much about like content creation, or editing or stuff like that. Probably not so much. But I will go through what I have. And I will also speak with a couple of friends who I know maybe using it a bit more. Trust them like as professionals, they’re great. So I’ll try to collect some sort of prompts or a starting point for you to get started.


But honestly, with AI, it was literally chat gpt was that last November, all of us was like, Oh my God, chat gpt, what do you do with it? And then we started prompting like idiots. And by seeing the results, we started understanding where to improve on right. How to build those problems, and and what to not use it for. Right so. So let’s structure all that I’m happy to do stuff around this in the last lesson. That’s the thing too. Three weeks away.


In the meantime, for next week, I need your questions about reporting. And then we can see if we have time to go into a couple more things that I don’t see necessarily as warranting a separate class about, like guest posting or link building, I would argue Link building is a whole separate kind of area in its own right. But let’s see, we’ll put it to the vote, then the class after that, I want us to, I want you to present to to me in the class, okay.


And I want you guys to talk about your strategy, your approaches, where did you get blocked? What would you see as next steps? So that’s why I was thinking to classes around this because then most of you are more of you would have the opportunity to talk about your strategy. So the last one we can can revisit Roshni. Yeah.


Roshni Shaikh 30:57

One more thing, I really apologise that I haven’t turned in my assignment because the shedule has been crazy with tickets and horrible European ventures. So can we get like, a few extra weeks to submit your assignments?


Erika Varangouli 31:10

I think whoever I think yes, because I was this weekend, I was checking what I have from whom it’s not just you Roshni. So what I would suggest is this. Next week, I think is last week in December in November, sorry, I’m running ahead. Yes. So next week is the end of November. And after that, I think we have two classes around December.


Personally, I would appreciate if I had a little more than just a final week or after the end of the classes to sort of go through what you share with me on feedback, okay. So if you can try to make that by the end of the month, that means that you still can make a presentation during the classes, and I have enough time to feedback because already I have a lot of assignments that I haven’t fed back on. So So for me, as well as kind of like trying to balance everything else with with going over the assignments.


Roshni Shaikh 32:11

end of November, you mean? And you mean end of November, when you say end of the month?


Erika Varangouli 32:17

Yeah, that would be great. At the end of the day, we’re all humans, and we have lives, we have things. So you know, if you cannot make it by the end of November, please just tried to share the reasonable time before the end of the cohort. So we have time to go over it. Okay. Okay.


Roshni Shaikh 32:35

Thank you. Thank you so much.


Erika Varangouli 32:36

All right. Now we have 20 minutes left. Now I’m stressed. So I do want to show you some stuff. But again, for the bulk of the things we’re doing in this cohort, for me the most important thing, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, we’ve all learned mostly by doing okay, we didn’t learn tonnes by just reading or someone talking at us.


So maybe that’s not a wider truth. But that’s how I’ve learned. So I never want you to be afraid to try. Don’t wait for a lot of theory or someone to tell you what they’re doing or, or what they were taught at uni for you to do the same. Just just dive in this is content, you need to dive in and test things.


Otherwise, you will never be able to progress and learn more and more as you go. So today’s class two classes together, let me share my screen. Hope for the best. Okay, so you can see my screen, I’m assuming Yes. So I’ve merged them together.


Because the good thing is that they’re kind of like very closely related. But I feel if you feel that we need to go into more detail. I think if that happens, it will be about the promo plan. Then we can dedicate the time as we discuss next week as well. All right, so let me get started.


So let’s start with the with a content plan. Right? Remember, we had left things at the content strategy, and you had to build your content strategy for Claude. And, and then one of the next steps was to talk about a content plan content planning. And what the difference is to content strategy. I’ve many times even now I hear them being used interchangeably.


Alright. So but they’re not like content strategy is is the top level direction. Content strategy should absolutely make clear the why. why are we doing what we’re suggesting to do, right? What are the circumstances that lead us to propose this kind of approach? How we’re going to get there.


So whether this is content formatting, we need to talk about or cadence right, how often we need to do something or if we need to change our approach in general. to content, how we create content. And then depending on the contract or the client, you know, maybe you’re in house and strategy and plan come together, maybe you’re working as a freelancer.


So a client pays you for the content plan, essentially, although they call it content strategy. So remember, this is for us to differentiate and a piece of education as well, for people around us. It doesn’t mean it’s math. And it always happens this way. Like content strategy can also include the what?


So what are we going to do, we’re going to create X blog posts, we’re going to create this kind of assets, we’re going to target, all these keywords, all of that can be involved into the strategy, the level of detail. You’re on your own.


They’re like your you decide based on your budget, your client your time, what is the expectations that you’ve set and discussed from the start? Right? So from the start, when you do your discovery meetings with your client or your boss, you understand what is the deliverable. People call content, strategy, everything, they might need a content audit, so you know the difference, you have to specify.


But when I’m talking about a content plan, what I’m really talking about here is just putting everything there into an actionable plan. A calendar, sometimes like these are the two terms are used interchangeably content plan or content calendar.


And that details when things happen when each of those things that you need to do needs to happen includes the where so where does this content go? Does it sit on the website? Are we talking about social media content? Are we talking about third party content that we’re going to publish off site? Are we talking about something else defines the who, by who I mean, who’s the project owner, but who also is delivering that content and is responsible for it.


And it can include the how much so again, depending on who’s responsible within each organisation and structure, sometimes I’ve had to sort of create the plan. And because there were different freelancers involved. And within different projects, I also like detailed the cost per piece, or per author that was involved in the plan. So bear in mind that this can also be here, or it can be a separate thing like budget discussions.


When you discuss the strategy, you may also include the this is the overall budget, we’re gonna spend it and that’s fine. That’s like quite common in in house setups as well. Now, what a content plan needs to achieve. So this the way I see it, it’s the place at any given stakeholder, internally, the team you’re working with a client, the team goes to and gains the full games full visibility on what happens with publishing where we are with publishing this content and creating it. Does it have to be a document? No, absolutely not. It can be a spreadsheet, it can be a board on a project management tool.


So for example, here’s a screenshot from one of my Monday boards, previous ones, where a content team was was planning like all the deliverables for for content. So it can be a Monday board, I’ve seen like many people use Asana, you can use Trello, you can use any project management system can also double up as a content plan, right, provided all the details out there. It can be both.


So you can have like a spreadsheet or a document where you track your plan where you lay your plan. But then you can have a project management board, where you can track the progress, for example, and you can keep those two, connected and aligned. And it could be anything else. Anything that allows you maybe a client has a different kind of approach to how they want to be seeing the publishing schedule.


In my experience, spreadsheets and project management tools are the two that I’ve used the most. I’m used like, probably 100% of the time in the past five years and nothing else. I’ll show you more in detail. But please don’t forget that when you’re doing a content plan, it needs to be balanced. So a very typical example right as you’re publishing on a blog, and the way you have prioritise things may be just random how you happen to put them on the initial strategy, or keyword research, or it may be based on which which keywords you’re going to tackle first.


Remember when we were doing the content strategy? I had? Told you like to keep an eye on how ideally do that in a prioritised order. So have at the top the ones you need to tackle first and have a reasoning behind it like is it Because the search volume is massive or isn’t because it’s low hanging fruit, so your clients should address it first. But when it comes to content planning, you have to also keep in mind a different kind of balance. And that balance is that, for example, if all the content you’re you’re planning for a month, is targeting people conversion stage, is that a balanced enough approach? Or are you risking, you know, alienating part of your audience, because part of your audience is about awareness or consideration stages.


So this is where the fields, we also had in content strategy, that she’d come in handy, because then you can see, okay, I have my priority list, or these pieces together, but I have tonnes of, of conversion pieces at the top. So should I keep, maybe you should. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. But I’m saying keep an eye on the balance and like what, who you’re targeting, and what the results are. And keep that in mind. In the plan, detail, everything you need in order to get a very good overview of what’s planned, when it will be done, and the progress in each case. So remember, if you have a sheet, for example, and a project management tool, they’re usually some overlap. Like, even if you track progress on the project management tool, there may be a version of the plan where you had listed the initial publishing dates, if those changes, keep that up to date. Because if these are usually shared also with other people, and stakeholders, they should be up to date at all times. Which brings me to my last bullet point, which is keep it up to date at all times. Now, very quickly, we’re not going to make it on time, your promotion, strategy and plan. These are the three things that should be at the top of your head when you’re, again, promotion strategy may not come to a content marketer. So I’m very, very cautious about how much in depth we go. Because promotion strategies very often come from PR teams or link building teams or social media teams. Right. So I think it is relevant. But I don’t necessarily think each one of you will have to be designing every element of that promotion strategy. Someone has raised their hand. Who’s that?

Chitra Iyer 42:37
Yeah, that’s me, Erika. Chitra. So on this part, I just wanted to ask, because like you rightly said, the content marketer or the content writers have no the content writers often not doing the amplification of the content, or even the distribution or the amplification or the promotion. So actually, we have pretty little control over how the piece of content performs

Erika Varangouli 43:04

Yeah, yeah. So I would say that 99% of the time, the writer definitely doesn’t do that, unless someone tells them like Please can you write this five posts for Facebook, right. But we are here we are content marketers. So a content marketer arguably is a content strategist, content marketing strategist, right. So so the idea of of identifying formats and channels for the content to be promoted, I will always argue that that content marketer needs to be at least at that table with the other stakeholders planning that.


So depending on the campaign, the promotion channel, for example, yes, PR may need to take over most of it or link building or email team. But the content marketer is there to sort of be that connection between how the content transforms and and becomes more effective, depending on the channel and the promotion strategy.


So that’s why I’m saying that for me, content promotion, which includes distribution amplification, like no matter what term we use, falls under Content Marketing, it isn’t necessarily owned, in all cases by content marketing, but content marketing, or the strategist is a stakeholder. So I have a hard stop as well, in eight minutes. Let see, what happens? Thank you Chitra for the question. Um, you know what, no, let’s not do that. I’ll stop sharing this screen. I’ll tell you what we’ll do. So first thing I want to show you is this is an editorial calendar. I have full disclaimer.


Chitra Iyer 44:53

It’s not changed this screen and sorry.


Erika Varangouli 44:57

Sorry, sorry. Full disclaimer. Thank you. Chitra. I have built tonnes of templates or calendars over the years. When I was looking, I was going through my folders a while back to find like the best templates to use. And then I searched online for like, Okay, what else can I find from others, I really like hubspot’s, okay, so I use them as a basis for this. And then I just adjusted like columns or information I include in mine. With all templates, I will always tell you, it’s a template. So you can add, remove, use not use, it has to be useful for each one of you.


I’ve never, I think, very rarely, I’ve used the same kind of format. For every single campaign or role or whatever I’ve done. I’ve taken like the previous version. And then in the next project or the next team, I had to change again and again, until I got it to work for that specific kind of project or strategy. So use this as templates, but build them to be working for you.


So when I’m talking about an editorial calendar, I’m talking about Okay, so here, for example, you have your semester, Quarter, Month, whatever you want, just starting with a publishing date that you want to publish something the due date is when you expect to get it back from the editor writer, if it’s you like when should you deliver it. So it’s published on the date that you have here.


Sometimes you may need to account for design to create something or for a stupid CMS not working easily. So you need like hours of uploading that content or anything else. So publish date and due date are different dates, right? And you in my experience, I leave quite a bit of time as well, for things.


Status, you just put like, okay, briefed, for example, if you’ve briefed the writer or in production, if it’s with a writer or in editing, so you use the status is it makes sense depending on the on the steps in the process that you have to cover, if you need to get for example, for everything approval from the designer than from the editor than from the CEO, or like, these are all statuses that I would use here.


So we attract that, that process and where every piece of content needs. This is your title topic, the suggested URL you take directly from your strategy. And that’s why I use this year instead of like, in many cases, in many templates, what I saw is like, where does it did, and in the calendar, you put like blog, YouTube something else.


Here, you want to be specific, you want to know, by having the URL, you know exactly where something will sit, right. But it’s a content calendar, it means that if you are absent because you’re ill, and the content assistant needs to upload the piece of content she knows or he knows what to do. So I always put the suggested URL, which is also an indication of where something will go.


The link to the brief that you shared with a writer, let’s say the writer or the designers, any types of briefs you’ve used for this topic, you include here, the funnel stage, because then I can also confirm very quickly if I’ve got like 10 Awareness pieces, but nothing for conversion, who the writer is who the editor is, if we’re talking about written content, you can adjust if you’re doing like a video content strategy, then obviously you you’re going to have to put like, Okay, who the presenter is, who the video editor is and and then track accordingly.


And then any additional stakeholders and that could be internal, or external. So someone internally like the head of content needs to be involved, or the designer who creates the graphics for the blog, I would add them there. And this is pretty much what I need to know like once it’s published, what I put here is published. If you have incidents of like not publishing on the date that you initially planned, what I usually tend to do is just add another column to say ideal publish date, actual published date. Theoretically, if a content plan works well that should not be the case very often.


Um, so here’s what we’ll do. I will record the lesson now that my nose is no longer blocked and I’m not sneezing anymore. And I will share the rest of the presentation with you like the the presentation is only like another five or so slides. I will also show you in the video, the rest of the templates and then The task of what to do, but for me the task, the main task of this was to have the strategy. So you need to focus on finishing that if you haven’t done it yet. This assignment, don’t look at it as an assignment, look at it as, as a practice kind of thing for you.


If you want to add on top of of this, the content plan is essential for a content marketing the promo plan. I don’t know, I do it. I’ve always loved doing it. And I think it belongs in what we do. But we’re rarely the owners of that we need to learn how to work with others on that.


So it’s a knowledge I would like you to have and sort of like a bit of practice. But the core subject is is building the strategy, and then transferring that into a plan. So I’ll share the video, I’ll show you the rest of the proposed kind of ideas on how to put things down and we will continue the conversation on Slack.


Okay. When you say okay, Bruce, yes, today? Yes. Cool. Okay. All right. So thank you very much. Any questions reach out to me personally on Slack? Anyone? I haven’t responded like Sandra, right at all about a previous assignment, please let me know. Because also my inbox sometimes does weird things and put stuff in spam or weird folder. So I’ve had this a few times lately. So yeah, ping me on Slack and and we’ll continue over there. All right. Thank you all so much for today. It was good to see you and hear you. And I’ll see you next week again. Thank you