Tag Archive for: social media marketing plan template

Are you curious about how to use content pillars to create social media content but not sure how to get started? You’ve come to the right place! In this illustrated, step-by-step guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about:

  • What they are
  • Why you need them if you want results with content marketing
  • How to figure out what yours should be so you can attract your dream customers into your audience
  • How to use them to create content for social media more effortlessly, and
  • How to streamline your content creation process and save tons of time

Not only that, I’m also going to show you how they fit into your larger content strategy and how to easily plan your content so you can stay consistent with less stress. 

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a roadmap for always knowing what to post and when to post it in order to grow your social media presence. 

Sound good? 

Before we get too far, be sure to download the free Content Planning Template so you can put all the steps you’re about to learn into action.

First thing’s first: 

What are Content Pillars?

Content pillars are the main topics or themes that all of your content can be sorted into. 

These themes connect your content to your business goals and make life easier by providing a framework for everything you share so you can attract your ideal audience, earn their trust, and guide them toward becoming a customer.  

The biggest benefit of all? Time savings. The average small business owner spends hours each week stuck on the question, “what should I be posting?” because they’re not following a content pillar plan like the one I’m about to show you. 

A general rule of thumb is that you want to narrow the topics you post about down to 3-5 broad topic categories to make sure your brand message is focused and your audience knows exactly what to expect when they follow you. 

Each of your 3-5 content pillars should represent a topic theme that’s…

  1. Relevant to your brand and the products and services you sell
  2. Relevant to your ideal audience

They can have infinite subtopics and specific topics, but they all must relate to the pillar topics. 

We’re going to go over the steps to determine your own content pillars shortly, but first it’ll be helpful to see where you’re headed. So let’s kick things off by taking a look at what content pillars look like in practice with some examples… 

Social Media Content Pillar Examples 

The easiest way to determine your content pillars is to just start brainstorming topics that relate to what you sell, or what you want to sell, and the things your ideal customers might have questions about. 

Say you’re a digital product and course creator that helps small businesses with digital marketing. The topics you come up with might look like this… 

A picture of topics written on a piece of paper as part of the brainstorming process to create content pillars

Once you’ve brainstormed your list of topics, you want to start grouping them together in common themes or “clusters.” It may take some shuffling around, but eventually you should be able to put them all under 3-5 broad topic categories.

(If you come up with 3 that’s perfect, don’t strain yourself trying to get to 5. The more you niche down, the simpler it will be to manage. But if you need 4 pillars or 5 that’s perfectly fine too.)

In this example, those main pillars might look something like this…

Illustration of topic clusters forming content pillars

For this business (which happens to be ours!), each pillar relates to the things we sell and topics our ideal customers are interested in (as they relate to what we sell).   

That said, this does NOT mean that you should constantly talk about your products and services in your content. Instead, you want to create content that builds brand awareness and trust around the topics that relate to your offerings. 

That way, you’ll fill up your audience with people who are most likely to eventually make a purchase. 

Since we have multiple product lines, our approach is to focus on one pillar at a time in our content depending on what we’re promoting during that particular time period. 

This makes it easier to batch create content for social media posts, emails, blog posts, and videos because we’re immersed in one topic area at a time. 

Notice that each of our pillars is broad enough so we can include multiple subtopics. 

From those subtopics, we have the flexibility to break them down into an infinite number of tips, personal stories, case studies, how-to guides, industry news updates, and so on and still maintain a cohesive brand story (who we help and how we help them).  

Just for fun, I thought I’d show you a few more… 

Content Pillar Examples for Different Niches

Let’s explore examples of content pillar topics for various niches to give you inspiration for your own business… 

An illustration of different possible content pillars for different niches

These topics are just fictional examples to get your creative juices flowing. If you see your niche here, your pillars might look completely different and that’s okay! Your pillars are unique to your business. 

Now let’s take a look at how your pillars will fit into your larger social media content strategy, because this is a key point a lot of marketing gurus fail to point out…  

👉If you want to attract customers and generate leads and sales with your content, having content pillars alone is not enough. You also need to consider the types of content you need for people in your audience who are at different stages of awareness. 

Content Pillars As Part of Your Larger Social Media Content Strategy

I want to zoom out and give you the big picture of creating an effective social media strategy because this is the part that can get confusing depending on who you listen to. 

Content marketers teach the concept of “content pillars” in two different ways:

1) As the 3-5 topic themes you stay focused on 


2) The types of content you need to be sharing (e.g. personal stories, educational tips, inspirational quotes, etc).

If you landed on this post because you were curious about which one you need, we’re about to clear this up for good!

Content Pillars vs Types of Content

A lot of unnecessary confusion is created when words like “content pillars” and “content buckets” and “content types” are used interchangeably – it gives the impression there’s something complicated about this or even some controversy (there’s not). 

It’s actually very simple! 

Forget about all the social media marketing lingo for just a second… 

What’s important to understand is that there are 2 main components of a social media content strategy, and in plain language they are:

  1. 3-5 broad topic areas you’ll stay focused on so people understand what you’re about and so you attract the right audience 
  2. Different types of content (e.g. inspirational, educational, promotional, etc.) 

The reason we need different types of content is so we can get the attention of people in your audience who are at different stages of awareness (more on that in a second).   

Here’s the bottom line 👉You need both. 

No matter what people call these components, you need both in order to grow a targeted audience and guide them to a purchase. 

This is all going to come together soon but let’s lock in the definitions for how we’ll describe these 2 content strategy components:

Content pillars = broad topic categories (unique to your business)
Content buckets = types of content categories (that all businesses need to share) 

Here’s a helpful way to think about it…

Your content pillars are about YOU 👉 the topics that communicate what your business is about

Your content buckets are about YOUR AUDIENCE 👉 what they need based on their awareness 

An illustration with of content pillars (YOU) and content buckets (YOUR AUDIENCE)

Each of the different content buckets plays a different role and works to either:

  • Get more followers
  • Encourage them to like, comment, and share your posts (a positive signal to the the algorithms that helps your content reach more people)  
  • Create a personal connection and build the know/like/trust factor that leads to sales
  • Establish credibility and earn your followers’ trust 
  • Position you as the best choice when compared to your competition 
  • Inspire members of your audience to take the next steps with you (sign up to your mailing list, DM you, buy something, etc.) 

If you were just to show up and post about the stuff you sell… nobody would follow you, engage with you, or even make a purchase. It would be like asking someone to marry you on the first date.

That said, while a person who doesn’t know anything about you yet isn’t ready for a sales pitch, a brand loyal customer is just waiting to hear what you have to sell them next. 

👉They need different types of content. 

You need to fill up ALL your buckets because… 

Before someone becomes a customer, they go through a decision-making process and that process can take minutes or it can take years but the process is always the same… 

Picture it like a timeline:

Illustration of the social media customer journey timeline

People start out completely unaware of you and with the help of your social media posts…

→ Move toward becoming a follower. Things like inspirational posts and relatable personal stories work great at this stage to help people to get to know you and like what you’re about.

→ Then you want to earn your followers’ trust and you do that by sharing value – educational content, lessons learned, recommendations, success stories and so on. 

→ After they know, like, and trust you they’ll consider signing up for your email list or buy your products and services. So a portion of the time – about 20% – you need to be sharing information directly related to your offerings and calling your audience to action. 

The other 80% of your time you want to be sharing value to keep guiding people along this timeline.  

At this point, try not to over complicate the way you think about this. All you need to know is that you want to mix up the types of content you share and in a moment, we’re going to go over exactly what those are

The way you ensure you’re mixing things up is to use a content calendar to plan it all out. 

👉A social media content calendar is where your content pillars and your content buckets come together to form a plan for you to follow. 

Illustration of content pillars going into content buckets that are planned out in a content calendar

Using a content calendar helps you stay consistent, reduces stress, and simplifies the content creation process. 

So from here, we’re going to go over the steps you need to reach the final destination: a content calendar all planned out using your content pillars and content buckets: 

→ Determine your content pillars
→ Go over the 6 content buckets you need to share
→ Put them together in a content calendar 


If you haven’t yet grabbed the Content Planning Template, be sure to do that now so you can follow along with the upcoming exercises.

Figuring Out Your Social Media Content Pillars

Having intel about your ideal customer is an essential component of creating great content that’ll capture their attention and get them to stop scrolling and read your posts. 

So we start by getting clarity about who they are and what they need to hear from you…

Step 1: Define Key Target Audience Profiles

You’ll need information like demographics, interests and hobbies, challenges and pain points, goals and aspirations, behavioral characteristics, and preferred platforms. 

But if you don’t have any of those things yet, don’t sweat it. You can create fictional target audience profiles based on the products and services you sell (or want to sell).

ChatGPT is not so great at writing social media content, but it’s an excellent tool for research which means it can help you create audience profiles. Just open up ChatGTP and insert following prompt (after you’ve customized the text in brackets): 

Hello ChatGPT! I’m looking to define target audience profiles for my content strategy, but I need help generating insights. I don’t have specific audience details yet, so I’d like you to help me create fictional profiles based on what I’m offering and the topics I want to focus on.

The products or services I plan to focus on are [describe your products/services]. The general topics I’m interested in are [mention the topics].

Can you assist me in creating target audience profiles based on these offerings and topics? I’d like to understand their potential demographics, interests, challenges, and behavior. Thank you!

ChatGPT will then generate a list of what it considers to be the best target audiences for you and it actually does a pretty great job with its suggestions! When you’re happy with it, you want to store these in a document for handy reference. 

Illustration of people in key audiences - marketing, creative professionals, entrepreneurs

The next step is to … 

Step 2: Create a Customer Persona

Creating a customer persona (or “buyer persona”) can help you speak to one person rather than a big anonymous target audience. This will help you better connect with the people who fit this profile and make sure your content sounds natural. 

You can use ChatGPT for this too. Taking your key target audience profiles you worked on in the last step, you’ll prompt ChatGPT to “now create a customer persona for me and put it in table form.” 

Again, save this in a document for reference. We keep ours in the same worksheet.

Illustration of a customer persona

Now rather than speaking to “just anyone” we can picture Sarah and speak directly to her in our content. 

But we’re not done. Now it’s time to do a deep dive into figuring out what Sarah really needs…

Step 3: Identify Audience Internal Needs and Emotional Triggers

Defining key audiences and creating a customer persona is a great start but it’s not enough. You also need to get to the bottom of what they’re feeling if you want to create content that gets their attention. 

Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What are they struggling with?
  • What problems keep them up at night? 
  • What do they desire most? 
  • What’s standing in their way?
  • What beliefs are holding them back?
  • What does life look like once they get what they want?

Once you have the answers to these questions you can use “emotional triggers” in every single piece of content to hook them in and keep their attention. 

These triggers are universal to us all, and they have EVERYTHING to do with whether your person takes action, and they include:

  • Goals + Desires
  • Challenges + Pain Points
  • Limiting Beliefs
  • Objections

Think of this as an “empathy exercise.” When you’re able to see things from your customer’s perspective, and you have one representational person to write content for, you’ll be able to create meaningful content for the people you want to connect with. 

When you’re done, you should have something that looks like this: 

Illustration of customer desire map - goals and desires, pain points and frustrations, limiting beliefs, objections

Keep track of this information for reference and use it when creating any given piece of content!

If you’re tempted to skip over these exercises, don’t! With your audience defined and their “emotional map” figured out, you’ll be able to create high quality content with an authentic tone of voice and trust us… it’ll get their attention!

Now we can move on to the next step and that is to…

Step 4: Identify Core Topics and Key Themes

The next step is to identify the core topics or themes that are relevant to both your audience and your business. Start by generating a list of smaller subtopics or content themes you think would be a good fit for you. This will help: 

  • Competitor Research: Study your competitors and their content to identify the topics they focus on. This can inspire and provide insights into potential core topics for your content pillars.
  • Keyword Research: Utilize keyword research tools like SEMScoop and AnswerSocrates to identify high-volume keywords and questions related to your niche. What questions do they have? What related questions do they have? As you find topics that relate to your business, add them to your list.   
  • Brainstorming Sessions: Conduct brainstorming sessions with your team (or with ChatGPT!) to generate more ideas of potential topics related to your products or services you offer and the insights you’ve learned about your audience. If you’re using ChatGPT for this, plug in the audience information you discovered in Step #1 and ask it to generate a list of the most common questions they ask and topics they’re most interested in. 

Step 5: Organize Your List of Topics into Topic Clusters

Once you have a list of topics, start organizing them into topic clusters and keep experimenting until all of them neatly fit under 3-5 broad topic themes to create your content pillars. 

If you can’t narrow your topics into 5 content pillars or fewer, it could be that you’re not niched down enough. If you try to cover too many broad topics, not only will it be harder for you to create content, it’ll be harder for people to know if your content is meant for them

Now you should have a pretty good grasp of your own content pillars, but if you feel a little nervous or unsure about it at this point, don’t stress… 

This is not set in stone. 

You are allowed to change your strategy if you find that something isn’t working or if you change direction in your business. 

What matters is that you’re creating a framework for approaching your content so it’s easier to manage day-to-day. In content marketing, if something doesn’t work, you can always adapt and improve it! 

But now we’ve got a great starting point, so let’s continue so we can apply these content pillars to your daily content creation activities…  

The 6 Content Buckets Your Business Needs to Share 

Recall that it’s your social media content calendar that allows you to ensure you’re sharing a mix of content so you can feel confident you’re always attracting, engaging, educating, and converting your audience. 

The good news is, this part is super straightforward!

There are 6 content buckets that every business needs to be sharing because they work together to reach people at all stages of awareness.

We call these:

  1. INSPIRE: Inspirational, motivational, and uplifting content
  2. ASK: Engaging questions that break the ice and spark conversations and engagement 
  3. CONNECT: Personal stories and anecdotes that create a human connection 
  4. EDUCATE: Educational tips, how-tos, insights, and recommendations 
  5. CONVERT: Information related to your products and services 
  6. EVERGREEN: Recurring and timeless content that you need to share for all audiences including answering FAQs and driving traffic to your blog posts and freebies 

Let’s see how a content calendar might look when we include all 6 buckets in your content plan: 

Image of a content calendar planned out with the six content buckets: inspire, ask, connect, convert, educate, evergreen

Pretty cool, right?

In the above example, you can see we’ve got some inspirational content, educational content, personal stories to “connect” with your audience, questions to “ask” your audience to spark conversations and so on. 

How they correspond with different levels of awareness looks like this: 

Illustration of the timeline of the customer journey as they relate to the content buckets, with inspire on the far left, then ask, then connect, then educate, then evergreen, then convert

This is what marketers call the “customer’s journey” and it’s really just a fancy way of describing the process we all go through before we buy something. 

When making content, the most important question you always want to ask yourself is… 

“What do they already know?” 

  • Unaware: Doesn’t know they have a problem or anything about your brand.
  • Problem Aware: Knows they have a problem, but doesn’t know what the solution is.
  • Solution Aware: Knows there are potential solutions to their problem, but they’re still exploring options and might not be aware of specific brands or products.
  • Product Aware: Knows about products or services that might help them get what they want. They compare features, benefits, and brands. 
  • Brand Aware: Knows about your brand and offerings, including features, benefits, and how it addresses their needs or problems. This stage is where most people will make an initial purchase. Then, they evaluate their experience and hopefully share their (great!) experience with others and become a repeat customer. 

In content marketing, we say that we “meet people where they are” (in this process) with our content. 

An image of the customer journey as a funnel, starting with unaware at the top and funneling down to customer at the bottom.

As an example, say somebody is “solution aware” – they know they have a problem and they’re gathering intel about the best way to solve it. They will appreciate hearing stories of how you or the people you’ve helped got an outcome they want (e.g., case studies, success stories, testimonials). 

→ This type of content gets dropped in the CONVERT bucket. 

Let’s say somebody’s “problem aware” and their problem is that they’re feeling demoralized because they can never seem to strike everything off their “to do” list (problem) but they don’t know what’s causing that or how to go about finding solutions. 

→ They need EDUCATE content that speaks to their problem – e.g., “Feeling demoralized because you can never keep up with your to-do list? Today, I have 3 tips to help!” 

Once you show them you understand what they’re going through, they’ll be receptive to hearing about the solutions you offer that can help them even further. 

So far so good? Right now you might be wondering… 

Where do content pillars fit in?

Now that we know we need a mix of different content buckets, any given piece of content that goes into those buckets needs to be relevant to your business and to your audience. 

That’s where your content pillars come in. 

You want to pull from your content pillars to create all these different types of social media posts, but there’s a little twist… 

The most important buckets to fill up with content pillar topics are:

EDUCATE: – tips & tricks, how-to’s, “best ways to”, recommendations, etc.
CONVERT: – customer success stories, promotional posts, answering common objections
EVERGREEN:– core and best-performing content from the educate, connect, and convert buckets that you want to share over and over again 

The above buckets are for people with medium to high awareness. They’re following you because they need help with the problems your products and services solve.

But it’s okay to go a little off-topic with…

INSPIRE: – motivational content 
ASK: – engaging questions 

These buckets are for people with low awareness. 

It’s okay to have a bit of fun on social media and this type of content drives engagement, they don’t strictly need to pull from your content pillars. If you can, great! Just try to make these posts relevant to your target audience. 

This bucket falls somewhere in the middle… 

CONNECT: – personal stories 

The CONNECT bucket includes personal stories – think “how I achieved something” and “what I learned from failure” stories. These are posts that allow you to connect with your audience on a personal level and build your know/like/trust factor. 

You want to try to connect the personal stories you tell to your content pillars as much as possible, but it’s also okay to just share off-topic personal anecdotes and life updates once in a while. 

Below, the CONNECT bucket is represented twice in the middle of the customer journey to distinguish between these two types of stories…

  1. Personal stories – e.g., “Life update! I’m moving to Bali!” will resonate with people at any stage of awareness including low awareness. 
  1. Stories that relate to your content pillars – e.g, “Lessons I’ve learned about [pillar topic]” – will be more relevant to people with problem/solution awareness. 
Illustration of the customer journey as a funnel with specific examples of content in the different content buckets guiding people in the audience toward being a customer

What about the EVERGREEN bucket? Good question!

This is a “wildcard” bucket because there’s certain content you’ll always want to share on an “evergreen” schedule and you want to plug that into your calendar too so you don’t forget.

This includes re-sharing your core or best content from your CONNECT, EDUCATE, and CONVERT bucket as well things like links to blog posts to drive traffic, invitations to sign up for your freebies, and information about your promotions and so on… 

Image of evergreen content bucket with examples such as FAQs, blog posts, testimonials, success stories

Pssst… If you’re feeling like this is a lot to keep track of, I promise it gets easy with practice. Mentally sorting your content into buckets becomes like second nature! Examples of the types of content that go into each bucket can be referenced from our free content planner. You can also check out our signature Content Calendar System which gives you 2 years of daily content prompts all planned out following the 6-bucket content strategy.

Connecting Content Pillars and Content Buckets 

Now let’s take a look at some examples of social media posts that connect the content buckets and content pillars together. 

EDUCATE is a no-brainer bucket – it’s always pillar-focused. You can share tips, tutorials, how-tos, best ways to achieve a desired outcome, recommendations and so on from any of your content pillars and drop them into the EDUCATE bucket… 

Illustration of content pillars going into the educate content bucket

Here’s an example of an EDUCATE post…

Here, we’re sharing tips that relate to our “content creation” pillar… 

Illustration of content pillars going into the educate bucket pulling from a subtopic

Now let’s look at an example of a post from the INSPIRE bucket…  

This is a pep talk about keeping your chin up during times of business adversity. It’s relevant to our audience of entrepreneurs and relates to one of our content pillars… 

Illustration of the Inspire content bucket - a subtopic from the content pillars goes into the inspire category

CONVERT is another bucket that should always pull from your content pillars because it’s the bucket that’s designated for generating leads and sales… 

This post invites our audience to sign up for our free content planner and it’s that call to action that makes it a CONVERT post. Your call to action doesn’t always have to be “buy now,” it can be any action you ask them to take that helps guide your audience to the next step. 

Connecting this post to our content pillars looks like this… 

Illustration of the convert content bucket with a subtopic from the content pillars going into the bucket

The bottom line is that you…

👉Always want to be filling up your 6 content buckets.
👉Almost always want to be pulling topics from your content pillars. 

If you can connect them all of the time, that’s awesome! Because … 

Illustration of content pillars being able to go into any content bucket

Make sense?

The social media content strategy is starting to come together now! 

→ We’ve got social media content pillars ✅

→ And the content buckets we need to fill up ✅

So now that we’ve got our two components for our content strategy figured out, it’s time to use them to create a plan you can follow in your day-to-day.

And the easiest way to do that is to simply map all of this out in a content calendar… 

Turning Your Content Pillar Strategy into a Daily Action Plan

Now we’re going to walk you through the system we’ve used to help thousands of small business owners get results on social media without all the stress and overwhelm! 🙌

Be sure to download the free content planner (pictured below) and we’ll walk through the process step-by-step… 

Step 1: Collect & categorize your content ideas and sort them into the 6 content buckets

Screen capture of a content planner with columns to store ideas by content bucket

One of the biggest time-wasters around is not having ideas to pull from when you sit down to create content. The KEY is to have a way to collect them as inspiration strikes or while you’re researching your competition or doing keyword or topic research. 

This handy idea library will not only help you capture those ideas, it’ll help you start thinking of them in terms of content buckets

Each column has examples of the types of content that go into each bucket to use as a reference and above the columns you can see why you’re creating this content and the role each bucket serves in your customer’s journey.

When you want to store an idea, just drop it into the column that makes the most sense. Don’t worry about whether it’s related to a content pillar for now, the important thing is to just capture all your ideas here first. 

The next step is to move your ideas into the next tab, which is a content planner where you can organize your ideas by content pillar to make sure you’re staying focused on those… 

Step 2: Sort your Ideas into Content Pillars Using the Content Planner

Add your content pillars to the header rows in gray and then copy and paste your ideas from the idea library under them. Then, assign its content bucket with the dropdown menu in the next column.

Image of a content planner with ideas sorted by content pillar then a dropdown menu selecting content bucket

Next to the content bucket column you’ll have options for…

  • Selecting the content format (post, video, story, etc.)
  • The status (not started → published)
  • The main channel you’re posting to
  • The social media channels you’ll also share it to to get more reach (a.k.a. “cross post”). 
  • Storing URLS to any images or graphic templates that go with the post
  • Storing URLs to blog posts, landing pages, etc. you’ll be referencing in your posts

At this stage, you’re planning everything out and gathering up all the assets you need so they’re handy. That way, when you sit down to batch create content, you’re not starting with a blank page – you’re just executing your plan.

Taking the time to plan all this out not only makes your content more strategic, it makes the process exponentially more efficient and less stressful.   

Step 3: Add Your Posts to the Social Media Content Calendar

At last, it’s time to move everything into a calendar format! 

→ You’ve collected content ideas that relate to your content buckets
→ And organized them by content pillar…

Now all you need to do is make sure you’re sharing a nice mix of content throughout the month.

You want to use color-coding for your content buckets so it’s easy to visualize, and if you grabbed the free content planning template, that’s already set up for you! 

In that template, you’ll also have one week of social media posts already planned out (with content ideas from our signature Content Calendar System for each bucket with pre-written captions that you can customize with topics from your content pillars).   

As you move your own post ideas into the calendar, the different colors for each bucket makes it easy to see “where you’re at” with your content mix… 

Image of a content calendar planned out by content bucket - where the content ideas can be moved

Notice there are tiny black corners in the top right hand side of each day – that’s where you will store your captions so they’re right there when you’re ready to schedule and publish them. 

In the first row you’ll see the sample captions we provided for you there, so just follow this example… 

Image of content planner storing captions in notes in Google sheets

Step 4: Share your posts & keep track of where you share them

If you have a social media presence on different platforms, you can check off where you shared your posts to keep track using this template. 

This is where it gets really fun because you’ll see a visual of how one piece of content can reach more people just by sharing them to other platforms!  

Image of a content calendar with check boxes where content can be tracked where it can be shared

Final Tips for Planning Your Social Media Content

Use a Social Media Scheduler to Crosspost to Different Platforms

We recommend choosing one main social media platform (e.g. Instagram) to focus your energies to start. But look for opportunities to “cross post” that content to other channels! 

For example…

  • Instagram Posts are great to share to Facebook
  • Reels are great to share to TikTok and YouTube, and 
  • IG Stories are perfect for Facebook and Pinterest too

Once you have your content planned out in your calendar, we recommend creating your content in batches and then scheduling them with a tool like Metricool (affiliate link). 

This will allow you to select multiple platforms to share your content to and in advance. 

That way, you can schedule a week, a month, or even several months ahead of time and then forget about it while you focus on other things in your business – your scheduler will take care of publishing them for you! 

There are lots of great schedulers out there but we always like to suggest Metricool because you can get started for free and have full functionality. All your direct messages across all your platforms will be right there and you’ll have analytics and insights for all your channels too. 

The only time you need to upgrade is if you’re scheduling a volume of content and by that point, it more than pays for itself in the time it’ll save you.  

Image of Metricool social media scheduler planning tool

Use Weekly or Monthly Themes based on Content Pillars

We recommend focusing on one content pillar per week or month, especially if you need to “warm up” your audience around a certain topic to plan for an upcoming launch or email promotion. For instance, if you’re a wellness coach you might make October “Healthy Recipes Month” and focus on your “nutrition” pillar.

Be Consistent

Establish a consistent posting schedule. You don’t have to post every day if you can’t swing it, but it’s good to find a  rhythm that works for you and keeps your audience engaged.

It’s better to be consistent and post 2-3x per week than it is to post every day for the first week and then nothing for the rest of the month. 

Batch Create & Schedule 

Plan out all your content in one sitting and then batch create the actual content in a separate session. This will save you heaps of time and keep your mind focused on one aspect of the process at a time, making it much less overwhelming. 

Monitor and Adjust Your Strategy as Needed

Monitor the performance of your content and adjust your content strategy accordingly. If certain content buckets are generating more results for you, consider allocating more energy to those.

Since we’re an educational business, we go a bit more heavy with EDUCATE content. If you’re a life coach, you may need to go a bit more heavy with CONNECT content. And that’s okay! 

These are both “middle of the funnel” buckets for people who are problem aware so it’s perfectly okay to swap those out in your schedule if it makes sense for your business and audience. 

If you’re just getting started in your business, you may not have a lot of stories to share or offers to promote, so you might start off sharing lots of inspirational content and asking engaging questions. That’s okay too. 

As your business and following grows, you can move toward a more balanced content mix and layer on more content buckets. 

Tailor Content for Each Social Media Platform

Consider tailoring your content in a way that works best for each platform – whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or others.

While all six buckets are perfect to share on any platform, things to consider when sharing to the following social media accounts:

  • Facebook and LinkedIn: Ideal for sharing industry insights, thought leadership, and links to your long-form content
  • Instagram & Pinterest: Perfect for visually appealing content that showcases products, services, freebies
  • Twitter and LinkedIn: Great for sharing quick updates, relevant blog posts and videos, and engaging in industry conversations related to your content pillar strategy

And that’s a wrap! Thank you for reading this illustrated guide to content pillars!

We hope this has helped you get clarity around your content pillars and overall social media strategy, and most of all, we hope you feel ready to plan out a content calendar that’ll save you time and help you crush your business goals.

Last chance to download the free content calendar template for Google Sheets by clicking on the image below and get started with seeing better results on social media without all the overwhelm!

If you have any questions about anything you’ve learned in this post, please don’t hesitate to drop us a comment below. We’re always happy to help.

Further reading and resources:

And before you go, if you’d like to get your hands on the ultimate plug-and-play content plan, Content Calendar System includes 2 years of content already planned out for you with 885 daily caption templates you can use to adapt for your niche. You’ll have hundreds of content ideas at your fingertips already organized in the 6 content buckets your business needs to be sharing so you never get stuck on what to post again! We hope to see you inside! 🙂

7-Day Social Media Plan | Want to sell your products and make money with your blog? First, you need to get visible! This post includes a weekly social media marketing plan to drive massive traffic. Click through to see all the steps and download the social media planner!
Want to sell your products and make money with your blog? First, you need to build your audience and get traffic! This post includes weekly blog tasks plus a downloadable social media marketing plan template. Click through to get the social media plan template!
7-Day Social Media Plan | This post includes a 7-day social media planner plus social media marketing template so you know exactly what to do to get massive exposure and traffic.

A complete 7-day social media marketing plan plus a monthly social media and blog planner printable! social media tips for business, social media calendar, social media tips #socialmedia #bloggingtips

Need a social media planner to cover the entire week?

This is part #2 of the Build Your Audience + Traffic series, where we’re drilling down on how to drive traffic to your content and convert visitors into subscribers.

In part #1, we talked about fundamental ways to increase traffic and build your audience. We uncovered how important it is to really, really know your target audience, and to set monthly goals so that you know what to aim for.

We also touched on the tasks involved with putting your content out there like you mean business…like you want people to find it.

Today, let’s dive into the HOW.


How can you promote your content effectively on social media?
What things should you be doing each week, and in what order, to maximize your reach?

Time for a 7-day social media plan, yo. What I really want is for you to have a blogging workflow that yields amazing results for all your hard work.

Here are the weekly tasks I’m covering in this post:

  • Sunday: Research blog topics
  • Monday: Write your post
  • Tuesday: SEO your post
  • Wednesday: Create images
  • Thursday: Promote on social media
  • Friday: Repurpose for other platforms
  • Saturday: Add to schedulers
  • Rinse + repeat 🙂

Ready for it? Let’s dig in.

Bonus: I created this 7-day social media plan template to help put what you learn into action.

social media strategy template


1) Research blog topics

To get the most benefit from this social media plan, you need to stick to a regular blogging schedule. One of the best ways to do that is to have your topics ready to go, so that all you have to do is to start writing.

Remember the blog themes we talked about? On the first Sunday of every month, jot down blog ideas that support your themes. This extra effort upfront will save you loads of time plus give you valuable insight about your audience.

Here’s why:

  • Knowing what you’re going to cover ahead of time means less time struggling with what to write during the week.
  • Your content is going to speak to what your audience really needs vs what you think they need, which is priceless.
  • Researching content is about more than just blog ideas – you’ll see how people spin their blog titles too, which is a biggie for driving traffic.

Now that you know what you want to write, it’s time to create your blogging workflow.

Related: 3 Places to Find Your Next 30 Blog Ideas


2) Write the post

Try to write when you feel most productive and when you can block out time with no interruptions or distractions. What this looks like is no email, no calls, no texts. Time to shut out the world and focus here. Writing is a creative process and you need the mental space to be all in…

You can even use my Time Blocking Template to help protect your sacred writing time!

In terms of how much time to set aside, it depends on the length of your posts. I tend to write longer posts that take me about 5-6 hours. You may need more or less time and that’s perfectly ok.

What you can do, if you like, is to alternate between longer and shorter posts. The first week, maybe you write a longer post. Then the next week, you write a shorter one. Whatever you do, please don’t write less than 1000 words! We want to provide real value for our readers, PLUS give our work a fighting chance to rank on Google.

Good so far?

Oops…almost forgot one thing:

Make sure you format your posts with subheadings and bullet points so they’re easy to read. Use short sentences and even shorter words, e.g. hard vs difficult. You want that when people scan your posts, they get what you’re saying without having to work for it.

You’re doing great! Next, let’s get a jump on Tuesday’s tasks.


3) Optimize for search engines

Tuesday is the perfect day to choose your target keyword and add it to your content, tags, and blog title. This way you have a final title for blog and social media images, which we’re going to create on Tuesday too, right after we sprinkle some SEO magic on it.

The reason I recommend optimizing your post AFTER you write it, and not before, is because it’s so important to focus on Step #1 first. The only thing you should be thinking about when you’re writing is how to get your readers from point A to point Z.

Then, after that, we can get jiggy with SEO.

If you’re curious about how best to optimize your posts, this post includes an SEO blog checklist you can download to help you remember all the steps.

Before we move on to images, let’s look at how to select the perfect target keyword. We’ll need Google’s Keyword Planner for this.

I usually select “Search for new keywords related to a phrase, website or category”. Your results will look something like the image below. What you’re looking for are keywords related to your search term that have a decent search volume and low to medium competition.


How to use google keyword planner

Once you select your target keyword, follow the steps listed in the SEO blog checklist to add it to your post.

And just in case you have a hard time finding the keyword planner once you log in, it’s hiding out in the “Tools” menu.

4) Create blog and social media images

#2FORTUESDAY We’re doublin’ up on Tuesday, so right after you’re done with step #3, it’s time to create share images.

Canva is a great tool for this. You can create and save branded templates with your logo, colors, fonts, and other brand elements all in there, ready to go.

I like to take my images one step further and use Photoshop. If you’re curious about Photoshop, this tutorial and social media template will help you get started.

Ok, so now you’re probably thinking What social media sites do I need images for, and what size should they be?

I’ve got all of that covered for you right here!


5) Create a content upgrade

High five! We’re jammin’ and it’s only Wednesday. Let’s keep at it.

Content upgrades are extra freebies…things like checklists, cheat sheets, eBooks, worksheets, and templates…that extend on your post with even more value. They’re optional, meaning that you don’t have to create one in order to publish your post and promote it.

Hmm…or do you?

Nope. Changed my mind. You need ’em.

The reason is that this is the Blog Audience + Traffic series. What that means is that we’re building a community…our crew, our tribe. To do that, we need a way to stay in touch with the people who visit our site. The last thing we want is to throw a slammin’ blog party and then have people peace out before the fun starts.

Also, if you remember from part #1 of this series, freebies are a huge piece of our content funnel.

To give you an example of this, I’ve built my list to 4K in the last 3-1/2 months with nothing more than freebies. We’re talking no guest posts, ads, webinars, landing pages…none of that noise! Just straight up opt-in forms and freebies.

Can you see how powerful they are?

Now, I get that freebies take a lot of time to make, so believe me, I’m not recommending that you include one with every post.

Instead, you can alternate each week, the same way we’re alternating between longer and shorter posts (Monday, above). So one week you add a freebie, the next week you skip it, and so on.

If you’re wondering how to create your freebie, Pages, Word, Google Docs, and Canva or all good choices. I’ve been using InDesign forever so that’s what I prefer. Oh, and if you’re interested in learning how to create eBooks with InDesign, please let me know in the comments!


6) Add the upgrade to your post

This part sounds simple, right? It actually takes a few more steps than you might think. What you’re doing is creating a 2-step opt-in form, where an image or a link triggers a pop-up. So let’s break that down, k?

First, there’s the link or image

I’ve found that a graphic button with a call to action like “Click here to download” works better than a text link. Images grab people’s attention more than links, especially if you’re following the blog SEO checklist and interlinking posts for search engines. All of those links can get lost after a while.

But a big, bold, graphic button? No one’s glazing over that, friend! The other thing to include in your button is an image of your worksheet or checklist. You want to let people see how helpful your freebie is, type thing.

Ok, so what tools should you use?

Great question! See those tools you used on Tuesday to create blog + social media images? You can use the same ones for your call to action button.

Next up, the opt in form

This is the form that pops-up when someone clicks on the button.

I use Thrive Leads because I just loove it so much, but you can use OptinMonster, Leadpages, or SumoMe too. Just remember to connect the form to MailChimp, ConvertKit or any email platform you currently use.

Finally! Write a delivery email

We need a way to send the freebie to new subscribers.

What that looks like is when someone signs up for your freebie, they get a “tag” that triggers an email sequence  (which is just a fancy way of saying “send more than one email”). Here’s an example of a delivery sequence:

  • Your first email will say something like “Thanks so much! Here’s your download.”
  • Then you follow-up a few days later with a reminder “How’s it going with the freebie? If you haven’t downloaded it yet, here’s the link again.”
  • The idea is to schedule these emails ahead of time, so it’s all on autopilot.

Ok, I know you’re probably thinking This is so much stuff, and it all sounds pretty techie!

I hear ya! There are a lot of steps here, which is why I like to think of Thursdays as #TECHTHURSDAY. Setting all of this up definitely takes a different part of your brain than writing or even creating images.

Remember too that once you set up your first sequence, you can duplicate it for the next one. And you only have to connect your service once to the form. Then you’re good to go.

Like anything else, the more freebies you create and add to your posts, the faster it will go. This is another one of those things where, if you hang in there with it, your investment will pay off later on as your audience and community grow and grow.

Now, I know you’re probably thinking If this is a social media plan, why are we spending so much time on blogging tips? What about tips for social media?

I hear ya! Everything we’ve covered so far is about blogging and creating content.

The reason is because content is the glue that makes social media so sticky. You need to focus on blogging from Monday through Thursday so that you have original content to share. That’s where the traffic part comes in! If you hang in there, over the next few days we’ll turn our attention to sharing and promotion. Everything will come together into a bangin’ social media plan soon. Pinky swear.

Real quick before we move on, there’s one more thing to do:

Check your Google Analytics at least once a month. What you’re looking for are the top 5-10 posts that are most popular. These are the ones with serious muscle, the ones driving the most traffic to your site. Make sure you go back and add a freebie to each of these if you haven’t already.

Next up: Time to pounce on social media!


7) Publish and promote

#TGIF Almost there…just a few days left. You can do this…

First, publish your post

Whatever you do, please proofread your post before you publish it! I’m terrible at this… I’m always finding grammatical errors and typos in my posts months after they go live. Ugh. Sooo frustrating…and the longer the post, the more typos.

Do me one better here, friend. Give your post a once-over before you publish it.

Next, promote your post

This is the most important thing to do next, and I’m going to show you how to do it so that you get maximum visibility and traffic. Let’s look at the blog promotion tasks in 3 stages, done over the next 3 days:

  1. Share on social media, bookmarking sites, and content communities
  2. Turn your post into other types of content to reach even more people
  3. Create and schedule additional updates, tweets, and pins

Some experts, like Derek Halpern, recommend applying the 80/20 rule to blog promotion. This means that you spend 80% of your time promoting, and 20% writing. Honestly, I think my split is more like 100/100 🙂

Can you see why Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are such important days?

Now you’re probably thinking How the heck am I going to do all of this without pulling my hair out?

I get it, I really do! It took me months to figure out a workflow that didn’t leave me feeling flustered. This is another one of those things where you need to hang in there! It’s going to get so much easier as you move through it. First of all, the weekly blogging plan we’re covering today will help you keep a consistent schedule, where you’re doing the same tasks, on the same days, each week.

And once you run through the steps yourself and nail down your best workflow, it’ll be easy to pass the promotion tasks off to a virtual assistant. You will get your weekend back later on. Pinky swear.


Here’s the template I use to share my blog posts:

content marketing strategy

You can download the blog promotion worksheet to share your blog posts too.
social media planning calendar

Ok, with that being said, Friday is all about sharing on social media and bookmarking sites.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • And so many others…

Too much to list in this post… For the full list of sites, I recommend downloading the blog promo worksheet above.


Repurpose your post

Repurposing your post is a techie way of saying turn it into something else, like a video, quick tip, Slideshare, or podcast. For our purposes today, let’s just focus on turning the post into:

  • A 1-2 minute video
  • Second Pinterest pin
  • Quick tip graphic
  • More tweets and updates

This is a much shorter list, and a lot easier to get your head around, right? Another way to think of it is that at the end of the week you’re going to have these assets for your post:

  • The post itself
  • A video
  • A quick tip graphic

I know that this sounds like a lot!

But really, it goes much quicker than you think. What you can do is use the same quick tip for your graphic and your video. And if you think about it, all you’re really doing is taking what you’ve already “scripted”, selecting a few highlights from it, and turning them into something new. Plus, in my experience, recording video takes sooo much less time than writing a post.

For the video

You can use whatever you have available right now. Let’s not get hung up on techie recording gear, k? Your iPhone or webcam is the perfect starting place. The point here is to simply get into the habit of turning your posts into videos.

Once you’re recording video on the regular, I recommend the Blue Yeti mic to help amplify your audio.

To record the video itself, I started out with QuickTime and now use ScreenFlow, mainly because of the editing features. And my brother has been bangin’ out amazing videos using Camtasia on his PC. All of these are good choices, in my book.

For the quick tip graphic

You got it. Same tools from Tuesday, step #4.

Additional tweets and updates

For each post, I write 15 additional tweets, and 3-4 updates for Facebook and LinkedIn, all linking to the post.

Here’s what those look like:

social media marketing plan template - TwitterI should point out that these tweets and updates are all slightly different. What you don’t want to do is to repeat the same tweet over and over again!

In the next step, we’ll schedule these tweets (plus our new content + graphics) to be shared over the next week. This will give us an initial spike in blog traffic.

Related: How to Promote Your Blog Posts Effectively on Social Media


Schedule updates, tweets, and pins

Woo! You’re really hangin’ in there!

This (almost) last step is actually pretty easy. All we need to do is to queue up our content for sharing.

Can you see how all of your hard work is paying off here? You have more content to share on more platforms, which means more people seeing your post.

More types of content = more platforms = a broader audience.

This is why I love social media scheduling tools so much! Even though you’re building your following on just 1-2 social media sites (as I mention in this post), these tools allow you to “set it and forget it” on the others, so to speak. That’s a win-win, no?

If you’re curious, in this post I share my favorite scheduling tools.


Share to Facebook group promo threads

Almost there! One last thing…

If we’re really going to nail this blog and social media plan, we can’t forget Facebook groups, which can leave your head spinning if you don’t have a system in place.

Hmm…why is that?

I’ve been thinking about this, and the answer is that it really comes down to each group having its own rules, daily prompts, and promo days. The schedules are different enough that it makes them hard to track. You can feel like a scrambled egg trying to keep up with which group has a promo thread each day.

That said, FB is my #2 source of traffic, and I’m sure it must be because of groups. It’s got to be. I only have 400 or so fans. 🙂

So how do you promote your posts through Facebook Groups?

Great question! First of all, if you’re not in groups already, I would spend a few days looking for groups in your niche, reading through their descriptions, checking their rules, and so on.

What you’re looking for are groups with high engagement that have “Promo Wednesdays” type thing, where you can share this week’s post. Even if the group doesn’t allow promotions, you can usually include your link in a thread comment. Of course, you should check the group rules first.

Once you’re in a few groups, I recommend using a spreadsheet to keep track of each group’s promo days. From there, all you need to do is schedule Facebook posts in those threads (aka remember to share on those days).

If you’re curious, here’s what my Facebook promo schedule looks like:

schedule Facebook posts - social media planSo there you have it! If you follow these steps every week, you will start doubling and tripling your blog traffic and building a huge audience. Here’s the 7-day social media planning template again so you can get started:

social media strategy template