There are loads of blog posts on the internet about content planning tools. Econsultancy has published a few of them.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by hundreds of tools out there for so many different tasks – analytics and social listening, ideation, workflow management, content creation, calendarisation etc.

But I wanted to write a very quick and simple post advocating the most simple tools. The ones which you can easily change your working processes with, trying out a different method to see how it works for you. 

Create a content calendar

I don’t necessarily agree that you need loads of ideation tools – ideation should come from your own organisation’s expertise, history and marketing / business strategy. (That said, I did recently write a post on ideation tools.)

However, a calendar is a useful way of avoiding tricky dates, or capitalising on fortuitous ones. Coincidentally, Econsultancy’s friends at Foresight News have compiled a 2017 calendar with lots of upcoming news and events listed on it, to get you started.

You can get the calendar here (or choose a slightly fluffier events-oriented one from Year Ahead). Add in your own company events and circulate it.

calendar

Create an ideas backlog

Trello is one of the most popular pieces of software for doing this. Equally, you may want to create a physical manifestation of some of the main projects in the backlog by clearing a wall and adding some cards.

Some teams use co-schedule, a more involved piece of software than Trello, given it is aimed squarely at content marketers and social media managers. Try this for a little more structure.

trello

Use a collaborative editing tool 

Use something like Google Docs to enable multiple members of the team to edit documents in real-time, whether it be draft content itself or just planning documents.

docs logo

Use a communication tool if email isn’t doing it for you

Team members not responsive enough? Not able to share and search resources adequately on your email client? Need better ways of grouping messages?

Give Slack a go.

slack

Use a project management tool if you need to manage more complex content

If your content isn’t as simple as imagery or words, and you need to manage its progress more tightly, try something like Basecamp. It may also help if you have a big team and are using freelancers.

This project management software is used by many developers when creating digital products, and may be the right software if you’re creating interactive content, for example.

basecamp

That’s it – don’t get bogged down by ’99 amazing content tools’, just try a few of the better ones and create a process. You’ll likely have to add in some analytics knowhow and some user research skills, too, but let’s leave those for another day.

For more on content planning, subscribers can download our Content Marketing Digital Template Files.

Or why not attend our training course – Content Strategy, Editorial Planning & Content Calendars.