Content Themes Made Simple.

Hello World, I know in the world of creators, planing content is part of the day to day grind of everyone producing for an audience, community, or customers.

It’s always top of mind and it’s quite the tasking process. Sure, writing out a list of ideas and putting a date on them isn’t that difficult, however, what happens when the day arrives and you’re just not that into the task?

Enter Content Themes

Now, this isn’t exactly something new, many marketers consider this “Content Pillars” however, I feel that pillars and themes are two different ways of thinking about content. When you have Pillars, typically your objective is to fill the pillar in-order to accomplish a specific objective. Those objectives could be awareness, activation, retention, referral, or whatever other metrics you’re using to validate the resources required to produce content for that specific pillar.

However, when it comes to creation and creating out of a sense of purpose, this is a very limiting view point that truly turns content creation into a job rather than an enjoyable activity, so I have always strived to avoid content planning this way. So what exactly is a Content Theme?

The way that I use content themes is that I designate days to themes, rather than pre-planning tops I use a ideas backlog, then depending on the day, I just cherry pick out of the backlog and start the process. If I don’t feel like producing content around that theme today, then I look at what themes I haven’t covered this week and switch days.

This allows me to constantly generate ideas, keep on target, and provide myself with a more enjoyable planning process. Here’s how I have content themes structured in Clickup:

This is an aggregated view of all my themes that I made as an example for this article. With this I am allow to view all my themes at once. The nice thing about Clickup is that you can customize and add personality to your sections, as well as rating and priority systems. Typically within the task, I have a relationship added that allows me to link an idea to a series of resources. I use this in-order to create a research list.

Whenever I am on a site or specific piece of content that I want to bookmark, I just saved it to Clickup in my resource backlog. When I have time, i’ll go over the resource, then link it to a series of ideas, which will help me to re-visit the context from the resource.

This keeps me productive and allows me to produce a natural research cycle while creating content. Often times, I have numerous resources but I try to limit it to 5 active resources at most for any given topic.

Phases & Statuses

When it comes to my themes and items within, I like to use a few helpful statuses for measure or keeping track of resources and ideas. When it comes to my active content themes and ideas, I like to use:

  • Ideas
  • Planning
  • Outline
  • Draft
  • Edit
  • Assets
  • Review
  • Complete

This is typically how I keep track of the content lifecycle. Oftentimes, I will get to the assets part and decide to leave it into the queue and switch to something else. Whenever this happens, I typically leave myself a comment so that when I revisit the task / idea I can pick up exactly where I left off previously.

When it comes to Resources, I also provide a lifecycle in-order to keep track of the quality of resources. Many times, I will find a specific resource and then add it to my status “Bookmarks”.

I try to go through each and every week and clear my bookmarks out and decide whether or not the quality is up to par. When it comes to testing out resources or implementing feedback, I believe that anyone who references a resources or recommends a resource should do a deep dive to ensure that said resource is actually worth the time of their audience.

I like to go through, outline what I used from the resource, measure the results of the resources provided information when implemented, then decide whether or not the resource is something to keep in my library as a “Winner” or “Failure”.

Resource Statuses:

  • Bookmarks
  • Planning
  • Up Next
  • Results
  • Winner
  • Failure

This is keeps my resource list clean, honest, and productive. Not to mention, the process of implementing the thoughts of another creator makes for great content in itself, so typically during the resource vetting phase, i’ll end up produce 3–4 additional pieces of content in the process. I like to document as I go for my own individual notes, and I have turned this longterm habit into a way to produce content for my audience that let’s them share the experience with me.

What’s Your Planning Process?

Now, I know there is no perfect system for everyone but Content Theme’s is something that I really enjoy and it has many “side effects” which i’ll cover in a future article associated with it that naturally lead to a very organic flywheel for content production.

However, I’d love to hear what you’re currently doing for Content Planning! I’d love to hear about your process for research, create, and publish.

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Daniel Snell

Daniel Snell

Growth Engineer & Strategist focused on creating Demand.