First, ask yourself–why am I creating online content? If your purpose is to be visible to prospective customers, a plan can help you reach more people. If you want to share your life with your social network or the world, you can’t plan every moment or every contingency so be spontaneous. Better yet, combine planning and spontaneity in both circumstances.
When marketing, a well-executed plan allows you to focus your efforts, take the necessary steps to get from point A to point B, and make steady progress toward well-defined goals. When content marketing, your plan may include engaging half a dozen people in social media conversations during lunch, publishing 10 articles in 10 days, blogging a couple times this week, building an e-mail list, setting up and distributing a newsletter, creating and launching your first informational product, or adding a call to action to your Web pages. You can pre-determine your content format and your planned frequency for publishing or posting. You can also plan to share pictures or news more regularly with family, friends, and social network.
In addition to working your plan, spend time online simply because you want to interact with others in the moment. Reach out. Respond to questions. Share interesting information, pictures, stories, or news. Offer encouragement. Share wisdom or expertise. Make someone smile. People will remember how you make them feel long after they forget your words. Spontaneous sharing can’t be written into your marketing plan or your content creation script, but it may make you clients or friends for life.