Lately, I've been awed by my fellow small business pals who casually mention the planning they're doing for 2018. It's what they do to cap off the year and set their businesses up for success in the New Year.
I want to be them when I grow up.
Because come December, I am usually scrambling to finish up the year's goals or consigning them to the "maybe next year" bin. I always hope I'll get more done than I actually do.
I know, I know. "Hope" is not a plan and the reason some of my goals go sideways.
And the biggest irony is that I am not clueless about planning. I've developed editorial plans and content calendars my entire career. They've kept companies, entrepreneurs and my own business on track and on message with content marketing.
4.23's content calendar is set quarterly so I always know what I am saying, when. It crystallizes my topics and how they get pushed out through my current channels, on which days. No scramble. No "ugh, what should I write about?" No "shoot, when's the last time I posted something?"
Once I've built 4.23's quarterly content calendar (a 90-ish minute exercise) the rest of my content time is spent creating the actual content.
If you only have a handful of hours to focus on writing (because you're also, you know, running a business), a content calendar makes that time meaningful. It tells you "here's what you're writing about and it publishes/posts/sends on this date, so get going."
(Figuratively. Currently, my content calendar does not speak to me. Maybe next year.)
Creating a content calendar means you don't waste your writing time staring out the window hoping for "inspiration."
It means when you do sit down to the keyboard, you will be writing on purpose to support your business and deliver your core messagings. You're not dashing off "whatever" just to get the damn thing done.
Content planning can change the how and the why of writing for your business. That's why I've developed a Content Calendar Build Workshop that launches in January 2018. It's a 90-minute, hands-on, get-the-guidance, brainstorm-with-others, do-the-work session that will define your Q1 content plan and start your 2018 content marketing efforts off on the right foot. It's a beta version (see planning confession above), so there may be a few kinks to work out and I'm only offering a handful of seats. You can read the details here or drop a comment below with your questions.
My content calendar keeps things focused and easy for me when it comes to writing for my business. And it can do the same for you.
If you look at 4.23's output, you'll see the foundation of my content calendar:
- Twice-a-month Well Said Wednesday blogs
- Friday Inspiration Facebook posts
- The 23rd newsletter (recently added to the mix and cleverly sent on the 23rd of each month, join the list if you're curious.)
Other items may get dropped in from time to time depending on what's going on. But those are optional add-ons to the main plan -- the sprinkles on the ice cream cone. And even the best plans can go awry. Life happens. Reruns sometimes fill in for original content. I build my plans with structure and flexibility.
Was 2017 going to be the year you got into a regular, focused groove with your content efforts but things went a little sideways? It happens, I know.
I also know you can create a whole different outcome in 2018 by building a quarterly content calendar and letting that plan guide the way. And if you want some guidance and support to create it, consider jumping into the beta version of my new Content Calendar Build Workshop in January.