I know you’ve seen the podcast episodes, blog posts and ads for online tools that all promise a quick and easy way to plan out your content for weeks, months, even years at a time. I’m guessing that’s why you clicked on this episode and decided you’d give it a try.
And while I can appreciate putting together any sort of plan for the future, use caution when you plan too far in advance. In other words, don’t plan out more than a quarter at a time.
There are so many reasons why I don’t want you to plan out your whole 2023 content calendar, not the least of which being…Well, have you seen what the online business world has looked like these last few years? Enough said!
There has been more pivoting and changing directions going on in the last few years than I could even touch on. It would be a waste of your time and money to plan more than a few months ahead. That said, I DO think there’s a lot you can do to get ready for the next month, quarter and year. And THAT’s what this episode is all about.
Mentioned in This Episode Podcast
- At-a-Glance Calendar
- They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan
- Episode 211: How to Develop Your Content Ideas
- Episode 212: How to Create a 90-Day Content Plan
- Episode 57: Your Content is About Your Audience, Not You
- Episode 63: Staying Inside Your Zones of Genius
- Episode 73: Repurposing Content for Maximum ROI with Amy Woods
- Episode 144: 6 Reasons You Need to Ask Your Audience
Abby Herman 0:03
Hey there, and welcome to episode 213 of the Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever moving targets in any business. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it. All right all of the time. Here we talk about podcasting and creating content for your audience that they want to hear in a way that sustainable for you, the business owner, because I know that you have a lot on your plate. So I’ll give you the ideas and tools and trick to publish your content consistently in a way that works for you.
Abby Herman 0:35
I’m Abby Herman, former teacher and current podcast manager and content strategist. When I went full time in my business in 2013, I struggled to find the help and support that I needed that also fit into my budget. That’s what this podcast is all about to help business owners with a tight budget whose podcast is their primary marketing tool. If you’re new to the podcast, welcome, and this episode is a really big one. I work really hard to bring you informative and to the point content because no one has time for fluff.
Abby Herman 1:07
If you like what you hear, please hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss another episode, you’ll find a new one in your podcast app every Wednesday morning. And if you have been listening for a while, I would so appreciate it if you would share it or leave a rating and review podcasts are truly a labor of love. And one of the best ways to help this podcast and others get into the earbuds of new listeners is by sharing with your own audience and giving it a quick review. Sharing only takes a quick second and giving it a review only takes a few more, I would be really grateful. I want to warn you ahead of time that I’m going to mention a number of resources. In this episode. I have links to all of those resources and podcast episodes in the show notes. So make sure you check those out.
Abby Herman 1:55
And if you’re listening in real time, we are at the end of December 2022. I am taking time off client work at the moment as you’re listening and most likely sitting around and doing some big 2023 planning, you might be making plans, figuring out investments, and wondering how next year will be different from this year. This is also the time when people are mapping out their entire year setting goals making plans and trying to figure out where visibility, content and marketing fit into the mix.
Abby Herman 2:29
Today’s episode, if you’ve been following along the last couple of episodes is another oldie but goodie, that I have opted to rerecord because I have some new information I’m going to insert into it. So this is a repeat of I think it was episode 78. And I am super excited to bring it to you, as it goes along really nicely with episodes 211 and 212. And I’m gonna talk more about that as we go.
Abby Herman 3:02
But one of the things that we’re going to talk about today is or the thing we’re talking about today is creating a content strategy for your content. And as we do that, I want you to think about not your entire year coming up in episodes 211 and 212. I talked a little bit about what it looks like to start planning your content for the new year. But the reality is that we’re planning for q1, planning your content for q1 is the same as planning it for any other quarter or month, it’s truly the same process. So hopefully, you’re not making you know, plans to have a solid content plan for the entire year. And no matter when you are listening, this is a really valuable resource for figuring out how to create your own content strategy. So why don’t I think we should be planning for the entire year? Well, I’ve seen tools out there that will plan your social media content, in particular for a year or two at a time. And that also really aligns with your pillar content, I believe. And while it might seem like a really great idea, because Oh, I’m gonna get it all done at once. And then I won’t have to think about my content. Again, I want you to think about this. If you plan out your content a year in advance, how willing will you be to shift gears if needed?
Abby Herman 4:28
Now, if you look back to January of 2022, did you think that you would be where you are right now at the end of 2022? I certainly didn’t. And I’m not where I thought it would be. And I’m not saying this in a bad way at all things change. I shifted focus a little in 2022 and I’m shifting a bit more in 2023. I’ll talk about that a little bit more on next week’s episode episode 214 But essentially, I’m adding some services that are sore Lee If needed in this space, I also have a lot of personal stuff going on in 2022. I bought remodeled and if all goes well, a few days from this recording, sold a condo during the calendar year, it was not planned that way at all. And I spent some time traveling and expanding my role with a few key clients, business and life today look vastly different from how they looked at 12 months ago. And with what I have planned in the next calendar year, I expect both to continue to evolve in 2023. So why would I make solid plans when I have no idea whether they will actually come to fruition, or whether I will want them to come to fruition when it comes down to it. If you’re making solid plans for the whole of 2023. Right now, you’re going to be really resistant to changing if needed down the road. That makes me really wonder about those tools that plan the content for you for 12 or 24 months.
Abby Herman 6:01
I mean, really, what happens if you need or want to pivot as a small business owner, maybe a solopreneur, maybe someone with a really small team or a growing team, one of the best things about where we are. And what we do is that we’re so incredibly nimble. I love that I was able to dive in and help clients in a different way this year, I love that I can say yes to projects, I think will fuel my creativity, or No to projects that don’t feel good. I love that a unique opportunity might pop up and I can run with it, even if it’s not something that I would typically do. And I mean that in both my work life and my personal life, because that happened this year in both areas. If you’re putting things in stone too far in advance, you might end up holding yourself back. So yes, map out your year use episodes 213 And two, I’m sorry, 211 into 12. To help with that. The big things you know that need to happen need to be mapped out. But then hold off on making definitive content plans that might feel really hard for you to shift away from if needed. And if 2023 starts to not turn out as you would like, you still need to make progress in business, you still need to show up, you still have things to sell. And you might have to tone things down or beef things up. You won’t know that until you’re closer to time. So this content strategy plan is going to help give you a guide and some guidance on that.
Abby Herman 7:32
So all of that said, You do still need to do some planning for your business for your content and marketing and visibility. Because how does the saying go a goal without a plan is just a wish. Or if you are a Margaret Thatcher fan, plan your work for today and every day and then work your plan. Or Eleanor Roosevelt, it takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan or Benjamin Franklin, by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail. Or Yogi Berra. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else. So yes, I do want you to plan your content in 2023. But let’s do it with an eye on the shorter term instead of looking at the whole year. So I’m going to say this again, I recommend listening to episodes 211 and 212. First, before going any further, because those two episodes, lay the foundation for the work in this episode.
Abby Herman 8:27
So go back, do that. And then come back here, there are links in the show notes or just scroll back in your podcast app. First, I want to do some traditional planning before we get started. So I recommend getting a big wall calendar and blocking off all the days that you are going to be away from the office. And yeah, I realized that we plan content in advance and we create content in advance. But I still think it’s important to know what you have going on in life. So plan out school holidays, vacations, things like that any kind of travel you’re planning to do, then mark down any big events that you’re planning during the year for your business. So are you going to host a summit? in person events? That kind of thing? Are you attending in person events? And what are their topics? What’s the main idea behind them marked down any launches you’re planning or offerings that you want to spotlight at different times of year, you really need to know this information, know what you are selling, because it’s going to inform what your content is going to be about. We don’t want to just put content out there. We want to be really consistent and really intentional with what we’re talking about in our content platforms and when.
Abby Herman 9:40
So once you have all this in place, again, I recommend that you plan your content a quarter at a time. That’s it. And that’s what I’m going to walk you through today. This is a repeatable process. So I recommend hanging on to this episode, bookmark it somewhere so that you can go through it again and again. I really like to block off one or two calendar days to do this each quarter like literally block it off, put it in your Google Calendar, put it in your scheduler, so people cannot schedule time over that. You can also do this with your content strategist or coach make it a priority to plan out this time. And I’m going to be totally upfront with you. I did not do that this year. And I know that it showed in my content and how I showed up this year, doing this matters, but you better believe I’m doing it this year. I’m actually in the process of working on this right now. So I’m going to give you the condensed version of how I plan content strategies for myself and for my clients.
Abby Herman 10:42
As you work through this, I recommend having some tools handy. First, be somewhere that you can sit and brainstorm and work and I huge believer in multitasking. While I’m listening to podcasts, but this is not a good episode for multitasking. Stop walking your dogs stop cleaning your house or cooking dinner. Wait until you get home from carpool, you will get so much more out of it. If you are sitting with a notepad and taking notes. You should also have results of your audience survey handy you need to know what your audience needs and wants from you. If you’ve never surveyed your audience, it is time my friend, I recommend reading the book they ask you answer by Marcus Sheridan and listening to episodes 57 and 144 of the podcast. The asker audience challenge that I mentioned in these episodes is now on evergreen so you can access it at any time at the content experiment.com/ask. You should also have your zones of genius handy, you should have a list of content ideas at the ready. If you’re not sure what this is. Go listen to episodes 211 and 212. Hopefully you took my advice and did that already.
Abby Herman 11:58
You should also have taken some time to review your analytics, what content of yours has performed really well over the last month or two? What didn’t resonate with your audience? What platforms are they engaging in? Knowing this information will help you to save time and effort by not posting where you’re not getting engagement or traffic and stepping up where you are. Once you’ve gathered this information and have reviewed it and you have all the other tools handy. Now you can start planning your content does all that the last What 12 and a half minutes of information, it feels like a lot to do before actually sitting down to plan your content. You might be struggling with your content because you’re not doing the behind the scenes research and pre work first. When you start creating content or even a strategy for your content without knowing where you need to go. It can feel like a big huge task with no end point. And it can feel like it’s not doing anything to help you. It’s overwhelming.
Abby Herman 12:58
So I recommend hitting pause on this episode and coming back when you’ve gathered what you need. And if you need help with this part, let’s talk book a quick chat with me. And let’s see how I can help you move forward. You can do that at the content experiment.com/chat. All right, you ready? Let’s start planning. We’re only going to plan the next quarter right now. That’s it. And we’re going to do that with whatever you’re promoting or launching in 90 ish days from now in mind. So get ready to take your notes. Here are some questions I want you to ask yourself as you’re getting ready to start planning. What’s one thing you would like to accomplish in your business 90 days from now. Now this does not have to be content related. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be it could be part of your business goal. The goal setting that you’ve hopefully done already before you sat down to do this, your goals might be to launch an event bring on more one on one clients, grow your email list, connect with a certain number of people grow the revenue and part of your business or something else. Knowing what you want to accomplish in your business can help you hone in on where to spend your time and efforts. And all of the things that I listed can have a direct impact on your content strategy.
Abby Herman 14:18
The next question to ask yourself, What are you launching in your business 90 days from now, this is where you’re really going to focus your content and marketing efforts. Whatever it is, you’re launching a summit, a podcast a course or program. You need to create content to build excitement. If you’re not launching something, that’s okay. We cover that in the next question question and that is what’s an area of your business you want to grow in the next three to six months. You don’t have to launch to have content. You need to create strategic content no matter what’s going on in your business. And it doesn’t have to be something that you stress about or overthink which is something that I talked about In Episode 75, think about an area of your business that you really want to build up. This is important because if you’re like me, you have different audiences and different offerings that you need to talk about in different ways. So if you’re not launching, know your focus, so you can hone your messaging. The next question to ask yourself, what challenges might you have in growing this part of your business, there are always challenges, right? So maybe your challenge this year has been the recession and that people are pulling back and maybe not investing in your services as much. Other challenges might be that you feel like your audience is too small, or maybe you don’t have a lot of clarity around your pillar content. Or maybe you’re creating something that’s outside the box for you.
Abby Herman 15:43
And it feels hard. I’ve had clients who were really struggling because their audience weren’t identifying with the words that they were using in their content. So in a case like that you need to work on your messaging before you can sell something. I’ve also worked with clients who were struggling with identifying the right path or journey for her audience members to create clarity around this is essential when you want your audience to take certain steps to the purchase. Next question, what opportunities might you have in growing this part of your business? So you’ve identified where you want to grow? What are the opportunities that you have, looking at opportunities is essential when growing, there are always opportunities to grow, even when you feel a contraction in your business, you can still grow in other ways. You just have to look for those opportunities and chances. So if we take a look back at 2020, so many people threw up their hands and decided, nope, I can’t do it, I can’t do 2020. And they shut down. When in reality, this offered an opportunity to grow outside a small local community through virtual meetings and networking. And it also gave an opportunity for a lot of people to exit the corporate world and start their own thing. It allowed in person businesses an opportunity to find a new path and a new offering that worked.
Abby Herman 17:05
And right now, as you know, potential, a potential recession, maybe maybe not, I see a lot of businesses pull back, afraid to invest in themselves. And while yes, it’s important to be careful, that’s not necessarily the way to grow. So there are a lot of other opportunities that are more evergreen and don’t pertain specifically to current circumstances, like those new connections, who happen to be podcast hosts, or that new group that you just joined. That’s full of your ideal audience, I just joined one of those groups myself, see what positives you can find in anything that you’re currently looking at. I’m always a fan of looking at the upside of things. Of course, you want to know what your audience needs and wants from you. And earlier, I told you that you should have your audience survey results handy. This is where they’re going to come into play. Using those survey results and other research you might need to do, I want you to listen to what your audience is saying about their challenges around to the product service event or whatever you want to promote in the coming quarter. Aside from your own audience survey, you can also look in Facebook groups, Instagram, client notes, wherever you can find honest input from your audience. And now that you know that your frustrations, think about what you want your paid customers to get out of the product service or launch that you have coming up.
Abby Herman 18:28
Know what your solution is, this is really important because obviously, you’re creating something that will bring your people to resolution, but also because you need this language when you’re creating content. Alright, now that you have the brainstorming and research out of the way, it’s time to focus on the thing you’re launching or promoting. You may have already done this, but I want you to list out what’s included, what buyers will learn how they’ll get there, and so on. I also want you to I want you to include what customers need to know or be able to do before they purchase your thing. This is going to be the meat of the content you have coming up. Okay, now let’s be realistic. Now, this is not about creating all of the content you possibly can to get your message out this is about committing to the next 90 days, how much content can you commit to in the next 90 days? Now, I don’t mean that we need to create a new blog post every week or a podcast episode three times a week or anything like that. It’s about actually thinking through what’s possible and realistic, both financially and in your own schedule. If you can hire help to support you through this great if you can’t, how much can you do on your own?
Abby Herman 19:42
I want you to think through your pillar content. This is the content that you own your blog, your YouTube channel or your podcast and what you want to create to promote whatever it is that you have coming 90 days from now. Make sure that emailing Your list regularly is part of your plan. This is so important. And consider what kind of social media content you want to share. Look back at your audience, your audience survey and see where your audience is showing up and create content around that. And then don’t worry about the other platforms, you do not have to be everywhere. This is what I call Minimum Viable content marketing. And you can hear more about this concept on Episode 165, I will put a link in the show notes. Okay, you know what you want to promote, you know what your audience needs, you know, your goals. And you know, where you’re going to show up. Now it’s time to go back to your zones of genius.
Abby Herman 20:44
And remember, I talked about this on Episode 138, and start pulling out content ideas and mapping them out, I go into more depth on this in Episode 212, which is also a repeat of one of my most popular episodes, you can go to thecontentexperiment.com/episode212 for that one. And I’m gonna give you the down and dirty process right here. But I really do recommend episode 212. So decide what your primary content platform will be YouTube blog podcast, one of those three should be your primary content platform. And you’ll probably have more or potentially have more than one of these. But it’s important to identify which one of these platforms will be your primary platform, you’re going to build out all your content ideas for other platforms around to this primary one, then determine your other must haves, email and social media. What other content do you need, in addition to that primary content, everyone needs an email list everyone, I won’t get into all of the details of the importance of email marketing right now, because I’ve done that in many, many previous episodes.
Abby Herman 21:56
Just know that you should email your list consistently period. That’s where your audience is show up where they’re at. And you need to do this well before you try to launch something or sell something to your people. Your email list is going to be a key part of any 90 Day content plan. Think about the social media platforms that your audience is on as well. And remember, you found out what those platforms were when you did your audience survey. I recommend everyone have a business Facebook page. Many businesses in this space also benefit from LinkedIn and Instagram. But also consider Twitter reels, Instagram Stories, things like that as well. So which of these do you need to be on to stay in front of your audience? And the answer is not all of them, pick one or two. And then decide on your cadence. It’s important to really think about how often you’re going to publish content. Do not commit to something that you can’t maintain too many people decide that they’re going to produce a blog, Podcast, episode, YouTube, video, Facebook, live email, you name it every single week without really thinking about the amount of time and energy that something like that takes.
Abby Herman 23:07
Then I went to you to print off three months of a blank calendar. This gives you a visual as you’re mapping out your content. Yes, you could use a Trello board or Asana or clickup. But I find a paper calendar to be much easier to plan around, you can actually see where the content is going. And when I also use a table in Google Docs for clients because a handwritten client calendar for myself is great, because that’s how my brain works. But nobody wants to try to read my handwriting. So I use Google Docs for calendars. Set up this calendar or table with the content types along the top, where you would see like the day of the week, and then put week of on the far left. So where you’d normally see the days of the week, you’re going to cross that off and include blog, email, social media, or the specific channels that you want to use and so on, you probably will not use all seven days of the week. Know that once you’ve gone through some of the upcoming steps and have your 90 day plan mapped out you can transfer your project. Transfer this information to your project management tool of choice. I highly recommend this to keep you on track is specially if you have people who are helping you with your content, you need to know where the project is that at any given time. Then determine the topic for your primary piece of content, developed the complementary topics for your other must haves like email and social media.
Abby Herman 24:38
So I don’t recommend regurgitating the same information across multiple platforms. So that means don’t take your podcast script and post it as a blog post. Yes, you can post your podcast transcripts in your show notes, which is what I do, but I don’t recommend creating a blog post out of it unless you make some tweaks and revisions. Don’t copy and paste your blog post as an email. The content that you create on multiple platforms should complement your other content, not repeat it. I go into this in more depth in Episode 212. And Amy woods and I talked about repurposing content, and why you shouldn’t regurgitate content in Episode 73. From there, it’s up to you to create your content and publish it. I will tell you, I know that that feels like a lot right now. And I know that it’s often the content creation, that causes the most resistance for so many clients. And so many people out there, know that this is something that we can help you at at here at the content experiment. But I will tell you how good it feels to get all of this information planned and created ahead. Batching your content helps you create space in your business and your life. So you can focus on serving your clients and customers and working on passion projects.
Abby Herman 26:00
And you can also take the holidays off when you batch. I am recording this in mid December. And I’m not going to have to record another podcast episode episode for at least three weeks and it feels so good. That said you need a plan. And trust me, when you have a plan, you’re actually able to have space for content that you are inspired by, you have time to create content just because instead of feel like you’re frantically trying to keep and keep up and you’re thinking oh my God, I need to have a social post go up because I haven’t had a social post in three weeks. And then you post something you don’t feel great about. Going through this process of planning does not mean that you have to create a ton of content or that you have to be on a constant hamster wheel. Planning ahead means that you have to you can be more intentional, you can create less content and you can get a bigger impact out of it. You can get ahead by batching, which is what I’ve been doing, creating a plan and then sitting down to implement it creating multiple pieces of content in one sitting. You can get some help with this by getting a free batching guide that I have add to thecontentexperiment.com/batching.
Abby Herman 27:14
All right, that was a lot and I would love to hear from you and what you thought of this episode. I hope you found it super valuable and inspirational as you get ready to plan your content for next year and close out this year. If you have listened this far, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret that I mentioned earlier in the episode. I’ve got some new things coming to this podcast and my business. And I’m really excited about it. One of the things coming to the podcast is we’re reinstituting some of the guest episodes. In fact, I have an interview later today, the day that I’m recording this. And the thing is if I had really solid plans and content built out months and months and months in advance, I never would have thought about the changes that I’m going to make because honestly it would have felt like too much. If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode and share it over on Instagram stories or you can drop a link to the episode in your Facebook feed. I would love some help getting the podcast into the earbuds of more business owners. Just like you need to hear the message that they are not alone. Until next time, take care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai