Why a content marketing plan is useful

Do you use a content marketing plan?

Having a content marketing plan is one thing, using it can be quite a different thing! We know many clients that start off with all good intentions, and print off, or create a content plan, but then stop using it after month one.

What is a content marketing plan?

In case you’re not sure what a content marketing plan is, (and if you should have one & use it), here’s our definition:

A clear plan of action about the content you plan to create and publish to promote your business and/or your website.

A content marketing plan doesn’t have to be just about your website, but it’s generally thought of as a website content planner.

It can be created, and used, in many forms – created content marketing planner, a simple diary you use, an online calendar. Whatever works for you is good. You don’t need to buy a specific tool if that format doesn’t work for you. If you know how you work best, (online, or pen and paper), then start with that. You can create your own planner, with columns and tick boxes so you cover everything you need for your business. Or, you can buy one which best suits your needs.

“What does that mean?” I hear you ask:

It means, what articles, or pages are you creating to share your knowledge, wisdom, ideas, new products with the world?

As you can see from this, your website, is only one place to share your business knowledge and products. It’s likely you’re sharing ideas on your social media channels, or at your local networking group, or through the local media or in your company brochure.

Having a plan, (for anything), helps you get everything in the right place at the right time, to share the information you want with your customer/potential customer/existing client.

Do you see? You can share whatever you want, and each piece of information you share is likely to be for a different audience.

For example:

  • A sales page for a new product is likely to be written for new customers who haven’t bought from you before
  • An email to existing clients is likely to share some information about a product or service they’ve previously bought, and/or something that you think will interest them
  • A news item may share information of interest to your network to engage them in conversation about a new idea, and gather their views to help with your market research

Can you see how different content will be written for different audiences? And that’s why you need a content marketing plan!

How is a content marketing planner different from a marketing planner?

week to view content marketing planWell, that may well be a conversation for a different day, as we could then go on to talk about your business plan, and your PR plan too within the same chat!

For now though, let’s just say that your content marketing planner, is the detail behind the marketing planner you’ve created.

So, if you want to create a buzz around the May half term holidays, you’ll start creating your content marketing plan now, in January, to work up to ensuring your existing clients know what’s available for them in May, as well as sharing content in the right format to capture the attention of new customers who may be interested in your offering in the holidays.

This content marketing may well consist of email newsletters to your existing lists, press releases, articles on your website, social media posts and/or an advert in your local newsletter.

Can you see how this all needs to be planned out so you ensure you cover all bases with your information, to meet your customer & potential customer at the best place for them?

We can talk about where your customers ‘hang out’ another day, but for now, let’s just agree that we need to have a content marketing planner, and use it to promote the areas of work that are in our marketing plan to get the sales we want to support our overall business plan this year. Agree?

OK, so do you need any help with this? Or to put your thoughts in order now you understand the purpose of a content marketing planner?

We created a content marketing planner for you, to help take the strain off you, and all you need to do is fill in the boxes and then carry out your ideas. It’s 212 pages long, for 2018, and that’s just the basic template. You may find you need to print off more copies of some of the pages, to get your thoughts in order for a specific area of work you want to do, or a promotion you’re working on. That’s fine. We’ve created the template, (often the boring bit), so that you can just do the work (the exciting bit) 🙂

Buy it now & get your content planned for your awesome year ahead. (Once you’ve made payment, we’ll send you the planner for you to use as you want).





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Still stuck on planning?

You may well be still stuck on planning. Is that a bad thing? Doesn’t it mean that you’re taking time out of your business to work on your business and really think about what you want and how you’re going to get there?

I knew I had to do something different this year with my planning. Not because I hadn’t achieved in the past, but because I wanted to achieve more. I wanted to be more focused with the time I spent on each area of my work, personal life, and family time, so that when I was doing the things I wanted to do, I wasn’t distracted by other things going on, (often in my head).

Planning tools & resources

I know some people love getting stuck into the “right” planner for them. I’ve also known some people chop and change planners, diaries, journals & wall charts, just so they could get it all to match up. Well, whilst that may work for them, that certainly doesn’t work for me.

I’m not saying that once I’ve decided on something I’ll stick to it, but I certainly want to spend time giving something a good try, before reviewing and moving on to try the next thing if I think I can do something better.

I’d seen the Best Self Journal a few times over the past few months, and liked the idea of working on 13 weeks at a time. To my little brain, it seems more manageable, and a more focused way of working. I’d never seen anyone use it in person, but I knew people who loved it & had increased their productivity by filling in all the boxes & planning their time more effectively.

Sarah Arrow’s guide to planners in December is a brilliant round up of different printed planners, pros and cons & that decided it for me. I was going to try the Best Self Journal.

Still stuck on planning?

stuck on planning start doingPlanning is an ongoing, ever changing ‘thing’ that we need to do in our lives. However much we plan, we often have to change plans. Sometimes to fit something else in that we want to do, or sometimes because we need to care for a sick child or parent at the last minute. Or that plan we’d made to do that training course has to be changed, because the course is cancelled.

However hard we try to control things in our plan, diary, and life, there are always things out of our control. The traffic was unusually bad due to an accident; or the person we were supposed to meet had to cancel and we have to reschedule. Or the resources we ordered to make that customer order haven’t turned up so we now have to do that task tomorrow as we promised to them for the weekend.

“Arrgghh” is often our response to a plan that’s not quite gone to plan!

However, if you look at planning as an ongoing process, and not something just for January, then you may find that you allow for reviewing your plans. You may find that instead of fixing things in now for August that have to stay like that, you have a post it note with the thing you want to do, and you can move it around as other work, or family stuff comes up that you also want to do.

Think about planning differently

Having some fixed things, like holidays, deadlines, and events on the planner which can’t move is a starting point. My family laughed at me with the big wall planner I created before Christmas. However, when we talked through what we all wanted to do this year, and we looked at the planner to see when we could do it, they understood that things have to work around school holidays, and for us this year, GCSE exams.

Then think about those goals you’re wanting to achieve & set the time in the year you’re wanting to achieve them by. That’ll help you get a framework in place for your year. Then plan the quarter, the month, then the week, with each part of this planning focusing on those longer term goals you’re wanting to achieve.

Think of it from a production point of view. If you want to create 200 Christmas cakes by the end of November, when do you need to get the ingredients? When do you need to make the mixture? When do you need to bake them by? Are you making them all in one go (do you have enough cake tins?), or are you making them over a few months & steeping them (filling them with alcohol)?

Make sense?

So, instead of working yourself up into a bit of a dither that you’re STILL planning, it’s fine. Understand that you’ll be planning throughout the year, and changing your plans, as you review your business, and the goals you’ve set, and what your customers want.

My lessons from using Best Self Journal so far:

  • It takes longer than you think. Whatever it is, it takes longer
  • A 30 minute walk will take longer than 30 minutes if you need to put shoes and waterproofs on & take them off when you come home
  • Anything takes longer than expected if you do other things “on the way”. For example, hanging the washing out to dry on the way to pick up shoes to go out for a walk, will add extra time you hadn’t planned in. But it’s still a job that needed doing
  • Having a clear goal for the next 13 weeks keeps you focused on that goal & everything you do, or are asked to do, has to help you to achieve that goal
  • Batching time is really important (phone calls back to back, writing stuff in one session, shopping & meetings can be done whilst out in same area of town)
  • Don’t try and do too much
  • Write down your time out & exercise as you’ll forget it otherwise

And my biggest lesson from this week which has worked wonders for me – write a meal planner at the start of the week, and plan the shopping trips in around the meetings already scheduled. It’s been brilliant, even though I do say so myself!

Do you feel you’re still stuck in planning mode? Is it a problem for you or are you quite happy with the progress you’re making?

If you need some help with planning, why not book a call with Tracey-Jane to help you work things out?

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Do or not do. There is no try

“Do or not do. There is no try”

This is a quote from the iconic Star Wars character Yoda. He is so wise isn’t he? (I haven’t watched the newest film yet, so no spoilers please).

I’ve always found Yoda to offer deep questions to those he works with. They may not always understand the question, but once they ponder it, their brain takes on the challenge, and works out a way of moving forward, or answering the question.

We can all learn from this way of questioning and thinking.

Thinking through a problem

We all learn and process information differently. We’ve been helped over the last 18 months from the Mercury Model, to understand these differences. Some of us love new information, others of us take time to let any new piece into our head.

So when a friend or colleague asks us a question about some work we’re doing, we’ll all have a different response to it. Depending how they ask the question, we may be defensive, or accepting, and then our brain will do something different with that piece of information.

If we work with a coach, or have someone we use to bounce ideas off, they may well challenge us, just like Yoda does, and ask ‘difficult’ questions. I know I often think, “ooh, that’s a hard question to answer” when challenged in this way. But once I’ve let my brain mull the question over, and try a few different scenarios out so I can answer, I realise that it’s a question that goes to the heart of what I’m trying to do. If I can find the answer to this question, then I know I’ll have answers to more of the questions and problems I’ve been having recently.

Taking action – Do

do or not do. there is no try. yodaThere’s LOTS of motivational quotes about taking action. And my social media feed is full of ‘take action’ blurb at the moment, (as in, it’s all very well having these amazing ideas for 2018, but you’ll only achieve if you DO something about it).

It’s true! Only by doing will you achieve what you want.

And Yoda is right to. What do we mean when we say, “I’ll try”.

  • Will we try to do our best?
  • Will we try and contact that supplier we’d love to work with? Or,
  • Will we try to be the best parent ever?

What does TRY mean anyway? Surely we’re going to be DOING something whilst being our best at the time? Aren’t we BEING a parent & DOING what we think is best for our family at the time? And we either pick up the phone or we don’t with that supplier we want to work with.

It’s only by DOING that we’ll move things forward, or tick things off our list. If I TRY to complete everything on my list for today, I’m not focusing myself on each individual task I’ve listed. If I focus on the task and then DO that task, I’ve done my best and I’m making progress to achieve my daily tasks.

Choosing to Not Do

There will be things that we choose not to do, as they aren’t priority. Or they’ve been on our list for ages, and we haven’t done them yet, so are they important now?

By saying. “I’m not doing that”, we’re taking action on something. We haven’t failed. We’ve just prioritised what’s important to us. Life and business moves on. What felt important a month ago, may now be unnecessary, (and some may say, that’s why you didn’t do it at the time!), so cross it off the list and move on.

No try

I’ve always found it interesting that a rugby score is called a try. If you’ve ever watched a rugby match, then you’ll know that it’s a physically demanding sport, and everyone in the team tries hard to pass the ball, tackle, with the goal of scoring a try.

That’s the only place I can think of where you want to ‘try’. Every other situation we face, we want to DO and not simply TRY to do our best.

Try v – aim, attempt, do one’s best, do one’s damnedest, endeavour, exert oneself, have a go, make an attempt, make an effort, seek, strive, struggle, undertake

Collins Dictionary

Do you tell your children do “do your best”? Even if we use the word ‘try’ as from the definition in our dictionary, it says, “do one’s best”, and “make an attempt”. That’s all we ask our children to do – just their best on the day. That’s all any of us can do isn’t it?

If you need help taking doing and taking action, then join our Business Cheerleading Club which will support you take action to achieve the things you want.

Or, if you need more one to one support, book a coaching call with Tracey-Jane and work out what’s important on that list of yours and prioritise what’s left.

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Kick start 2018 with a free coaching session

Free coaching session giveaway

One of my business goals for 2018 is to support more people, businesses and organisations to achieve their goals through listening, business coaching and training. We’re offering one person the chance to have two hours free coaching session with Tracey-Jane Hughes this January in our kick start giveaway.

free coaching session giveaway

We know that many people don’t fully understand the benefits of coaching, and often see the expense of paying for a coach, unnecessary, especially in a cash strapped small business. So, we’re offering one person the chance of spending 2 hours (in one or two sessions, whichever is best for the winner), with experienced listener, coach and business owner, Tracey-Jane Hughes in January to get their year kick started in a free coaching session.

 

“You are one of the most skilled coaches and listeners with brilliant commercial knowledge I have met.

Brave business owners who are ready to do something different and mind set changing in 2018 get in touch with Tracey-Jane Hughes”

Coaching client & business owner

Benefits of having a coach

Some of the well known benefits of having a coach are:

  • Establish and take action towards achieving goals
  • Become more self-reliant
  • Gain more job and life satisfaction
  • Contribute more effectively to the team and the organization
  • Take greater responsibility and accountability for actions and commitments
  • Work more easily and productively with others (boss, direct reports, peers)
  • Communicate more effectively

Institute of Coaching

Personally, we’ve benefited from having someone to talk to who isn’t a close family member or friend about ideas, or frustrations, and working things out with someone outside the situation. This has been extended in more recent years with our knowledge of listening and how beneficial it is to have someone really listen to you well.

Tracey-Jane’s husband was offered a coach through work as part of a work re-organisation package, and whilst he was sceptical to start with, he found that by having a coach helped him stay focused, and achieve more during the time he was working with them. He’s also found that his understanding of himself increased which has stayed with him after this period of time.

Self awareness is one of the major areas a coach can help you with. They ask questions you often don’t want to ask yourself, and that’s exactly what they’re there to do. Help you ask yourself difficult questions so you can look at an issue from all angles. Once you’ve looked at the issue, you can then work out different ways of dealing with the problem, and your coach will help you ensure the actions you talk about taking are clear, specific and manageable in the time you have available.

If you suffer from having ‘mind monkeys’ sitting on your shoulder talking in your ear, a coach can offer a different way of listening and quietening them down, so that you work out for yourself what you want to do.

Coaching can help with many areas of life and business, and some people we know have different coaches who support different aspects of their life – health, sport, career, business development.

What a business coach isn’t

A business coach isn’t:

  • someone who will do the work for you
  • someone who will talk to that annoying person in your office on your behalf
  • someone who will tell you what to do
  • someone who will tell you off if you don’t do something you said you would

A business coach is

A business coach is:

  • a person you feel comfortable talking to about anything that’s on your mind
  • a person you respect and feel is able to help you get to where you want to be
  • easy to talk to. Who listens and asks questions which make you think for yourself
  • keeps you on track when you want to stray and talk about something else – because you set goals at the start of the coaching relationship which you want to achieve
  • a key supporter and cheerleader of everything you do, who doesn’t judge what you do, don’t do, or how you do it

If you’ve had a coach in the past and it didn’t work out for you, maybe they were the wrong person for you?

If you’re wanting to do things differently in 2018, but not sure how you’re going to keep on track, maybe a business coach will be the right person to work with you and help you achieve?

If you’re business is going really well, but you need a bit of personal coaching to get your life back in balance, or your health back on track, then a coach can help you with this goal.

To enter the giveaway to win the prize of 2 hours free coaching session with Tracey-Jane, follow the instructions below:

[giveaway id=1406]

 

Learn more about Action Learning Sets & how they can help you explore issues with an experienced listener, coach and facilitator, if personal coaching doesn’t feel right to you at the moment.