This blog is one of a series that I’ve been posting recently, using content from the emails that I used to send out to my list in 2019. If you want to subscribe to my current list then you can sign up here. I send out an email every two weeks with some digital marketing thoughts and tips aimed at people who run a small or micro business and are doing their own digital marketing. If that’s you then I’d love to have you onboard!
After my last blog, where we looked at getting going again after a break, I thought that this time we could tackle another subject that I think people can often feel overwhelmed by – planning.
Planning your digital marketing can be anything from a list of things you’d like to post about to a full-scale post by post document that shows when and what you are posting for the next month or longer. Neither of these is the right or wrong way to plan, as I’m sure you’ve heard me say before, it’s about what is best for you.
Why do I need to plan?
Planning is a great way to collect the ideas that you are having for your digital marketing and make sure that they are in a place where you can act on them when you want to. Even keeping a list somewhere that you add to every time you have an idea for a post/newsletter/blog/video is a great way to start. It starts to take away that panic you can sometimes have that you don’t know where to start or what to post.
It doesn’t have to be a big thing. I keep a list in my notebook for my business and side projects of ideas I’ve had. Some of them sit on the list for a long time but when I need a quick burst of inspiration or am feeling like doing anything digital marketing related is low down the list, they are a quick way to just pick something that catches my eye and get on with it.
How should I plan?
Again, the best way to plan is what works for you. It needs to be a system that you find useful and is the start of a process that ends with a post/email/blog/video or whatever you are looking to produce for your digital marketing.
That said, here are some ways you might want to start to think about planning:
- Keep a list of ideas. It might be a list of blog titles, quick notes on an idea, names of clients whose work you want to share, anything that sparks a moment of ‘oh, I must share that.’
- Keep track of bigger ideas. How many times have you thought, I could make that into a podcast series, a blog series, a small course? Perhaps not often! But if you have, start to group together the smaller parts of it underneath the bigger idea. A list of what you would share in a newsletter, what would your podcast episodes be? Once you can see a list of ideas underneath it, you can see whether you think the idea has legs or not.
- Keep a blog ideas book. I’ve had a small notebook which I use for blog or email ideas. I write a blog idea at the top of each page with as many notes as possible about what I want to say when I have the idea. This is a great way to tackle longer pieces like an email newsletter as you have the title and some of the sections there ready to go, you just need to sit down and write them out into paragraphs. Or it can be the start of prompts for a script for a podcast or a video.
- Take a scroll through your photos on your phone and make an album of those you would share online. This is a great way to spark some inspiration for posting online. If you’ve got photos you know you want to share you can dip into the album, choose a good one and start writing a caption to go with it when you need it.
Plans + Time = Calendar!
One of the big things in the digital marketing world is a content calendar. What are you going to share and when are you going to share it?
Again, I’ve seen these over whole months, or longer, with posts, images, captions, hashtags and more, all there ready to go! It’s great to have these all laid out but I do find amongst my clients, who tend to be small to medium businesses, that this isn’t something that works so well for them.
So what does work? I think it’s a great idea to put aside some time and come up with a calendar for your business. What happens and when? Is Christmas big for you? Summer holidays? Is your product/service seasonal? This could mean that you are an accountant whose business runs alongside the tax year, or someone who offers outdoor classes that are more difficult to run in the Winter.
Once you know what is going on and when, then you can look at making sure you are talking about it well in advance. Think about when you need to start talking about what’s going on and when you’re audience will want/need to hear from you. You might want to start each month by looking ahead to next month and planning in what you want to talk about. You might book your work 6 months in advance and have times when you need to let your audience know your books have reopened for them to get their slot.
Look at the cycles in your business and see how you can best plan these in so that everything is getting highlighted.
Bonus tip – mix and match your calendar with your Digital Marketing!
Finally, if you have got this far – both in terms of reading this far down and getting through all of these actions! – then you might want to think about looking at how you are going to match up what is on your calendar with your digital marketing.
If you are looking a month ahead and can see that you have a workshop to promote, new services you are offering and a new client coming on board then you might want to think about how best to highlight those across your digital marketing.
The workshop might be best shared with your email list but you can also use it as a way to encourage sign ups. Why not post on your social that you are sending out the details for this workshop to your email list as a special preview before you let everyone know. This would encourage sign ups to the list, and give you more people to promote future workshops to.
Your new service might make a great blog post, an overview of what you are offering and why it’s valuable, and you could share this as a quick addition at the bottom of your mailing list about the workshops. Or you could make a video to showcase exactly what people can expect and share it across your channels.
Working with a new client is often a great time to step up your posts to social media as you are often creating more examples of your work during the usual settling in period and/or reviewing some of your onboarding/initial processes as you start work with them. This can often throw up ideas (capture them on your list!) and content that can be shared to showcase what you do.
However you plan, it’s just a good idea to make sure that you do. It might be a cliche but ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ – just make sure that the planning is done in a way that works for you.
Read all of this and think you might want to work with me? I offer 121 sessions, work with small businesses on their digital marketing, and run projects and handle account management for agencies. Get in touch to chat and find out more.