Yesterday I wrote about entrepreneurial overwhelm and how caring greatly about the thing you want to create has a habit of also getting you stuck. In that post I said that one of the very best thing you can do to get through that overwhelm and stuckness is to create a simple plan of one or two things you can do every day to give you some wins and get you moving in the right direction. And that’s true, it’s good advice, but I thought about it afterwards and I thought I could do better. I could be more specific.
A lot of what makes the people I talk to feel overwhelmed in their business is marketing, and right now, that’s often content marketing.
It’s often the same story - I know I should be doing something more, but I don’t know what.
I know I should be on social media, but I mean, how, and what am I going to say?
I’ve heard of content marketing and that sounds good too, but I don’t really understand what it is or how I’m supposed to find the time to fit it in.
My friend’s done some stuff with Facebook ads so maybe I should do that, but I’m not sure how.
I’ve heard the best thing I can do is to start a blog, but I hate writing and what would I write about anyway?
Well there’s no doubt about it - there are a million and one marketing things you can do and most of them are apparently accessible, and free and with very few barriers to entry. But we know that, right? What we don’t know is where to start, which one to choose and what is the best use of our meagre time?
The truth is that there is no 'one size fits all' answer. There is no one best thing because that will depend on you, your business, where you’re at, the time you’ve got and what you enjoy. However the closest answer to the one right answer is that you just choose something and commit to it. Movement gains momentum, staying still cannot. So you’re going to choose one thing and you’re going to make a little plan and execute that one thing every day for 2 weeks.
The goal here is that you do something and start moving.
The goal is not to see a massive spike in sales or engagement - it’s possible, but not likely and not the point just yet anyway.
The goal is to stop being stuck, start where you’re at and take some small steps that you can build on.
1. Choose 1 aspect of content marketing that you’re going to focus on.
This will vary from business to business depending on where you’re at and how long you’ve been doing this.
If you’re just starting out in business, or have been in business for a while, but are just starting out on your journey of content marketing discovery, I like to suggest starting with Facebook. The reason is that most businesses have a Facebook page already, and if not, they’re very easy and manageable to set up. Facebook is also a platform that most people are familiar with, which means we cut down on the learning required and can get straight into the practice of creating and posting content regularly.
If your platform of choice is Pinterest, or Instagram, or Twitter, or perhaps you already have a blog, then that’s fine too - follow these steps with what’s familiar and works for you.
Example: Facebook business page
2. Decide how often you can realistically post per day, or per week CONSISTENTLY.
The critical part of this step is consistency.
The reason consistency is key is because small consistent wins over time always beats big unsustainable spikes of spectacular work with nothing in-between.
You want to train yourself to be consistent and in order to do that, you need to make your goals sustainable.
Forget about the 'Twitter expert' recommending 20 Tweets per day, or the 'blogging expert’ prescribing a 1000-word post 7-days a week. If you can manage one blog post per week with certainty, then commit to that. If you can post twice to your Facebook page 5-days a week, then do that. But choose something you know you can achieve because you want to experience ticking the boxes and knowing you hit your target, not feeling like you failed for no other reason than your target was unrealistic. If you’re not sure, start small and change it up later.
Example: Post to my Facebook business page twice a day, five days a week.
3. Decide on what that content will look like and what you can reasonably expect to deliver.
Again, this is about being sure to set targets that are achievable so that you get your wins on the board.
So, using the example from the previous step, let’s say you’ve decided that posting to your Facebook business page twice a day per week is manageable for you. You know you’d like each post to feature a beautiful, sharable image. That sounds like a great idea, as long as it’s realistic and doesn’t jeopardise your posting goal. As much as it’s a great idea and as much as we all love great images, if your images are taking 2+ hours to create, then this can quickly become unsustainable.
The same goes with blog posts - your goal might be 2 per week, but if your style is very long and each post takes you at least 5 hours to write, then that too, for all your good intentions, has a high probability of failing.
If you have the time, then great, go for it, but all I’m saying is to be realistic and at this stage, our primary objective is to set targets that we can deliver. Get your rose-coloured glasses off and be realistic - you can change it up later.
Example: 10 Facebook posts per week - a mixture of quotes with images (2), shared content and my own comments.
4. Make a simple plan
Your plan will tell you what to do and when to do it.
Once you’ve created a simple plan, you don’t have to worry about ‘what' and ‘when' decisions anymore - you only need to execute, tick the boxes, accumulate the wins.
Your plan should be very simple because you don’t want to get caught up in making and maintaining a schedule - you just need it to tell you what to do and when to do it.
I have attached a sample plan here for you to download and get started with if you want to, or you can make your own.
This one uses the Facebook example, but you can change it for blogging, or any other kind of content creation via any other platform.
I have included a ‘Theme’ column - some people like to use this to focus their content on a particular theme. It also includes the date for each post, the ‘Topic’ and ‘Type’ of post, as well as the ‘Format’ or details about the post, and of course when it will be posted. Mine shows the times each post will be scheduled in Facebook, but again, you can do this with blogs or other platforms too.
5. Execute and review
Once you’ve made your plan, you’re all set to create and post the content.
Remember, this is not a full-blown content marketing plan - it’s a little bite to get you moving and start chewing.
Stick with it for a few weeks, see how you go and tweak it if necessary - the goal is to WIN, so if it’s too much and you’re not winning, cut it back.
Make some time at the end of the week to review how you went and to update the plan for the next week.
From here you can grow, but you can’t grow anything if you don’t start.
Give it a go, good luck, and if you need a hand, send me a comment - I’d love to help.
P.S. If you are posting to your business Facebook page, did you know you can schedule your posts in advance?
That means you could spend a block of time creating and loading all of your content for the week to automatically post at times you choose.
Here’s how to do it ...
To schedule a post:
Start creating your post at the top of your Page's Timeline
Click next to ‘Post’
Select ‘Schedule Post’
Choose the date and time you want the post to be published
To backdate a post:
Start creating your post at the top of your Page's Timeline
Click next to Post
Select Backdate Post
Choose the date and time in the past that you want the post to be published
When you backdate a post, the post will be published immediately and appear in the past on your Page's Timeline. You can also choose to hide the post from News Feed.
Photo credit: 'The Art of Social Media' by mkhmarketing via Flickr