Have you heard the phrase “content is king”? It’s popular with internet marketers and marketing experts like me. Personally I prefer “content is queen” because really, who does all the creative work? The truth is, no matter what you call it you should have a content marketing strategy for your creative business.
When you generate consistent, educational content you can easily attract more of your ideal clients. You can also educate them about what you do and establish yourself as an expert in your industry. (We talk about this in depth in Episode 81: How to Use an Editorial Calendar to Stay On Track.)
For some entrepreneurs I work with, generating enough content to fill their blog and social media sites seems overwhelming and intimidating. On the other hand, many of the creative entrepreneurs I work with struggle with the opposite problem, too many ideas and they are seemingly random and without purpose. I tend to fall into the latter category. I always have something to say and never lack ideas for what to talk or write about, just ask my family!
But, I have noticed that when I am more consistent with my themes and organized in my content, I attract more of the right types of leads to my website. I teach creative entrepreneurs how to create fun and effective marketing plans that work but being the creative person I am, if all I wrote about was marketing plans, I might pull my hair out.
The truth about sharing your content is that it needs to authentic, real and showcase ALL of who you are. Your content also needs to focus on solving problems or providing education and inspiration to your ideal clients. So yes, you will find lots of posts on my site about marketing plans and the many different aspects of marketing you can employ to grow your business, but you will also find blog posts that talk about poetry, spirituality, and creativity.
I adore brainstorming and visual mapping for my business. I am a visual person and have discovered for right-brained visual learners like me, using large format paper, colorful sticky notes and a format that we can hang on the wall as a visual reminder will keep us on track effectively.
My husband likes spreadsheets and digital reminders. Together we have created a dynamic and interactive system that works for us when it comes to planning our editorial content. We like to do this at least a month in advance.
Here are the creative steps I used to plan my editorial calendar:
1. Using an 18″ x 24″ sheet of paper, I drew large squares to represent the days of the week that I want to create content for. Please notice that I did not include the weekends. I might carry over social media promotion on the weekend, but I like to take time off and make art or walk on the beach with my family.
2. Label your worksheet with the days of the week. Note I also added which project this is for, since this is not my only website.
3. Create a “theme” for each day of the week (this is the green sticky notes on my version.)
4. Create a variation of that theme for each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. (I used bright orange sticky notes for this process.)
I love using the sticky notes because I can move them around or change them as needed. I can also remove them all at the end of the month and start over. I also have way too many of them, LOL.
No marketing plan should be set in stone. The beauty of being a small business owner is our flexibility and ability to change directions easily.
5. Now that I know my general themes and content ideas, I can add additional notes or bullet points to each sticky note or add another sticky note below the content idea to flesh out what I want to write about.
6. Please note, I am not trying to write all of the content at once. I am trying to create a consistent editorial calendar that ties directly to my overall marketing strategy and goals for lead generation.
7. Any sticky note on this calendar can lead to content for my blog, social media promotions, podcast, video, Facebook group or email newsletter.
I am a big fan of create once and think multiple uses! An editorial calendar can drive all of your educational and value-added content so that you show up like the expert you are. It also helps you to avoid both the fear of the blank screen or the flood of bright shiny ideas that can stop you in your tracks.
Get it into your system
Once we have done this creative brainstorming process, we then do two more things to keep us on track with our editorial calendar.
First, we transfer the content to our editorial calendar spreadsheet that we share with our awesome virtual assistant. Having this shared calendar keeps all three of us on track.
Second, we block time in our calendars to do the actual work of creating the content. All the organization and planning in the world won’t help if you don’t create the content and share it.
When it comes to content marketing the more organized you are, the better your online marketing will work! Spending just 30 minutes once a month can stop the overwhelm while increasing your confidence and your clarity.
Now it’s your turn to give a try. I’d love to see what you create: let me know in the comments about your challenges and successes!
If you are feeling stuck or confused about who your ideal clients are or what type of content to create to attract more of them using content marketing, consider joining us in the Creative Business Accelerator: The Premier Online Business Academy for Creatives. You don’t have to do this alone, we’ve got your back.