The new year is officially here. Christmas and holidays are officially history (until next year). You had one last party night (until the next one) and you’re ready to get down to business.
And good for you! You’ve come to the right place.
As we ring in 2016, we all set goals, aspirations and resolutions for the next 365 days. If you’re — like me — making content a chief priority in 2016, I present the ultimate list of resolutions for the year. And, what’s a resolution without an actionable plan? With each resolution below, I offer an actionable plan that will help you begin achieving your marketing and content dreams.
Without any further adieu (time’s, ticking folks), I present New Year’s Resolutions for the content marketer:
Resolution #1: Start
You can’t succeed without starting. This is a lesson I’ve learned myself. There’s no better time to get going than the present and the blank canvas a new year brings is even more reason to provide yourself some momentum. Simply put, start. Adjust things along the way. By this time next year, you’ll have a new set of resolutions for your business and many of them will be dealing with the leads, prospects and customers you’ve gained since starting your content marketing.
Actionable Step #1: Establish Presence
For most newbie marketers and small business owners, this is the hardest step. Where should you begin? There are so many options. Regardless of your industry, niche or ultimate goal, establishing your online presence and creating a platform from which your content can be presented to the world is the first vital step.
I highly recommend using Hostgator as your service. While there are countless options available for shared hosting and blogging, including many that are less expensive, I’ve found Hostgator to be the easiest company to work with for many reasons. I’ve managed many types of accounts with Hostgator for years and have enjoyed incredible uptime. Any issues I’ve come across with service outage or billing questions have been answered or handled promptly with what I’d consider the hosting industry’s best support.
Perhaps the most vital reason to choose Hostgator for establishing your online presence, though, is its ease when installing WordPress or another blogging platform or content management system. Hostgator’s Managed WordPress Hosting may be the perfect solution.
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Resolution #2: Have a Plan
While starting is important, having a plan will help you achieve your 2016 content goals. Now is the time to establish a plan. When it comes to content, an editorial calendar is crucial. Whether you’re using social media, blogging, video marketing, email marketing or any of the other avenues available to reach your intended audience, establishing a plan is vital.
Fortunately for you, there are many tools available to manage your editorial needs. These options can be free or paid. If you’re just starting out, I’d suggest going the free route to ensure you choose the right tool and have the ability to switch if necessary. Below is a quick rundown of the tools available to you:
Google Docs: Much of what I do is done with Google’s suite of apps. I manage a Google Drive for each email account I own. Inside each Google Drive are relevant folders managing content, business forms, ideas and more. For editorial calendars, Google Sheets is ideal. It’s simply a free version of Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers — and it’s built on the cloud, meaning you can access and edit no matter your location or device. While Google Sheets still requires quite a bit of manual entry and editing, once you settle on a calendar layout, naming convention and general cadence, it’s super easy to build and maintain templated calendars customized to your needs! Get Started With Google Docs >>
Trello: Here’s an amazing tool that comes with free and paid versions. Trello is an online organizational tool. Originally built for managing projects, Trello can be used to organize almost everything. I use it personally and professionally to maintain tasks, honey-do-lists and, of course, a content calendar. Trello’s organizational tools follow the cadence:
Organizations > Boards > Lists > Cards
Once you’re at the “Card” level, there are additional options to organize, collaborate and delegate. Simply put, I love Trello. Get Started With Trello >>
Evernote: Another favorite of mine, Evernote is a notebook-style filing program. It allows users to create “Notebooks,” in which “Notes,” may be created, stored and kept. Evernote first came along in the early days of cloud storage and was an easy solution for on-the-go writers and marketers. I use it to easily manage various tasks, projects and ideas across many different focuses. Additionally, Evernote allows for collaboration, automatic offline saving and a offers an extremely easy-to-use interface. Get Started With Evernote >>
The above resources are just a few examples of the tools you can use to get yourself organized and establish a plan. There are countless tools available for you to choose from but the most important thing is establish your plan.
Actionable Step #2: Create Your Editorial Calendar
This task always makes newbies like yourself cringe. Mapping out the unknown is a tough task, indeed. But you can’t get where you’re trying to go without a plan. And, trust me: you’ll be much happier when you have a plan to guide you along the way.
Using the above resources or even a program of your choice, map out the first month of your content offerings. Depending on your business’ or organization’s needs, offerings or priorities, it’ll surely be different than others but to ensure you hit all your marks, I’d suggest building your content calendar around the following platforms and cadences:
- New Written Content: 2-3 times weekly
- Video Content (if possible): 1-3 times monthly
- Social Posts: 1-5 times daily, depending on the platform (I’ll soon publish more on breaking into social media for your business)
As you can see, an editorial calendar can be pretty generic at first. In fact, I suggest leaving plenty of room for fluidity and improvement. More important than making it perfect is to start. Once you start, consistency is as important as quality. Maintaining and working off of an editorial calendar will ensure you’re killing it consistently.
Resolution #3: Consistency Above All Else!
It’s a resolution I’m trying to follow this year and I invite you to join me! Consistent content is the key to getting some positive momentum — from which you can adjust, learn and provide even more value. Starting is the first step and establishing a realistic plan is vital to get yourself moving in the right direction. If you’re not being consistent thereafter, though, it’s all for naught.
Be consistent and you will see success. As your readership grows and prospects list explodes, the information gathered from your consistency will help you continuously improve upon your already awesome efforts.
Actionable Step #3: Stick To The Plan
You crossed the first bridge by starting. Then, you created a killer plan of action. Now, you know that to win, you must be consistent. To be consistent, all it takes is sticking to your plan. Whether you’re capable of 10 blog posts a week or two, it’s important to maintain consistency. Do this and you’ll be successful.
Venturing out this year with a new content quest? Let me know how your progress is going in the comments below! I always love to hear success stories!