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Theresa Cantley Branding, Build a Better Business, Business, Marketing business strategy, consistent content, content creation, content tips, editorial calendar, entrepreneur tips, weekly content plan, writing content
If you’ve been following me for a while or have ever worked with me you know I’m all about systems. Not computer systems and software (although I’m called the widget Queen for a reason) but systems that make life and business easier. As I once heard, exercise should be hard, life should be easy. Especially when it comes to creating consistent weekly content that connects to your customer. I know, I know…this is one of the areas that people dread talking about. Planning weekly content and consistently creating it is one of the things I’ve seen people struggle with the most and I always get asked, “how in the world do you plan content out for the week? I have enough trouble figuring out what to post each day!”
When there are so many things going on in your brain (I know there are lots of things going through my brain), you’ve got tons of work to do, there’s so much happening in your life, sometimes it’s hard to write content because you either end up with a creative block or you’re running around at the last minute with the thought “What the heck do I post about?” Inevitably, we end up posting something completely random, or you post something just to post it, and guess what?? People can totally see right through that. So what do you do?
You plan it out and batch it together!
My simple rules to get you started include: brainstorm it, plan it, create it, schedule it, and breathe. Seriously, it works!! No matter what type of content you’re putting together you always want to make sure you are listening to your audience. This goes for social posts, emails, blog posts, etc. Planning your content in advance and listening to what your audience is craving helps you to be a part of the conversation and not an interruption. When you post random stuff, you’re interrupting the conversation so when we listen and plan it out in advance we can create really good content that really makes an impact. And that’s the goal, right?!
So, here are my five simple steps to help you get started planning your content:
- Plan uninterrupted “create before you consume” time into your schedule on Sunday or Monday to plan out your content for the week. When you plan your content for the week, I usually tell people to use a Sunday or a Monday, find some uninterrupted time in your schedule, and spend the time creating out your plan for what you want to post. This is a time in which you turn your phone and social media off, so that you can have complete focus on the task at hand. If you’re really motivated…you can actually plan content out for an entire month (trust me, I’ve done it and it feels AH-MAZING!!)
- Pick five to seven topics that relate to your business that you would want to talk about.These topics should reflect what your brand is about and the topics should also reflect what’s important to you. So let’s say your business is marketing and branding. You also love gardening, you love fitness, you love inspiring quotes, and you like to talk business strategy. So those are the topics you’ll weave into your posts.
- Do a brainstorm of content ideas. If you work with me you know, I love a good brainstorm! When you are doing your brainstorm of content ideas, keep in mind the intention behind what you’re doing. Ask, “Is this representative of me? Is this representative of my brand?” Think about holidays related to your business, events you have coming up and promotions you will be running. One thing that I do is as ideas come to me I write them done or take a note on my phone. I’m always collecting ideas for content so when it’s time to brainstorm…it’s easy to pull great ideas.
- Plan and create your content. Decide on your frequency – will you post five days a week, or six? How often you’ll be posting each week depends on what you can stay consistent with, and also what’s going to work well with the people you are serving. Plan out your topics using your brainstorm. Maybe you have an event and promotion going on. Maybe you’ll be talking about specific artisans, how to do something, or you’ll write about something inspirational.
5. Schedule and post your content! The next step…Batch, create and schedule all of your posts and that’s it! You can use a scheduler like Hootsuite or MeetEdgar and even an app like Plan or Later for Instagram posts. If you can’t create all of your content for the week (posts, emails, blog posts, etc) no problem! You at least have your topics picked for the week and you’re ready to go!
Get my FREE Guide “5 Simple Ways to Plan Your Content Weekly” for easy, quick reference!
Here’s a quick review: Plan uninterrupted time, brainstorm it out, create it, schedule it, and just breathe. I hope this helped you – five easy steps that you can do to create content on a weekly basis. If you want more information about creating more in-depth plans, and creating content, check out the rest of my website. I’ve got a lot of great resources here.
Take care, and I’ll see you soon!
Do you ever feel like you’re running, running and running and not sure what you’re actually running towards? We only have so many hours in a day and now more than ever there are so many more things to do to get our message heard. If you’re like me (and if you’re reading this I think you are) you have an important message to share with this world and you want your message to be heard…and seen.
Marketing today is different than it was years ago. There are social media posts, email campaigns, lead magnets and the list goes on and on of things we need to consistently create (that word “consistent” sneaks up a lot.) At times it can get really overwhelming and can be confusing. When I work with clients I often get comments:
”I don’t know what to post”
“I have a creative block and can’t think of anything to write about”
“Since I can’t think of anything to write about I’m just going to copy XXX”
What happens is people end up posting just about anything with no thought behind it (which is super transparent) just to get something out there and ultimately they end up wanting throw the towel in on creating anything.
Put the towel down and step in a little closer…
The posts you create, the content you write, the things you put out there are all a part of you and part of what makes your brand unique. Your brand is made up of more than just your logo, your fonts and some colors. It’s your unique experiences, your unique perspective, the impact you make and how you want people to feel about you and your business even when you’re not there.
If you struggle to create content that connects and is true to you and your business, you’re not alone out there. Everyone goes through it. If you’re one of those people that is just posting just to post (even pictures of your cat), not building your email list or creating blog posts because you think you don’t have anything interesting to say…THINK AGAIN! I promise you this, while you still have breath, you will always have something interesting to say, share and talk about.
The most important principal when we are creating content is to remember that your content should be able to tell a story and communicate with the people you want to serve by building a “trust” or “like” factor first that will eventually blossom into building a super awesome relationship. Your brand should give people a feeling of who you are, how you can help and what you are about without you even being there.
So here’s my Top 7 tips to help you create better content that is authentic and connects to the people you ultimately want to help:
Tip #1 – Focus on what your unique strengths and what you do best
Tip #2 – Communicate YOU in all you do. No one has the same set of experiences that you have, no one shares the same perspective that you have either
Tip#3 – Know who you are speaking to. Who is your ideal customer? What impact can you make?
Tip#4 – Consistency is KEY. You want to make sure you are communicating on a consistent basis AND you also want to make sure your message is consistent. Consistent branding and color palettes are also super important
Tip#5 – Teach from your Experiences
Tip#6 – Believe in what you are doing with your whole heart
Tip#7 – Always think about the value you are providing to others
So let’s get this content party started!
Download my “7 Easy Steps To Create Authentic Connect That Stands Out From the Rest” for more on these tips and strategies you can start implementing today in your business. Once you download this FREE guide you’ll be on your way to creating amazing content on a consistent basis.
HINT – There are also some PRO Tips and a special BONUS Tip too!
Don’t you wish sometimes someone would just tell you EXACTLY how to do it…
When you start your own business there are many people out there that tell you “do this and you’ll be successful” or this is exactly how you have to do it.
And you “all the things” and they don’t work.
I’ve seen time after time small business owners thinking that they just have to work harder and longer to succeed. They do the same thing they’ve been doing, expecting a different result, and that just doesn’t happen. In reality the opposite happens, the business actually suffers and they burn out.
Over the years I’ve seen business owners make three key mistakes (including yours truly) that prevent business growth and moving them forward to achieving their dreams.
So do any of these sound familiar?
Mistake #1 Not have a clear, compelling vision for the future. If you want to go to the next level in your business you need to have a vision beyond where you are right now. A vision is your road map to lead you on the path to success. Being able to visualize it every day is what’s going to drive you forward. You can’t base where you want to go in life on where you are right now because we are constantly changing and growing. When you decide what you want for your business and you can articulate it clearly the more you will open the door for opportunity.
Mistake #2 Working longer hours thinking that will bring success. What ends up happening with this mistake? You become the bottleneck. You focus on the wrong things. When the business is struggling, and you don’t have revenue coming in, you don’t have a paycheck coming in, you think YOU need to just keep your head down and keep working. So many business owners think if they work harder and harder and harder, that they’ll get the results they want to get. And that just doesn’t happen. What does happen is burnout and that’s not a place you want to be. Learning how to build a good team (physically in your business or virtually) and figuring out what is a priority in your business is so important to growth.
Mistake #3 Not having a daily strategy to get stuff done. Have you ever gotten to the end of the day and thought “I haven’t gotten anything done but I’ve been so busy”. When we have clear goals that connect directly to the vision you have for your business you can stay focused on what is really important. Learning how to take small actionable steps each day towards a BIG impact is even more important to help you reach your goals faster without burning out or going in circles. Small focused action beats lots of random busyness any day.
Believe me when I started my first business 10 years I made these same mistakes and along the way I learned a new and better way. You think building your business starts with a new business strategy or a new plan but really it starts with you…it starts with changing how you think and the actions you take every day in your business.
If you can relate, here are 3 things you can start doing right now.
Three Lessons I’ve Learn to Help Avoid These Mistakes
Number one you must BE the person you need to be in your business before anything else. When you are showing up as the best version of you, you feel good and the people around you feel good as well.
Second you need to believe in your ability to lead and build your business. If you don’t believe things are possible no matter how hard you try you won’t be able to make it happen. You need to believe you are capable of doing hard things and achieving impossible goals that will make the future you want happen.
Third is don’t try to do everything at once. Break things in to small, actionable steps. Whatever you are trying to do, break it into small pieces so that you can stay consistent. Small consistent steps lead to big results and boosts our confidence…which we all need from time to time.
Remember, you weren’t intended to do this alone because after all it’s not about you. It’s about what you are doing to leave your mark on this world and the people you are impacting in your community and in your life.
Want to take your business to the next level and create a road map for success?
Download my new audio training “The Importance of Having a Vision in Your Business”.
It will walk you through 5 strategies a clear, compelling vision will do to move your business forward.
Have you ever wondered do I really have what it takes to do this? Can I really achieve the success I want in my business?
Or maybe you’ve even said to yourself I don’t think this is going to work and I don’t think I have what it takes.
I totally understand because years ago I found myself asking myself these same questions and telling myself these same things.
And then one day I did something BIG. I stopped and I asked myself a better question.
What do I need to do to achieve the success I want in my business?
From that point I stopped…
Doubting myself and my ability to make things happen
Creating goals based on my current situation
Letting a mistake ruin a great, fantabulous idea
And I started…
Creating goals based on my bigger vision for the future
Developing a road map to go from where I was, to where I wanted to be
Finding lessons in mistakes and using them to create something better, something people need.
It’s a small shift but honestly it’s an important one. It’s important because the quality of our work, the creativity behind our ideas and the energy that goes into growing our business comes from what we believe about ourselves.
What I’ve learned over the years is that there are different factors or principles that will inevitably help us to determine whether or not we will be able to move things forward in our business and even as much as determine how fast or slow we can achieve what we want.
So what are these things that can help us achieve success faster in our business in our life? What are the things we need to have or do to ensure that we are able to achieve our goals?
Totally and completely believe in YOU. You need to believe deep down in your heart and soul that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. You need to believe that the goals you set for yourself or the project you are working on that you can indeed make it happen. You can do hard things. You can achieve impossible goals and the small steps you are taking everyday are the path to get you there no matter if you are winning or falling. (By the way, falling only gives us an opportunity to see things from a different perspective and get back up and keep going.)
Having a clear, compelling vision for the future. A clear vision for the future gives us a GPS and a blueprint to get us from where we are now to where we want to go. It keeps us motivated when things get tough (and they do get tough) keep us pushing forward towards making a bigger impact.
Creating daily success rituals that keep you on the path to success. A daily routine is key to creating a successful day, week, month even year! It keeps us focused on what is important and helps us let go of what is keeping us distracted. The quality of our daily rituals will help us to create a plan to consistently take small steps every day towards a BIG impact instead of getting stuck in random busy work and trying to make BIG changes that lead to little impact.
Having the ability to pivot and be flexible when we need to. Staying flexible when we need to allows possibility to come in when we least expect it, even during the rough patches. When we are open to the detours that come our way it is easier to find the lessons we need to learn to get closer to the results we are looking for.
Always be open to learning something new. What got you to this point is not going to take you to the next level. That takes into account your mindset, your strategy and your knowledge. Being open to learning new things or even new ways of doing things we already know is a large part in achieving success faster. It’s best to not be the smartest person in the room when you’re looking to grow.
Stay in Integrity always. When you say you’re going to do something stick with it and learn to be consistent. This goes for what you tell yourself you are going to do AND what you tell others you will do. Sometimes life happens and when we can’t stick to something we promised we would do. Consistently staying in integrity keeps the lines of communication open so we can communicate and keep our commitment to the larger purpose.
Take responsibility for everything in your life. You are responsible for everything that happens in your life…absolutely everything. If your business isn’t moving forward, the project didn’t work out or you didn’t get the campaign launched you were working on, you have a piece of responsibility within it all. When we take full responsibility for everything in our life we show up differently and we’re able to set things in motion faster than we ever thought possible.
These small steps and shifts you help you move grow faster and ultimately make a bigger impact. The moment you decide to shift EVERYTHING can change.
But first it’s up to you.
Here’s some helpful resources for you…
• If you’re ready to get started make sure to download my new audio download The Importance of Having a Vision in Your Business. This audio and downloadable worksheet will help you understand the 5 things a clear vision will do for you to help you grow your business and achieve success faster!
• Don’t forget to subscribe to the Your Next Best Step Podcast on iTunes
• Leave an honest review (I read all of them) and let me know how you like the show so far. It will also help me create more great content for you in the future.
During December I did a lot of reflecting on the year behind me. It’s an exercise that I take all of my clients through – my one-on-one clients, my group coaching clients – I even talk to my friends about it. It’s something I’ve done for a really long time.
But a lot of business owners don’t really take the time to reflect on what happened this past year. They don’t take time to focus on the lessons learned, the things that did and didn’t go right, or the things that were just plain awesome! A lot of times we just want to jump right back into business, asking ourselves “OK what are we doing next?” We just want to look forwards and leave what has already happened behind us.
I learned to reflect on the year behind me when I was still in corporate America as a director of marketing, and once I left and became an entrepreneur I continued the practice.
Even when I started my business 10 years ago (when I started my retail stores with my business partner), just taking time to reflect on some of the lessons that we’d learned, noting the things that didn’t go right and also the things that went amazing, allowed new ideas to flow. Whether you have a team or you’re a solopreneur, it’s essential to take some time to look back and reflect on these things because when we do, so many ideas and things that we may have missed throughout the year can come into our minds. We find ourselves having ideas for new and creative things that we do want to do in the following year. We really free up our minds to focus on what is ahead of us and what we can achieve once we’ve looked back and fully appreciated what is behind us.
And we can learn from those things. We can learn from the things that didn’t go so well AND from the things that were amazing.
I learned a LOT in 2018. There were lots of things that happened, things I needed to let go of and things I needed to change in my business. All of these things have helped me grow and will continue to help me grow throughout 2019 (and probably beyond too)
If you’re just starting out, your business is not going to look the same today as it will in six months. I’m a different person to when I first started my business, things look different, my understanding of business, what works, and what doesn’t work are all different too. I’ve learned so much through all the trial and error and mistakes and disappointments and perceived failures that have happened to me along the way.
I’ve spoken to a lot of people, and 2018 was definitely a year of growth and transformation for a lot of business owners. Some have described it as a giant beta test – testing out new ideas, concepts they were learning and even to test out their new self and the person that they were becoming.
2018 was certainly a growth year for me and my business. It was definitely a year filled with lessons, and really understanding what it means to not look at a ‘failure’ as a failure but to look at it as a learning opportunity and to really look for the lesson in that experience.
So I wanted to share with you three lessons that I’ve learned.
- Do What Your Love and Stick to Your Strengths
The first one is to do what you love and stick to your strengths. This was a BIG one for me. When I first started this business, I would say yes to absolutely anything and everything. My experience in corporate America and throughout my entire career I’ve learned how to do many different things in marketing, branding, organizational development and leadership development. This meant that, for the longest time, I was all over the place and doing anything and everything that people asked of me.
And one of the big lessons that I learned in 2018 was to really focus on the things that I love to do. Throughout those years in corporate America, I was all over the place and not focusing on my strengths. Even though I knew how to do all of those tasks that I was doing for other people, I didn’t love doing them – I just did them because I knew how to and I said ‘yes’ when someone asked me. They weren’t things that really filled my soul with happiness and joy.
So really focusing on doing what I love and sticking to my strengths was a big thing for me in 2018.
As well as really looking at the work I was doing, I also took time to look at the people that I was working with. There were people who didn’t really want to step up into a leadership role and really take ownership and responsibility of their businesses and progress. I had to make some hard decisions about the work that I was doing for them and about the relationships that I had with them.
I had to make a lot of difficult decisions which wasn’t the most fun thing to do! But having to make those difficult decisions really helped me to get even clearer on what my purpose is and the things that I really love to do. It also opened up space for me to help more people who really needed it and who really wanted to learn how to take their business to the next level.
That was something that I really needed to learn because for so long I knew I wanted to help people and I knew I could help people but really focusing on my strengths helped me to get clearer on my purpose as well as helping me to grow my business and reach more people.
- Trust Yourself
The second lesson that I learned, which kind of links into that, is to really trust yourself.
I learned to really trust myself because I know what’s best for me. I don’t need validation from anybody else out there.
I know that the experiences I’ve had, insights I’ve gained and lessons I’ve learned have all happened for a reason. And I know that I can take all of those things and use them to really help other people and their businesses.
So often, as entrepreneurs, we get stuck in a land of learning where all we do is learn new things but never implement those lessons in reality. And I was one of those people for the longest time! But even when I started to implement and execute what I had learnt, there was still something missing – the piece that was missing was that I needed to trust myself and really stay true to the vision that I had for my business. I need to stop doing things just because other people were saying it was the right thing to do – trying to listen to everyone out there was making me confused.
I needed to take all of the things I was learning and everything that my mentors were telling me and put it all together. But ultimately the decision of how to move forward was my decision. I needed to use what I was learning to make the right decisions for my business but I also needed to learn how to trust myself to make the right decision and go with my gut. I needed to understand that I already had everything I needed inside of me.
As entrepreneurs, we sometimes think that, in order to succeed, we need to learn something new, or we need to do something else, or we need to find a different solution…we get so lost in all of the options available to us when all we need to actually do is trust in ourselves. We just need to get our stuff out there and believe..
- Keep Showing Up
The third lesson that I learned was that we need to keep showing up even when we can’t control what’s happening.
As type-A personalities, business owners and creatives, we always want to be able to put as much work and effort and time and passion into everything that we’re doing and we want to be able to control the outcome. But the truth is that we can’t always do that.
The best thing that we can do, and the thing that I learned the most is that you need to just keep showing up. You need to keep showing up and keep creating and keep leading and keep going even though you have no control over what the outcome is going to be.
You need to really believe in what you’re doing and create things not just in the sake of creating, but create things that matter. Create things that will help people to learn something new, to help them shift their perspective, to do something that is going to make a difference in this world, to do something that can help other people do what they’re passionate about.
And one of the things that I learned to do, is to ask myself a lot of questions. Every day I would get up and ask myself, “what can I create that will make a difference in the lives of my customers? What can I create or what can I put out there that can maybe help someone who is struggling with the same things that I have?”
A lot of times when things aren’t going right, we get frustrated and we feel like a failure and often, this makes people want to give up. But you can’t. You have to keep showing up every day. You have to keep writing your blog posts. I’ve been doing search engine optimization for over twenty years and I always knew the importance of it and what you needed to do with it.But it takes time for something to stick and for people to find it and it can get frustrating.
I know a lot of people that I’ve worked with want to give up because it’s not instantaneous. But the more you can just keep showing up and keep putting yourself out there and keep writing and keep creating and keep fighting for your dream…Guess what? It will work. It will happen. And that content that you’re creating will live on way past the date that you create it. So we just need to keep showing up even when we can’t control the outcome.
So, there you have it – those are the lessons that I’ve learned. There are so many more but those were the three big lessons that I learned in 2018.
What am I doing for 2019?
Well, the biggest thing I’m doing in 2019 is dreaming big. I’m taking all of the reflections and lessons learned and asking myself, “OK what are the big things here that can help me plan for 2019?” and, “What would a successful 2019 look like? What would it feel like? What would I do differently? What would I let go of?” All based on my reflection of 2018.
“Make things better by making better things” is one of my favorite quotes by Seth Godin.
No matter what, stay consistent, keep showing up and keep creating. Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible and it will never happen but believe me when I say, it absolutely will.
The work we are doing now will live on long after we post the blog, share a tweet or send out an email. We need to be in it for the long game, not the short-term because that’s when we can do our best work.
The insights we have inside us from mistakes we’ve made, failures we’ve had or even past employment, all shape our content. They give us perspective and spark the best thing ever – our ideas!
Don’t take shortcuts, don’t try to skimp out and by all means, don’t give up! Keep going, keep writing, keep blogging, keep showing up and don’t worry – the people you want to help will find you.
Be in the business of seeing how the world works. Be in it for the long term and not just a short glimpse.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what type of business you have, whether you have a physical business or an online business, or if you’re in the service industry… we’re all looking for ways to build our businesses and find new customers.
In today’s world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with everything that’s out there that you can use to build your visibility and find your customers. And it can also get overwhelming when you think about the amount of people that are out there doing the same thing that you’re doing.
But guess what… there is only one you in this world!
There is only one person with the unique genius that you have. You’re the only one that has your experiences, gifts, stories and insights to share and no one else on this planet will ever have those.
People think that when it comes to running and building your business, it’s solely based on the products that you sell.
In reality, it’s not – what makes us unique is finding our distinction, finding our uniqueness and that is based on you. Our distinction and uniqueness come from our stories that we have and experiences that we’ve been through as well as the solutions that we provide to the customers we’re looking to find. It’s not solely about the products and services that you sell but it’s more about you, what you bring to your business and the value to you can provide to your customers.
The main question I get asked is how do we find our distinction and how do we discover what our uniqueness is?
This all comes down to three things – so get your pen and your paper out because you’re going to want to take some notes!
#1: Show up absolutely every day and connect. Don’t hide behind your screen or in the shadows because you’re not really sure what to do. Clarity comes from engagement not just simply thinking about it. So make sure you’re showing up every day and you’re connecting. Share your stories – stories that will connect you to your customers. Share things that have happened to you and that your customers might be struggling with. Listen to what people compliment you on – the more you show up every day and connect with people, the more you will hear these things. Remember the compliments and the questions you’re asked. Take notes – mental notes, written notes, voice memos – whatever it takes!
#2: Be uniquely you and be consistent. What makes you excited? What could you do absolutely every day, all day without even getting paid for it? What experiences do you have that you could help others with? What kind of personality do you have? What are things that people say about you that really make you unique because the last thing we want to be is anything else other than ourselves.
#3: What holes do you potentially see in your marketplace? What unique insights do you have that no one else has? We all have our unique perspectives and no two people really look at things exactly the same. What unique perspectives might you have about things in your industry? When we pull all these things together, that’s when we can find our distinction.
A bonus tip is to look for inspiration outside of our industry. Look for inspiration – it’s all around you! Look outside of your industry as to what’s going on and what people are doing. I’ve often found when I work with people that we can start discovering new ideas for their business in industries they never even thought of looking. How interesting would it be if you can take inspiration from what the automotive industry is doing to build their customer base and get information out about new cars and apply it to your own business. Draw inspiration from outside your industry!
The three things in review are:
- Show up every day and connect. Share your stories, listen to what people compliment you on and constantly ask you about.
- Be uniquely you and be consistent. What makes you excited and want to jump out of bed every day? What experiences have you had that can really help others and what solutions have you come up with?
- What holes do you potentially see in your marketplace? What are things people aren’t doing in your industry and what unique insights do you have that can’t be found any place else.
When you can answer these questions and put it together, you’ll discover the distinction you have and what makes you unique. This is how you can make the content you write and the products you put out there really stand out.
Then, don’t forget to look for inspiration outside of your industry because you never know what you’ll find!
In the end, there’s really no competition. Even if there are other people doing the same kind of thing you are, there is only one you and there only ever will be.
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Don’t hold back, tell me everything that’s on your mind so I can better guide you towards achieving your goals.