How to plan your content for the new year

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Content planning can be a pain. There. I said it. Truth is, it doesn't have to be ! Often times we make it more complicated than it has to be. I have a process that I use that made content planning super easy for the new year. I finished the first quarter of the year already and it only took about an hour. So I figured this process was worth sharing !  

1. Brain dump ideas  

The first thing I do when I start my content planning is to brain dump ideas. I literally just write down any idea that comes to mind. It's a little more organized once I'm finished, but step one is to brain dump away. I love to look on Pinterest for blog post ideas or inspiration from the pins I saved. Often times I'll find ways to put my own twist on certain topics. 

Tip:  Once I'm finished brain dumping, it's smart to recycle some ideas that i didn't use from last year if I still need to fill in some spaces. 

2. Categorize them  

I personally categorize my blog posts into 4 different main sections. Productivity, business, social media, and blogging. I like to try my best and get one of each topic to write about per month. This helps to make sure my content is always fresh. 

This takes a little while because sometimes it'll fit into more than one section, but it helps to see what I'm working with. Plus I'll be able to tell if I have too many in one category, and basically none in another.  

3. Holiday posts  

I always make room for holiday posts if need be. For example in December I did a girl boss holiday gift guide. So for January i try to focus my posts around starting fresh, February I'll have a couples related post (It's a unique twist so stay tuned!), etc. try to think of what's going on during the month. Are people focused on school, is there a holiday coming up, is it vacation season, wedding season, etc. These posts are important because they can bring in lots of traffic since people can relate. 

4. Make a monthly spread  

I like to physically write out my months and how many posts I'll be posting a week. For 2018 I've decided on one post a week for now since I'll be writing a little more in depth versus shorter posts. Quality versus quantity am I right ? So that's 52 blog posts overall, and there's 4 weeks in a month. So for example I'll write out "January" and 4 lines under it. Then I'll decide what blog posts I want each week and write them in. 

I personally like wriing it out by hand. However you could use spreadsheets, Google docs, etc. For your layout. Google spreads even has a calendar template you can use. I tried it last year with my videos and I loved it. 

You can also click here to get my FREE digital blog planner

It's up to you how many months you want to do at a time. I recommend doing this monthly spread every quarter. I hear about people planning their whole year at one time, but I'll be honest I tried doing that and it just didn't work. Not because I couldn't think of ideas, but because I like to post based on what's relevant. Talking about net neutrality might not be that important in a few months. If I'm using a new program this month and decide to post about it in a few weeks, I may not be using it anymore. Do you see what I mean ? My suggestion would be quarterly or even monthly. I decided to go for the quarter and see how that works. 

There's no one right or wrong way to do this ,  but this was the quickest way for me. Leave me a comment if you do something different !  

See you guys next time. Stay productive ! 

Why your email list is so important

Most of us know of the famous "email list". However, it's even more common that we have no clue how to start them, or what to even do after you set it up. Mostly, why this is even important in the first place. 

We are all told that from the start we should have an email list.... And that's pretty much it. "It converts followers into clients" or "if your website magically goes down, what will you do?" Are commonly said phrases.  

 

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Why your email list is so important 

 First off, let's cover why your email list is so important in the first place.

I mean, you have social media right ? What do you need a list for ? 

Social media vs email list

Having an email list is one of the most targeted ways to reach your audience that CARES. When you sign up for an email list, most often it's because you wanted to see more content by them, they offered an incentive, or you signed up for a webinar or something like that. You normally don't just sign up without an incentive. If you do, then you're definitely interested in their content. With social media, anyone can follow you, and for a number of reasons. Maybe you were featured somewhere, or perhaps they just liked your feed. Your email list is often filled with the followers who show up often. I can definitely say that I recognize a lot of names from my Facebook group and Instagram. 

To start preparing

It's very important that you start creating your list early, so when you have a product, service, ect. You already have an audience to sell to. This is the main reason a lot of people create email lists to begin with. Say you have been building your list for a year, and you have 1,000 email subs. Awesome job! Once you have a product or service you have 1,000 people who your email is guaranteed to hit their inbox. On the other hand, if you don't have a list it can be a bit harder to reach your ideal audience. You would kind if just be shooting in the dark. 

Okay, it does convert followers into customers

So of course it converts followers into customers. Think of this on a larger scale. You hear about a new brand and you're looking at the shop. An email sign up box pops up and it says join the list for 10% off. So you sign up, and you buy something. They can continue to contact you about new sales and new releases which gets you to become a repeat customer. Not everyone is going to convert. You'll always have the people who don't want to pay for an ebook or who don't want to pay for online courses or webinars. There's so much free stuff out there, why would they? However you stand a better chance this way.

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So, what do you do once you have your email list? 

This is probably the part that stumped me the most. I knew it was important for the sake of growing my target audience. What I didn't know is what the hell to do once I had it. I still really don't (haha!....yeah there we go. I admit it.).  However, none of us really ever know 100% what we are doing so it's all good. 

Here's what I do know:  

Email lists can be used for plenty of things. Some of which I listed above. However there's so much more you can offer your list ! You want your audience to feel like VIPs. I aim for this so often, and I hope my email subs feel this way.   You can achieve this by offering exclusive freebies, pre-sale information, new blog post updates, give them sneak peeks of your latest project, ask for feedback, etc. Your email list is your own little personal army of dedicated friends. 

Take advantage of asking for feedback

feedback is one of the most valuable things we can receive from our audience. When you receive feedback, you can then tailor your content, products, services, etc. to the needs and wants of your audience. There's no guessing and checking here! They are literally telling you what they want. So make a small form and send it out! I got a lot of great results from my last survey.

Give them an incentive to stay around

This can be done with monthly freebies, weekly coupons, or really anything. Think about the email lists you're subscribed to. What do they have to offer that makes you want to stick around? I give away my free monthly calendars, and I also have my email list on my priority list to get any freebies I give away first. This is of course a little different for me because I don't have a product to sell (yet!). So I have to get a little creative. 

Don't just keep them around for the selling and promotions

Make sure that your email list doesn't just feel like a marketing platform. Nobody wants just emails about products or services all the time. Make sure to send at least one email every once in a while with nothing but useful information! The reason they are around is because you're helping them in some way. So supply them with some value about a topic they might relate to. 

I really hope this post helped give you some insight about email lists and what to do with them. PLEASE if you have any questions at all, leave a comment on this post and I can get back to you, or go to my contact page and send me an email. I would be happy to help!

As always, thanks for reading.

Snapchat for bloggers and business

Snapchat is one of the newer business tools, and it's often overlooked. I know I completely overlooked Snapchat myself. However it targets my exact ideal audience. While I'm not opposed to people outside the millenial range following me, it is who I target. I was reading a few other posts about Snapchat statistics and one of them said that about 90% of Snapchat is millennials. So when I heard that I figured I'd better hop on the platform. So now I'm on Snapchat

Snapchat, for those of you who don't know, is a platform in which you can send videos, pictures, or text, and it only stays for 10 seconds before it deletes forever. If you post to your story it'll stay for 24 hours. You can also chat with people and, unless you save the conversation, it'll delete after you read it. So it's a very fast paced platform which a lot of people like. You can add people via username, snapcode (you just screenshot the code, go to add via snapcode, and select the screenshot. It'll scan the code for you and add that person.), contacts, etc. 

The buzz lately has been how to use this for bloggers and business owners. So today I'm gonna tell you the top 3 reasons why you should be on this platform.

 

Limited time content  

Content on Snapchat is very exclusive in the fact that it only lasts for 24 hours. You can create limited time coupons, flash sales, give sneak peeks,  and more with the notion that it's 24 hours only. Promote your special coupons on Snapchat, and then drive in traffic by posting it to your Instagram saying "Snapchat followers get a coupon for 24 hours only!". This will let people on your other platforms know that they should be following you on Snapchat as well if they want exclusive content. Everyone loves feeling in the loop about something. Especially if it's exclusive.  

More of a personal platform  

Snapchat is definitely a more personal platform. This is awesome because your audience gets to connect with you in a way they can't really do over Instagram or Facebook. This is a huge plus, because if clients are looking to work with you, they can easily see another side of your personality through Snapchat. Don't be afraid to be relatable on Snapchat ! Yeah Instagram and Facebook are definitely more formal platforms that require a more professional look, but not on Snapchat. Be your raw self.

"Swipe up" link feature  

So far, Instagram's link feature is exclusive to only certain accounts. This is what gives Snapchat the advantage. Snapchats link feature is available to all accounts. Which means you can link to blog posts, websites, lead pages, etc. This is great for those days when you want to promote something without saying "Link in my bio" instead you can literally swipe up on the snap to get there. This was one of the main features that drew me in. 

 

If you use snapchat, what are some ways you use it for your blog or business ??? Comment down below, and don't forget to re-pin if you found this helpful.  

As always, thanks for reading!