After a couple of lovely weeks off, I am back to it with gusto! Next week, it will be one year since I first launched a ‘little ol’ Facebook page’ to see if anyone would be interested in my help! I can’t quite believe the last 12 months have gone by so quickly and I am so excited to kick off January 2018 with my new business name – The Content Consultancy.
As you can imagine, I have lots of plans in place. My first exciting challenge is running a Business Planning and Content Workshop on Thursday 1st February, with the talented, Samantha Hunter …and then I aim to polish my very own business plan immediately after! I cordially invite you to come along to the workshop and get your business plans in order for 2018 and beyond!
Things are busy so I think it is really important to think about priorities at this time of year. Therefore, my first blog post of 2018 is about goal setting. Sorry to jump on the ‘new year goal setting band wagon’, but when it comes to creating content it is very important. So that is my focus – content creation goals.
What’s your plan for your content in 2018?
Have you asked yourself any of the following questions?
- What is my content strategy for 2018?
- Have I got a digital marketing plan?
- What do I want to achieve through my content?
- What is the main story I want to tell?
- How often will I post to social media…update my website…blog….email my customers?
- Which digital platforms am I going to use?
If no, then it is time to have a think and set some goals! Here are my tips for doing just that.
Not too many
Writing goals can be very empowering and confidence-boosting. You are putting down on paper exactly what you want to achieve. In the moment, that feels great! …and it is great! However, don’t go crazy listing so many that you instantly give yourself too much of a challenge. When it comes to content, I would give yourself three goals.
My three goals for 2018 are:
- Good content creation – To create quality, well-researched, engaging content
- Regular content output – To post daily (Mon-Fri) on Facebook, blog weekly and share at least one item per week on Linkedin
- Increase customer interaction – To create content that gets more potential clients talking to me, through comments, follows, shares, likes and direct messages.
I believe in setting only a few goals, but for each one, take the time to ‘flesh it out’ (not my favourite saying, I admit, but it captures what I mean!) and describe what you are actually aiming for.
From my days in academic publishing, I remember that any goals or objectives I was set in an appraisal had to be ‘SMART’. This means they are ‘specific; measurable, achievable, realistic, timely’.
It is a good starting point, but don’t get too bogged down by this. At the very least I suggest asking yourself three things about your goals:
- Why have you set this goal?
I think having goals for your content is important, but you have to have a reason for the goal. What is it that you are passionate about that has made you set it as one of your goals? Importantly, how is this goal going to help your business? What will you clients/readers get from this goal?
- How are you going to achieve the goal?
The ‘how’ is probably the most important question when it comes to content goals. If you are going to post daily or blog weekly how are you actually going to achieve this? Are you going to use a planner? Are you going to block out time? What resources are you going to use?
- Where are you going to carry out this goal?
‘Where?’ may seem like an odd question, but for content it needs to be considered. If your goal is very specific, for example, “to blog weekly”, then you need to reflect on where you are going to do this? Is it going to be hosted on your website? Are you going to share it on your LinkedIn page? Are you going to repost it on other sites, such as Medium? If, like my third goal, it is a bit more all-encompassing, I still need to consider where I am going to do this, is it just through my social media channels, or am I going to edit my website to try to get more enquiries? Should I link more between my Facebook page, blog and website? Should I start a newsletters or emails campaign to get more people contacting me that way? All questions about where my goals will be achieved and where the content actually ‘takes place’.
If answering each of the questions above for a goal seems tiresome or difficult then consider if it is realistic. Can you confidently state why you have set this goal and how you are going to achieve it? If not, then perhaps the goal is just ‘too big’, reassess it and consider something more achievable and perhaps easier to define, judge or quantify. However, don’t ‘dream too small’!
Check regularly and assess
The biggest mistake people make with any kind of strategy, objective planning or goal setting is to do all of the preparation work, only to put away the paperwork and forget about it.
Firstly, I recommend displaying your goals somewhere prominent (at your desk, in a notebook you look in regularly, in a diary or on your phone).
Secondly, set a date in your calendar (with a reminder), to go back and assess your progress and how closely you have stuck to your goals and plans. It could be a reminder every month, every quarter or, perhaps, just in six months, but do it! Be critical and analytical.
Your priorities will change in business, especially as the year goes on, so don’t be afraid to adjust your goals, or perhaps set new ones if you attain them.
It is so easy to think content is something you can just produce ad hoc and even in a rush, but this really affects the quality, your story and your brand’s reputation. Therefore, like other areas of your business, take the time this year to think about your strategy and what you want to achieve through the content you put the effort in to creating.