blogging

Need An Editorial Calendar Template For Your 2020 Marketing Strategy? (Hint: The 2020 Diary Is It!)

You know you need to be more consistent with your content but you’re struggling to get into a rhythm. And you often struggle to come up with ideas for social media updates and for your blog/vlog and email newsletter.

Sound familiar?

I’ve struggled with this in the past too. I’ll admit I’m not the most organised person in the world but I’m very productive, publishing hundreds of podcasts, blogs and social media posts every year, and rarely missing a deadline.

So what changed? I put systems in place to help with content planning. I now know exactly what I’ll be publishing, where, when and – most importantly – why.

This is what led me to create the 2020 Social Media Diary & Planner , an A4 desk diary designed to help you hit your content goals – not just for a few weeks, but for an entire year. The diary takes you through your annual, quarterly, weekly and daily planning with the help of templates, planners and hundreds of key dates and awareness days to inspire your content. Read: How the 2020 Media Diary Can Help You Create 52 Weeks of Content.

Just as it has for me, the 2020 Social Media Diary & Planner will save you time on your content planning and creation, and give you tons of content ideas for the coming year, allowing you to create multiple pieces of content from a single blog post, video or podcast.

If you prefer a little more support, guidance and accountability to stay focused and on track, the Media Diary Owners’ Club is ideal. Read more about the difference between the 2020 Social Media Diary & Planner and the Media Diary Owners’ Club.

Here’s how to use the 2020 Social Media Diary & Planner to create your 2020 editorial calendar. 

Create your annual content plan

Start by blocking off some time, undisturbed, to take a longer-term, broad look at the whole of 2020.

Whilst you won’t know exactly what’s happening every week - or even every month - there will be some key business activities you have planned at various points throughout the year.

Next, list two to three things that are happening within your business in each quarter of the year. If you run an online shop it might be that you already know which time/s of the year you’ll be running sales so you can plot those in. If you have stands at expos you can put in the dates of the events you’ll be exhibiting. Or maybe you run your own live events and/or are a speaker and already have some dates booked in.

There’s a handy planning sheet in the diary to help with this and if you’re in the Media Diary Owners’ Club it’s available as a printable.

Next, look at what’s happening in the wider world and in your industry as a whole.

Pick two or three awareness dates per quarter that are relevant or could be connected in some way to you and your business.

Plot these in the diary and use them as inspiration for content. In the 2020 Social Media Diary & Planner we’ve included hundreds of key dates connected with sport, food and health and so much more.

For example, if you have a pet business, you might want to create some timely content around Crufts dog show in March. If you design clothes or accessories, you could create some content around London Fashion Week in January. And if you run a food business, you might plan some content around National Doughnut day in June.

Create your quarterly plan

Now that you’ve formed an overview of your year, it’s time to focus in on each individual quarter. If you struggle to work on all four quarters in one go, I'd suggest starting with Q1 and making a note in your diary to work on Q2 in a few weeks’ time.

If you want your content plan to be manageable, it’s best to plan one piece of cornerstone content for each week. This one key piece of content (whether it’s a video, blog or podcast episode) can then be broken down into multiple pieces of repurposed content for each day of the week. This means you’ll only need 12 ideas for each quarter. Sounds more manageable already, right?

Plot these pieces across the weeks of your quarter/s, based on your business activities and the key dates and awareness days you’ve chosen to focus on so your content will be timely and engaging.

Plan your weekly content

Now it’s time to zoom in even closer in on 2020 and look at each individual week.

Take each piece of content you’ve planned for each week, and work out how you can break it down in several smaller pieces of content. This is the beauty of repurposing. A video can become a blog, you can strip the audio from it and put it out on your podcast or you can work with a graphic designer or use a tool like Canva to create some eye-catching images based on key points and quotes from the video.

Content repurposing - combined with a creative mindset - will make every piece of content work harder for you and your business. You’ll no longer be stuck for fresh ideas for content when you’ve got this content repurposing plan in place.

Schedule your daily content

This is where you plan the detail of what content is going to go out on which platforms each day.

The 2020 Social Media Diary & Planner contains a planning template for each week where you can jot down the content you plan to publish on all of your channels.

I recommend using a tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite to get your content written out and scheduled in advanced, which will take away the day-to-day pressure.

If you want to make 2019 the year that your content really starts working for you, drawing in business and converting sales, then the 2020 Social Media Diary & Planner is what you need. If you like the idea of more support and accountability, as well as further advice on how to use the diary, we’d be delighted to give you that in the Media Diary Owners’ Club.

How to double your web traffic in 10 easy steps

Are you feeling frustrated because you’re not getting enough traffic to your blog?

Over the past 12 months parenting blogger Jenni Fuchs has seen her web traffic increase by almost 50% - because she is doing many things I would recommend to attract visitors to your website, encourage them to stick around - and come back for more.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the ten most important things you should be doing to build an audience for your blog (with examples from Jenni’s excellent blog The Bear and The Fox).

1. Create a content calendar

Jenni has a content calendar and plans her blog posts months ahead of publication, so she knows exactly what she is going to publish, where, and when. This allows her to approach her blog like a magazine with regular features like her picture book round-ups which are always published on Fridays.

This not only helps her save time, and stay organised, it allows her to plan timely, seasonal content, such as five happy hoppy books for Easter, Halloween pumpkin window pictures and our top five Christmas movies for kids.

Seasonal content is engaging because not only does it feel relevant (and people generally only consume content that is relevant to them,) it also often solves an immediate problem for your audience.

2. Treat your blog like a magazine (and act like a journalist)

Journalists don’t publish content whenever they feel like it. They publish content on specific days or specific times - never missing a deadline.

This creates dependability - and/when people depend on you as their key source of information/news on a particular topic, they’ll keep coming back for more (and make referrals to others). This creates brand loyalty, which is crucial when it comes to building an audience.

Jenni posts content on her blog twice a week - and never misses a deadline. She also constantly asks herself the question journalists ask themselves before publishing any piece of content: ‘why do people need to hear about this now (or on x date)?’

Treating her blog like a magazine helps Jenni keep her content relevant and timely for her audience. For example, when she noticed in my Media Diary that it was Hedgehog Day - and it happened to fall on a Friday - she did a round-up of hedgehog picture books.

You don’t have to publish twice a week to build an audience for your blog, but you do need to be consistent, relevant and timely.

3. Write blog posts that solve your audience’s problems

Jenni's content solves her readers' problems. For example:

As Jenni explains:

When I first started the blog, I was writing about everything and anything. Now I ask myself, ‘Is this relevant to families?’ For example, I used to blog about all my recipes, but now I only make those that were a success with my kids in to blog posts. Because no matter how tasty, why would I recommend a recipe on a family lifestyle blog that even my own kids won’t eat? I used to write about all my travels, including work-related trips. Now I only focus on those that are relevant to families. People often ask me how I manage to be so consistent and/or never run out of ideas.  My number one tip for staying consistent is to always remind yourself who your audience is.

Drawing on your own personal experiences can be another great way to create compelling blog content - providing that content is relevant to your audience and solves a problem for them.

Jenni writes reviews of places she’s visited with her children - like this post on Edinburgh Castle with kids - including her own personal photos.

She has also used my Media Diary to generate timely, seasonal content ideas. One of her most popular posts - about raising bilingual children - was inspired by a date she found in the diary: International Mother Language Day.

Jenni says:

“I hadn’t heard of it [International Mother Language Day] before, so when I spotted it in the Media Diary I immediately knew I’d have to think of something for that since it was so spot on for our bilingual family. I’d written about raising bilingual kids before, so this pushed me to come up with a new angle.’

4. Create both evergreen and seasonal content

Creating evergreen blog posts (i.e. those that don’t date or become irrelevant) can give your content a much longer shelf life. Unsurprisingly, Jenni’s most popular blog posts are all evergreen pieces of content.

For example how to upcycle daddy’s old shirt to make a kids’ doctor coat costume is not only her most popular blog post ever - it’s also been the most popular blog post every month in 2018 (apart from August). This post also appears on the first page of Google (for the search term ‘DIY doctors’ coat).

Jenni’s second most popular post is on how to decorate a cake  in the style of the popular children’s book Hooray For Hat. This post comes up first on the first page of Google for the search term ‘hooray for hat cake.’

5. Use Pinterest to drive traffic to your website

Jenni also uses Pinterest to drive traffic to her website creating Pinterest friendly images for each blog post (Pinterest favours long, tall images).

Unsurprisingly - her top-performing blog posts are her most popular pins on Pinterest.

6. Share your content on social media

Jenni is also consistent when it comes to sharing her content on social media -  mostly on Twitter and Instagram. And she doesn’t just share new content, she promotes content from her archives too. It’s important to remember that not everyone will see everything you post the first, second or third time….so don’t be afraid to promote new content multiple times and keep doing it.

7. Add value with content upgrades

Jenni also adds value for her audience by offering free downloads (often referred to as ‘content upgrades’). Her autumn wish list blog post is one of her most popular this year and came with a free checklist to help readers to create their own autumn checklist.

Pro tip: Jenni could build her audience more quickly if she asked her readers to input their email address to receive the checklist.

Listen: How to get started with email marketing

8. Create guest content

Creating guest content in the form of podcast interviews, guest blogs and press coverage can be a great way to get your content in front of new and bigger audiences.

Jenni has been featured on a number of guest blogs and podcasts this year including:

Living with kids  Design Mom

The Dejlige Days podcast

She has also joined some Facebook groups where bloggers collaborate on round-up posts with the aim of getting their content in front of new and/or bigger audiences. For example: 10 amazing apple recipes.

Collaborating with other bloggers also has the added benefit of growing your social media following, as they’ll also share that content with their own followers - introducing you and your work to new audiences.

9. Repurpose your content

Jenni repurposes her blog photographs on social media and on Pinterest - making every piece of content go further.

She points out, however, that not every piece of content will work for every platform.

Jenni says:

I always ask myself which platform my content is best suited to. Whilst everything can be content (my kids are used to the fact mummy always has to photograph everything we eat, do etc), it’s not always necessarily suited to the blog, so some things just end up on social media instead. It’s helped me to narrow down my blog content and categories, and to keep the quality on the blog at a high standard.

10. Track your numbers

This is SO important.

Jenni uses Google Analytics to track key metrics such as where her readers are coming from, how long they are staying on the site and what they are looking at while they’re there (are they looking at multiple pages or just leaving after one, for example).

This allows her to tweak what she is doing to get better results. For example, she has recently learned that 41% of her traffic is coming from referrals (37% of those are social media) and a whopping 68% are coming from Pinterest - which suggests she should be investing more time on that platform.  Her organic traffic was just 3% which suggests she could be doing much more to help readers find her through Google search.

Further recommendations

Although Jenni is doing brilliantly with her content planning - and is reaping the rewards - there are many more things she could be doing to attract traffic to her website.

  • Do keyword research to find out what her ideal readers are searching for in Google (and improve her organic search). She could use: Answer the Public, Keyword Finder or LSI Graph to help with this
  • Add more internal links in her blog posts (i.e. links to other relevant blogs she has created)
  • Revive her monthly newsletter so she can let her subscribers know about her content
  • Create more content upgrades (like her autumn checklist) to add new subscribers to her list
  • Use Yoast on her website to improve her SEO

Need help with your content planning? Order your copy of the 2020 Social Media Diary & Planner.

 

 

[339] How to build an audience for an online course or membership

If you’ve already tried to create your own course or membership programme you’ll know that it’s not a simple case of ‘build it and they will come’.

In this episode, I share the reasons why you must build an audience before you launch an online course or membership site. I also break down the steps you need to take to build your online audience.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode.}

Why online courses/memberships are attractive

If you’re desperate to break free from feast and famine in your business and secure recurring income, creating an online course or membership can seem like an attractive prospect.

Selling online courses or running a membership site can help you serve your clients in a more flexible way - allowing you to cut down on travel time, spend more time with your family and achieve a better work/life balance.

Before you dive in, though - a quick reality check. If you’re looking for a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, this isn’t it. Overnight success stories are few and far between.

Why online courses/memberships are challenging

If you’re interested in launching an online course or membership, you may be attracted by the idea of generating passive income. But in my experience there’s no such thing as passive income.

As someone put it to me recently: ‘If you build a farm, you have to keep feeding the animals’. While there may have been a better way to phrase it (I certainly don’t see my clients as animals!) there is a lot of truth in what she said. You can’t build an online course or membership and then leave it to run itself. The odd technical issue is bound to crop up from time to time and of course you’ll constantly be thinking of ways to update and refresh the content.

The other thing you must consider is your audience. It doesn’t matter that you’re an expert in your field or that you have amazing content; if you don’t have an audience, come launch day, you won’t make any sales.

Why you shouldn’t create your online course before you’ve built an audience

Creating an online course or membership community is exciting – I’ve spoken to many clients who’ve been itching to jump right in – but I always advise them to take things slowly. There are a few key things to consider before getting started.

Firstly, you need to think about your audience. How big is your audience and where do they hang out online? People generally aren’t on social media to buy. So while you might be able to nudge people over the fence via a Facebook ad or social media post, most sales will take place in your inbox.

So if you have a huge social media following but only a handful of people on your email list, you might need a rethink. The average online conversion rate sits at about 1-2% which means for every hundred people on your list only a handful will buy. Which is why you need a much bigger audience than you think.

When it comes to building an audience, though, it’s not just a numbers game. If people are going to buy from you – particularly if they’re spending a few hundred pounds or more – they need to know, like and trust you first and that takes time. I know from analysing my own sales figures that typically it takes people around seven or eight touch points before they decide to buy, whether that’s downloading your worksheets, reading your blog, receiving your newsletter or interacting with you on social media.

Another thing to consider before creating an online course is what your audience actually wants or needs from you. You may have a fixed idea of what you want to deliver or what interests you, but I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve spoken to business owners who’ve spent time and money creating an online course only to discover later that it isn’t what their customers are actually looking for.

Step 1: Work out the size of audience you need

The first step in creating your online course or membership programme is to work out how big your audience needs to be i.e. how many people you need on your email list to hit your sales targets.

Next, work out a rough idea of the course or membership you want to create, how much you’ll need to charge, and how many you want to sell. If you’ve decided you’re going to sell a high-end membership programme, costing several thousand pounds, you may only need a few thousand on your email list. But if you’re selling a course at a lower price point, you’ll need to shoot for 10k or beyond.

To help you work out your numbers, I’ve created a handy tool for you.

My audience calculator will help you work out how many people you need in your audience to hit your sales targets.

 

Step 2: Build your audience on social media

I used to tell people that they should be building an audience on social media, on their blog, and through their email marketing simultaneously. What I’ve come to realise, though, is that if you haven’t nailed your social media content, you’ll struggle to build your audience on your other platforms. It’s only through creating content and engaging with people on social media that you really come to understand your customers’ problems – and how to solve them.

Once you’ve figured out what works for your audience on social media you can transfer this knowledge and start creating the right kind of content across your blog and email marketing (which is where you’re more likely to make sales) and encourage your followers to join your email list.

The first step in building an audience on social media is to learn where your potential customers are hanging out. So if they love Instagram, that’s where you need to be. If they’re all using LinkedIn, it doesn’t matter if you hate it – wherever your target audience spends their time is where you need to spend yours.

Initially I’d recommend that you choose just one or two social media platforms and experiment with different types of content until you see what resonates with people. Once you’ve mastered that, you can tweak your content a little to make it work for the other platforms your audience uses. Consider getting involved with Facebook groups or Twitter chats, whether starting your own or joining in with established groups. This is a great way to find out about things your ideal customers are struggling with so you can start creating content that will help them.

For more information on creating engaging social media content, check out Three Types of Social Media Content to Guarantee you Sales Today episode.

Step 3: Build your audience on a blog

Once you’ve built up a following on social media, you can start growing your audience through content.

Having a social media following is vital, but doing so exclusively is a bad idea, as you’re essentially building your audience on someone else’s land. Just last week there was widespread panic with an unexpected Facebook and Instagram outage.  Many business owners were desperately trying to launch programmes and products to their followers but weren’t able to post anything until the outage was resolved.

Publishing content on your own website in the form of a blog, podcast or embedded video puts you back in control of how you connect with your audience. It’s where you move people from the borrowed land of social media onto your own land.

Not only that, publishing regular content on a blog can help you attract more traffic to your website, improve your chances of being found in Google search, help you build your email list.  It’s also a valuable way of getting people to know, like and trust you. I remember one of my customers, dog photographer Kerry Jordan, telling me that she booked a ticket for one of my live events last year because, after listening to my podcast regularly, she felt like she already knew me and could trust me to deliver what I promise.

My advice is to choose one main form of content whether that’s a blog, a podcast or a YouTube channel, and spend time getting comfortable with the format. If you’ve taken the steps above to improve your engagement on your social media channels and taken the time to learn what your ideal customers are interested in, you should have a good idea of what kind of content to focus on in your blog or podcast.

To give you an example, if you were interested in creating content about audience building, as I’m doing here, you’d find lots of people searching online for information on how to pick blog topics, how to build a following on social media, how to know what to blog about, how often to blog or how to convert blog readers. Because I can see that these are all issues my ideal customers are struggling with, I know that they’ll make great blog topics.

Once you have a broad range of topics, do some keyword research to make sure you’re using the keywords and phrases that people are actually using to find that content in Google.

And don’t forget the final step: promotion. This is another reason why it’s vital to build up your social media following first; that way you’ll have an audience of people to share your blog/vlog or podcast with (albeit small at first).

For ideas on blog topics check out How to Make Sales from your Business Blog.

Step 4: Build your audience through email marketing

If you have a sizeable email list, you have instant access to hundreds or thousands of your ideal customers who likely already know, like and trust you. With an email list of 15,000 subscribers, I know that if I needed to generate cash, I could create a course in a weekend and make sales immediately. That’s the power of email marketing.

So how do you get people to sign up to your email list? Our inboxes are already full of emails we’ll never get round to reading, so the last thing most people want is to sign up for yet another newsletter, unless there’s something really juicy in it for them. Creating a  lead magnet - an information product e.g. checklist, a template sheet or a how-to guide that helps solve your ideal clients’ problems - is the most effective way to do this.

Once you’ve created your lead magnet(s), it’s time to turn, once again, to that strong social media following you’ve built up. Promote the hell out of it, on every platform you use, to get those new subscribers rolling in.

And don’t hit the brakes once they’ve subscribed – getting the actual sign up is just the starting point in your relationship. Asking for a sale at this stage would be like proposing to someone who’s only just agreed to go on a date with you. To move the relationship further along, I like to use an email nurture sequence, which sounds fancy but is actually just a way of describing a series of emails that contain useful content new subscribers should find helpful. These emails will be spaced out over maybe 3-5 days, or even weeks depending on the nature of the lead magnet, and will gradually build up that like, know and trust factor.

Find out How to Create a High-converting Lead Magnet here.

Step 5: Beta testing.

I’m including this as step five but don’t feel like you have to wait until you’ve reached your audience goal before you do a test run. When you’re at a point where you have a big enough audience to get even ten people onboard, offering a beta version of your course or programme can be a great move. I don’t recommend giving your course away for free because people are far more likely to do the work if they’ve invested in it but you can offer a significant discount to a select few in exchange for their feedback as they work through the materials. I don’t even think you need to wait until you’ve created the full course before you run a beta test. Creating your materials week-by-week, tweaking as you go based on the feedback from your beta testers can be really effective.

I recently launched a beta test group for my upcoming Build your Audience course and discovered that the material I had put together was actually far too challenging. Because I was working with a small group and could give everyone a lot of individual help and attention it worked out fine, but it did show me where I’m going to have to make changes before the official launch to make sure I’m providing maximum value to the people who sign up.

Step 6: Do a pre-launch

As with the beta testing phase, the pre-launch doesn’t have to wait until right before your official launch date; it’s definitely something you want to be thinking about while you work on building your audience. Be open about the fact you’re building a course and get your audience involved in the process. Show them what you’re working on and ask for feedback. Get them to co-create the course with you.  When I do that I find, not only do I get great feedback that I can use to shape my course content, but my audience becomes really invested in what I’m creating, often asking where they can sign up long before I’m even ready to open up the sales.

Episode 237, How to Launch a Membership Site with Anissa Holmes is really useful.  Anissa started her membership site with almost no content and basically asked her audience, ‘what do you want to know?’, ‘what do you want to learn?’ which showed her exactly how to create relevant resources for the people she wanted to help.

When you’re thinking of creating a membership programme or online course, I think the two key things to consider are flexibility and patience. Unless you already have a sizeable, engaged email list, expect the whole process to take a year or so and be flexible about absolutely everything, from your expected timescale to the actual content and delivery of the course itself. Be prepared to experiment and let your audience lead you where they need you to go.

Podcast show notes:

  • Why online courses and membership are an attractive source of income (but not as easy as it may seem) (2:35)
  • Why you need to build an audience before launching a course or membership (10:30)
  • How many people you need in your audience to reach your sales targets (17:32)
  • How to build your audience on social media (19:08)
  • How to build your audience through producing content (26:04)
  • How to build your audience through email marketing (38:05)
  • Why you should test your course/membership content before you create it (45:40)

Resources

Janet Murray’s Audience Calculator

Episode 291: The truth about passive income

Keap (previously InfusionSoft)

Episode 325: Three social media posts that will help you generate sales today

Leadpages (Affiliate Link)

Episode 335: How to create a high converting lead magnet

Episode 333: 39 Surprisingly easy ways to increase your email subscribers

Episode 237: How to launch a membership site with Anissa Holmes

Join the priority wait list for Build Your Audience Live here

Apply for a place on the LinkedIn Content Strategy Masterclass here

Get your hands on the ‘How to write awesome sales copy’ course now

Register your interest in the Build Your Audience programme

Order the 2019 Sorted Content Planning Toolkit here

Order the 2019 Media Diary

Order the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club

Order the 2019 Wall Year Planner

Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Membership

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

[336] How to make sales from your business blog

You think you’re doing all the right things to build a successful business blog. You’re showing up every week, you spend ages researching, writing and promoting, but it’s not making you any money.

In this episode, I break down the steps you need to take to create strategic blog content that people actually want to read - and will actually lead to sales. I look at the type of content you should be creating, how to find the right keywords to help people find you and how to gear your content towards your paid products and services.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}.

Create content your ideal customers are actually searching for

One of the biggest mistakes I see business owners making with blog content, is choosing topics that they want to write about rather than what their audience want to hear about. They assume that what interests them will interest their audience too, or use their blog as a way to vent about the things that are annoying them.

Another common mistake is to use creative but obscure blog titles. For example, one of my clients wrote a blog post entitled ‘Beginnings’. But when was the last time you did a Google search for ‘Beginnings’? That’s just not how people search for content online.

Think about your own online search behaviour — what was the last thing you typed into Google?

For me it was ‘Motorway service stations M1 KFC’. I was travelling along the M1, totally starving and I needed to find some food, fast. I was asking a very specific question to solve a very specific problem.

That’s how your customers search too. They don’t necessarily care about the topics that interest you, or your opinions - they just want to find the answer to their problems.

That’s why when you’re creating content for your blog it’s so important to get inside the head of your ideal customer. Ask yourself, what’s the problem they need help with? Which words or phrases would they use when they’re searching? What would they type into their search engine?

My client - the one who started off with obscure blog titles - is killing it now. She’s writing topics like, ‘five fundamentals to choosing a career you love’ and, ‘seven lessons from being on the brink of burnout’ because these topics tap in to the things that keep her customers up at night. The things they’ll actually be searching for on Google.

Make sure your content links to your paid products and services

You’ve read a million times that blogging is great for brand awareness and establishing expertise but don’t forget that your business blog is there to drive sales too. Which means you shouldn’t shy away from linking your content to your paid products and services.

In fact, doing so is mutually beneficial — you’ll increase your sales and your audience will benefit too. After all, they need the products you’re selling or they wouldn’t have landed on your page in the first place. Not giving them the opportunity to buy would be doing them a huge disservice.

Start by making two lists - one on the most common questions people ask you generally about your industry, the other on more specific questions customers ask you in relation to your products or services. You can then use these questions to generate topic ideas, which you can link back to your paid products (including information on how people can buy from you).

Take my Media Diary as an example - it’s an A4 desk diary full of key dates and awareness days that will help you plan your content.  More general questions people may ask are, ‘How do I create a content plan?’ or, ‘What should I post on my blog?’. More specific questions, about my Media Diary include things like, ‘What size is the diary? or, ‘How do I use the diary?’.

The first list is a great springboard for general ‘How to’ content that will answer the question and offer the Media Diary as a potential solution, and will include a call-to-action (where I show readers how to order the diary), while the second list gives me a host of ideas that I can turn into blog posts, all of which will encourage diary sales.

How to do keyword research

Once you’re creating content people want to read, the next step is making sure that your ideal customers can actually find it - ideally on the first page of Google. This is where keyword research comes in.

A lot of this is down to common sense and goes back to my earlier point about getting into your customer’s head and thinking about the kind of things they’ll be searching for online. But using keyword tools can help you refine your terms.

The first thing to do, now that you have some topic ideas in mind, is to find your keyword sweet spot — ideally you want a term that people are searching for, but not one that is so popular that your post will get lost in the noise of the competition.

Narrowing things down can help with this. For example, the phrase ‘how to write a press release’ is a very popular search term. Using a less popular, but more specific phrase  like ‘How to write a press release for your small business’ or ‘How to write a press release for a charity’ (generally referred to as ‘longtail’ keywords)  is likely to be more effective when it comes to Google rankings.

If you’re not sure how to make your topic more specific, using Google’s autocomplete is a fantastic hack. Start typing in your topic title and take note of the suggestions that come up under the search box — that’ll give you a great idea of the kinds of things that people are searching for relating to that subject. You can apply the same trick to Youtube and Pinterest too.

Other keyword hacks

If Google autocomplete isn’t giving you what you want you could try looking for inspiration in your industry’s trade publications. You could also head over to Amazon and look at books relating to your industry (chapter titles can be a great source of topic keywords), or have a quick look at your competitors’ sites for inspiration too.

Keyword tools

Keywords Everywhere — Type in your chosen phrase and this nifty tool will tell you how many people are searching for that particular phrase so you can determine whether it’s going to be too popular a search term.

Answer The Public — Key in your topic and you’ll find a list of related questions that people are asking about that particular subject.

Google Ads — Enter your keyword and let the price be your guide: the higher cost per click, the more popular the search term is likely to be.

Keyword Finder — This tool gives you really in depth information on how easy it’ll be to rank for your chosen phrase and shows you the top 10 pages ranking for that term. It even gives you some alternative suggestions, again showing you the popularity of each phrase.

Break down your content into awareness, consideration and purchase content

You may have heard me speak about the three main types of content before but it’s so important it’s worth mentioning again for anyone who missed it.  Dan Knowlton originally taught this so brilliantly at my event last year, Content Live.

  1. Awareness content: this content relates to your area of expertise and general information about the type of products you sell — so for my client Jennifer Hamley, who designs handbags, an example might be: How to protect an expensive handbag in the rain.  Or for my Media Diary: How to create a content calendar in six easy steps
  2. Consideration content: this is where you get a bit more specific about your product or service to help people decide whether to buy. For Jennifer, this is where she looks at how previous customers are using the specific features of one of the bags she sells, showing potential customers its many benefits: Eight ways to carry your cross-body handbag. And for my Media Diary: Have you got a 2019 content calendar for your blog? (How the 2019 Media Diary can help in just a few hours of using it)
  3. Purchase content: this is the straight up selling part — where Jennifer might do a live sales event on Facebook, for example.  I have also done a Facebook Live to sell the Media Diary or an Open Day to sell the Love Marketing Membership.

Most people are great at creating awareness content but fall down when it comes to the other two categories - often because they believe that it’ll come across as too ‘salesy’.

I find though, that lots of my new clients come to me directly as a result of my consideration or purchase content. And when you think about yourself as buyer, isn’t that the kind of content that makes you feel more confident about your purchasing decisions? You appreciate consideration and purchase content — and so do your customers.

When planning for the three content types, it’s all about hitting the right ratio. I’d generally go with about two to three ideas for each content type every time you launch a new product or service to make sure you’re not missing out on sales opportunities.

Podcast show notes:

  • Why you need to write blog posts that answer your clients or customer’s problems (6:03)
  • How to tailor your blog posts towards a paid product or service (12:54)
  • How to use keywords that will help you rank higher on Google (18:36)
  • Examples of the three different types of content you need to be creating (35:45)

Resources

Keywords Everywhere

GoogleAds

Answer the Public

KW Finder

Jennifer Hamley

Jammy Digital

Apply for a place on the LinkedIn Content Strategy Masterclass here

Get your hands on the ‘How to write awesome sales copy’ course now

Janet Murray’s Audience Calculator

Register your interest in the Build Your Audience programme

Order the 2019 Sorted Content Planning Toolkit here

Order the 2019 Media Diary

Order the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club

Order the 2019 Wall Year Planner

Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Membership

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

 

Create 52 Weeks Of Content For Your LinkedIn Business Account (in just a few hours)

Do you find it hard to think of creative content ideas for LinkedIn and stick to a content plan for more than a few weeks at a time?

It all starts with content planning and that’s exactly what the 2019 Media Diary is designed to help you do. It’s an A4 desk diary that includes hundreds of awareness dates and key dates to help you plan your media content for 2019. There’s also useful planning tools to help you with annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly planning (and save you tons of time in the process).

Invest in the 2019 Media Diary and, not only will you save time and money on your content planning and creation, you’ll never run out of ideas again. If you need more accountability and support to ensure you actually stick to your content plan, you can join the Media Diary Owners’ Club - the LinkedIn Edition.

With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step guide to planning 52 weeks of content using the 2019 Media Diary.


1.Block out time for your content planning

First things first, set aside some dedicated time for your content planning. If you can, go off site. Find a cafe you like to work in – your favourite cafe, a quiet hotel foyer - anywhere where you can focus on this task uninterrupted. You’ll be amazed how much you can get done when there are no distractions.

2. Create your annual content plan

With the diary in front of you, think about the key things that are happening in your business in each quarter of the year. Are you attending or speaking at any events or industry conferences? Are you launching a new coaching programme or consultancy offer?

Aim to list at least three key things for each quarter.

Timesaving tip: There is a planning sheet on page 10 of the diary to help with this. If you’re in the Media Diary Owners' Club - the LinkedIn Edition - perfect if you want some extra training, support and accountability to help you make the most of your diary – it’s also available as a printable.

Once you've written down what you're going to be doing each quarter, see if you can find two or three awareness days/key dates in the diary you can use to inspire content ideas.

For example, if you’re a relationship coach you might plan some timely content around World Marriage Day (February). As a diversity consultant you could plan content around Disabled Access Day (March) or Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May). If you work as a coach or consultant in the science/technology sector, British Science Week (March) or International Women in Engineering Day (June) could spark some interesting content ideas.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking some of the dates in the diary aren’t ‘serious’ enough for your business. With a bit of creative thinking, it’s entirely possible to make them work for you. For example, museums expert and parenting blogger Jenni Fuchs turned Hedgehog Day into a round-up of hedgehog picture books for children - which turned out to be one of her most popular posts that month. Read: how to double your web traffic in 10 easy steps.

In this phase of your content planning, it’s important not to overthink things. There’s no commitment; just because you write something down doesn’t mean you have to do it.

Some media diary owners tell me they struggle with this first task because they don’t know what they’re going to be doing in their business in 2019. If this is the case, you have a business problem not a content problem. This means you'll need to plan what’s happening in your business in each quarter before you move onto your content planning.

Others say they fear writing anything down in case their business plans change in the future. Again, it’s important not to overthink this. You’ll always have to factor in change in any business and it’s much less time consuming  to tweak a plan you’ve already worked on than to start from scratch. My best advice? Just apply your best thinking right now.

3.Create your quarterly content plan

Once you've created your annual content plan, you can move onto your quarterly content planning.

To make life easy for yourself in 2019, I suggest you create one key piece of content a week and repurpose it into multiple pieces of content (more on how to do this later). Ideally you’ll do this on your own website (as a blog/vlog, podcast, infographic) and repost it on LinkedIn. This shouldn’t negatively affect your ranking in Google (posting duplicate content sometimes can have this affect) - but it’s best to leave a couple of weeks between posting an article on your website and on LinkedIn.

This means you only need to come up with a list of 12 ideas for each quarter - ideas that complement the key business activities and dates you’ve already identified in your annual content plan. Simple when you put it like that, right?

If you don’t yet have a blog on your website, a well thought-out weekly article on LinkedIn - supported by two or three posts promoting your article - could help you generate leads and sales for your business.

Want to see an example of someone who is doing this really well on LinkedIn? Check out the technical copywriter John Espirian. He publishes regular LinkedIn articles and posts that answer his prospective customer/clients questions, including:

How to create LinkedIn document posts

LinkedIn view counts explained

LinkedIn Quickstart Guide 

Here’s two methods you can use to create your list of 12 ideas (or you can combine the two).

Method 1: Base content around your customers’ questions - Start by making a list of 12 questions your customers ask you regularly - both generic questions and specific ones about your product/service. Then look to answer these questions through your chosen content form.

For example, my prospective customers often ask me questions like this about content planning.

  • Why do I need a content plan?
  • How often should I be publishing new content?
  • What kind of content should I be creating for my business?
  • What are the biggest mistakes people make with content planning?
  • How far ahead should I be planning my content?
  • Is it ok just to post content on LinkedIn? Or should I be active elsewhere?

There’s six content ideas right there.

They also ask me quite specific questions about the 2019 Media Diary:

  • What are benefits of buying the 2019 Media Diary?
  • What’s the difference between the Media Diary Owners’ Club and the Media Diary Owners Club - the LinkedIn Edition?
  • Can I see inside the 2019 Media Diary?
  • I am a coach/consultant. Will the 2019 Media Diary work for me?
  • Is the 2019 Media Diary suitable for business owners based outside the UK?
  • I bought last year’s media diary but I didn’t use it. Should I buy it again?

There’s another six content ideas - some of which I’ve already turned into blog posts.

Six compelling reasons to buy the 2019 Media Diary

Common concerns about the 2019 Media Diary

Read this if you bought the 2018 media diary (and didn’t use it as much as you hoped)

Method 2: Create content for each stage of your customer journey

The digital marketing expert Dan Knowlton talks about the need to create three types of content designed to attract customers at each stage of the buying journey. These are:

  1. Awareness content
  2. Consideration content
  3. Purchase content.

For example, my podcast episodes tend to address a specific problem listeners are experiencing e.g. how to get more engagement on LinkedIn or how to create a content strategy This is awareness content - because it’s raising awareness of the problem and how I might be able to help.

I wrote a blog post about my content planning toolkit - 2019 Sorted, called Six Compelling Reasons to Invest in 2019 Sorted. This is an example of consideration content as I’m addressing prospective customers’ concerns and helping them make a buying decision.

An example of purchase content would be this video I created showing you around the 2019 Media Diary and introducing The Media Diary Owners’ Club - the LinkedIn Edition.

There are no hard and fast rules about how much of each type of content you should create - it really depends on what you’re selling and when. For example, if you’re launch a new service in February it makes sense to focus on awareness content in January and create more consideration and purchase content in the weeks leading up to (and during) the launch.

I’ve now shared two possible approaches to creating a list of 12 content ideas for each quarter of the year. If you're part of the Media Diary Owners’ Club - the LinkedIn Edition there are printables and proformas to help you do this.

Pro Tip: Most people struggle to plan content in great detail beyond 90 days, so put a date in your diary to plan for the next 90 days. Just being able to look across the first 90 days will really take the pressure off.



4. Create your weekly content plan

With your quarterly plan complete, you’re ready to create weekly content plans for your LinkedIn content.

This is where content repurposing comes in. Now that you’re focusing on creating one key piece of content a week, start to think about how you can break that down over a week.

For example, you could record a video blog, strip out the audio and turn it into a podcast. You could use a resource like rev.com to generate a transcript and turn that into a blog post. Then you could pull out some soundbites from the transcript and turn them into infographics for LinkedIn (using a graphic design tool like Canva), audio trailers (using a resource like Headliner) and video trailers (using a tool like Kapwing). If you focus on making that cornerstone piece of content work as hard for you as possible (by repurposing it in different ways), you’ll soon have enough content for every day of the week.

And don’t be afraid to post your content more than once. People are busy and may not see it the first time round (or even the third, fourth or fifth).

5. Creating your daily content plan

Now that you know which key piece of content you’ll be producing each week and how that can be broken down into lots of smaller pieces of content, all you have to do is work out what you’ll be posting when.

In the 2019 Media Diary, there’s space for you to plan what content you’re going to post on each of your social media channels on different days of the week – perfect for visualising how each week of your social media content will look.

If you've always found content planning an overwhelming, arduous job, you'll love how easy it becomes when you have the 2019 Media Diary sitting on your desk.

Get a copy of your 2019 Media Diary here and if you need more support and accountability you can get that in the Media Diary Owners’ Club. Find out more about the difference between the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club.


Have you got a 2019 content calendar for your blog? (How the 2019 media diary can help in just a few hours of using it)

You already know that creating regular content is the key to building your email list, generating new leads and boosting sales.

In fact, creating valuable content for your audience was probably one of your main business goals for 2018.

But… you got busy. Friday afternoon would roll around and you’d realise you didn’t have any ideas for next week’s blog. Before you knew it a month (or more) had passed and your audience hadn’t heard from you once.

Sound familiar?

Job number 1: Stop beating yourself up. You’re far from alone in feeling this way.

Job number 2: Hit the ground running in 2019 with a content calendar.

A content calendar is the perfect way to counter your previous blocks. Having your blog content mapped out in advance will help you stay consistent and save those last minute panics where you frantically scroll through your social media feeds for inspiration.

I realise that the thought of creating an entire content calendar sounds like it’s going to be an awful lot of work. But I promise it’ll be worth it. And with the right strategy it’ll take far less effort and far less time than you’re imagining.

The 2019 Media Diary is the ideal tool to help you set up your own content calendar. It’s an A4 desk diary, jam-packed with hundreds of awareness dates and key dates to help you plan your media content for the year.

Here’s how the diary can help you plan your 2019 content calendar in just a few hours.

It’ll motivate you to set aside some time to plan

Having the 2019 Media Diary in front of you is a physical prompt and reminder to make time for your content planning.

You may feel like you can’t afford to block off a few hours hours to work on content plan. But just think how much time you currently spend trawling the internet for ideas for your blog, newsletter or social media posts.

If you were to add this time up over the space of a month I bet it would add up to a lot more.

Setting aside a specific block of time to work on your content calendar will be far more productive than working in fits and starts. You’ll soon find yourself in the creative zone where your ideas are flowing. Finding a quiet place where you feel relaxed and you know you won’t be disturbed is also a good plan.

It’ll help you set your intentions

It’s important not to forget why you create content in the first place. You probably have a specific goal, whether it’s to establish your expertise, to promote certain products/services, attract traffic to your website or a mixture of all three.

The 2019 Media Diary is a place where you can write down your reasons for creating content which will help you decide when and where you should publish your content, as well as giving guidance on what to publish too.

It’ll help you create an annual content plan around key dates

The 2019 Media Diary contains hundreds of significant dates and awareness days.

Some will be immediately relevant to your business, such as London Fashion Week if you’re a clothing brand, April’s Walk to Work Day for a shoe design company, or National Doughnut Day for a food-related business.

Other awareness days and key dates may be less obvious but can still provide a great jumping-off point for ideas.

For example, parenting blogger Jenni Fuchs used International Mother Language day to create a really engaging post about raising bilingual children. Jenni had written about raising bilingual children before but basing a new piece of content around this key date allowed her to come up with a new angle. Read: how to double your web traffic in 10 easy steps. 

The diary also contains a handy template(available as a printable to Media Diary Owners’ Club members) that allows you to create a yearly overview where you can note any additional key dates for your industry along with any key dates in your own business, which could inspire even more content ideas.

It’ll help you create quarterly, weekly and daily plans

Once you have your annual content overview based around specific events and key dates, the diary helps you to break things down into quarterly, weekly and daily plans.

There are templates for each with additional pages as printables for anyone who’s signed up to the Media Diary Owners’ Club. 

Using the key dates you’ve already noted, you’ll be able to create a quarterly plan based around one key piece of content per week, whether that’s a blog, vlog, infographic (or something else entirely).

The diary then includes sections for your weekly plans where you break down that one key piece of content per week into a separate piece of smaller repurposed content for each day.

From here, you can use the templates to plot which content will go out on each day across which channels.

There’s more information on how to plan content using the 2019 Media Diary in this blog on how to use your 2019 Media Diary.

And don’t forget that you can repurpose your content ideas to make them go further. Just one key awareness date could be the springboard for a blog post that could be transformed into an email, a social media post or a vlog, saving you even more time.

By following this strategy (and don’t worry, the 2019 Media Diary goes into far more detail to help you with your planning) you’ll have a full year’s worth of content ideas within just a few hours.

With a bit of effort, a great strategy and the 2019 Media Diary to guide you through the process, 2019 will finally be the year you hit your content goals.

2019 Media Diary - take a look inside from Janet Murray on Vimeo.

Get a copy of your 2019 Media Diary and if you need more support and accountability you can get that in the Media Diary Owners’ Club. Find out more about the difference between the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club.