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.

[240] How to drive more traffic to your business blog

Would you like to attract more readers to your business blog? In this episode, I explain the four things you need to do to get more eyeballs on your content.

Here’s what you’ll learn this episode:

  • Why you need to build as many links back to your blog as possible (2:42)
  • The importance of attracting one reader at a time (4:30)
  • Where you should be promoting your content (6:30)
  • The benefits of creating guest content (7:33)
  • How press coverage can help grow your traffic (8:08)
  • Why you need to be a helpful person on the platforms your customers are hanging out (8:53)
  • Why I celebrate every new visitor to my blog - and you should too (14:50)


Episode 238: Three types of blog posts you should be creating regularly

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Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

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13 Reasons to sign up for Soulful PR Starters

If you’d like to get featured in newspapers, magazines and on radio & TV, but don’t have the budget to hire a PR firm, there’s no reason why you can’t DIY. But if you don’t have much experience of the media, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Investing in online training can be the quickest way to get up to speed. But enrolling in an online course is a big decision. Not only is there the cost of the course to consider, you also need to think about the time taken away from your business.

With that in mind, here’s 13 reasons to enrol in Soulful PR for Starters.

1. You’ll get a tried and tested course that definitely gets results

Check out this video of Sally Bunkham talking about her experience with the Soulful PR for Starters course...


2. You’ll get everything you need in one place (in the right order)

There’s tons of free content online (including on my own blog and podcast) but searching for it - and identifying reliable sources - takes time. Invest in a course like Soulful PR for Starters and you’ll get everything you need in one place, with all the steps you need to take, in exactly the right order. And it’s yours to keep forever.

3. You can learn at your own pace

Enrol for Soulful PR for Starters and you’ll be sent a weekly video lesson and tasks to complete (over an eight week period which includes a reading week in the middle). This means your coursework can be completed when it’s convenient and fitted around your work and life. While you’ll get more out of the course if you work through the materials as they are released (not least because you’ll be able to discuss them with me and the other students in our dedicated Facebook group), if you fall behind, you can simply catch up when it’s convenient. You’ll get lifetime access to the course materials - and all the live content e.g. Q & A calls will be recorded - so there’s no rush.

The learning materials for Soulful PR for Starters are yours to keep, so you can work through them at your own pace and refer back to them at any time

4. You’ll learn what journalists are interested in (from someone who actually knows)

There are plenty of people out there who claim to be PR experts - some of whom have never actually spent time working in a newspaper or magazine office or on a TV/radio show. I’ve spent the last 16 years writing for national newspapers and magazines - and trained hundreds of people to appear on radio/TV - so I know what journalists are looking for and, crucially, what they’re not. So I’ll teach you strategies that actually get you results, so you don’t waste time writing press releases or sending emails to journalists about things they won’t be interested in.

5. You’ll get insider tips on how to find journalists’ contact details - quick

Confused about the difference between a reporter and an editor? A TV producer and a researcher? You’ll learn about the different roles and responsibilities on magazines, newspaper, radio or TV - so you can find exactly the right person to get your ideas in front of - quick. I’ll also share my best hacks on finding journalists’ email addresses and phone numbers - quick.

6. You’ll learn the best way to set out a pitch or press release for a journalist

Not sure how to set out a press release or what to include in an email to a journalist? You’ll learn exactly what information they need from you (and what you can leave out). And you'll get cheat sheets and templates to help you write them fast. 

I’ll also share insider tips on how to increase the chances of getting your email opened, including how to write engaging headlines and email subject headers. You’ll also learn about the best days and times to send your pitches and press releases. 

You'll get cheat sheets and templates to help you write pitches and press releases - fast

7. You’ll find out what to do if a journalist ignores your pitch or press release

You’ll learn exactly how many pitches and press releases journalists get each day and what it might mean if yours gets ignored (and what to do about it). You’ll also learn whether you should chase them up, how long you should leave it before you do and the best ways to go about it (i.e. phone/email).

8. You’ll learn how to help journalists find you (so you don’t don’t have to do all the work)

You’ll learn how to optimise your social media profiles and make effective use of social media so journalists can find you more easily (and you don’t have to do all the legwork). I’ll also share tons of free tools and apps you can use to connect with journalists who are already looking for help with stories - saving you time and money.

9. You’ll get access to exclusive interviews with high-profile journalists

Join Soulful PR for Starters and you’ll get access to exclusive interviews with editors from Marie Claire, Grazia magazine and the Huffington Post - in which they share their tips on what they’re looking for in a story and the best ways to get their attention.

If you sign up to Soulful PR for Starters you'll get personal support from me - both on our live coaching calls and in our private Facebook group

10. You’ll get personal support from me

I’ve signed up to tons of online courses, where the teacher is ‘all in’ on the marketing...then disappears the minute the course starts.

Enrol for Soulful PR for Starters and you won’t be left to your own devices. I’ll be in the private Facebook group every single day answering your questions. You’ll also get the opportunity to attend two live Q & A calls with me and the other students, where you can ask questions and get personal feedback on your pitches.

11. You’ll get honest feedback

I won’t pull any punches. If your ideas are not newsworthy - or I think you’re spending time on something that won’t get you results - I’ll tell you straight, so you don’t waste time on pointless PR activities.

12. You’ll get to learn all of this and more with like-minded souls

Learning with like-minded people is good for you. Not only will you come away from the course with new skills, you’ll also meet people you may want to collaborate with in the future and make new friends.

13. You’ll get help implementing what you’ve learned

One of the frustrating things about online courses can be the lack of follow-up support. That’s why I’ll be holding a live calls for Soulful PR for Starters students so you can check in with me and ask any questions you have. The Facebook group will also remain open so you can keep in touch with me and your fellow students.

Interested? You can find out more and enrol here.


How to take part in a Twitter chat (and why it’s good PR for your business)

If you’re looking to build relationships with liked-minded business owners - and prospective customers - taking part in Twitter chats can be a good move.

But what exactly are Twitter chats, how do you find ones that are relevant to your business and how do you take part? Read on and find out.

What is a Twitter chat?

A Twitter chat is a public conversation that revolves around a unique hashtag  e.g. #contenthour (N.B. for the uninitiated, hashtags group together tweets on a similar topic). A Twitter chat can be ongoing, but more commonly are hosted at a regular time and/or day (e.g. once a week or month). Some people describe it as like networking in your pyjamas (or whatever you wear when you're hanging out at home).

If you don’t have an account already, you’ll need to sign up to Twitter to take part in a chat. Fill out your profile, add a picture, and start following some relevant accounts (Twitter will make suggestions) so you can get the hang of how it all works. Here are some tips for new users.

How do you find Twitter chats that are relevant to your business?

You can find regularly scheduled Twitter chats on The Chat Diary, Gnosis Arts, Twubs Chat Schedule or Tweet Reports.  Another way to find Twitter chats is to search for hashtags that interest you on a site like Hashtag.it or Hashtags.org.

Twitter chat

How do you take part in Twitter chats?

Most hosts publish the topic of the chat ahead of time - on their Twitter page (in a pinned tweet for example), on their website, a Facebook group or wherever they hang out online.

The chat host will generally welcome participants, pose questions and keep the conversation moving along. Sometimes a guest host will be appointed to post and/or answer questions.

When you join the chat, take a moment to identify the host, the hashtag and any questions being posted. You may then want to introduce yourself.

The #contenthour chat is typical in that it centres around four to six questions, posted like this:

Q1: How much time to do you spend on content marketing activities each week? #contenthour

Q2: Which tool or app do you find most useful for promoting your business? #contenthour

If you can respond like this (referencing the questions you are answering in your answer)  it makes it much easier for everyone to follow the conversation.

A1: Around 7 hours #contenthour

A2: I love Meet Edgar for social media scheduling #contenthour

Getting the most out of Twitter chats

If you ask a question or respond to someone in the chat, use the hashtag so everyone can be in on the conversation.

Retweeting the posts of another user in the chat is a great way to build relationships. It’s fine to share tweets from within the chat with your followers - by retweeting and/or adding your own comments - but don’t forget to use the hashtag so people can follow along.

Sharing relevant articles, infographics and videos can be a great way to add value to the discussion. You may even want to create specific content e.g. blog posts to share during the chat. Just make sure the focus is always on adding value; if people sense you’re just there to sell, they’ll soon switch off.

It’s fine to tweet people privately during the chat - just don’t include the hashtag.

The more activity on the hashtag during the Twitter chat, the more likely it is to trend on Twitter - which will help you connect with even more relevant people.

Apps for following the chat

Using an app that allows you to create different streams for the Twitter chat (e.g. mentions, replies will make it much easier to follow the conversation.

If  you have a Hootsuite account you can create a stream for the hashtag  you want to follow.  Tweetdeck allows you to do the same.

For more tips, listen to: how to use Twitter chats to promote your business. 

Want to find out more?

Join my #contenthour weekly Twitter chat on Mondays 9pm (BST), 4pm (EDT) 1pm (PDT), for ideas and inspiration to promote and grow your business.




How Twitter helped this business owner get featured in Stylist magazine

In this interview, psychotherapist Samantha Carbon shares how she got coverage in Stylist magazine and other national titles - without writing a single press release or hiring a PR company. 

Here's what you'll learn in this video:

  • How Sam has used Twitter to get high-profile media coverage in publications like Stylist, Glamour, Country Living, the Daily Express, Daily Mail and Huffington Post
  • Why Sam believes her website has helped her get more media coverage
  • Sam's tips on building relationships with journalists (and responding to media requests)
  • How being featured in high-profile publications has helped Sam get noticed by TV/radio producers - and be invited to write a regular column for a best-selling women's magazine


How to tell your story in the media (without being boring)...

We all love telling stories. What’s more, we’re generally pretty good at it. Each and every one of us has our own ‘library’ of stories to draw from when we want to impress, empathise or entertain. Mine include: a government minister shaking his fist at me in parliament, being airlifted to hospital following a car accident and a teacher putting me in a ‘ginger identity parade’ at school (yep, that really happened).

We also love trading stories about things that happen to us, day-to-day. Not the mundane stuff, like unloading the dishwasher, taking the dog for a walk or helping our kids with their homework. We share things that are a little bit out of the ordinary - the rude shop assistant, the nightmare holiday apartment or the ex who’s turned into a stalker.

So it fascinates me to see what happens when people start trying to tell their story in their media. While they wouldn’t dream of telling their friends about their new industry benchmark standards, content management system (CMS) or the fact they've painted their boardroom yellow (ok, the last one might be a teeny exaggeration, but hopefully you get the point), they think people might be interested in reading about it in a national newspaper.

Journalists are professional storytellers. So the more you understand about storytelling - and the parts of stories people find most appealing - the better placed you’ll be to get media coverage.

Narrative Theory and Storytelling

Applying narrative theory can help. There are various theories on narrative structure, but my favourite is Tzvetan Todorov’s which states that most stories or plotlines (i.e. in books, films and TV) follow the same path (explained here, in my own words):

  1. The story opens with a state of equilibrium or balance
  2. Something happens to disrupt the equilibrium and/or create a problem
  3. The characters recognise that something has gone wrong
  4. Characters attempt to solve the problem
  5. The problem is solved and a new equilibrium is restored

Media stories are exactly the same - with one significant difference: journalists aren’t terribly interested in the ‘equilibrium’ stage i.e. the company that’s doing fine, the happy marriage or impeccably behaved children. They’re far more likely to share stories about the equilibrium being disrupted and/or how people are trying to put it right e.g. the company whose share prices have fallen, the celebrity marriage that’s falling apart or rising school truancy. In fact, media stories rarely give you the full narrative 'arc' (i.e. stages 1 - 5). They generally focus on one or two stages (generally 2-4). 

Applying narrative theory to PR

Applying narrative theory to PR

That doesn’t mean journalists only share negative stories - ‘disruption’ can simply mean something that’s out-of-the-ordinary - like this yarn-bombing granny:

Yarn bombing granny

Or the chocolatier who created a 'Cumberbunny':

Chocolate make makes Cumberbunny
Chocolate make makes Cumberbunny

What businesses get wrong

The biggest mistake I see businesses and brands making with their PR is pitching too many ‘equilibrium’ stories e.g. the ‘isn’t my business wonderful?’ story or the ‘we’ve won an award no-one has heard of or even cares about about’ story.

If you want to get journalists interested in sharing your stories, you need focus far more on being disruptive which, as the examples above show, isn’t about what you’re doing badly. It can simply be about how you are doing things differently or solving problems that affect other people in your industry or ‘tribe’.

You also need to ensure your story has characters. The reason journalists aren't interested in sharing stories about the equilibrium (and people aren’t interested in hearing them) is because they’re very one-dimensional.

Pitch a story about how well your startup did in its first year of business and you’ve only got a hero (you).

Pitch a story about how you started your business because you didn’t want to take maternity leave and you’ve got a small cast of characters: the villain (big corporates with inflexible work ethics), the hero (you - because you broke the mould), the helper/sidekick (your parents who joined the business to help you), which immediately adds drama and tension. It’s also disruptive: leaving behind a great career to move to the country and run a business with your parents goes against perceived wisdom about what defines career success.

If you want get more detailed, you might also want to look at the work of Vladimir Propp who breaks down narrative structure into 31 functions and identifies seven character archetypes including the dispatcher (who sends the hero off on his/her quest) and the false hero (who takes credit for the hero’s action).

Personally I think there is an awful lot of fluff out there on PR and storytelling and doing these two things alone will improve your chances of getting media attention:

  1. Recognising that journalists aren’t generally interested in ‘equilibrium’ stories (and people aren’t interested in hearing them)
  2. Ensuring any stories you pitch have a small cast of characters e.g. hero, villain, helper

So the next time you find yourself wanting to pitch a story ask yourself this:

Is this a story that people will want to share with others?  Something they will actually care about or have an opinion on? Or is it the professional equivalent of an anecdote about washing the dishes or clearing out my sock drawer?

If it's the latter, you might want to have a rethink.

Did you find this article useful? If so, you might like: how to write emails journalists will actually read.