Maybe it’s the chaos of the holidays, or maybe it’s just the act of closing out our books for end-of-year, but as business owners, we get almost a visceral urge to start the New Year with a ‘clean slate’ in every area of our businesses.
If you haven’t started yet, you’ve probably at least thought about giving your desk a major clean-up, purging your emails and physical files, and getting a snazzy new planner for next year (for me it’s the Day Designer by Whitney English in ‘Black Spotty,’ thanks to a dear friend who has amazing taste!).
But have you given any thought to how you might clean the slate for next year’s content creation?
Here are a few things I’ll be ticking off my to do list in the next few weeks so I’m prepped and ready for writing faster, better blog posts and newsletter articles come January 1:
1. Create an editorial calendar.
So basic, yet so many of us put it off because, let’s face it, it’s not the most glamorous thing or even the most immediately rewarding. It’s kind of like meal planning: It’s totally a chore; but believe me, it’s a chore you’ll be soooo glad you tackled when you’re pulling out your hair trying to come up with a blog post idea… and then you remember – you already did! [Insert audible sigh of relief here}
2. Include your business strategy in your editorial calendar.
“Throwback Thursdays” and “5 Ways to Decorate Anything Anywhere Anytime” are great… but what will those topics really do to boost your design business? You first need to know where you’re going in your biz (Do you need to attract more clients or better clients? Or do you need to focus on getting your projects published?). Then and only then can you lay down tracks to accomplish those goals by choosing content topics that support them. Be sure your editorial calendar has space for you to record the goal each post supports so you can double check yourself as you create topics and then again when it’s time to actually write the posts.
3. Create an inspiration file for your content and start filling it up
You are a creative, after all, and inspiration is huge for you. Let that inspiration fuel your content creation by starting to gather items now for next years’ content. Set aside a few hours to brainstorm and search for:
• Blog post and newsletter article ideas, even if they’re half-baked
• Images that inspire you, whether royalty free stock photos of floral arrangements, table settings, etc. (though they can be hard to find, some are actually non-cheesy and quite good) or other designers’ projects. – just be sure to follow best practices and either don’t actually publish the image in your content, or sweetly and respectfully ask the owners’ permission to use it with proper attribution.
• Written content from non-designer sources (again, let it inspire you, but do not under any circumstance rip it off!) like furnishings manufacturers, artists, and (one of my favorites for inspiration because they tend to have such great ‘voices’) fashion bloggers.
• Writing tips and tricks. There are loads of great blog posts out there these days about… well, writing blog posts, and tons of informative books about writing (I geek out on those myself, but I do realize not everyone wants to read about writing!). And of course, I’d love for you to consider subscribing to our services – even our lowest commitment service tier gets in on our monthly ‘telecalls’ where I teach everything I know about great writing!
Set aside a little time to take care of these 3 tasks and you’ll have a clean – not to mention planned out and inspired! – slate for all your content creation next year!
If you want your website, blog, or newsletter to do a better job of selling you to your ideal clients, subscribe to my newsletter, reach out to ask me a writing question, or hire me to write for your design biz!