The number one fear I hear from my clients goes summin’ like this: “But I don’t want to alienate anybody!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that excuse when people sit down to write, in reference to things like…
: Adding your fave slang word to your copy to make it more fun – because you don’t know if your clients will “resonate” with the term “hella”
: Using a super specific example that’s totally ON POINT– because it references children and you don’t want to “put off” your childless prospects
: Concocting a beeeeautiful metaphor that might not make 100% sense to somebody who isn’t also a rabid Kardashians fan
Here’s the thing though (and if you’ve been studying copywriting for any amount of time, you’ve heard it before): When you speak to everybody, you speak to nobody.
You’re NEVER going to make everybody happy with your copy – whether you use corporate jargon or Urban Dictionary.com-approved slang.
You’re NEVER going to appeal to every single person out there who might need your stuff.
And you’re NEVER going to make more sales if you don’t drop the fear of getting specific like it’s hot.
What you need to worry about instead is focusing on speaking to that one person who not only needs what you have – but GETS YOU, too.
The one who will literally LOL that you said “hella” on a sales page, who will TOTALLY get that reference to sippy cups and will nod her head in agreement when you write an entire blog post about what all business owners can learn about Kim Kardashian’s rise to fame (sex tape scandal included).
She’s out there, but you’ll never know it unless you get over your fear of being who you really are on your website.
Just try it and see.
[This post is part of the 12 Days of Systems Challenge brought to you by Val Geisler of aspire&grow. If you want to get a handle on your systems and processes in 2015, get signed up for Systems Finishing School today. If you’re just getting started, scope out Brittany’s post from yesterday.]
Here’s a not-so-shocker for ya: copywriters write a lot.
I’m talking: (Brilliant) blog posts. Pristinely polished client work. Cute social media snippets. And (sometimes, if I’ve consumed a lot of caffeine), the occasional newsletter or sales email. (Seriously guys, if you could see my RescueTime summary + witness yourself just how much time I spend creating content, you might cry. Ugly style.)
Now don’t get me wrong. I loooove writing (obvs). That’s why I have, you know, decided to make it my livelihood.
(Yep, that’s one BIG but, and I cannot lie.)
The fact that my day-to-day requires soooo much content creation means I’ve had to get really intentional and serious about how I organize my content ideas AND structure my time so I can get it all done (without wanting to rip my hair out). (I paid a lot for this hyper-blonde ‘do.)
Enter, Trello and Google Calendar.
Okay, so here’s the thing: As a copywriter, I’m equally left- and right-brained, so any system I follow in my biz has to work for both my super logical, organized side and my creative-go-with-the-flow side. And for this particular system, I also needed a way to track myriad content types – my client projects, my blog posts and the other premium content I create (e-books, worksheets, you name it) – and their deadlines.
I’ve experimented with tons of different systems for content creation (I’m a total app junkie – kinda like an adrenaline junkie but way dorkier. I’ll try anything once!), but I’ve never found one “thing” that could “do it all.”
Luckily, I’m hella resourceful and over time, I’ve been able to create and refine a system that works juuuust perfectly for me.
Today, I’m going to peel back the curtain + share the self-created system I use to maintain my hectic content creation schedule, complete with action steps you can take to create your own.
I know not everyone’s business requires creating content for clients and your own biz, but most (if not all) online entrepreneurs put together some kind of content on the regular, so I think everybody can glean something from this. (And BTW, content is totally not limited to blogs or client work. It can really mean anything from vlogs to social media posts – whatever your unique business requires.)
Ready for a peek at how I wrangle my content creation with trello and google calendar?
First of all, I keep my editorial calendar on Trello. If you don’t know about/haven’t tried Trello, oooh girl, you’re in for a treat! This visually appealing little app is amazing – and it’s my absolute favorite way to keep track of content I’m creating for my own business.
Here’s how it works: Trello’s entire interface is made up of various “Boards.” You can create a fresh Board for whatever project you’re working on. And then, within each board, you create various Lists with “Cards” (essentially, To Do’s/Tasks) underneath each list. Each “Card” can then include things like a due date, a colored “label” and other information, such as links to Google Drive (if that’s where you happen to draft your blog posts, for example).
Here’s what my Content Creation Editorial Calendar Board looks like behind-the-scenes:
In case you can’t see the image or it’s not clear, I have the following lists on my board:
- Blog Post Writing – This list includes posts I’m currently writing. (Which, at the moment, is this one.)
- Guest Post Writing – Same idea as the first category, except for guest posts
- Coming Up – This list is reserved for blog ideas that I know I want to write in the next month. (I try to blog twice a month, so I usually keep this list topped up with at least two ideas ready-to-roll.)
- Premium Content – Similar to “Coming Up,” this is where I list any premium content I want to create over the next month.
- Blog Ideas – This is the end-all, be-all of my blog idea collection. I think it’s super important to keep all of your ideas in one place. And thanks to Trello’s easy drag-n-drop, I can arrange them in any way that makes sense to me. (Higher priority posts on top, lower priority posts on bottom, lumped by category – you name it!)
- Premium Content Ideas (not pictured) – This list didn’t make the shot, but this is my master list for premium content. I brain dump everything here I want to create – even if I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to it.
Here’s why I love Trello for my ed calendar and you should, too:
- Prettiness: It’s nice to look at. (And that makes my right brain all kindsa happy.)
- Drag-and-Drop Feature: One of the main reasons I got into biz was to have more freedom in how I work, so I love that you can easily drag “Cards”from list to list. If I decide I don’t want to write a particular blog post that month, I can send it back to the “Ideas” List and pull another one into the “Coming Soon” list. No biggie!
- Due Dates + Labels: Each “Card” (or piece of content) can include Notes, Due Dates and Labels that easily tell you where you are in the process for each project. (I often use colored labels like, “Draft,” “Ready to Publish,” etc.)
- Calendar feature: Wanna see all your blog post due dates in one spot? Trello’s “Monthly View” allows you to see your entire month at-a-glance – which is awesome if you need that visual. (I know I do!) You can also drag-and-drop them and move them around to suit your fancy.
Action Step 1: Create An Editorial Calendar on Trello
- Sign up for a free account over at Trello.com. It should take like, 30 seconds.
- Create a new board called “Editorial Calendar” (or whatever you like!)
- Create lists for each category of content you create in your business. Feel free to swipe my lists above as a starting point. You might also want to add categories like: Vlog Outlines, Promotional Emails/Newsletters, etc.
- Create appropriate cards under each list to house your tasks and ideas for that category.
- Color code your cards as applicable – Maybe a Draft post is blue, and a Ready-to-Schedule post is red. You get the idea.
- Watch your life transform. (And save yourself some serious stress!)
Now this is where it gets fun: I also have an “ideal schedule” set up in Google Calendar that allows me to “insert” items from my Editorial Calendar onto my actual calendar so that I, you know, actually get them done. Honestly guys, I keep everything in my Google Calendar – mani/pedis and business meetings alike. It’s easiest for me to not compartmentalize things and I feel like keeping alla my “To Do’s” In one place gives me a better sense of the overall picture of my life – so I know when I’m overbooking or stretching myself too thin.
Here’s a look at my ideal schedule, if you’re curious:
My ideal schedule is the same every week and has “chunks” of time blocked off for specific must-do activities in my business – all content creation included. I update this bad boy every Sunday with the specific projects I need to work on that week. When I’m ready to do this, I’ll pop open both Trello and Google Calendar and decide when I’m going to write each piece of content. Usually this means pulling 1 blog post idea and 1 premium content idea into that week’s schedule.
For example: The “Share Daily Message” and “Content Creation + Blog Posts” time slots are specifically for working on items from my Editorial Calendar. On Sunday, I’ll check whatever is in the “Coming Up” column and insert the name of that blog post into the Event Name for that day (i.e., “Content Creation + Blog Posts” becomes “Blog Post: 5 Sexy Sales Page Strategies” or “Content Creation: Newsletter”). I don’t include the due dates for these posts on my Google Calendar – that’s what Trello’s calendar is for. “Client Work” is filled in (usually weeks in advance) with the name of the particular client(s) I’m working with that week.
I love this because it means that at any point during the week, I can just glance at my Google Calendar to see everything I need to create that day.
But the best part for me – once again – is Google Calendar’s ability to drag-n-drop different events. This makes swapping things around easy breezy. If I decide I don’t feel like writing that blog post on Tuesday, I can easily drag it over to Friday and trade spots with Friday’s Client Work. Ta-da!
Action Step 2: Schedule Content Creation Time in Google Calendar
- Create an Ideal Schedule: I created mine with the help of my business mentor and it’s fucking fabulous. We took into account my energy levels and natural creative ebbs and flows. Of course, since this is an “ideal” schedule, it changes some weeks, depending on what is actually going on in my business, but I start with this baseline schedule each week. (This could probably be a post of its own, so don’t fret if it feels overwhelming. Start with a general outline and you can work it out organically from there.)
- Move items from your Editorial Calendar to your Google Calendar each week: I’ve dedicated Sunday afternoons to scheduling social media and creating my content schedule for the following week.
- Revel in the flexibility. Like I said, you can also move items around on Google Calendar simply by clicking and dragging. If I decide to move tasks, I’ll keep the amount of hours allotted the same so everything still gets done – just not necessarily during it’s “ideal schedule” time slot.
Will this work for everybody?
I think the thing about any “system” is that they must be personal. There’s no one tool or app that will work flawlessly for every business model or every business owner’s personality. But I do think that experimenting with a system like this and then making tweaks over time to make it your own is a wonderful place to start!
Your Turn! //
Okay ladies, I’ve shared my secret content creation system and now I’m turning it over to you. Do you have a particular system, tool or app you use to manage the content you create for your business? Do us all a solid and share your systems in the comments! If not, go ahead + give this one a try and tell us about your experiences. Curious minds wanna know!
Let me be reeeeallly honest with you ladies: Consistency has always been rough for me.
Sure, I can be consistently 30 minutes early for everything, always. Or consistently choosing the wrong guy (workin’ on it!). Or, y’know, consistently being um, inconsistent. (Case-in-point: This blog hasn’t been updated in over a month…even though there are many [many, maaaaany] draft posts that are almost-kinda-sorta-but-only-really-just-halfway-there.) I’m simply more of a spontaneous, write-when-inspiration-hits-me kinda girl…and I’ve (mostly) come to terms with my off-the-cuff nature.
Unfortunately? Consistency is hella important to online business. Not in the rigid, must-blog-every-week-or-I-will-totally-end-up-broke-and-alone-and-existing-on-mac-n-cheese or I-only-send-my-newsletters-on-Tuesdays-because-some-guru-said-so kinda way, but in the my-brand-is-cohesive-and-people-know-what-the-heck-I-stand-for kinda way.
And double unfortunately? I’m not fantastic at either of those. (Cue the tiny violin.)
But I’m not here to talk about my flaws (that just aint a good look), but rather to clue you in on a little bit of advice that I heard from a mentor recently that has totally and radically changed the way I think about consistency, my message and having a killer brand. 🙂
Ya’ll ready for this?
Kat Loterzo recently shared in one of her many amazing business trainings this idea that there are very few things you must do everyday in your business. Like, just two, actually.
And my favorite of those two? You MUST share your message everyday. Like 7/365, yo.
While anything that requires a daily effort terrifies my little panties off, what’s great about this idea is that this truly doesn’t haven’t to be anything major.
It doesn’t necessarily mean writing a 500+ word blog post all about why you are so head-over-heels obsessed with what you do and how it’s going to change the planet (although it can).
It doesn’t mean creating a new e-course every week and hoping it’ll sell out.
Instead, it really just means sharing (without fear) whatever juicy morsel you’ve been marinatin’ in your brain (and heart) that day about what you believe about life + the world (and of course, somehow tie that back into your business).
This can be a standalone sentiment on your biz’s Facebook page. Or a delectable comment in a Facebook group or forum. Or even just a loving note to one of your prospects.
The medium doesn’t matter. It’s the sharing that counts.
And the reason I love this yummy bit of advice is twofold:
1.) It makes sure you’re putting yourself out there for prospects to see – every single day. Even in a teeny, tiny way.
2.) It forces you to refine your message. To get super, sparkling clear on what it is you truly stand for. To whittle down your ideas. To take a stand. To make a statement (that may or may not be as outrageous as the one hanging around your neck).
I’m especially in love with that second part. In fact, one of the draft posts I have saved (which may or may not make it’s debut on the Interwebz – I’m still undecided) talked about how to find your message by asking yourself specific questions. Okay, one specific question.
Which is awesome. And a fabulous way to get in touch with your message to begin with.
But when I heard Kat speak about the daily message-sharing, it hit me that really…you can ask yourself all the profound questions in the world, but if you don’t start trying to articulate the answers in a way that makes sense to you and connects with your potential clients, it won’t mean squat.
The only way we ever truly learn or change or evolve is through action, and sharing your message everyday is probably one of the most powerful actions you can take to figure out what the hell you truly stand for and what makes you different.
ENTER, THE 14-DAY MESSAGE MAKEOVER CHALLENGE.
Yes, I was sooo inspired by Kat’s advice that I decided to create an easy, breezy little challenge for you guys. I’m hereby declaring that for the next 14 days, I will unabashedly share my message in one form or another, on the Internet, where others can see. (This counts as day one, BTW.)
I’m calling it the 14-Day Message Makeover Challenge. I’m not doing any sort of fancy email list or Facebook group (for realz – I can barely keep up with that ish as it is), but I do want to hear from you + find out if you’re game.
Aaaand, if you’re anything like me, I know you absolutely MUST have a way to keep track of this or it won’t happen. You can go ahead + click here to pick up a cute lil’ spreadsheet I created to help you track your progress during the challenge. Just make sure you create a copy for yourself!
So, if getting clear on your message is important to you (and yasss, it should be) + you’d like to officially pledge to share your message for the next two weeks, simply pop a comment below + let us know who you are, what you do + what you believe your message is right now. I’ll check back in with you in 14 days!
Over to You, Beautytown!
P.S. The 14-Day Message Makeover Challenge starts….NOW! It’s go time, ladies. I can’t wait to hear all about your brilliant businesses! (And don’t forget to download your worksheet here!)
P.P.S. If you’d like me to personally help you nail down your business message (in sexy, seductive syntax), check out Mini Message Makeover.
A lot of business owners freak out about what to offer.
They go back-n-forth for months over whether their coaching packages should include four sessions or (gasp!) five.
They have minor heart palpitations over whether to offer health coaching to women one-on-one or cook up meal plans for the masses. (Or, y’know, write entire websites for clients or just help them discover what they should write about. [Just me?])
They journal, meditate, pray to whomever and eat loads of dark chocolate, pondering if it makes more sense to serve up exclusive, done-for-you services or focus on creating some crazy-pants signature program they can run like twice a year.
And they might even wake up in the middle of the night for years ’cause they’re so damn multi-passionate they can’t decide whether they should focus their business on their obsession with social media, their obsession with health or their obsession with fashion.
Uggghhh. Even writing all that down is frustrating and annoying and gives me a total almost-migraine.
The good news? If that sounds like you (or someone you know *ahem* your bizbesties *ahem*), I’m about to end that struggle for you, forever.
Here’s a lil’ #realtalk for ya (which might actually come as a relief):
What you “do” doesn’t matter!
Okay. Lemme pause just a sec. OBVS what you do matters. That’s why I encourage you to do it and spend hours upon hours of my time helping you bring these brilliant little businesses into the world.
By “doesn’t matter,” what I really mean is that the modality that you use to provide your clients with transformation – whether that’s Reiki, hot yoga or style coaching – is not the important part.
The only thing that truly (madly, deeply) matters is that your product/service gets your clients results. Your only job is to create (and offer) SOMETHING that enables your dream(y) clients to BE, DO, FEEL, HAVE something better.
And in the end, it doesn’t matter how you get your peeps those results.
This is fab, because it means that if at different points in your business, different things start to strike your little fancy – that’s okay.
Explore them. Offer something totally wacky and original and something nobody else has ever thought about before.
Mash up 800 of your silliest interests into one premium offer. Pivot in a totally fresh direction – offer health coaching. Offer EFT sessions. Offer fucking online yoga classes.
As long as it relates to your unique message, is hella fun for you and helps people get what you want to give them, you can “DO” whatever. Because as long as you get your clients what they want – the dream body (read: confidence), the clutter-free closet (read: empowerment), the zillion Twitter followers (read: belonging and influence) – you’ve done your job.
So get creative with it. Get wild. Quit talking yourself out of offering what you TRULY want to.
Cause for real, it doesn’t matter anyway…at least not enough to keep you up at night. 🙂
P.S. If you are reeeeallly bumping up against some major resistance trying to come up with an offer (and get the sales copy out into the world so peeps can actually buy it), you might wanna check out my new BETA service, Red Carpet Ready. I’ll help you create your offer based on who you are and how you work best and then bang out all your launch copy. You don’t have to do a thing but show up and show me who you are. Click here and learn more and you can nab that BETA price, too.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m not exactly what you’d call a fashionista.
Sometimes I wear clothes that are totally wrong for my shape. Sometimes I stay in sweatpants for two days straight. Sometimes I buy the cheapest thing off the sale rack just ’cause.
Sometimes I even put on leggings and try to pass them off as actual pants.
But the thing is, I looooove clothes.
I love reading fashion blogs and sipping chai tea while digging into WhoWhatWear. I love trying on outfit after outfit on Friday night (before ultimately settling on my usual jeans and tee combo, let’s be honest).
There was a time, however, that I tried really hard NOT to be into fashion. I hung out with a ridiculously angsty group of kids in high school, who wanted nothing to do with anything mainstream or popular.
And although we totally decked ourselves out in ridiculous amounts of eyeliner and outfits we meticulously curated from Hot Topic, we were still supposed to act like we didn’t care about something as “superficial” as fashion.
Stupid, right? Except not so much.
There are still a ton of people I know who think that things like perfecting your hairstyle and cruising through the mall for a pair of pumps that are “just right” is nothing but a bunch of phooey. (Except I don’t think I hang out with anyone who would actually say the word “phooey” – unless you count my mom.)
But here’s the thing:
Fashion is fucking art, people.
“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”
― Oscar Wilde
Style is hardly superficial, and here’s why:
Style is really another way to say “creativity.”
And creativity is (I believe) THE KEY to a life well-lived.
Whether you’re laboring over presenting a new dinner dish to your beau so it looks as good as it smells or working on your business or just choosing the most complementary blouse with your pencil skirt (okay, or tee shirt with your designer jeans), it’s really all the same thing.
All of it requires you to be creative.
I get it, though. As ladies who launch (read: lady biz owners), it’s easy to feel like we’re just NOT creative sometimes. It’s easy to feel like our well has all but dried up and we’ll never come up with a good, original idea ever again.
Honestly though, this is usually a result of looking outside of ourselves for our creativity. We can become so absorbed in our industries; stalking the latest gurus and trying so hard to learn the latest strategies, that we start to feel like we don’t have anything original of our own to share.
Or worse, you THINK you’ve come up with something amazing only to realize your competitor JUST launched that VERY SAME THING like, a day earlier than you.
Happens to me a-freaking-lot.
And the worst part of that is, when we’re starting to feel creatively deprived, we think that forcing ourselves to plop down in front of our MacBooks and BE CREATIVE, DAMNIT! will help.
We think that if we just force ourselves to focus ONLY on business for the next few days/hours/weeks/months, it’s somehow going to make us feel all creatively full, energized and awesome.
But seriously babe, we are SO wrong.
Here’s what I think:
You are innately creative.
Everything you do – every choice you make – is made up by you. Your entire reality stems from your creativity and your vision for what is possible in this life.
Seriously though. Next time you feel like a totally unoriginal businesswoman who’s never gonna get anywhere because all the good ideas are taken and FUCK you just can’t seem to come up with ANYTHING to write/speak/sell, take a look around you.
Think about the adorable crop-top-and-high-waisted-skirt ensemble you whipped up for that new client last week.
Or that delicious dinner recipe you pulled from Pinterest, where the presentation bordered on down right sexy.
Or how all your friends say your living room looks like something straight from Houzz.
THAT is creativity.
Creativity is NOT confined to what you create inside your computer.
And if you’re having a shitty time figuring out how to express yourself online, I want you to STAHP IT. Just for a moment, and go make something with those perfectly-manicured mitts of yours instead.
Remind yourself that creativity is your damn BIRTH RIGHT and you have ALL THE ABILITY to summon more of it into your life.
Or, you know, just look at your living room.