Content Planning: KISS
content planning and scheduling
"Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye." -Dorothy Parker

Last week, we talked all about the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of content and content marketing. 

(Missed it? You can catch it here.)

This week, I’m talking about the ‘how’ and sharing a behind-the-scenes look at my content planning and scheduling. 

I think you’ll be surprised at how simple it is!

That's one of the "secrets" to business; keep it simple, sweetie and don't make things more complicated than they need to be.

It's easy to think as people's businesses grow that things MUST get harder and more confusing, but I've found most things get easier and more streamlined.

Find what works, rinse, and repeat.

Alright, so content planning. 

As you might already know, I send out a weekly blog on Friday mornings at 8 am EST.

Inevitably, Thursday used to roll around, and my anxiety level would rise as I’d scramble trying to figure out what to share (anyone else been there?). I’d be up until all hours of the night finishing my blog and editing it.

Clearly, this is NOT what I recommend, but it was very much my reality at the start especially while I was still juggling a full 9-5 job. 

This last minute crunch-time creation wasn’t sustainable. It also sucked the joy of out creating content.

What works for me now:

At the beginning of every month, I spend some time mapping out the next 4-8 weeks ahead (I just did this at the beginning of December). This means I'm often reviewing and adjusting a few pre-planned weeks from the prior month and adding to them.

Some people swear by planning six months to a year ahead of time, which is brilliant. If you can or are doing that, by all means, keep it up.

For me, with where I'm at and how my mind works, I find when I try to plan content that far ahead, the creative in me just wants to muss it all up as time moves along.

Planning 4-8 weeks ahead gives structure but still allows for my creative-side to feel like it’s playing and in "flow".

I get specific with the topic I want to share each week and link it to a date. I go as far as listing a temporary title and any notes about the topic. This takes the guesswork out when I sit down to write.

Where am I pulling these topics from?

I have several brainstorming sessions throughout the year where I word vomit topics and ideas for content and courses into a good, old-fashioned notebook. I'm definitely a pen and paper kinda girl.

I think about what my audience wants to hear, what they’re struggling with, and what questions and concerns I’m hearing. I also think about what I have to offer, my strengths, the tools I can teach, and my personal life lessons.

These brainstorm sessions ensure that when I sit down to plan my content schedule, I’ve already got an arsenal of possibilities to pull from.

I find I’m always getting random ideas and inspiration, so I continue to add to this notebook and keep running notes in my phone. This is an ever-growing list over 800 notes at this point. I also have post-it notes all over my desk with thoughts that I clean up and transfer into that notebook.

All these notes aren't just a bank of content ideas, but they also keep me focused on what I'm currently working on. By having my ideas and "shiny objects" housed somewhere; I feel confident I won't forget them. I know I can come back to them when the timing is right (and after I've finished what's already scheduled).

This allows me to be intentional about what I'm sharing.

How do I map this all out?

I like to map out everything with pen and paper or on my whiteboard. I’m visual and this lets me move things around easily. (Told you this was crazy simple.)

In general, I like to mix up my topics so I’m addressing a different pillar of my business each week. This way it isn’t all mindset for six weeks or all personal life experiences for two months.

There's an exception to every rule. In my case, I "break the rules" when I have a series of content (like this) or when I’m launching or promoting something that's coming up in the future. This is where those future business goals come in handy. 

I take a look at the previous few weeks of content and play around with the order of the following few weeks to create this flow. Then, there’s my schedule. Stupid simple.

Content Creation: Putting this into Action

A schedule is one thing, sticking to it and getting the content created is another.

I schedule one to two blocks of time out of every week for content creation.

Currently, I schedule two blocks of time. One to focus on my blog and email sequences. The other is specific to social media content creation.

I'm big on shutting off all distractions (hello, airplane mode) and batching (multi-tasking kills our productivity, focus, and makes us stupid). This helps me focus and get more quality work done.

Doesn't this take more time and kill creativity?

This sounds labor intensive. At least, I know it did to me before I started working with a content schedule.

I knew all about planning out content. This isn’t some new, revelatory method. I resisted doing this for so long because I didn’t want to spend more time planning before sitting down to do the actual work.

It seemed counterproductive to me, and I thought it would kill my spontaneity and creativity. 

In case you're feeling that resistance as well, I’ll share that planning ahead this way saves me time. Lots of it.

Planning has an added bonus I didn’t expect. It gives my brain an incubation period with my ideas.

I’ve talked about this before, but our brain hates open loops and will continue to work on problems even when we actively aren’t. By creating this plan of content open loops, I find my brain works on the content ahead of time for me.

So many times the blogs seem to write themselves while I’m doing other tasks, like running, hopping on the subway, going for a walk, etc. I’ll notice pertinent studies, quotes, or even life events and stories that I can file away for my blogs that I might have missed if I didn't know what was coming up next.

All of this makes sitting down to create so much easier!

Rules are meant to be broken.

Rules are meant to be broken (after we understand them). I give myself full permission to change my mind at any time. This is all meant as a framework or guideline, not a structure set in stone. 

Sometimes I get bitten with inspiration or hear something I just HAVE to address now, so I do. That’s the benefit of being the boss ;).

For example, the hashtag deep-dive I posted a few weeks ago was not pre-planned content. This was a topic that was coming up with multiple coaching clients, and I wanted to to be able to give them something tangible to take action on. So, I switched up my content plan.

Since my content was mapped out, it was easy to look ahead, make sure it worked with what I had coming up, and move a few things around. Easy. No biggie.

That's my relatively simple content-planning strategy.  Nothing too crazy outside of the fact that it works (for me). There is a method to the madness and an intention behind what I do, but there are no fancy bells, whistles, or scheduling software involved. 

It’s planning and scheduling time to sit my behind down and do the work. That’s the real secret because no one else can do it for us.

If you aren’t already, I hope this will inspire you to try planning your content ahead of time and batching your work. I promise it won't mess with your creativity and spontaneity!

Wishing you your version of success!

Kim Argetsinger business coach

P.S. Do you schedule and plan your content? Let me know in the comments below! 

Makers Gonna Make
business coach
"Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign." -Jon Buscall

I’m getting all meta today and sharing some content on content.

I’m breaking this into two parts. Today, we’ll jam on the 'why' of content, next week the 'how', particularly planning and scheduling.

(Rather watch and listen? Join me in a Facebook live replay below!)

Before we dig in, I want to preface by saying that I am a very real (read: flawed) human on the other side of this email. I’m learning and growing along with my business. 

I share that to say, this is what is working for me right now, at this stage of my business. This isn’t how it’s always been, and I know it probably won't always be exactly the same.

For any of you who might be in the beginning stages of your business or creative endeavor, know that you’re right where you should be. It’s not a race. 

If what I share resonates, take it, and use it to shave some time off of the inevitable learning curve. But, please, do not beat yourself up if you don’t have a content marketing strategy all planned out or if you find yourself struggling coming up with content ideas.

Creating consistent, original content isn’t easy. So, if you’re getting it done, please celebrate that!

Ok. So. Content and content marketing.

For those of you sitting there wondering what the heck I’m talking about when I say “content”, let’s get on the same page first!

Kim’s definition (compiled from real definitions and my experience):

Content (n) how we express ourselves, communicate, and share information and experiences through different mediums intended to be received by an audience.

Content can be free or paid and includes blog posts like this one, videos, books, ebooks, talks, webinars, social media posts, art, courses, etc.

Content marketing is pulling this all together and using content as a way to market your work. I think of content marketing as a way to connect and build relationships through service or providing value. 

As Seth Godin says, "Content marketing is the only marketing left."

Content marketing is my main marketing strategy, and I love it (but it isn't always easy).

What makes sharing content such a freaking awesome way to market our businesses and creative work?

For starters, it’s pull marketing, meaning you’re pulling people towards you versus pushing your sales or agenda onto people.

Pushy is a desperate no-no in my book. It’s what gives business, marketing, and sales a bad rap.

Content marketing, on the other hand, is the opposite of the hard sell. In fact, it’s not selling at all. It’s giving first and asking later after a relationship is established. It’s so much classier than just screaming, "I need money NOW, buy this thing from me!!!!"

Content asks the audience to get to know you first before you put a ring on it.

I think content also has some fringe benefits. 

Content allows us to (forces us) to sit down and create ideas and then share them with the world. I think creating content is a great way to begin to formulate and strengthen your message, one sentence at a time. 

Content allows us to extend our reach and inspire, motivate, and help more people. It allows us to serve people who can't afford our products and services. 

Content also allows us to build relationships and trust.

When we consistently show up for others with content, we’re essentially saying, "Hey, you can trust me. I deliver on what I say I will. I won’t let you down. "

In a world where pretty much anyone can throw up a website overnight and claim to be an expert in something, content shows people you have substance beyond copy and paste creation.

Content allows people to figure out what you're all about.

Making content also allows us creative types to do what makes us happy - create. The ex-actress in me who felt like she was always waiting for someone else to give her a role really loves being able to sit down and create the work myself.

For those of you who are curious, content is probably the number one way I initially connect with my amazing clients, and it’s resulted in my working with people who are truly my idea of dream clients. 

Yes, creating content takes some elbow grease, and sometimes a little sweat and tears, but in my opinion and experience, it’s so very worth it.

Next week, I’ll be back to share how I schedule and come up with content topics. I hope diving into the 'why' of content first was helpful and will inspire a few of you who might be sitting on the content creation fence to jump in and join me.

Wishing you your version of success!

XO, Kim

Getting Past Vanilla to the Human at the Helm with Alex Honeysett

UNLOCK YOUR SUCCESS: SUCCESS STORIES

A fresh, real-life look behind the scenes with inspiring individuals who have created their version of success and the grit that got them there. 

I'm always talking about creating your own version of success and the grit and growth mindset that gets us there, and this week, I've got a special interview with someone who shares this perspective and has some amazing real-life experience and insights to share.

Alex Honeysett is the lovely, talented, and wise founder of Human at the Helm.

I’m lucky to have known Alex for a few years. We met when we were in coach training together, so I’ve got a personal soft spot for her and her work.

For those of you who don't know Alex (you're about to), Alex is a PR & marketing expert with over ten years of experience working with both multimillion-dollar businesses and newly hatched brands in the U.S. and U.K. 

She began to see a huge disconnect between brands and their consumers - you know, us humans. Alex created Human at the Helm as a way to offer business leaders an alternative approach to PR & marketing.

She’s a wealth of not only PR and marketing knowledge but also entrepreneurial and human insights.

Alex Honeysett interview

Alex Honeysett

On becoming an entrepreneur: "I used to feel like I would zip myself into this corporate, you know, Banana Republic suit so I could be that person, and then come home, take it off at night and be the 'real me'."

Her takeaways from her entrepreneurial experience: "My biggest takeaways...I think resilience. I think it's the grit. You have to know you're going to mess this up pretty big time. I think that there's no other way to build a truly successful business than to feel your way through it...if you're the Human at the Helm of your business, you're going to have to be the one to decide, is this working? Is it not? And, if not, why not? And so much of that is a felt experience. It's not an analytical or logical one."

On forcing things in business + life: "When we're married to the idea of something, which obviously we all are in so many ways about so many aspects of our life, but especially our business, we suffocate the hell out of it. We don't let it breathe."

 

We're talking all about the idea of success, failures, the reality of creating an online business, and the power of resilience and doing things your way. 

If 4-step worksheets and trying to fit into a predetermined mold aren't feeling so great for you in your business and creative work, I think you'll enjoy what Alex has to share.

I'm going to save the rest for the interview because I want you to listen to it! There's so much, as Alex says, "juiciness"!

So, grab a cup of coffee, tea, cocoa, wine...whatever you fancy, and join us for this conversation!

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW:

(You can also download the interview and listen to it anytime.)

Alex and I dive into:

  • {2:08} the aha moment when Alex realized she wanted to be an entrepreneur.
  • {4:00} the approach to PR and marketing Alex experienced and the disconnect she saw from ideation, creation and then sharing this through PR & marketing.
  • {7:30} "vanilla-ing" it in our business and marketing approach. What this means and how it shows up.
  • {10:32} Alex's version of success and what "freedom" means to her. 
  • {14:30} Alex shares a real look behind the scenes of her business and how grit has played a part in creating her version of success and founding Human at the Helm. She shares about getting caught up in the online world,  the reality of creating online courses, and marketing online.
  • {20:30} Alex's biggest takeaways to date as an entrepreneur.
  • {21:30} Alex's two hard-learned lessons and why she's grateful for them.
  • {28:38} Alex shares what she wishes people knew about PR & marketing. For any of you getting hung up on which platform to use, this is gold!
  • {31:07} Alex talks about the three questions we need to ask ourselves for the foundation for our PR & marketing. She explains when you start with these three central questions, the platforms to use reveal themselves. 

Once you’ve had a chance to listen, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Let me know, what's your biggest take away from this conversation - and why? 

I hope this conversation inspires you to get clear on you and your business, so you can show up the way you want to without "vanilla-ing" it.

Whatever stage of business and creative work you're in, I also hope it inspires and motivates you to remain resilient and cultivate a grit mindset. 

Alex, thank you so much for taking the time to share so openly about your entrepreneurial path and experience, and thank you for your wisdom and human approach to PR & marketing.  

Wishing you your version of success!

Kim Argetsinger interview

P.S. I'm jumping on a Facebook live today inside Business Besties + Creative Bosses  to dive deeper into one of the topics Alex and I spoke about. Alex will also be there to answer any questions you might have! I'd love to have you join us (it's free)! Click here to join! 


Connect with Alex Honeysett and Human at the Helm:

Website: humanatthehelm.com

Have a question? Want to let Alex know what an amazing human she is?

Alex reads every email at: alex@humanatthehelm.com


What if you aren't feeling so grateful?
Kim Argetsinger
"Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices." - Robert Braathe

Yesterday, in the US, we celebrated Thanksgiving, so gratitude has been on everyone's tongue.

I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about this before; gratitude is one of the most proven ways to boost happiness. It can boost our immune system, reduce stress, improve relationships, improve creativity, and so much more. 

But what happens when we aren't feeling so grateful?

(Rather watch and listen? Join me below in a live video!)

 

 

What if you’re a little ticked off (or even seeing red)? Should you suck it up and just be grateful?

My guy asked me about this other day. There was a "situation" at his work and it was making his blood simmer (ok, boil). 

He asked me, “What do you think? Should I be grateful for my job or should I stand up for myself and make a point?”

Great question...I answered, “both.”

Before you go thinking that isn’t possible, one of the amazing capabilities we have as humans is the ability to hold two contradicting thoughts at the same time. Some consider this to be evolved, intellectual thinking... but we all do it, more than we realize.

We can dislike a situation and still find aspects of it to be grateful for. 

Anyway, back to the "situation" at hand. It’s tempting to say, just be grateful for what you have and leave it at that. After all, an "attitude of gratitude" is all the rage and it's got all those feel-good benefits. 

Sometimes gratitude isn’t the answer…at least not the only one and not always right away.

We want to be mindful of where we place our gratitude.

We want to avoid gratitude in "situations" or for people who don’t warrant our gratitude, otherwise, gratitude turns into a form of avoidance or lying to ourselves. 

Gratitude isn’t emotional duct tape.

Gratitude isn’t meant to be a scapegoat for other emotions or a way to avoid setting healthy boundaries. 

Gratitude isn’t about spray painting and covering up toxic situations or people. Gratitude isn’t meant to gloss over important issues.

Gratitude has gotten a ton of press recently and for good reason. But, gratitude isn't something we can just throw a hashtag in front of and reap all the benefits. It has to be appropriated and mean something.

We can't use gratitude as a way to fake-positive our way out of unwanted emotions and "situations". Gratitude isn't a My Little Pony bandaid. 

We can't use gratitude as a way to guilt or shame one another into doing what we want.

I'm not getting down on gratitude. I love the power of gratitude and have a have a daily gratitude practice. I use gratitude with my clients. I'm all about #gratitude.

I am getting down on using gratitude as a way to bypass and repress emotions or sticky "situations". We can’t use gratitude in place of processing our emotions, but we can use it in addition to. 

Bringing it full circle back to my guy's "situation", that means first identifying and addressing what's being triggered and looking for a solution.

And, from there, practicing gratitude and reaping those benefits. 

This isn’t about lying to ourselves and making up false reasons to be grateful. We really do want to think about what we can be grateful for or appreciate.

Maybe it’s not the situation, but the opportunity to handle it in a productive way and create change. Maybe it’s gratitude for how you handled your reactions. Maybe it’s gratitude for a different perspective, new idea, or lesson. 

Still having a hard time coming up with something to feel grateful for? That's ok, it's the act of looking for something to be grateful for that counts. 

So this year, after the Thanksgiving leftovers get finished and the stretchy pants are put away, I’d invite you to keep your attitude of gratitude. For those times when you’re feeling anything but grateful, use it as final step instead of the first step to processing your emotions. 

Annnnnd, it must be said that I’m incredibly grateful for you. Whether you’re new to my world or have been with me since the beginning, I’m so grateful to be a part of your world. It’s truly an honor and a privilege. Thank you <3.

With so much gratitude and love!

Kim Argetsinger

P.S. As a giant thank you for being a part of my world, and in honor of all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday fun, I’m dropping the price of my digital course, Get Unstuck: Unlock Your Success from $99 to $67 until Monday 11/27 at midnight EST!  You can click here to get all the details and get instant access to this freaking awesome (if I do say so myself) self-study course.