Can you believe we are already in November of 2018?? I can’t!
Even though the new year is still two months away, I want to be sure you are set up for the most success in 2019 for your marketing strategy and content creation.
When you begin thinking about all the tasks and templates that need to be completed in preparation of the new year, it is very easy to get overwhelmed and give up before you even get started!
Here are four different steps to break down your planning into manageable, completable, and worthwhile segments.
Step 1: Analyze
Ask yourself, your team, even your clients:
- What worked this past year in our communication?
- What worked in our marketing strategies?
- Where did we see the most ROI?
- What DID NOT work?
- Why did it fail?
- What red flags do we need to address and resolve before the new year?
While self-reflection is normally not everyone’s favorite meeting, it is a necessity to moving forward. The old saying, “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been” couldn’t be more true.
Step 2: Brainstorm
This is in my opinion the most fun part when executed correctly. At Holmes, there is a 3-step process to brainstorming that I practice with my team, and it has proven itself to be extremely helpful. We call it “Productive Brainstorming.”
Productive brainstorming is broken up into three segments:
- dream big,
- pair it down, and
- assign tasks.
But the KEY to productive brainstorming being effective is the time limit for each segment.
Now depending on what you are brainstorming, you can feel free to adjust times accordingly, but be sure it is even across the board. By keeping all segments the same length, you convey to your team that all three components are just as important to the brainstorming session being a success. (We normally have segments last anywhere from 10-20 minutes).
Another key component to Productive Brainstorming is to NEVER shoot down an idea in the first segment – no matter how crazy or over-the-top it seems to be.
Take the time with your team to dream those big dreams for your organization – the sky truly is the limit!
(If you’re interested in learning more about hosting a successful productive brainstorming session, be sure to give me a call or send me a message. We offer these sessions to our clients!)
Step 3: Plan
Once you walk away from your productive brainstorm, you should have a list of tasks to assign and complete. Instead of just staring at an overwhelming list of to-do’s, I recommend spreading them out through the next few months.
Take the time to plan approximate dates to prepare you for January 1st along with dates to take you through June of 2019.
Another key component to the planning step is to schedule time for analysis and checkpoints NOW. If you schedule them beforehand, you are not only more likely to actually do them, but you will also break up your tasks into more bite-sized sections.
Step 4: Create!
Next to brainstorming, this is the second most fun thing to do for marketing strategy: creating!
My biggest piece of advice for this step: create all the content for a month at least TWO WEEKS before it begins. So for example, I will have all content completed for January 2019 by December 17th. That way, I begin my year ahead of the curve, instead of being behind before we even really get started!
The second key to creating is it set aside larger chunks of time throughout your week to dedicate to creating. I do this by having a few 3-hour segments planned out in November and December along with two full days committed to just 2019 and content. By dedicating the time, it allows you to still focus on the things you need to do in the day-to-day but also making sure you don’t just keep putting it off.
Bonus: Celebrate the Little Wins!
If you are interested in a checklist to keep you focused on the 4 steps, you can download it with one click here:
And remember to always celebrate the little wins – whether it is completing a planning spreadsheet or pushing out a piece of content, always remember to recognize a job well done.