January 27, 2019

Simple Content Planner in Trello

A few months ago I found a new best friend when I started working with a client who uses Trello. While the client is indeed a friend, the free Trello app is what I'm talking about here.

Trello is visual like a bulletin board and, the more things I use it for, the more organized and productive I'm becoming.

I have no shortage of content ideas and I'm pretty good about catching them but, well, not necessarily all in one place. I have a notebook, Word docs in a folder in Dropbox, and as of right now, 22 draft posts on this blog. Recently I discovered a recorded message I'd made for myself last year on my phone.

Catching ideas and organizing them into a content calendar are two different things - and both can be handled easily with Trello. Here is a link to a public board I created and which you can copy and make your own.

If you've used Trello before, you might find this overly simplistic but, well, I'm all about simple. If you haven't used Trello before, you can find excellent instructions here.

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January 22, 2019

Get Focused Before You Start to Write

If you want to be doing more content marketing but aren't, do you know what's stopping you? A few months ago I wrote this article - Where Do You Get Stuck? - and ever since I have been committed to developing solutions for these stumbling blocks:
  1. coming up with ideas
  2. adapting your ideas for writing
  3. starting to write
  4. finishing writing
  5. editing and proofing
  6. finding or creating graphics
  7. keywords and publishing
Adapting ideas for writing (#2) is a common challenge for small business owners who may not have much writing experience. Here is a way to conquer that stumbling block.

5 Steps to Plan Your Article Before You Start to Write

#1. What is your purpose or goal?
  • To give or explain information
  • To persuade with your opinions
  • To share ideas, thoughts or concepts
Knowing your goal will inform the style you use for writing. Giving information requires a good detailed outline, simple words, and facts. Persuading requires good research and planning, examples, and writing techniques such as comparisons. Sharing ideas requires many of these things but also a more creative writing style where you paint a picture for your reader.

#2. Who is your article for?

This is likely a subset of your target market. Don't write for everyone. Instead, write for the people who will find the most value in your content. Your message needs to resonate with them to be successful.

#3. What is the topic?

Write a one-line description. This might be the eventual title for your article but don't get hung up on the words. Get it down in such a way that it's simple and clear. Worry about finessing words later.

#4. Do you need to research?

What do you need to know and how can you find out? List questions and possible sources. If you don't research when preparing your article, consider researching after it's written. For example, I tend to avoid researching up front to avoid the risk of plagiarism. But often, once my article is drafted, I'll search to see what others are writing about on the topic and if I've missed an important point.

#5. What main points do you want to make?

List only 1-3 items. If you have more items, you might consider a series or a checklist article.

Once you have done this planning, you'll feel more confident and organized when you sit down to write. And this only takes a few minutes. Click here to download a worksheet you can use as part of your blogging process. You'll find it's a few minutes well spent!

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January 17, 2019

Advertising vs Content Marketing

I don't often use terms like 'lead magnet' and 'sales funnel' on this blog. Not because they aren't good things to have - of course, they are - but because there are lots of others writing about those topics. Here I'd rather discuss ideas for those and other tools we use to attract customers.

Content marketing works the best when you focus on the content first. The delivery method is important but won't matter if you aren't creating valuable content.

When I opened a newsletter from a friend recently, this headline jumped out at me:

Content marketing results in 6x more conversions than other forms of marketing.

Advertising costs money. On the other hand, content marketing costs time. Which do you have more of?

January 3, 2019

Pantone Colour of the Year for 2019

When I received Pantone's email announcement of their Colour of the Year for 2019, I didn't rush to blog about it as I usually would. Mostly I thought, "Huh?" And ever since, I've been wondering if I'll have the opportunity to use it in any of the digital marketing I do.

Don't get me wrong, I love Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral. But it feels a bit feminine for my purposes - which are marketing-related, of course.

I decided to have a look at possible colour schemes using Living Coral...

I'm kind of liking that triad combo! What do you think? Will you be using Living Coral in your branding this year?

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