Create Consistent Content

storyofmar-managing-your-editorial-calendar.jpg

they say stay consistent

With my last company coming to an end, I had some serious choices to work through.

I could go in any direction, really.

I could give up my dream of owning my own business all together and get a job - which can sometimes be the best thing ever - or resolve myself to start again entirely.

What I really want to do is help people, and that has never changed.

TRUTH

I've always wanted to make an impact.

I had to think seriously about my options - and what the best way to impact people would be.

What I decided was that I really want to create content and blog on a daily basis.

In my career, I've done a lot of things really well, but I've also felt spread pretty thin.  

THIS TIME WAS DIFFERENT

I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to give it everything I've got. 

And that meant getting serious about my consistency.

the truth is we're rarely consistent

We flirt with our dreams.  We dip our toes into the pool of what success means to us.

And we fall just short of our goals.

Last year, I learned a lot by failing.

IN FACT

I learned so much, I literally became a different human.  Nothing can teach you what experience can - and sometimes - we're just not ready to take that leap.

But I am more ready than I've ever been, now.

This blog has become my promise to myself.  My way of showing up and creating proof of my dreams.

That they exist and live and breathe in me, and I hope that inspires you to do the same.

To show up for your dreams.

the business of consistency

This is fascinating to me...

When you get serious about consistency - you realize how much of a business it's become.

There are so many resources and online tools to help people stay consistent.

It's become an entire industry! 

I'm a nerd for information and a routine-addict.  So I've made learning about these recourses my job for the last few months.  As a result, I've spent a lot of time sussing out the best tools to help me stay on track.

Because that's my biggest problem.

I get distracted.  I forget things.  I have absolutely no problem building momentum...

Keeping it going is where I struggle.

storyofmar-editorial-calendar.jpg

love your editorial calendar

If you're a creative, chances are the words MUSE and STRUCTURE don't mix very well.

At my last company, we created and managed an online magazine that published weekly and monthly editorials to help us promote our business.  

It was a massive undertaking and I found it challenging to work consistently as team.  

Mostly because every person involved had different passion points.

During that time, we experimented with every scheduling app and software program we could find.  Our hope was that these programs would help us keep track of our content, but none of them worked.  Every program fell short in some way - whether it was a lack of file or image sharing or a lack of simplicity and ease of use.

I knew the importance of creating and managing an editorial calendar - but again - I never took it seriously.

This left us flying by the seat of our pants.

Some months would be great, and other months would taper off.

As a result, the project remained stagnant.

If you take anything away from reading this article, let it be this. 

1.

CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR

You don't have to be a blogger or a magazine to benefit from creating an editorial calendar.

Any business of any kind will see positive results with an EC.

I started managing my editorial calendar seriously in June of this year - before that, I dabbled here and there with scheduling my content in advance - and since then, I've seen huge results! 

And I feel like I'm just getting started.

You have to remember...  You might be buried deep in the throes of your business on daily basis, but your customers and followers are not.  

They're busy with their own lives and they're not thinking about you.

They've got better things to do!

You also have to remember that the internet is quickly becoming a carefully curated space.  

Your customers only see a small portion of the content you create in the first place, so the more consistent you are with creating and releasing that content, the more likely they are to see it.

A few things happen when you start working with an editorial calendar.

ONE

You create clarity and space.

Imagine being able to see the flow of your business in advance.  

How nice would that be?!?!?!

With an editorial calendar, you literally get to predict and manage the flow of your business.  

You get to balance the equation between customer experience and sales, so you never sound like a sleazy sales person.  You get to even out the rhythm of your content, so your customers remain interested and engaged with new stuff that's actually helpful for them.

And you get to see - before anyone else does - the identity of your business come to life.

TWO 

You get to enjoy the creative process again.

omg!

This is the most exciting part.

I've worked with a lot of creatives who end up seriously hating the process of content creation.  There's just too much pressure to hit publish, and they don't always feel inspired to create.

Rather than struggle to publish images and articles at the last minute, an editorial calendar allows you to immerse yourself in your muse again because you've adequately carved out the time to create.

An EC allows you to schedule your content in advance, and reflect on where the holes are.

You get to relax and work ahead of yourself and everyone else - which always reduces pressure.

And without pressure, comes inspiration.

A FEW MORE TIPS


Give yourself permission to change your mind.  

Once a week, manage your content and your editorial calendar and take that time to re-visit your scheduled posts so you're always on top of your content. 


If you're a blogger, this is especially important.  

Anything longer than 90 days is just too difficult to plan.  

Three months is a nice way to think of your business projects in general. 


This allows you to be ready for unexpected opportunity.  

Blank space means you can write about anything you wish, or simply skip it.  

Because we can't always predict our muse.


storyofmar-staying-consistent-advice.jpg

work your dream job

I can't stress this enough.

In my days managing and coaching creatives, I've witnessed so many women belittling themselves - refusing to take their potential seriously.

They tell you they have a dream.  You tell them they're good at something.

And they laugh it off.

But if you want your dream to be your job, then it's time to start treating it like one.

2.

SCHEDULE YOUR WORKFLOW

This means actually taking yourself seriously.

It means being real about what you can and want to accomplish.

I have become such a creature of habit, I can literally feel myself wince when I get knocked out of my rituals.

rituals are not a luxury

A lot of people will tell you they are...

But deciding to create and maintain rituals is a really difficult task.

One that will require you to continuously focus on your priorities.

It takes a lot of time and experimentation to discover what will work best for you.  

For instance, I have to write in the mornings.  I just don't have the brain power to write in the afternoons.  So I've started scheduling 1 to 2 hours of writing every week day.

This means I focus on shooting my content in the afternoons.

And it's fucking hard, guys!  

Sometimes, I don't have anything to say when I set down to write.  But the point is, I honour my workflow and I write - whether it's painful or fluid.

If you're a blogger, you know that laying out a blog post can often take up to two hours - sometimes more.

Two hours in your day is a lot of time.

And being aware of where your time is going is critical.

A FEW MORE TIPS


If Instagram is a priority for your business,  that's great.  

Just don't get lost in the caves of social media.  Decide on a specific amount of time that will work for you and set a timer.  

Move on to your next task when your time is up.


If you work from home, there are plenty of distractions.  

It's important to treat your work day like work and schedule your lunch.  

Don't get lost in household tasks like laundry when you should be working.


If you're a creative, it is really really important - for your sanity - to stay that way.  

Schedule time and space with zero pressure.  Just to create the things you love.  

Time to experiment and be with your craft. 


storyofmar-managing-your-editorial-calendar.jpg

tools and resources

Ah, the tools.

There are always new ones.  Sometimes though, pen to paper still wins out.

I need to see my workflow and editorial calendar everywhere.

So I keep and maintain double copies.

SURE

It's definitely more work, because when I update one, I have to update the other.

But my brain simply doesn't work any other way.

storyofmar-learning-to-manage-your-editorial-calendar.jpg

a few of my favourite tools

TRELLO

Oh man...   I absolutely love Trello.

Trello is an editorial calendar and content management system that works simply and efficiently to help you create, schedule and maintain a consistent flow to your content.

Best of all, it's totally free.

It works with cards and labels - so you can colour code everything.

And I looovvveee colour coding things!

It also allows you to ad and manage team members and upload files - which is important when you're running a visually-based business with lots of moving parts.

I've worked with programs like Basecamp in the past, but I found it too convoluted.

I've even tried using my Google calendar to no avail.

a little tip

I don't tend to use the lists involved with Trello

Instead, I focus solely on the calendar view, where I manage my content.  I love that you can drag and drop the content from one day to another and move things around as your priorities change.

It's just so simple and easy to use.

WEEKLY AGENDA AND NOTEBOOKS 

I also have a weekly agenda and a simple notebook for recording my ideas.

I write my daily tasks under each day section of my agenda - and I coordinate everything with Trello.

a little tip

I put my Trello calendar view page in my favourites bar for easy access.

Every Monday morning, I go over my schedule and editorial calendar for the week to make sure I've completed all of my necessary tasks - and I make notes in my notebook as I go along.

It sounds like a lot of work, I know.

The positive side is this...

I don't tend to waste my time on random stuff like I used to.  

The more I follow my calendar, the more it becomes a habit.

Right now, I'm loving Danielle Laporte's new Desire Map 2017 Planner Collection.

It was just recently released and I'm excited to get my hands on it.

If you haven't read The Desire Map, you definitely should.  

September is as good as a time as any to submerse yourself in the cultivation of your own destiny.

Maybe even the best time!

I also love The Get To Work Book - recently recommended to me by Tiffany Han.

It's pretty epic.

If you haven't listened to Tiffany Han's podcast yet, you definitely should too.

It's one of the best business coaching podcasts I've come across.

And Tiffany is forever honest and inspiring.

storyofmar-editorial-calendar-what-it-taught-me.png

this is not easy work 

I'm really serious when I say this.

Managing an editorial calendar properly is a big commitment.

It's kind of like submitting your content to a third party evaluator - because you start asking yourself questions like...  Is my content even good enough to be published?

And I think we should be asking those questions. 

Creating an editorial calendar will make you more aware of your work.  And if you don't create one for any other reason, being aware of your work in a whole new way should be reason enough.

This is where I tell you that you can't make excuses.

I've had clients tell me they don't believe in editorial calendars or that they hate the program they're currently using - so they just ignore it.  

And I've been there.  I've made excuses too.

The truth is it doesn't matter what program or routine you use - as long as you use it.

If something feels uncomfortable, stick with it until you can make an educated decision.  And don't be afraid to experiment and change your mind until you discover what works best for you.

I had to get clear on my priorities and creating an editorial calendar helped me do that.

It got to the point where I could literally see the holes in my business.

I began to realize that I'd been telling myself a really good story.  A story where I had this dream and was working towards it - giving it my all -  but in the end, I was just flirting with the idea of my dream. 

Once I decided to jump in fully and intentionally, creating and managing an editorial calendar became an essential commitment I wasn't about to slack off on.  It was a no brainer!

simple as that