How to create your 2018 content strategy: Part 1

I don't know about you but I'm tired of having "create content" hanging over my head week-to-week and wondering what I should write about the same week (or day) I want to publish something. Everyone I know that's creating content on the internet can relate to this and it bothers me for two main reasons.

1. It's often ineffective.

If you're creating content that isn't part of a bigger strategy - who is it helping? How is it helping them? How does it serve your ultimate purpose?

If you're just creating content to get it out the door - what's the point?

2. The quality of the content suffers

In most niches, fluffy content that can be written quickly and off the cuff isn't helping anyone. The kind of content that's worth writing - that will really help people - takes time.

So, enough is enough.

I'm in the process of planning my 2018 content properly, based on a strategy, with a step-by-step action plan and I want to share the whole process with you.

If you're ready to get ahead of your content and tie your day-to-day efforts to your goals, then stick with me.

First, here are the four steps high-level steps we're going to dig into:

Step 1: Get to the bottom of the REAL goal and make it S.M.A.R.T. as... well, you know.

Step 2: Reverse engineer said goal with smart strategies based on data.

Step 3: Break strategies into quarterly, monthly, and weekly tactics.

Step 4: Schedule and TAKE ACTION.

I'll be covering one step each week for the next four weeks, starting today.

Step 1: Get to the bottom of the REAL goal and make it as SMART aF

Do you blog weekly?

Or do a Facebook live each week?

Why?

To what end?

Those may be perfect ways to build an audience for the exact reason you want to build one but the point is that so many people go through the motions of content creation without thinking about WHY they're doing it.

This step is not about figuring out what you're going to do but what you want the outcome of your efforts to be.

Ask yourself this question:

If you could only accomplish three things in your business next year, what would they be?

Find yourself a blank page (digital or otherwise) and brainstorm all the goals that come to mind - keep brainstorming until you have at least 10 goals.

Here are some examples:

  • Help 1000 people.
  • Increase revenue.
  • Build audience.
  • Speak at a conference.
  • Launch product.
  • Start membership site
  • Find a mentor.
  • Switch from hourly to packaged offerings.
  • Be interviewed on four podcasts.
  • Meet Seth Godin (oh wait, I already did that *still dying*).

Look really closely - are they actually goals?

From my list of goals, when I look closely at them, they're actually not all separate and they're not all goals.

For example, the goal of being interviewed on four podcasts is actually a strategy under the goal of building an audience and I don't want to set a strategy as a goal until I've weighed it against other strategies to reach the core goal.

Spend some time really digging into your goals.

Which ones stand out as the most important?

Are they important to you as a stand-alone goals?

After you've set aside anything that's actually in service of a bigger goal, circle the top three goals that are left.

Play the "WHY" game with your top three goals.

From the list above, one of the goals that I'm left with is, build my audience.

Now I'm going to dig into that goal.

Why do I want to build my audience?

Because I want to help more people and make more money.

Why?

Because I want to make a bigger impact and have more freedom (and I want that for the people I work with).

Why?

Because I believe that the more people that are focused on doing smart, strategic work and are free to pursue work that matters to them - the more ACTUAL problems can be solved in the world.

And that's my why (hence the do what you want thing ;).

I want every goal I have next year to be able to be distilled down to my WHY.

Make your top three goals SMART.

I know this is a classic goal-setting tool but that's because it works.

As a refresher:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

The more specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound your goal - the easier it will be to develop effective strategies to reach it.

Let's take my goal example from above and make it SMART.

Build my audience (Currently a highly un-SMART goal) becomes:

Build my audience by 6,000 subscribers by December 31, 2018 by obtaining an average of 500 new subscribers each month.

Easy, right?

When you build your strategies based on goals that are based on your why, you're on the right track to having your daily actions align with your desired outcomes.

Stay tuned for next week where we take this a step further and determine the strategies to reach my goal.