January is typically a time to make grand plans and resolutions. That’s the easy bit. And if you haven’t yet set yours, check out my goal-setting blog. What’s harder is starting and continuing as you mean to go on. You may have made resolutions around starting a blog, or posting on social media on a regular basis. That’s great! But how do you make sure that you actually stick to these resolutions without getting bored or no longer finding the time? Here are my favorite tips to get you going in the right direction.
1. Create a workspace you love
We can be energized or disheartened by our environment. I once worked from home for several months in the summer in London in a tiny, airless, attic room which I also slept in (on a backbreaking futon), facing the wall, on an uncomfortable chair, with only a Velux window for light. It put me in a foul mood every day. I only managed two months and then I hated it so much that I left the country and stayed with my parents for a month instead. So that’s one experience of a truly bad workspace. Now I love my office and it’s one of my favorite rooms in my home. Last year my friend and professional organizer Jenn DePauw contributed some great advice on how to approach your space and if you're looking for one thing to help improve your working morale, this could be it.
2. Plan it out
There’s nothing worse than the prospect of a blank page when you have a (self-imposed) deadline. Your mind goes blank and writer’s block sets in – same thing for a video, social update or podcast. So, take some time when you have some headspace and work out your strategy and ideally a calendar. Last year I wrote an article about putting together a blog strategy, but to be honest, it applies to any type of content.
3. Keep an eye out – stay inspired!
One of my favorite tools to keep myself on track is using Trello boards. Spreadsheets work well too, but I like Trello because it’s prettier and you can move things around more easily. I have one board that I use as a schedule, so I can plan out activity month by month. I have another board where I drop in inspiration as I find it. I tend to just copy in links. Then, I look at the inspiration board and see what I can take across to the schedule and where it fits. I like the overview of the schedule board, but I like the ease of the inspiration board. If I didn't put all the little things I was inspired by in one place, I would never remember them.
4. Give yourself a break - automate
Tools are available so that you don’t have to remember to do something every single time. Sometimes, doing things in bulk is the best way to ensure consistency across multiple platforms.
Social media automation
Social media platforms are starting to enable users to schedule content in advance. For example, now Facebook Business Suite allows you to post in advance to both Facebook and Instagram. But if you want to schedule posts to all your platforms in advance, you’ll need to use a program like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, or a feature of a more comprehensive marketing platform like HubSpot.
In workflow automation you set up a range of rules so that certain actions take place, one after the other, depending on the user’s actions. For example, if someone downloads something from your website and enters their email address, you can set up a range of actions to happen automatically. This could be sending follow-up emails, changing their label in your CRM system, or inviting them to contact you for a demo or consultation. See if your marketing platform offers this functionality - it can change your life!
5. Celebrate the small wins
Achieving goals, particularly ones which consist of building habits, can seem like a slog. And sometimes there's no way around that. So why not give yourself a break and reward yourself for a job well done every so often? If you plan out your rewards, then that also gives you something to look forward to and a sense of anticipation.
If you really want to go into depth about productivity in marketing, read my three blogs dedicated to the topic: