We were BUSY last month, and because of that, I neglected to put out a newsletter. If you use newsletters, blogs or social media posts to keep in touch with your clients or customers, I bet that’s happened to you, too.
I know this is a common issue, so I searched online to see what other busy people do to ensure they consistently send out some type of content, and I’ve rounded up a few suggestions I’m going to try going forward. I hope they help you, too!
  1. Pick and Choose. This is especially true if you are the only person responsible for producing and sending out content. You probably don’t have time to do a newsletter, blog posts, video and social media. Decide what makes sense for your audience, goals and schedule, and just do that. I’m shooting for a monthly newsletter and weekly Facebook / LinkedIn posts.
  2. Create a Content Calendar. This can be as simple as a Word or Excel file, or something like Hootsuite’s free Google Docs version. Set aside a block of time to plan out your articles and posts for a period of time that makes sense – a month, a quarter, even a year if that’s possible. Think about the season, what’s going on in your industry in that timeframe, what your customers are concerned about, and plan your ideas in advance. This lets you get right to work writing when you sit down, and also helps you with my next suggestion, which is …
  3. Always Be on the Lookout for Ideas. If you’re like me, you often see or hear something that triggers an idea for a newsletter or post. If you’re always in that mindset, you can come up with ideas constantly. Part two is to have an easy way to save those for future reference, so you’re not drawing a blank when you sit down. Whether it’s a pad of paper, a folder, or an app (people swear by the free version of Evernote), pick one, keep it handy at all times, and use it. Now that you have ideas, let’s get right to …
  4. Blocking Out Time to Create. Set aside undistracted time – preferably weekly – to write. If you can, make it a routine; same day, same time. This is my biggest issue. I can always find an excuse to put this off. DO NOT multitask! Unplug, turn off notifications, shut your door, pull out your content calendar, review your idea clippings, and just start. Ideally, you will knock out several posts at once and get ahead on your schedule. If I can finally get myself to do this, it won’t matter if I have a busy month, a family issue or a planned vacation, I’ll have content ready to go. I use Constant Contact for my newsletter, so I can schedule that ahead. There are plenty of options (and pricing – Buffer is one of the less-expensive) to help you schedule social media posts, too.
  5. Don’t over-think. Your post or newsletter does not have to be an award-winning bit of writing. Don’t seek perfection, or you’ll find plenty of excuses (talking to myself, here) to put off hitting the Publish button. It’s OK if it’s not perfect, or deep and meaningful. Set yourself a deadline to write it, (I will spend one hour on this post!) and don’t fret over every little detail. Just send it into the world and move on.
  6. Finally… There are plenty of inexpensive and free apps to help you create illustrations, infographics, and videos to accompany your posts. (CrelloSnappa and Canva are popular). There are apps and articles to help you with ideas, editing, SEO, and writing catchy headlines (check out SmartBlogger). If you need help with a specific task, just ask Google. If you’re really strapped for time, consider asking a customer or industry contact to do a guest post. This benefits you AND your contact. Another idea is to create a list post. Lists can be quick to create, easy to read, and frequently shared. Good luck!
If you have processes that help you plan and write your newsletters and posts, please let me know; in addition to helping me improve, maybe we’ll do a list of reader tips soon. I look forward to hearing from you!