Many business owners are finding themselves with forced downtime. The Twelve Challenge is designed to help you work ON your business and create content that will last for the next twelve months. Once the doors reopen and customers come back, you will be very busy making money, so let’s get prepared now.
This content is designed to help your business
- Get found on Google.
- Attract new business.
- Engage with your audience.
Twelve Challenge is designed into 5 easy steps based on what we do for our clients. Please take what you like from this and leave the rest. First, let’s make sure you have everything set up. You will need an email database in software such as Mailchimp and a 12-month Marketing Plan. We have created a very simple template that you can download. CLICK HERE for the 12 Month Marketing Calendar Template. If you don’t have an email database, gather all client and prospective emails into a spreadsheet. At the minimum, you need their first name and email address. Set up a simple email system such as Mailchimp and import your email list. And, if you already have an email system in place, let’s move to the Marketing Plan.
The Marketing Plan
The marketing plan helps you plan promotions, specials, featured products or services, etc. for the next twelve months. A topic theme can be helpful to guide the decision-making process when creating content. For example, Mother’s Day is in May so the theme can be as simple as Mother’s Day. You can have a theme around just about anything. Other theme suggestions are:
- May or June – Get Summer Ready
- August – Back to School
- October – Turn Back the Clock
- November – Giving Thanks or Being Thankful
The Twelve Challenge
Once you have a marketing plan in place, you are ready to start The Twelve Challenge. By the end of these five steps, you will have created:
- 12 Blogs
- 12 Graphics for your specials
- 12 Social Media Posts for each blog
- 12 Newsletters
- 12 Videos
Step One: Blogging
Let’s start with each blog’s title. The titles are the MOST important part of the blog so make sure to include a “keyword” and try to base this around your theme. A keyword is a word or, most likely, a phrase, that you want your website to get found for in Google searches. When I craft a blog title, I first come up with a topic to research; in this case, your theme is the topic. Next, think about your prospects…
- What would they type into Google?
- What pain point or passion point does this topic solve?
- What words would your prospect use to research on Google?
People buy only two things: solutions to problems and good feelings. By thinking of what words your prospect would use to find a solution or ‘good feelings’, you are identifying potential keywords. Examples are:
The May theme is Get Summer Ready and your business offers Coolsculpting. A blog title could be “Coolsculpting Gets Your Body Ready for Summer”, or “Coolsculpting Gets Your Body Summer ready in One Hour”. The September theme is The Fall Walk and your practice helps people with feet, knee or hip problems. A blog title could be “10 Ways to Relieve [Foot, Knee, Hip] Pain”. Within the blog, talk about the upcoming Fall season and getting rid of the pain to go on a Fall Walk.
Next are the blog content and call to action. Talk directly to your audience. Each blog should be between 450-600 words, which is about 4-6 paragraphs, informative and educational. You can include sub-topics, bulleted lists, resource links, and quotes. Make sure to include an opening paragraph and the closing paragraph needs to contain a call to action. Tell your audience what to do. The call to action can reference your monthly special or lead to the website where they can contact you, schedule a consultation, learn more about a service, or purchase a product. Don’t leave them hanging, give them the Next Step. The blog is the first place to start because it’s the basis of the social media posts, and possibly the newsletters and videos.
Step Two: Graphics
Canva.com is a popular online graphics program that is very simple to use. It also comes with templates to take some of the guesswork out of being creative. It also correctly sizes your graphic for social media and the website. Create a graphic for each month’s theme and include your special. This graphic can be used on your Facebook cover image, in the newsletter, and on the website.
Step Three: Social Media Posts
One of the reasons to incorporate social media into your business is to drive traffic to your website. Therefore, blogging is so useful because it gives you both social media talking points and a link to send traffic back to your website. This is going to take a lot of creativity to accomplish since the objective of step three is to create 144 social media posts that you can use to schedule out over the course of the next year. Try to generate 12 social media posts for each blog article. A social media post can be broken down into three parts.
- The comment
- The image or video
- The link (possibly)
You can start the post with either an image or a link. When you start creating a post using a blog link, this is called a link post as opposed to starting a post with an image and adding the blog link in the comment. Here are some tips to help:
- Blog link post that pulls in the blog’s featured image.
- Make a graphic for each talking point. If it’s a list of 10 things, ways, ideas, steps, etc., create a graphic for each point.
- Create a post for each point within the blog.
- On Facebook, you can create a slideshow video and add music.
- Find different images to use as the Social Media Post image.
- Write a variety of post comments.
- Publish the entire blog as a long-form social media post.
- Record a simple video introducing the blog to explain why someone should click through to read and what they can expect from the blog.
Instagram can be a challenge for sending traffic to your website since it only lets you have one link in the bio. Try Linktr.ee as your Instagram Bio Link. This software lets you add additional links to guide your audience to your content. You might have seen this in the comment of an Instagram post: “click the link in the bio ☝️”. Instagram stories are also a great way to feature blog content. We use an Instagram scheduler called Later.com which lets you schedule Instagram stories.
Step Four: Newsletters
Email marketing is still a good way to stay in touch with your audience. You may already have a monthly newsletter that you send to your subscribers. This step is to save you time each month writing the newsletter copy. Do you have a template email already set up that allows you to drop in content? Do you have consistent sections to the newsletter, such as Specials, VIP Member Only, Informative/Educational Content, Upcoming Events, etc.? Having a structured newsletter with specific sections makes it easier to plan ahead. The Marketing Plan template is a good guide for the newsletter content. The most important part of any email campaign is the subject line. By crafting a compelling subject line, you can improve the open rate of an email. In this step, write out several subject lines. Step two made you create a monthly graphic that can be used in the newsletter. If there is an educational or informative section, the blog would be a good piece of content to use. The section title can be the blog title and either uses the first paragraph or write a short description of the blog and include a “read more” button. Video Tip: Most email software does not allow embedded video, but they all allow an image. Take a screenshot of the video to use as the image and hyperlink it to the video location, such as YouTube. I also like to include the video player icon on the screenshot, so people know to click the image in order to watch the video. Canva will allow you to overlay the icon and add transparency.
Step Five: Videos
We can’t forget about creating videos. An important key to video is keeping the viewer interested from the beginning to the end. It doesn’t matter if the video was recorded on your Smartphone if the content is entertaining, informative, or interesting and it has good audio and lighting. We suggest not starting a video introducing yourself since you only have 3 seconds to keep a viewer watching. Start the video with a question or an interesting statement. If you use your Smartphone, hold the camera horizontally so the video will look good on YouTube and social media. Instagram videos can be recorded vertically, especially for Instagram Stories. With sound being so important, I encourage you to get a microphone for your Smartphone. 3 Tips to Create Great Videos:
- Good lighting needs to bathe the subject in a flattering way. Try to be near a window.
- Quality Audio. The better a video sounds, the better it looks. Lower quality video can easily be accepted when the sound is clear.
- Keep the camera steady. Using a tripod or propping the camera to stabilize it makes it easier to maintain a steady shot, but if you don’t have a tripod and nowhere to prop the camera, at least try to keep your handheld camera as steady as possible.
Videos can be as short as 15 seconds and we suggest not going over 3 minutes, however, if you are producing a piece of content that is engaging then stop when you’ve fully explained your information. One tip to know when to stop the video is when you start repeating yourself. Here is a blog that has a lot more detail about videos. Evergreen Content Marketing Strategy Using Q&A Videos
In Conclusion Whether or not you make it all the way to creating 12 months’ worth of content doesn’t matter. What truly matters is that you took action to help your business and created something that will be of value to your audience. Your business may have an agency that helps you create this content already, but if you don’t and are looking for professional guidance, send us a message. We’d be happy to provide a quote. Stay safe and stay well.
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Kim works with brands since 2011 to develop and manage their digital and social media strategies; meet company objectives, such as increasing leads, engagement, and website traffic, utilizing best practices, the latest tools and strategies; and develop quality content. She is a problem-solver who loves a challenge when it comes to increasing sales.