Case Study: Creating a Content Strategy to Support Your Launch

Case Study: Creating a Content Strategy to Support Your Launch

bigstock-juggler-female-cook-41370847Last month in the Digital Dining Room, the group’s mission was to identify their main business goal for the final quarter of 2013 and then to develop a content strategy to support it.

Here’s how we got them there:

Step One: Brainstorm ideas using a mindmap. Start with a topic in the center that relates to — and would help develop conversations around —  your #1 business goal.

Ask yourself the question: What does my potential customer want to know about this topic? What kind of answers might they be searching for online?

From there, they came up with at least five different sub-topics, and drilled down even further to find three or four smaller ideas for each of those.

An example of how this might look if your #1 goal for the next three months were to get new travel-related copy writing clients (and you hadn’t yet developed any content around this):

sample-mind-map-content-str

NOTE: The mindmap is a great tool for brainstorming because it allows you to capture ideas without being too linear. Especially if you can put this up on a wall (whiteboard or easel pad) where you can see it for a few days and work on it as inspiration hits.

My direction to them was to give this process a couple of days. To not try to do this all in one sitting.

Once they had a bevy of ideas, the next step was to take an inventory of currently existing content.

Had they already written a blog post that addressed one of their topic ideas? If so, now would be the perfect time to repurpose that into a slideshow or perhaps an audio file.

Whenever possible, use what you’ve already created!

Step Two: Develop a schedule of content (blog posts, guest posts, pod casts, social media updates, etc.) for the coming three months. A schedule based on your unique ability to implement.

Use a calendar system to help keep you on track. I’ve got a social media conversation calendar template that you might find helpful for this. (You can grab a copy of it on this page.)

Whatever system you use, be sure to customize it using whatever channels you already use. This is your calendar. Own it.

Also, stretch yourself a little with regard to the amount of content you put out. But not so much that you create unrealistic expectations you can never meet.

Currently not blogging at all? Then trying to blog once a week will probably make you a little crazy. But if you’re already publishing weekly, then bumping that up to twice a week might actually be doable.

The point is to create a schedule that you can commit to.

One of our members, Evelyn Kalinosky, did such a fabulous job I want to share part of her work with you.

Her #1 business goal for the 4th quarter: to create, launch and sell a new workbook/audio program: [R]evolution: A Soulful & Practical Guide to Creating the Life You Want. She’ll have an introductory price that lasts thru the end of the year, and then increase the pricing in the spring. Her goal is to sell 50 of them before year end. She’ll also be expanding this product into a workshop that will run in 2014.Her #2 goal is to bring on four new 3-6 month coaching retainer clients by the end of the year. Currently, she has only 2 spots open, so she’s halfway to that goal.To support her goals and promote her launch, she’s developed a list of “conversations” she’ll have via her content. Each month has a conversation theme, with each week focusing on a particular aspect of that theme.For October, her theme is: Things Women Tolerate or FearFor November: Gratitude and Savoring LifeFor December: Self-Care

During the first week of October, Evelyn will attempt to initiate conversations on Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and via her eZine. She’ll also be guest blogging, blogging and doing audio via an Internet radio show and her own interview series. (Whew! That’s a LOT of stuff, right?)

Here’s just one week’s worth of her schedule (click the image to see a larger version):

9-30-2013 12-40-18 PM

Keep in mind, this strategy is appropriate for Evelyn because she’s past the true Noob stage (e.g., she’s making her bills each month and has time to market this way).

If she were a newbie, I’d recommend that she not try to blog each day of the week, but shoot instead for once a week or even twice per month. And to spend her time instead on having actual sales conversations.

But then she also wouldn’t be trying to launch a new product. She’d be focused instead on getting regular coaching clients.

Because she IS launching a new product, each of her calls to action at the end of her blog posts (and elsewhere) offer readers the chance to get notified when her product becomes available. To see that in action, take a look at this blog post on her site.

As you can see, she’s put together a solid plan for the next three months.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t wiggle room if something happens in her life (or in the world) that inspires her to start other conversations. She can totally do that.

And she can (and should) adjust this plan if she feels the circumstances warrant a change.

But at least now, she’s got a good outline that she can use to measure her efforts. YES, MEASURE. (All caps were totally required there.)

Planning (as I’ve pointed out previously) is a way to organize our thoughts and make our ideas more concrete so we can track what works and what doesn’t.

We want to count the number of leads this content generates (and from there, how many sales). And we want a venue to see if our experiments work — where they work best – or if they need to be tweaked.

And that’s what planning and strategy are all about.

How about you? Are you creating content strategies to support your business goals? Do you have questions about what I’ve shared here? Let’s continue this conversation in the comments below.

  • http://www.anencouragingbird.com BirdyD – Roving Robin Reporter

    Hmmm… I’m wondering how one has those conversations without something to start them? I’m obviously still a bit lost.

    (And I’m pretty sure my Inner Writer is objecting to the Not Writing part. :D)

    So would you please&thankyou explain more about that as you get a mo’? :-) :>

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      How do you start any conversation, Birdy? If you and I are having lunch together (and we have), how do you begin to share something important? You might say something like “I just had the most fantastic experience,” and you tell me a bit of your story and then if I’m interested, I’ll ask you questions to get more information. Or, you might ask me a question because you want more information. It’s the same idea with your content but in this case we are trying to anticipate the questions your customers will be asking. They might have questions like, “What’s the difference between your cards and a deck of tarot cards?” or “How am I supposed to use these cards?” or “What do they look like?” So you write a blog post that answers that question and share it with the world. Does that make sense?

      • http://www.anencouragingbird.com BirdyD – Roving Robin Reporter

        Yes, it does. But doesn’t that involve WRITING those things??? In which case, how can you have those sales convos without writing? That’s the part where you lost me. :-) :>

        My thing is… I like writing. I’m pretty good at it too. So I do not take it well when told that I need to stop. :D Especially when I’ve just gone through a lot of painful Reclaiming of the subject.

        Except that’s apparently not what you said?

        So, I’m both lost and found here. :D

        • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

          Are your decks ready to sell? If not, then yes you need to write and focus on building interest so you can turn your attention to sales when you have something to sell. Your jewelry sales are a separate project/business, no? Some folks might have a part-time job while they build their biz. Your part-time job is your jewelry sales. That doesn’t mean you stop working on the decks biz. You must do both. Just be sure that when the decks are ready, you give sales more attention than blogging. :-)

          • http://www.anencouragingbird.com BirdyD – Roving Robin Reporter

            Ah… okay. That makes sense. That’s what I’d always understood you to say. Goldilocks post and a’that.

            That’s why I was so confused when in THIS post, you make it sound like a different thing. I take it it is not, then?

            The jewelry both is and isn’t. It’s a separate PROJECT, yes, but also being sold through WonderLand, so we’re only having to focus on one SITE at a time.

            But you’re right in that I suspect that it IS the shortest route to the money, tho’ not the best choice for the kind of growth we eventually desire to have.

            And yeah, I suppose at some point I’ll have to give up the jewelry. But I rather like the notion of continuing to sell Delights and simply raising the prices on mine and hiring other artisans to do the repeatable designs.

            Anyway. That’s for the future. Back to the present. :>

            So the next question is… when it IS time for sales, which, if I’m following you correctly, for the jewelry is essentially now, (tho’ there’s SO much more to post!), and will be at the end of October for our first deck, what ARE those sales things and how do they differ from what I should be doing now?

            *has this appalling feeling that she should know this already, but honestly doesn’t*

          • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

            THAT my dear is a much longer conversation that I can’t answer here succinctly but that we absolutely must have. Did you schedule your one-on-one time for October yet?

          • http://www.anencouragingbird.com BirdyD – Roving Robin Reporter

            Yes, pls! :-) :>

            Nope, but it’s on my list. Will make sure to do! :-) :>

            Thank you for all your patient answering! :-) :>

            This is why I’m here – to get answers that make sense and work with where and who I am, instead of forcing me into a mold like a bad tureen. :-) :>

  • MamaRed

    Love that you give very concrete examples Tea! This is something I haven’t done (dealing with the terror, and I do me terror, even tho I know that is eminently unreasonable) of committing anything to paper. My goal is to create a teleseminar-based course that helps transformation-minded business owners create this content in a very strategic way so they don’t have to live,eat and breath content creation mode all the time. I have a working title and many have liked it, although it got seriously shut down the other day in a group I’m in. Hummmmmm….combining the technique with your approach would be a rockstar model for sure!

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      MR – did you read the blog post previous to this one? It’s about why we want to create plans. I talk about the plan as being an organized way to do your experiments. I think the resistance a lot of people have to writing these plans down, is that they feel like they’re putting something in stone. Making a commitment to something permanent. You’re NOT. You’re simply doing your experiment in a smart and organized way. Scientists conduct experiments. But before they show up to the lab, they think about their hypothesis a bit, write down what they want to prove and how they’ll do it. Then they measure results along the way which gives them evidence of how to proceed going forward (to the next experiment!). Don’t think of these plans as official documents. They are meant to change as you do the things you think will be good for your business. It’s all just one great, fantastic experiment after another, lady!