Creating content is one of the best ways to position yourself as an expert, attract dream customers, and really become known for what you do best. But if you’re not doing it consistently or cohesively you could confuse your reader and potential customers. And if you’re not leveraging that content to its full extent, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.
It might surprise you to hear that if you have a content problem you have a branding problem—because your brand is the impression you leave and what makes you memorable, and your content is one of the best ways to define who you are and what you want to be known and hired for. In this article, I’m going to share a step-by-step on how to create an editorial calendar that supports your branding goals.
The most important thing you need to understand before you begin creating content is what you want to be known for. If you want to be known for your artistic hand-lettering, your content should support that expertise. If you want to be known for your methodical and strategic thinking, you should be sharing it in your content.
Try this: pretend as if you’re writing a book.
This is the exercise we use with our one-on-one clients and in our Braid Method Branding ECourse to help our students define what they really want to be known for.
You can download the worksheet that will help you outline your book title, chapters, and topics. Your book title is your expertise. Your chapters and topics are the content you will write, speak, or share—every single time you hit “publish.” The content boundaries you create with your “book” will give your content (and brand) so much focus.
Once you determine the kind of content that will help your readers, listeners, and viewers understand what you’re all about and begin to trust your expertise, you need to pick your sharing platforms. I want you to consider your PRIMARY sharing platform and the SUPPORT platforms.
Whether you’re writing, designing, speaking, filming, or streaming, your primary sharing platform should be where you put the most effort into your content.
Your support platforms are other places your content may show up—but the trick is you always want your support content to point back to the primary platform.
Here is a list of just a few sharing platforms to consider—these can and will change as your brand and technology trends evolve! That’s okay. Choose ONE as your primary sharing platform and a FEW for your support platforms.
Here’s an example of how your sharing platforms might work:
PRIMARY PLATFORM: Blog
SUPPORT PLATFORMS: Newsletter, Facebook Live (streaming video), Twitter, Instagram
Let’s say you post once a week—your most impactful and generous knowledge—to a blog.
As you can see in this example, all the support platforms always point back to the primary content you created. Your primary platform could also be a social media platform like Instagram, for example. In that instance, your support platforms always direct your audience to follow you on Instagram. I’m always being asked for my opinion on the best “primary” platforms, and my best recommendation is that it is a “place” you have control of (like your own website or newsletter) and something you enjoy creating—whether that be video, writing, podcasting, or simply sharing impactful images.
Now you know what kind of content you want to share, the platforms you want to share it on, and the frequency with which you’re sharing, it’s time to systemize your content creation! My favorite way to do this is to open a calendar—digital or physical are both great. I like to get nerdy with it and color code my sharing platforms. So for example, I might highlight every Tuesday yellow indicating a blog post. Then I might fill in my support tweets in blue and my Instagram posts in pink.
Sometimes I’ll build flexibility into my editorial calendar by simply knowing I need to publish a blog post or send out a newsletter on a certain day OR I’ll begin filling in my content calendar with specific topics I want to share. I also like to take into account program launches, seasonal themes, or special promotions I want to include in my schedule and wrap my content around those in a way that feels cohesive.
I want to tell you that there is no wrong way to create an editorial calendar, and you might try out a few different platforms and sharing frequencies until you find something that works for you. Now get to creating and sharing!
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We’ve posted in the past about sharing yourself online and blending personal and professional on your online sharing space, but when we talk about our specialty: blending YOU into what you do—or creating a business around your personal brand, we often get questions about where to set your boundaries:
How do I bring more of me into my branding and work by sharing more than just the curated highlights of my life, but also have boundaries so I don’t end up Instagramming every aspect of my life? And what’s more: How will I know which details of my life are and are not interesting to my followers?
Kathleen here. I used to be an open book when it comes to sharing online – so it was easy for me to tell my clients and audience “You do you! Put it out there and don’t apologize for it!” … and then I became a mom. My boundaries shifted big time but I had no idea where the lines were drawn. Was I sharing too much? Not enough? Pre-baby I was totally cool fumbling through life in plain view of the whole world. But now? Not so much. Through this experience I developed compassion for creatives who were asking me where to draw the line when it comes to their own sharing boundaries. So this post isn’t just for you – it’s for me too. My boundaries have changed but I still very much have a story to tell. Here are five ways you can “keep it real” while also respecting your ever-evolving boundaries.
1. USE YOUR WORDS
I always tell folks to start by using words they actually use in real life. For example, you say "horseshit!" a lot? Say it online too. You say "rad" or "word" in real life? Say it online. If you don't say things like "lovely" or "delightful" or "effing" then DON'T say those online. Make sense? For example, I never say “folks” in real life, but have been hearing other people say it a lot so I thought I’d try it on for size. It doesn’t feel entirely authentic so I was going to change it – but instead I decided to leave it in so I could prove this point.
2. BE TRANSPARENT ABOUT WHAT’S CHANGING
When people come to know you for something it can be uncomfortable or even embarrassing to share something new with them. They’ve come to expect one thing from you and you’ve gotten used to delivering on that promise. So if something has changed … then literally acknowledge the change itself. For example, you might post something like "You already know me for my outfits. And you know I like to cook. But here's what I want to share with you about who I am today... " And then fill in the rest with your honest truth.
Another trick up my sleeve is that I'll often start a post by typing out "What I really want to say is..." and start typing. THEN after I'm finished I'll erase that first "What I really want to say is...". But what typing “what I really want to say” does for me is trigger my authentic self to shine. It just helps me get to the point.
3. SHARE THE STORIES YOU TELL AT PARTIES
We all have our stories. The embarrassing ones, the sweet ones, the hilarious observations ... start sharing the kinds of stories you would tell friends at a party (but with acquaintances) overhearing too.
4. FIND YOUR BOUNDARIES BY BUMPING UP AGAINST THEM
Sometimes the only way you can know what your boundaries are is to get right up to the edge of them – and sometimes even cross the line. (click to tweet)
Sometimes I'll post something and know I could've gone further. Other times I'll post something and a day later feel as if I went just a little too far. This is the part of sharing who you are that takes a little bit of courage, trust, and curiosity. The point is… testing your boundaries is sometimes the best way to figure out what your boundaries are. It’s not always easy and it might give you a vulnerability hangover from time-to-time but it’s a part of the process.
5. IS IT HONEST?
One tool I use, specifically when writing, is asking myself "Is that true?" – from the words I use to the way I describe an experience.
Getting to the honest truth is what resonates authenticity. (click to tweet)
My writing is a constant test in getting more honest. Not in a "I'm making this up" or straight up lying ... but getting what I'm thinking and feeling to translate on the page can be tricky. I found that getting what I really want to say across is easiest when I ask myself "Is this true? How could I say it in a more honest way?" – it's a bit like mining gold. Not that I know what mining gold is like at all (see, there's that honest part!)
Now go write! Share!
If this was helpful for you, make sure you check out our Braid Method Branding ECourse. Not only does this course help you gain some clarity about what your offerings are and how to tell people to hire you, but it can also help you organize your ideas and your branding voice so that when it comes to sharing online, you have a better idea of what your audience wants to know versus what you should save just for you.
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You may think you need to get all your ducks in a row—a perfect business vision, business model, business brand, personal brand… all neatly lined up and packaged up, before you start sharing content with anyone else.
So you hesitate to launch until you know every single detail is perfectly in place (and every person who sees it will love it).
You shy away from telling people what you really do in conversations until you’ve proven you’re a success at it (and that means proving it to yourself first, which can be the most difficult person to please of all).
You circle around a blog post or an email you want to send for days, until you muster the courage to put something that’s a little more personal than professional out into the world.
Or vice versa, you backpedal from writing about your business dream versus the typical weekend highlights that your friends and family have come to expect from fun-loving, weekend-loving (but surely not business-loving!) you.
You’re waiting. You’re waiting for your business, or your dream, or your brand, to match what it is you want to say now. But they’ll never catch up with your head and heart. So just say it. (Tweet this)
Whatever the content is—you’re waiting to hit send, publish, or even say it out loud—the point is, you’re waiting. You’re waiting for your business or your dream or your brand to match what it is you want to say now. And here’s the thing—they’ll never catch up. Your head and heart and all it wants to say are always going to be two steps ahead of the business or brand or dream you’ve already been able to create. So just say it.
Say it if it’s not perfect, write it if it’s not 100% fully-formed, share it if it’s still just sharing the journey along the way. Because if those first rocket-fast years of working for ourselves taught us anything, it’s that your content shapes your what you do, not the other way around.
If we sound passionate here, it’s because when we started Braid we were saying all the things our past experiences had taught us were true, but we were also saying a lot of the things that we wanted our business to become. We said we were “for the creatives!” when half our clients were simply small businesses and the other half were the creative entrepreneurs. Today we’re 100% creative entrepreneurs. We used personal branding as just one aspect of the kind of branding we do. But we talked about personal branding in practically every post or email we wrote. Today we consider almost every branding project we do – personal branding.
The spark for this post, for the words we’re sharing with you now is our Braid ECourse this month, Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How To Buy You. If there was one revelation that’s come from this ecourse, now in it’s third year, it’s come from the “Braiders” who have taken the course and haven’t been shy to share their comments. They ask us tough questions as they carve their messages, because they take this course seriously. Because they get it. What they say about their business now is really what they are saying about their future vision – and themselves. It’s where they want to go next. What they want to be doing.
So yeah, this is an ecourse about sorting your ideas and writing content that says what you want it to say about your personal brand, about your business—but it’s also about shaping what you want that business to become.
What you’re saying about your business now, is really what you’re saying about your vision. It’s where you want to go next. (tweet this)
The next time you introduce yourself, instead of diminishing what you do, say what you do plus that dash of what you are just starting to to do but still don’t have completely figured out. So if you’re a designer who is really starting to transition into brand consulting. Say “I’m a designer, but my specialty is branding.” If you’re a lifestyle coach who is really wanting to focus in on eating issues or concerns, start writing most of your posts (be it your blog or simply your Instagram) about changing our relationship with food.
To quote the work of Florence Scovel Shinn (you know it, but it’s an oldie and a goodie), “your word is your wand.” What you say, what you write, what you choose to talk about is what you put out into the world – and lookie there, it’s what comes right back at ya.
If you’re dealing with creative fear, need help with time management, or simply need a boost of inner-confidence when it comes to showing up and being seen you might like the DIY Coaching for Creatives email sessions. You can sign up anytime! It’s just $40 for 4 weeks of content delivered straight to your inbox – plus, it’s a great way to invest in yourself at the beginning of a new year.
The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.
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