Kathleen here. I want to tell you a few secrets – Tara and I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs. In fact, before creating Braid Creative, we had never really imagined working for ourselves. We were perfectly comfortable collecting gold stars (and a paycheck with a matching 401k) from somebody else.
But here’s another secret: even with our lack of experience, we were profitable since day one. Our goal was to simply replace our day job salaries, but I was surprised when in our first year of business together, I made more than I ever had working as an art director at an advertising agency.
What’s the secret to being profitable since day one? We positioned ourselves as creative experts, created really good content, and narrowed in on our offering to attract just the right dream customers.
I recently invited Tara to chat with us on the Being Boss podcast to chat with us about:
P.S. The Braid Method Branding ECourse is where we share everything we know, plus helpful how-tos, on how to package and position yourself to attract more dream clients. It’s now open to new students. Learn more and register for this DIY complete-at-your-own-pace branding course.
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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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