We thought we’d stop talking about the cluster that 2020 has been and start focusing on moving towards the New Year with some hope and possibility (although I get the irony of mentioning something I’m not going to talk about).
Since Jodi and I both have our own individual businesses we meet pretty regularly to make sure we’re on the same page and moving the needle further with Content Creators Planner.
When we launched the planner and brand it was a bit of a whirlwind.
From idea to launch in 4 months, at the busiest time of the year (4th quarter). It’s much busier for Jodi than me, but she never fails to get it all done (not quite sure how).
In the last two years we’ve learned quite a bit.
I’m going to save that because I think that’s a conversation and case study in and of itself that Jodi and I should do together. Having both perspectives would be much more interesting than solely my look back at everything we’ve accomplished.
To make this simple and easy to follow I’m going to focus on 4 things:
Planner, courses, and coaching
We’ve been gathering all the feedback and data on the planner since we launched it. Having had the product out in the world for almost 2 years now we have a list of updates and changes we want to make for version 2.
Like everything else online a lot has changed in 2 years (I think internet years are kind of like dog years. 1 year is really like 7 years in terms of change and growth).
In addition to adding a few things to the planner (email marketing and maybe something funnel related), we also want to simplify the framework.
The Content Creators Planner, as many of you know, isn’t simply a content calendar or blank planner to fill in.
It gives you a strategy for your content marketing.
We haven’t nailed down specific dates or milestones on version 2, but the goal is the end of the first quarter. We’ll have a planning session specific to 2021 shortly (like many of you we’ve been wrapping up this year) but we’ve talked a lot about what we want to do.
Trello Version (and potential other platforms)
We’ve sold almost 500 of the Trello version and have gotten some great feedback as well as some more detailed feedback on where they felt it was confusing (we truly appreciate all the feedback).
We’ll probably re-do the Trello version from the ground up but not until version 2 of the actual planner is done. This will be treated like a new product, but we’ll have a special offer for everyone who purchased the first version.
We’re still getting requests for additional platforms (Asana, ClickUp, and Notion).
We still want to create these versions but will also wait to pull the trigger on those until after version 2 is out.
The Trello version comes with 22 videos, which is what is the most time consuming but it’s something we don’t want to compromise on. So in addition to creating the Trello version we’re essentially creating a ‘mini-course’.
Right now our Masterclass is the only course we offer. That will also be getting an update and re-done from the ground up. Some of the content may be similar, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, a lot has changed in the last two years and we want to use a course format that we both use to re-do this.
For those of you who haven’t purchased the Masterclass, it’s not simply training or a walk-through on how to use the planner.
This will probably be a little more in-depth, so the price may increase but again, we’ll have special pricing for our current customers.
We also have a BRAND NEW course we’re working on that we hope to release by the end of January.
This is ALL on content promotion and distribution.
Now that you have a plan, we want to see you get better results and more leverage from everything you’re creating. A big focus with this course is going to be on doing the right promotion.
We’re both a little tired of the push that the answer to better results with your content is always MORE.
Create better quality content and focus on getting it in front of as many people as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to be on every platform pushing your content. It means you choose the activities you enjoy that deliver the best results and you double down.
We’ve been discussing this for the last year.
Hopefully by now you see that everything we do with this brand is a deliberate, conscious decision.
Whatever we do has to fit into our lifestyle as well. Neither of us believes in the hustle culture (see #FtheHustle and Fresh Squeezed, our respective newsletters to see what I mean).
You can absolutely build a highly profitable business without grinding it out like a 20-something bro marketer who lives on Red Bull (end rant).
We also miss connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs who are committed to their craft and are serious about building a long-term business (not a side hustle or hobby, no judgment, but that’s not who we are).
We’re still ironing out what that looks like, but it’s coming.
This will also be a higher priced offer and a true investment in yourself and your business.
We do have a second planner we’d like to create and that’s all we can say for now, but hopefully we can start looking at that in more depth second quarter and roll that out in the second half of the year.
SUPER excited! ????
What we’re creating and publishing
This one is probably the easiest.
Thanks to using Jodi’s framework (The Smartist Way), our goal is not to just produce more content.
We’ll continue doing what we’re doing, which is a weekly post and newsletter.
The only addition to our content plan now would be a podcast. We both love podcasting and believe in it (we’ve had a couple of false starts for lack of a better word).
I think based on our lives and our current publishing schedule it might be fun to test something different. Whether it’s seasons or a series of specific topics… either way, this is on our horizon.
This doesn’t mean we won’t do anything else, but this is our priority. I’m a huge fan of creating and publishing when inspiration hits as well, even if it’s not part of a pre-planned strategy.
Traffic, leads, and sales
This is probably the most time-consuming (along with some of the “project based” behind-the-scenes things we’ll be doing).
To save some time for you I’m going to skip talking about social media, with the exception of our Facebook group. We share all of our content to our platforms and use CoSchedule and Missingletter. We’re going to use them for separate things (example: setting up ReQueue with CoSchedule for certain categories and creating a campaign for our posts in Missingletter).
List growth, email marketing, and the newsletter
From the time I started my business I heard over and over again “the money is in the list”… which is a cheesy internet marketing way of saying “build a list you have a relationship with, serve them, and sell products and services that solve their problems.”
Not focusing on email marketing and list growth is one of the few things I regret not starting sooner.
However, now that I know better, I do better.
A little reminder: you don’t own any of your audiences on your social platforms. You DO own your email list.
I think in the last two weeks I’ve convinced at least 5 people to start a newsletter. I’ve totally gone down the rabbit hole with this and you can read why here.
In addition to our newsletter we’re also going to focus on lead generation with paid traffic.
We’ve been running Facebook ads since May of 2019 (we took a little break this past fall to regroup and take them over for ourselves) but they’ve always been straight to a sales page to purchase.
Fortunately, we’ve had the good fortune of working with an amazing Facebook Ad rep (we don’t know how we qualified for the program, they reached out to us) who has helped us significantly.
Because we have so much data on our email marketing it makes sense to see if we can acquire a lead at a much lower cost and then use our follow-up sequences and content to convert leads to customers.
If I haven’t said this before I’ll say it again and for the people in the back… I LOVE email marketing.
We’re going to be rolling out a referral program for the newsletter as well, so stay tuned for that!
Jodi and I decided with the amount of time and work it takes to work with agencies we may as well take over our ads ourselves. It’s been a little slow going in terms of scaling them back up, but we’re being smart about it.
We will always run paid traffic for this brand (and it’s completely convinced me to do it for anything I do) and are hoping to add another channel in 2021 (YouTube & Google).
Once we have our Facebook and Instagram ads scaled back up we’ll pick another channel and start testing.
Content Creators Facebook Group
At the time of this writing the Content Creators Facebook group is approaching 7k.
Not too shabby, right?
We’re going to do an official “group reboot” with a giveaway, some announcements, and what to expect.
We’ll be changing up the posting we do as well as offering a live hot seat twice a month.
We’re creating KPI’s for the group so we can measure the return of our time on running the group. The goal is to convert as many users to email subscribers who are engaged in our content.
If after 6 months we’re not seeing a return on our efforts we will re-evaluate the role the group plays in our marketing.
Business and site stuff
We haven’t talked in any seriousness about growing our team, but this is something I would love to do in 2021.
We have some support but it would be great to pull us out of the tasks that don’t require our expertise.
This may not be a typical position (we have virtual assistant support) at first as we get clear on this, but there are a handful of things that have been a little neglected.
Neither of us wants to grow this into a huge team, but it only makes sense to hire some support if we want to continue growing the brand.
Jodi has slowly been making changes to the website and I think she’d like to give it a bit of a facelift this year. It’s not a huge priority but my guess is that will happen sometime this year.
We’re also going to be moving to LaunchFlows from Cartflows (more on that later). This is what we use for funnels on the site as it was built specifically for WooCommerce.
Lastly, at some point we’re going to move off of Thinkific and have all of our courses and training in the site using LearnDash and a membership plugin. As someone who has used a boat load of platforms I can tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly.
This is simply a smart business decision based on two things: the cost of using a 3rd party platform and more control over how it looks and functions.
We’ve wanted to do this for a while but like everything else, we only have so many hours in the day.
I get that this my not sound “amazingly simple” (I blame that on the new CoSchedule Headline Studio)… but the truth is we’re not adding a ton of “new” products, strategies, or tasks.
We’re refining what has been working figuring out where we can improve what we’re already doing.
There will be some stand alone paid workshops and training but we’re not tying ourselves down to how and when those will happen. Some may be live, some may be just a workshop you can buy.
Hopefully the next couple of weeks will bring some much-needed rest for all of us. We’re ready to enjoy some down time and are looking forward to the New Year.