Time Saving Tips, Ideas, and Tactics to Brainstorm Your Content


As one of the most important elements of online marketing success, content can consume vast amounts of time and energy. It’s not unusual for a business owner to spend several hours a day brainstorming, writing, and publishing their content.

1-timeWhile you can’t really eliminate your need for content, you can reduce the amount of time you spend on it. By embracing tips, tactics, and systems that support you and your business, it’s safe to say that you can cut your content time in half and still create the same great content you’ve been creating.

Your time is precious. By becoming more efficient and productive, you’re able to reallocate that time you saved on content to other profitable tasks. For example, if you’re a coach and you free up 5 hours a week, you can spend those five hours coaching clients and making money.

Of course, if you’re looking for a way to enjoy a shorter work week, you can use those five hours spending time with friends, family and enjoying personal pursuits. So, let’s get to it. The Speedy Content Publishing Tips are divided into the following sections:

  • Brainstorming – learn to brainstorm faster and more efficiently.
  • Writing – Yes, you can write more quickly and still create exceptional content.
  • Researching – Too many people waste precious time researching. Learn how to find what you need quickly and painlessly.
  • Organizing – Proven tips to organize your content for productivity and efficiency.
  • Publishing – You can even save time when you publish your content.

Let’s dive right in and start with what can be the most difficult part of the content process, brainstorming.

Do you have a regular content brainstorming session or do you simply let the ideas come to you? There’s no “right” way to brainstorm content. However, there are steps that you can take to make the process more efficient and also more effective.


#1 Be Prepared

Many busy entrepreneurs find that the best content ideas come to them when they’re not working. Maybe you’re at a family picnic or sitting in traffic. You’re thinking about your business and a brilliant idea comes to you.

If you’re not prepared to document the idea, chances are you’ll forget it by the time you get home. And let’s face it, it’s easy to believe you’ll remember the idea – after all, it’s a great one. However, most often the idea fades away.

One of the fastest ways to brainstorm content is to keep a running list of ideas. The ideas may not be complete thoughts, but the concept can help you brainstorm content when it’s time to sit down and get to work.

2-documentSo how do you prepare to capture every content idea when it comes to you?

  • Notebook – yep, good old fashioned pen and paper still work
  • Phone – even a simple note-taking application can be useful
  • Voice mail- leave yourself a voice mail if you don’t have an opportunity to write down  your idea
  • Email – send yourself an email. That way, it’s waiting for you when you get back to your home office.

#2 Monthly or Weekly Ideas Session

Do you find that there is a particular day of the week or the month where you’re usually motivated and inspired? For example, after the weekend, many entrepreneurs are ready to get back to work. Monday and Tuesday are often exciting and motivating days. By the end of the week things can wind down. Identify your best time to brainstorm and capitalize on your energy by scheduling a brainstorming session.

When brainstorming:

  • Set Aside A Moderate Amount Of Time. An hour or two is probably long enough to brainstorm.  Your mind will start to wander and you’ll stop being productive. Don’t worry, once you’ve started the creative process, more ideas will come to you throughout your day.
  • 3-brainstormGo To An Inspiring Location To Brainstorm. Imagine trying to brainstorm content ideas as children are running circles around you as you sit at the kitchen table. Not very productive.

Instead, find a peaceful place where you feel inspired. Put on some music if it’s not distracting; kick your feet back and begin thinking about the various types of content you can create to help your audience.

  • Review Analytics. Great ideas are often inspired by past successes. Look at the content that received the best comments, links, and feedback. Review your analytics to find your most popular articles or posts and brainstorm more ideas on the topics.
  • Use Creativity Tools. There are many different brainstorming tools to consider. For example, mind mapping is quite popular. You can also use a vision board or even creative prompts. You can create your own brainstorming tools, too. For example, you might create a series of flash cards that ask questions like: What problem is my ideal customer facing today?
  • Identify Inspiration. Are there certain blogs, magazines, or websites that frequently inspire you? If so, organize them into a folder on your search engine toolbar. Create a folder to make them easy to access. And yes, your competition may be a key source of content inspiration.


#3 Broaden Your Horizons

One of the reasons it can become tricky to brainstorm ideas is because people get stuck in a rut. They create the same type of content over and over again. Remember you can create:

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Lists
  • Tips
  • Content series
  • Worksheets
  • Editorials
  • Q&A
  • Interviews
  • Info graphics
  • How To articles
  • Reviews

And much more. As you’re struggling to come up with ideas, try to create ideas for many different formats. You may find that a “tips” article fits nicely with an interview and create a sense of cohesion and flow on your blog or website.

Brainstorming can often be a frustrating process. Embrace systems and tools that support you to succeed. Additionally, if you find you’re having a tough time coming up with ideas, take a break or consider outsourcing the topic idea research for a month or two. You may simply need to step back and look at your audience and niche from a fresh perspective.

So once you have your list of content ideas and topics, it’s time to sit down and start creating the content. Let’s take a look at a few proven methods for enjoying productive writing sessions.

Are You Losing Clients? Check if You Are making These 10 Client Management Mistakes

Client management is a key skill that every business consultant, every service provider and every freelancer needs to learn and master. With good client management, you’ll be able to keep your clients coming back time and again with more and more paying work. With poor client management, you’ll perpetually have to keep trying to market yourself, as your previous clients just aren’t going to want to work with you again. Client management is all about having great communication and making sure your client is happy every step of the way. This sounds simple, but there are a lot of unexpected potential pitfalls. Here are the top 10 client management mistakes many marketers make.

Mistake #1: Letting Your Inbox Pile Up

1-Overflowing-Inbox Letting your inbox pile up with email after email is a client management disaster waiting to happen. It’s not just client emails either: If your email is full to the brim, chances are sooner or later a client email is going to get lost in there somewhere. Learn to manage your inbox. Try to get your inbox down to zero emails at the end of every day. Sort action emails into a task planner, sort reference and informational emails into reference folders and delete any emails you don’t truly need. Make sure you aren’t psychologically crowding yourself by having dozens or hundreds of emails in your inbox.

Mistake #2: Not Responding Within 24 Hours


Replying quickly to clients not only shows them that you care about them and their business; it’s also a signal to your professionalism. True professionals always reply to emails and always do so in a timely manner. If you don’t get back to potential clients within 24 hours, there’s a good chance they’ll contact another service provider in the meantime. Or they might simply get frustrated and not hire you. Existing clients will be less likely to order from you again as well. If you find yourself having trouble with getting back to client emails in a timely manner, first clean out your inbox as explained above. Then set a time of 30 to 60 minutes a day in the evening to get back to client emails. Any quick emails you get throughout the day you can just respond to on the spot, but the really tough emails must be responded to by evening.

Mistake #3: Being Late on Projects

mistake Never, ever be late on projects. It’s much better to give a deadline you can meet, even if it’s a slower one, than not hit your deadline. One of the things that new clients are going to be watching like a hawk is your delivery time. If you say you’ll have it done by a week and it’s not done for a week and two days, they’re going to assume that’s what it’s going to be like working with you going forward. On the other hand, if the project is delivered early, they’ll be quite impressed. They’ll likely want to work with you again. Pay attention to your own work habit and try to get a sense for how much work you can get done in a day’s time. Be slightly conservative when giving clients your delivery times.

Mistake #4: Not Conveying Warmth


Don’t just respond to your clients’ technical questions. Don’t be standoffish when you’re responding to clients. Try to also add a dash of warmth to your emails. It could be as simple as something like “I’m looking forward to working with you” or “I really like the project you’re working on. As you work with your client more, try to get to know them a little bit. Build a personal connection with them. Of course your relationship is a professional one first and foremost, but it really helps to get to know your clients a little bit.

Mistake #5: Being Too Stingy


Give your clients a little bit of leeway. Don’t be stingy about the service you deliver. For example, if you’re a marketing consultant and they hired you for an hour, you don’t have to cut the session off right at 60 minutes if you’re in the middle of explaining something. First and foremost, have your attention on helping your client. If you go over by 3 or 5 minutes, that’s okay. If you’re a freelance writer and your client paid for a 1,000 word article, don’t cut it off at 1,000 even if you’re in the middle of a thought. Give your client the extra few words to help really round off the piece. Don’t be stingy.

Mistake #6: Not Asking for Referrals


Referrals are an integral part of any service provider’s business. If you have a great referral system, you’re going to have no trouble building and growing your practice. On the other hand, if you aren’t getting your past clients to refer you to new clients, chances are you’re always going to have trouble marketing your business. Getting referrals isn’t hard. Just ask your past clients if they know anyone else who could benefit from your services. If you did a good job for them, there’s a good chance that they would. If you don’t want to directly ask for your clients to send you referrals, at least ask them for a testimonial. That way you can use your past successes to help convince new customers to try your service.

Mistake #7: Not Managing Perceived Value


There’s a big difference between the value a client actually receives and the value they perceived that they received. This is an especially important distinction in arenas where results aren’t as clear cut. For example, let’s say you’re a health and wellness coach. You work with a client for six months. Over the six months, your client successfully changed her diet to something a lot healthier, takes up yoga twice a week and loses 20 lbs. Yet your client still looks in the mirror everyday and doesn’t quite feel like she’s meeting her goals yet. In reality, she’s come a long way. Without her realizing it, her goals and standards have actually changed throughout six months. The person she was when she started her coaching with you would have been thrilled to be the person she is today. But the person she is today isn’t satisfied with her results. In this case, you’ve actually delivered real value – But the client might not perceive it as having received value. There are tons of examples like these of service providers who deliver a service, without the client really realizing how much value they got. You have to manage your clients’ perception of how much value they received. Do this by setting measurable metrics in the beginning for success. Do it by telling your client about their victories throughout your sessions. Show your clients how much value they’re getting by regularly pointing it out. This helps make sure your clients stay one and helps make sure they’re happy. It also helps with referrals.

Mistake #8: Letting the Client Drive


Providers who let the client completely take the wheel are ultimately not doing their client justice. For instance, if you’re a graphic designer and your client comes in saying they want brown, blue and yellow on their logo – All conflicting colors – If you say yes, you’re not helping your client. Yes, it’s important to give your client what they want. But often time’s they’re just educated enough to make an informed decision about how something should be done. Instead of letting the client take the wheel in these situations, aim to educate them. Talk them through the colors. Talk them through how you’d approach it. Help educate them about how to make their choice a lot better. Don’t just blindly to everything your client asks you to do, even if it’s not in their best interest.

Mistake #9: Poorly Managing Dissatisfaction


At some point in your career, you’re going to have a client dissatisfied with you. It might be because you misunderstood something they wanted. It might be because something came up and you were late on their order. Maybe you forgot to hit send on a client email. If your client is dissatisfied for any reason, one of two things can happen. You can lose the client, or you can really impress the client. How you handle the issue is what really makes the difference. The wrong way to handle it is to ignore it, to fight the client or to blame the client. This only causes alienation and will probably lose you your client’s respect. On the other hand, the right way to handle it is to apologize, to take responsibility and to go out of your way to fix it. Re-do the work, offer a refund or make it right by doing whatever it takes. If your client sees that you’re sincere, you have a good chance of winning their business again in the future.

Mistake #10: Doing More Talking Than Listening


This is an extremely common mistake, especially among service providers that meet face to face with clients. Service providers have a tendency to talk and talk and talk. They want to tell clients what’s great about their service, about all the different skills they bring to the table, about all the different options they can help with, about how they think the client should run their project. But that’s not what the client cares about. The client cares about their needs. They care about their problems. They want to implement their design ideas. If you’re not listening to what your client needs, they’re not going to trust you to help them. After all, how could you? You don’t even know what they really want. The best way to build trust with clients isn’t to talk about yourself, your skills or your vision. It’s to listen. Listen to what they want, listen to their concerns, listen to how they want things to be done. If you have ideas or suggestions, bring it up only once there’s a strong sense that you really understand where they’re coming from. The bottom line: Listen more than you talk in client meetings.

These are some of the most common client management mistakes that people make. Avoiding these mistakes will help you build long term client relationships that bring you business time and time again.

What to Include in Your Social Media Plan

socialmediaYour social media plan is like the rails that your social media train runs on. Without the rails, the train could still move quickly – But it would just run everywhere, and quite possibly be dangerous. The same goes for social media.

You can spend a lot of time on social media without actually getting much done. You can even damage your brand by spending too much frivolous time on social media. On the flip side, with a strong social media plan, social media can be an incredibly powerful tool for building your brand and your following.

So what should you include in your social media plan?

Core Goals and Metrics to Track

To start with, you should have your core goals and your core metrics figured out right at the very beginning.

Begin with your goals. What do you want to use social media for? Are you trying to meet JV partners? Are you trying to land speaking engagements? Are you trying to expose your brand to more people? Are you trying to build up your follower count? Are you trying to drive traffic to your site and get actual buyers?

The metrics you’d track stem directly from your goals. For example, if you’re trying to build up your follower count, you might track virality and new followers per day as your core metrics. On the other hand, if you’re trying to make sales, visitors to your website might be your most important metric.

You can’t have a good social media plan without clear goals. Start your planning by figuring out what your goals are, then pick your core metrics to track.


What Social Media Sites You Plan to Cover

Your plan should cover exactly which social networks you plan to be on. The networks you use depend mostly on who you’re trying to reach.

Let’s say you’re trying to land more speaking gigs. In this case, being on Facebook might not be the best way to reach your target audience. Instead, getting on LinkedIn is probably your best avenue, followed by Twitter.

Don’t neglect smaller social networks either. For reaching an early adopter crowd, Google+ could be a very viable option. Smaller communities might have their own social networks setup on Ning (as shown below).

The long and short of it is this: Go where your audience is.


track_timeBreakdown of How to Spend Your Time

Your plan should have a detailed outline of how you plan to spend your time. For example, your plan might look something like this:

Monday: 30 Minutes Scheduling Facebook Posts, 30 Minutes Scheduling Twitter Tweets
Tuesday: 30 Minutes Replying to Messages, 30 Minutes Posting on LinkedIn Q&A
Wednesday: 60 Minutes Post on Forums, Comment on Blogs
Thursday: Repeat Monday
Friday: Repeat Tuesday

Try to segment your activities into different “buckets.” When your time in one bucket runs out, move on. Don’t let yourself get sucked into one thing for too long.

List of Essential Actions

What are the most important things you have to get done every week?

If you’re trying to land speaking gigs, then an essential action should be to respond to any conference organizer within 3 business hours. It doesn’t matter what else you’re doing, this takes precedence.

If you’re trying to build a social media following, your essential action might be not missing a post. You have a schedule and you stick to it rigidly. If something might detract you from hitting your posting deadline, those things have to wait.

Having a list of your essential actions can help you prioritize tasks in a busy work environment.

A Plan for Outreach & Connection Building

Two things you should have as part of your plan are building your audience and deepening your connection with your community.

Your outreach strategy should be, again, tailored to your goals. If you’re trying to reach influencers, you might comment on their blogs for several weeks before shooting them a direct Twitter message. If you’re trying to build a Facebook audience, your strategy might involve putting out innovative content every month.

As for building connections, the most important thing to realize on social media is the value of a single person. It’s easy to get lost in the statistics and the crowd of a thousand likes. But often time’s your biggest breakthroughs – PR7 links, JV opportunities, speaking gigs, etc – Will come from the most unexpected places.

Whenever you can, reach out and get in touch with people one on one. Acknowledge your fans and build real connections.

Adjust Your Plan When Needed

Don’t treat your plan as something that’s set in stone. Treat it as something that’s organic. Your plan should grow as you grow and as your audience grows.

Figure out what’s working and what isn’t about your social media plan, then adjust your plan accordingly. Treat your plan as a living document. Use it as a tool to keep yourself and your company on track as you head towards your goals.