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Plan your 2021


Making new year’s resolutions is generally an overrated business, as we all know to our cost, looking back at our generally poor record of sticking to them. No? Just me then! However, taking stock at the beginning of the year does make sense, if only to lay down some structure to some good intentions for the year ahead. Although 2020 is now thankfully consigned to history, 2021, in early January, as the UK heads into another lockdown, is already showing precocious signs of being another unpredictable and disruptive year.

So, in the face of all that, and the prospect of yet more enforced time in the home/office, how best to at least set out a plan to write some material which will raise your profile, demonstrate your expertise and provide useful hints and tips for your target audience?

The answer is to start with modest ambitions and then to exceed them, rather than with bold and unrealistic plans which soon run into the sand and join all those other abandoned new year’s resolutions.  I’ve written previously about the value of using the twelve months of the year as a writing and planning structure, and right now, in early January 2021, is the perfect moment to use this constructively for the year ahead. As a modest but achievable target, think of the four seasons as four different themes to develop for your writing in 2021. This could be four different products/services you need to promote during the year by wrapping content around each one and posting as articles or blogs on a regular basis. It could be four different audiences you have identified as ones you want to develop in 2021. Or it could be four different broad issues you want to tackle and explore during the year. Or perhaps four different communication channels you wish to cultivate during the year; for example, here are four different ones: LinkedIn, your website’s blog, targeted Facebook business groups, and specific networking organisations.

Once you have your ‘fours’ identified, then move on to twelve: setting down your broad monthly activity. At this stage in your planning, don’t even think about the next two possible calendar numbers, 52 and 365. If you are not naturally in the habit of writing or producing any type of business communication ie video etc, then to set yourself a target of creating new content weekly or even daily is doomed to failure. Start modestly with an absolute minimum of 12 new pieces of writing. That’s 12 pieces which can be articles, blog posts, LinkedIn posts, networking presentations or a mixture of all of these.

Now, twelve pieces of content posted in twelve months isn’t going to hurtle you up the Google rankings for your sector or top the content contribution league tables which are increasingly being published by various Facebook business groups each month. But ask yourself this: how many pieces of content did you produce and post during 2020? The answer for 90% of business owners will be fewer than 12, so 12 will represent real progress.

The other good news is that, by starting in this modest way you are more likely to start to develop a taste for it and start to develop a more regular habit of posting. Three posts in Jan-March could well become six during the April-June quarter, and maybe by the time October-December arrives you will have surprised yourself and edged up to a seemingly unattainable hit-rate close to once a week. Set out to be pleasantly surprised rather than guiltily disappointed by your writing activity.

Feedback becomes the ultimate encouragement. If your social media article generates Likes and Comments, even if some of this is disagreement, then great, you have created a reaction, an interaction with your audience. So, faced, as we are, with at least a couple of months more lockdown, use some of that time wisely to generate profile-raising content for you and your business.

If you would like a copy of my simple 2021 blog post planning doc, then ping me a message, thanks.