We’re going to talk about content planning today, specifically for those instances where you have sort of something else coming up, some time off on your schedule. Honestly, any time that you need to pull back on content creation, that’s what I want to talk about today. We’re going to talk about content planning and time off. What got me thinking about this initially was we’re colliding into summer. I know that this particular summer, I would like a lot more beach days than we had last summer because we were quarantined last summer. I really want to have a ton more days on the beach this summer. That means wanting some extra space.
I was thinking through our summer schedule for the content in a little different way. It was interesting because what came up for me is I was realizing that this is actually something we’ve done in other cases for other bits of time off, whether it was because a client needed time off for some sort of family shift or change that was happening, be it dealing with a relative’s illness or welcoming a new child or whatever the thing may be, but they needed some time off for family thing, vacation, of course, sabbaticals. Sometimes, I need to have X amount of weeks so that I can pour my creativity into something else — a book project, launching a new program, a rebrand, whatever the case may be. That process is pretty much the same. It’s basically what does planning our content look like when we’re not necessarily wanting to create a whole lot. I want to go through that today.
The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to go way back and we’re going to talk about the questions when we used to do Backstage Live we asked these questions and we’re going to ask them again today. I’ve got a few extras, but these questions for me are the cornerstone, the absolute, pivotal, critical, most important, must-happen-first kind of step. Because if we don’t sit down and look at this information, nothing else is going to get a good answer. I need to know the answer to all of these questions.
What Is My Capacity?
First and foremost, I need to look at my capacity for the window of time we’re looking at… Maybe that’s the first question, what window of time are we looking at? For whatever window of time, you’re looking at, maybe it’s a quarter, maybe it’s just this month, maybe it’s for the rest of the year, whatever the case may be for you, over that period of time, how much capacity do you have to create new content?
I like to look at this because that’s going to give me a max number of new episodes I’m creating and of new pieces, I’m creating. Generally speaking, we’re going to want some fresh blood in there. We’re going to want something that really speaks to what’s happening. I need to know where’s my max out. What is my capacity? Is that zero, which is an acceptable answer? Is that fifty percent, I can do half the episodes I would normally do? Whatever it is for you.
For me, what I’m looking at is… I actually got pretty good capacity as long as I can batch, but batching has been rough for me this year. I don’t know why. It’s something I’m working on. I think it happens to all podcasters from time to time. It’s easy to deprioritize your show in favor of things like client work. I might be a little guilty of that on this side. I don’t want to count on batching, and so I’m going to say I’ve got fifty percent capacity as we go to the summer. Half the episodes will go out this summer. It can be new episodes, but I need half of them off my plate. I know if I’m talking about a quarter, talking about twelve weeks. That means six of those episodes can be new episodes. If we’re looking at Q3, which for me is summer — July, August, September— if we’re looking at that as our section of time of those twelve episodes that would go out, six of them are going to be new.
Establish Your Sales Goals
The next question is, great, in that same chunk of time, what am I hoping to sell? What are my sales goals? Are they a program? Are they one-to-one? I need to know the specifics of those sales goals. Again, I’m going to keep using this show and sort of our plan as an example. We really only sell the one thing, it’s podcast production services. For this one, I want to pair it with sort of a second question, which is “How do I sell that ser…” Like, “How do I sell this thing?” That’s going to really be more clear direction of what my call to actions will be, and honestly, even some of the questions. In knowing that I want to take some time off, but I still want to be getting sales goals, knowing my capacity is potentially going to be reduced, but knowing I still have these sales goals, I want to make sure. If I’m going to be trying to get people onto the phone with me, I need to be putting them someplace that they’re going to be getting good quality information before that.
For me, it might be in this period of time that I’m less focused on saying, “We’ve got space now. Reach out and book a call with me, blah, blah, blah,” doing that kind of promo. Instead, I want to be doing the kind of promo where I’m saying, “Get on our email list for XYZ information,” so that I can be providing value in that space, nurturing in that space, and more importantly, educating and training and doing the pre-sale work, so that when I get on calls, they’re going to be really high quality calls, where it is a gut check for both of us. This is what we want to do and now is the right time and really just sort of pinning down the details. That’s why I want to pull these two, “What am I selling?” and “How am I selling?” together. I think we’re really good example of this because, again, we really only sell the one thing. I mean, I could also put in their single sessions and stuff like that, but knowing I want to reduce my own time, I want to be able to be flexible with my time. Putting a ton of calls on my calendar is not super desirable. I’m driving people to a place where I can nurture them in a way that doesn’t require me to be at my desk at a reasonable time of day, looking not salty, like actually salty.
We always come back to who are we selling to?
The next piece I want to talk about… Again, goes right with this, and you have heard me beat this drum a thousand time, is who am I selling this to? Who do I want to be buying this from? Mid-year, for me, is always a good time to do a check-in with the ideal client. Mostly because in the summer is when I start planning my following year, so July, August. Part of the reason I want some extra space on my calendar. I will start planning 2022 for our agency. Now is a really good time for me to start thinking about ideal client stuff and who I want to be working with. Are who we are working with right now the people who we want to be working with? We have been incredibly fortunate this year — well, I say fortunate but also well-targeted — in bringing in super ideal clients. The people who we’re working with these days — and we’ve always been pretty lucky with this, but the people who we’re working with right now are absolute fits. I love, love, love, love, love. Could not be kindly enough of our clients at this chapter in the agency, especially considering the agency is still pretty young. This is why I revisited, though, as I want to maintain that. I want to be clear. Is there anything else we’ve learned in the sales calls we’ve had in these first four or five or six months of the year? What are the things that have come up over and over again?
A great example for us is… Again, this is why I like to think about this. Every single sales call I have closed in 2021, they have mentioned the episode we did of this show, where I talked about what it was like to work with Uncommonly More. What of the package options were, what it looked like, what the process was, every single one of them was in that podcast. That’s a really important thing for us to know about our ideal client. As we sat down to do this content plan for our late Q2, early Q3, we talked about that, and so we have used that information to make sure that we’re giving those kinds of episodes in times where we’re really promoting our services, where we’re really educating. This is what it looks like to work with us. This is what that opportunity is, because that’s obviously an important part of our ideal client’s decision-making process. That’s why this ideal client part of these questions is so critical.
Get Clear on When You Need the Leads
I also like to think about when am I selling. What is the exact sort of promo times? I like to think about this because if we have a client where we’ve got a very specific launch window, we want to know what do we need to put in front of that, and then what do we need to put on the other side of that? This is less the case for our show. Again, we sell the one thing. We’re always selling the one thing. There’s not an open date and a close date. The only time I run into that is when we’ve got a price increase coming up at the end of Q2. Our price is going to go up. Well, technically the very first day of Q3, July 1st, our prices are increasing for our production services. More on that in future episodes and if you’re on the email list, you already knew that. That is where we do have a… Cool, so when are we selling this? When I planned June content, that was heavily factored in, right? As we’re planning Q3 content, we know cool. Just be coming off a price increase. Is that going to factor in what we need to be delivering on the other side of that? This factors in much, much, much more heavily and much more regularly, if you’re somebody who has sordid programs or an open and close membership or a program you run annually and you sort of open at the same time. You got to know when you’re selling it, when your open day is, your close day is, all of those things.
The last piece of these questions are only answered if you answered all the questions I ran through before this. That is “What do they need to know first?” Before someone works with us, what do they need to know? Part of that was answered in the ideal client where I said every single client who has signed with us, who have all been perfect fits, listened to this episode before they got on the phone with me. Okay. They need to know what does the process look like? “What can I expect?” I can deliver that in the podcast. I can deliver that on emails. How can I go about delivering that in a way that makes sense? I go through and I think about what do they need to know. Other things that clients like to know? Our episodes like this one, where we talk about, for a lack of a less cliched way to say this, sort of the inside baseball of content planning and things like that. The strategy and work that goes behind it, where I sort of like open my brain and hope it makes sense to you. What kind of things do they need to know first? That’s going to be your episode topics.
Deciding On Your Content Topics
Now, after you’ve answered all of these questions and you’re looking at those episode topics, I don’t want you to think, “Oh, no. I’m recording these 12 episodes then?” No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Because we also establish that I only have the capacity to record six new episodes at the max, top limit, no more than it’s going to be six, right? I need to start with what already exists and say, “Great. What of these twelve questions, what of these twelve content ideas that I have here have I already created?” Maybe that’s sharing client case studies where we talked about what the process was like working with us, maybe that is talking through past how to episodes, maybe that is looking at content that exists inside of your membership programs, your training programs or your freebies.
Whatever it is, I want you to audit what you’ve already created and look at what of that already exists. This is one of the reasons that our project management software and the dashboard we put together for clients also includes a section that’s every episode we’ve released before and the thirty-day stats for that episode. So that when we’re going back and we’re auditing what we’re having or what we have, we’re not going through a website and hoping we pick out episodes that worked really well. We’re looking at topics and previous feedback in the form of downloads so that we can choose it based on topic and best performance. Look at what you’ve already got, look at what performed well and look at what answers the questions that you have listed there and fill those in first.
Since I’m looking to go, at most, 50:50, I’m going to start with the idea of can I get six, so that I can use every other one of these babies. Twice a month, we would have new episodes and twice a month, we would have rerun episodes. Cool, gangbusters, fantastic. I’ve just cut my workload in half. Almost always, I find more than what I will need and so I’ll go actually cool. Let’s do eight episodes that are re-airs and four episodes that are new. What spaces need to be filled? What things need to be updated?
For example, that episode where I’m talking about, what it’s like to work with us, that I know performs well, is not going to be relevant when our price increase goes up. It’s honestly not technically relevant right now because it doesn’t include some of the things we now offer inside of our packages like transcripts. But I’m waiting because I want to do it as part of the price increase. You’ll hear it in June. You’ll hear the updated version, but I know that’s not going to work in Q3 if I wanted to run something like that again. That needs to be one of my new episodes, a fresh version of this thing that I know is working. That’s why I want you to start with what already exists and then layer on what holes can be filled, what missing pieces need to be found in this puzzle. Cool?
One Clear Word of Warning on Preparing for Time Off
The last thing I want to leave you with is less part of this process and more a word of warning based on mistakes I’ve made before. I have learned this one a couple of times and I think I really know what now. I think. Go out further than you think you’ll need. When you’re planning content, specifically around a time where you need some extra space, whether it’s because you’re going to be in production on other creative projects, you need a time away for family or you’re traveling or whatever, give yourself longer than you think. I try to give myself fifty percent more time than I think.
If I’m planning to be out for two episodes and I need an extra or two episodes that I’ve got to have done, I will make sure I have four episodes in my buffer. If I’m usually two episodes ahead or four episodes ahead, now, I am four episodes ahead or six episodes ahead because I’m adding a little extra that I know I’m going to need later, right? Because inevitably something happens. You’ve got no mojo. I’ve come back sick. You need more time than you think you need to be off. You were creatively fried from shifting gears from your podcast and putting them into a program or some other creative endeavor, and now, you’re tapped. It’s not just that you’re like your recording mojo is off, but like you just don’t have any ideas, which happens also.
Plan for that. If you’re like, “Okay, cool. I’m taking six weeks off. I’m cutting my production from twelve to six.” Then, I’m going to go cool that I want us to plan for four months and I want us to have all of the stuff for four months ready to go or for five months ready to go. I want to make sure that I keep my buffer, whatever that is, on the other side. Because when you lose the buffer, that’s when this gets stressful. That’s when you feel like you’re in the hamster wheel, and it is the worst. It’s hard to be creative there. It’s hard to be valuable there. All right?
I’m going to get off my soapbox away. We’ll talk more about this next week, but I’d love to hear from you. When you look at your time away, are you going through these questions? If not, are you excited to go through these questions for next time? Reach out. Let me know. I would love to hear from you.
If you were looking for some support on this as we move into the summer, as you look ahead to the fall, as I sort of mentioned earlier, our prices are increasing July 1st. If you want to have a conversation, now is a really good time to have a conversation. We’re not going anywhere though, and the prices are not going up and insane. It’s going to be okay. When you’re ready, come talk to us, but now is a really good time. All right? All right. That’s all for today. I will talk to you next week.