Business Marketing: How to Create and Execute an Impressive Content Plan | Maggie Stara | Skillshare

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Business Marketing: How to Create and Execute an Impressive Content Plan

teacher avatar Maggie Stara, Digital Marketer & Top Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

16 Lessons (2h 20m)
    • 1. Welcome!

      2:07
    • 2. Getting Started & Class Project

      3:37
    • 3. The Role of Business Objectives

      6:42
    • 4. Identify Your Content Pillars

      14:21
    • 5. Get Your Team Involved

      6:15
    • 6. Secret Sauce of Creativity

      10:47
    • 7. Get Your Consumers Involved

      10:00
    • 8. When to Create

      9:49
    • 9. When to Curate

      10:09
    • 10. Get Endless Ideas

      12:00
    • 11. Construct a Content Plan

      11:56
    • 12. Assign Tasks and Deadlines

      11:49
    • 13. Automate Your Publishing Process

      12:40
    • 14. Structure and Systems

      10:49
    • 15. Class Project

      5:34
    • 16. Thank You!

      1:47
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About This Class

Are you looking to create an impressive, impact-driven, and achievable content plan for your business? One that is inspired by quality over quantity, and features the unique stories of your customers and the skills of your amazing team? Then welcome - this class is just for you!

I hope you’re ready to take action on your content plan and follow along with me using the tools I’ll be providing you with. Because if so, by the end of the class you can expect to have mastered how to:

  • Work backward from your wider business objectives 
  • Identify the content pillars that will help you drive your content strategy
  • Feature the stories of your customers and team members to build your ‘know, like, and trust’ factor online
  • Plan a day full of creative flow for your team that allows everyone to feel valued and heard and helps you create an epic content plan for the upcoming quarter
  • Know when it’s time to create original content and when to curate from other sources to free up some of your creative time
  • Tap into some of my favourite online tools and resources for giving you endless content ideas for your business
  • Construct your impact-driven content plan and assign tasks and deadlines to your team to keep you on track
  • Automate your publishing process and develop effective systems to make sure you never feel overwhelmed by this process ever again!

And of course, if you have any questions throughout the class, please don’t hesitate to pop into the discussions section and ask away! I’ll be happy to support you in whatever way I can.

This is one of my favourite topics within the marketing world and I can’t wait to get started so thank you so much for being here and I will see you in class!

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Meet Your Teacher

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Maggie Stara

Digital Marketer & Top Teacher

Top Teacher

Hey you, I’m Maggie. I'm a digital marketer and your creative instructor!

Back in 2016 I was first introduced to the world of social media marketing. I was SO excited about the possibility of working online and being my own boss but I was really struggling with the lack of honest, authentic, and high-quality information out there for beginners. So after learning the ropes the hard way and becoming a successful freelancer, I set out to help make things easier for creative overachievers like myself.

So, I went ahead and created everything with you in mind.

My classes are made by someone who knows exactly how intimidating it can be to be trying to master 20 tools at once and stay on top of constant updates with each of them. And my hope is to take away so... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Welcome!: Content planning sounds so simple, but it can be a pretty tricky thing to master in your business and that's because on the one hand, it's an incredibly creative process where you're continuously thinking outside of the box about new, amazing things your audience is going to love. And on the other hand, there has to be a lot of structure to this process going on behind the scenes in order for you to have the kind of real impact you want to have on your wider business goals. Those two worlds don't always play together very well, which is why we often end up feeling really overwhelmed by this whole process. But don't worry, together, we've got this! If this is our first time virtually meeting, my name is Maggie Stara. I'm a digital marketing strategist and my mission with this class in particular is to help you create an awesome content plan that is really achievable for you to execute on while still having that great impact on your wider business objectives. Together, we'll begin by looking at why content is so important to your business objectives and the different themes you can create content around for your target audience. We'll then get outside of the box a little bit by talking about how to feature the stories of the people behind your business, as well as the stories of your customers in your content, we'll be identifying your place of impact in terms of which of your content areas are most likely to move the needle in your business and how you can base your content plan around this to help you fill out your content calendar. We'll then talk about when you should be creating original content versus curating content from reputable sources in your industry and how to find the right places to share content from. Finally, I'm going to be taking you through the importance of having a structure in place for your content planning process, as well as my recommendations for your workflow so that you can make sure you keep killing it with your content consistency for months and years to come and never have to feel overwhelmed by this whole process ever again. I'm going to be providing you with all the resources you're going to need throughout this class so you can follow along and now if you're ready to create an epic content plan for your business, then I'm super excited to get going and I can't wait to see you in class! 2. Getting Started & Class Project: Those of you who have learned from me in the past will know that I'm not a naturally structured kind of human, I'm more of a, let's get consumed by this amazing creative idea I have just had and forget that the outside world exists kind of human. But as it turns out, that is not really a good thing when you're working in-house with a large team and lots of moving parts or in an agency when there's even more moving parts, so I've had to train myself to really love the planning process and think of fun and creative ways to stick to that plan when my brain really just wants to derail the whole operation. Because let's face it, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. In this class we're going to be planning to succeed instead, by thinking about how to best use our time and resources in our content planning process. Because in my experience, the reason that people don't have a solid content plan and a filled out editorial calendar in place is because they sit down to actually do this thing and plan this all out, and then they think about all the different things that could go into this and they freeze. Because once upon a time, this was about maybe having a blog and writing a blog post and sharing that blog post with your newsletter subscribers, but now there's maybe that blog post but there's also a podcast and, maybe you have a YouTube channel, and you have LinkedIn, and you've got Pinterest, and TikTok, and everything else and by thinking about everything you could possibly do with your content you just freeze and end up doing nothing instead. That's one side of it. The other side is that maybe you actually do have the resources to pull all of that off and have content going out on all of these different platforms, which if that's your case, then amazing that is a great place to be. But a lot of the time, even in that case, a lot of people look back on the last three months of all it's amazing content that's gone out on their social media profiles and on their blog and their podcasts episodes, and they realize that actually in those different pieces of content weren't as interconnected as they could have been, because maybe there really wasn't a plan as such, it was just more of an ad hoc let's get content out there strategy. These are the two major pitfalls that I see people making when it comes to their content plan. No matter where you sit on that extreme pendulum of content or maybe you're somewhere in the middle, I just really want to encourage you to think really critically about if you were to erase your content from existence and you were starting from scratch today, how would you approach it? Where's your time best spent and where are you most likely going to have the impact when it comes to your content? At the end, we'll also talk about your class project, which would be to share with me a little bit about your business, your goals, and where your content efforts are going to be focused in order to have the most impact on growing your business and achieving your goals. Of course, if you have any questions throughout the class or you just want to brainstorm something with me, come and hang out with me in the discussion section of the class and I'll be able to help you out a little bit more one-on-one there. Now make sure to go ahead and download your class guide from the Projects and Resources tab with the class, because that is where you'll find all the resources, and tips, and tools, and everything else that we're going to be using and talking about throughout the class. Make sure to download that before you head into the next lesson and I'll see you there. 3. The Role of Business Objectives: As we go into this lesson, I want to encourage you to really think about what you're hoping to achieve with your content. But before I even think about what you are wanting to create, think about why you actually want to create anything at all. What's the objective there? For example, the goal could be to get more leads, or it could be to grow sales of a new product range, or maybe it could also be to grow community engagement and hike people up for the launch of a new membership community you've got going on. No matter what your goals are, it's important for you to keep in mind that these can change quarter to quarter or even months to month. Let's say your business is on sale cycles and in January is when your contracts typically renew, so your content plan during that month has to be laser-focused on retention of existing customers. Whereas maybe December, you're focus is on attracting new customers to sign on for the new year. In which case, your content plan that month is probably going to be a little bit holiday focused and very heavily focused on attracting new customers in that case. Always be thinking about why you're creating your content and how your content can really fit into what is happening within the business as a whole. Now if you're not quite sure how to work backwards from your company objectives like this, make sure to check out my social media strategy class here on Skillshare, where we dive into that a lot more. But for our purposes here at this stage, the easiest way to do this is just to ask, what is the business hoping to achieve? What should our content goals be as they pertain to our wider business objectives? Where should we focus our efforts to meet these goals? To make this really simple on ourselves, we're only going to be creating a rough content plan for the upcoming quarter or the next three months and a more detailed content plan just for the following month, because really big part of this and I'm going to keep telling you this over and over again, so don't get sick of it yet, but the really big part of this is going to be to really make things very achievable for yourself so that you don't overwhelm yourself by doing too much too quickly. Within your class guide, you will find access to this entire spreadsheet, which is largely what we're going to be using throughout the whole class. Make sure to go ahead and get your own copy into your own Google Drive by using the link inside of your class guide, which once again, if you haven't downloaded it yet, it's attached and also hyperlinked in the projects and resources section of the class. Now within the Content Foundation section of this spreadsheet, you'll be able to identify your platform to focus, your content goals, your platform-specific goals and everything else that's going to allow you to have a really solid foundation for moving forward with your content plan. This is something you could update quarter to quarter, or you may choose to duplicate this entire spreadsheet every quarter before making adjustments, which will allow you to have a historical backlog of your past content foundations here as well. Just using myself here as an example, I'll set my quarterly wider business goal as wanting to drive awareness of my Skillshare classes. Then my related content goals might be to increase traffic to my classes, increase student numbers, and increase student engagement. At this stage is just very rough content goals, and then I would get very specific with how each of my platform just going to contribute to me achieving these goals in a really measurable way. It start by identifying the platforms that I really want to focus on. These are going to be 1,2,3 platforms that I want to focus all my effort on over this given time period, which for me would be YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram, and maybe also my newsletter and my email marketing efforts, which would almost be like an adjacent block form of interest. We'll talk more about how to identify which platforms you should focus on based on your specific goals in a later lesson. If you're not sure what to select at this stage, don't worry, you can always come back to this part of your spreadsheet and of course, also customize this based on your own business. If you have a podcast, you have a live interview series or anything else that I haven't included in here, just feel free to go ahead and delete things, add things, and do whatever else makes the most sense for you. For me, I'll only be focusing on these platforms and then I might also have a bit of a maintenance mode on my other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, where it's not a priority for me to post regularly throughout the month on these, but I could still just maintain my presence there within a few, maybe curated post or articles I want to share from reputable sources that would add value to my audience. I will also share my YouTube video as a blog post. That wouldn't necessarily be original content there, but it would also give my video a bit more visibility. The goal of this stage is just for you to understand that your content plan should be driven by outcomes and impact and should also focus on quality over quantity. With that in mind, let's set some platform-specific goals that are really aligned with my content goal and my water business goal. On YouTube, that might be to increase the click-through rate on class links in my YouTube descriptions by 10 percent. With Pinterest, it might be to increase the number of pins saves by five percent, and with Instagram, it might be all about engagement, in which case, I would maybe increase the number of students EMs by two per week as an example. Even though it's not a huge focus area for me, I might also set a goal for my newsletter. To increase my link, put grades in my emails by 1.5 percent. The key here is just to understand that your goals for each platform might be totally different because often people will have this big shotgun approach to their content and have the same strategy for every platform, but each of these platforms is totally unique, so your strategy for each of them should be very unique as well to the needs of that platform, but also to the audience that hangs out there. People on YouTube will likely discover you through research and might even watch a 30, 40 minute tutorial on something if it solves their problems. But people on Instagram, have the attention span of a goldfish. You need to give them bite-sized pieces of information and information that's aimed at engaging with your existing audience as well. Go ahead and fill out your own spreadsheet, and again, if you're not sure what to focus on yet, that's fine, you can always come back to this. Also, just below here, you'll also see a few columns for identifying your customer avatars and their pain points and the solutions you provide to these. Now we're not going to go into this too much in this class. If you do need some guidance on this, I've provided you with some resources in your class guide that will help you fill this out. Now in the next lesson, we'll get into the fun of identifying your content pillars. I'll see you there. 4. Identify Your Content Pillars: Now that we know a little bit about what we're working towards, it's time for us to think about some content themes that you can tailor your content around that's going to really help you shortcut the actual time that it takes to create your content. I should mention that this is going to look quite different depending on your given business model. Make sure that you're catering this to your specific unique business needs and the needs of your audience. For example, a brand like Target is pretty much solely focused on promotional content, where they might throw in a little bit of education around trending styles and maybe some seasonal content, but it's very heavy on their actual products and that's just because they've developed this brand recognition space where they can get away with that. But I would really encourage you to always think about how you can tailor this to your needs of your audience and not just create promotional content, especially if you're still building your reputation in your space. I want to give you a really good example of how a brand here in Australia does this, even though they're technically a product-based brand, but their content is catered to very different needs of their different audiences as well. The brand is called Bunnings and they're a big hardware store here in Australia. If you are in North America, it would be the equivalent of like a Home Depot where they've got different audience personas that we're going to talk about and how they cater to their different needs in different ways with their different content pillars. Here are some things that Bunnings do really well with their content on and off of social media, but I'm going to be using Instagram just to demonstrate a few things I've seen them do really well that I think you guys can use as inspiration. First of all, they do a really good job of promoting their customers and letting their customers then promote their products and the things that they have in store. They also write really helpful and informative articles that then feature their products and they do this through their stories, and through their magazine, and on their website, but again, largely featuring customer stories and talking about how their customers have really succeeded with the help of their products and the support of their team. They also share in-depth stories and content that made people really emotionally connect with their brand on a much deeper human level as opposed to just connecting with their products. They do this by having a separate account for dogs at Bunnings, so people can actually share pictures of their pets as they're shopping. But they also really do event as a job of featuring the behind the scenes of people's DIY projects and they paint a really vivid picture of what your life could be like with their help. Lastly, something they do really well is that they never hire actors for any of their promotional materials. They make a point of actually featuring the stories and the expertise of their floor staff over managers, and they feature people of all different ages and backgrounds in their promotional materials. It's largely unfiltered DIY advice from real people, which is so great. My partner Nick and I have recently bought our first house here in Brisbane in Australia. We've taken about five trips a week to Bunnings without having any idea of what we're looking for, so I have a real intimate knowledge of what their target customer pain points are because I am one. I thought I would use them as a really good example of a business that's very different to my own and then using my own business as another example just to give you guys some diversity in what you could do with your content. Let's take a look at how their content pillars might be divided and how they then cater to these with the content they put out there on their website and on social media. For their business, planning out their content pillars might look something like this. They would start by identifying who their customers might be and what their pain points might be. Again, I'm guessing on this guys, so if I look very different for them internally within their own marketing team, this is just something that I think makes sense with the content that they're putting out there and what I know about them as a brand. We've got the first customer, let's call her Mags, who does not know anything about where to begin with renovating or creating something from scratch, which tools to get, asking for help without being met with judgment due to inexperience. All of these are major pain points for Mags. In there is customer 2, we're going to call her Janice, who is a knowledgeable, handy homeowner looking for a really good deal on tools and products that she needs for her DIY stuff. Customer 3 is Scott, who is a professional tradesperson looking for quick and affordable access to building supplies. Then if we're looking at the solutions for our different customers, for Mags, it would be beginner-friendly guides and really supportive and well-trained and friendly staff who are going to answer her many questions as she is looking for all the different things that she needs and products for every different price point, which is really critical as well when you're first starting out and don't know what to buy. Solutions for Janice would be things like their lowest price guarantee, different options for every need and price point similar to what the solution would be for Mags, easy returns in case something doesn't quite fit, and ability to also rent a bigger truck on-site for an affordable hourly fee to take bigger items home in case she doesn't have a car that can accommodate those items. Solutions for Scott would be having a separate store entrance for tradies for easy access and dedicated staff in the trades area who can really advise him in very detailed format about the best supplies to get for a specific jobs that he's doing. With these pain points and the solutions that they provide to those pain points in mind, they could then create these water content pillars that they would really develop their actual content around, starting with obviously customer stories, which is a really big one for them and featuring their customers and how they're using their products and services. Maybe they would go down the path of community engagements, so they've got the dogs at Bunnings account where they can feature some quite quirky and fun images of people bringing their dogs to Bunnings. They also have a workshop community Instagram account where they can really dive a little bit deeper into this area where people can share their project and they've got a dedicated website to that as well. Then their third pillar could be around the content of education, where they have all of this DIY advice categorized by home improvement and different categories there where they can share more in-depth blog post on their website about how to solve common problems that people have with their homes and how to upgrade your space to make it more functional for your needs, those kind of things. Normally I would really encourage you guys to think of different ways you can create non-promotional content, but I know it's not as straightforward with product-based brands as it is with educational brands or service-based brands like my own. I did want to just give you guys a little bit of an idea of how you can still do this in a way that's still promotional, but helpful. For example, I know I have a lot of plants in this room, but historically I have not been the best plant parent. I was looking for plants that are really hard to kill, because I wanted to start off with the ones that are the easiest to take care of before moving on to the harder plants, probably the pretty ones. But I was really just not knowing where to begin with this. Bindings have some really good examples of plants that do well in shade, plants that do well with not being watered for two weeks, in case you forget that you have plants and go on holiday, which is something I've been known to do. They have a collection of resources for people who are looking for answers to these questions like myself, which then point people to the plants that they actually sell. You can go all right, cool, this plant will do well in my current environment, and in the current time commitment I'm willing to give this plant, and hey, I can buy it at this store at this time. That's a really good way to do a really soft cell that's still educational, informational, and helpful. Hopefully, you're starting to see how some of these content themes are really easy for you to then cater your content around, which is something we're not covering yet in this lesson and we'll cover a little bit later on. But hopefully you're starting to get a little bit of clarity of where your own content themes might come into play. Now, let's jump into our spreadsheet and actually jot some of this stuff down so you'll be able to use it later on when we talk about your content creation. Once again, just within the Content Foundations tab over your spreadsheet, you're going to find this Content Pillar section, and yours will be blank, and it will really only have some examples of what these pillars might be. Yours might be totally different. I've already filled mine out just so we can talk about them a little bit in more detail, and so I can give you some ideas for what you could do with this. This part is definitely optional, it's something I do within my own business, it's not something I've really seen other people do. If they are, I'm not sure about it, but it's really helped me to make sure that I'm not always creating content that is promotional, and likewise that I'm actually creating enough promotional content so that I'm not just creating content for the sake of creating it, but it actually has a purpose. My system for making sure that that happens, is to have direct and indirect topics within each of my content pillars. What that means as you'll see in this definition for me anyways, is that my direct topics are ones that can directly promote my paid offers or have aligned paid offers that solves these problems for my audience. Indirect topics are ones within that content pillar that I don't have a paid offer for, but are still really valuable to my audience. They solve their pain points. I am just not the person who's going to solve that for them, not through a paid effort anyways. That's still really valuable. But this allows me to have a really good balance between stuff, that's promotional and stuff that's just helpful. Just as an example, I would have an Education Content Pillar, an Expertise and Support Content Pillar, and a Motivation and Mental Health Content Pillar. I would say three is a bare minimum to have, but you can have lots more, and I'm going to show you an example of a brand that has lots more than this. Just so you can get the other extreme of this. But I would say three is that minimum, that sweet spot, that still allows you to have a really good diversity in your content. Within the Education Content Pillars, some direct topics that I could talk about and create content around would be social media marketing, marketing funnels, mastering Canvas. All of which I have classes around that I could then point people to, whereas I could still educate people about things like TikTok and LinkedIn. But I just wouldn't necessarily be able to say, hey, go check out my class on this topic because I don't currently have one. Again, that's okay because it's still valuable to my audience, because these might be platforms that are really relevant to them and they want to learn more about it, and they might not mind that I don't have this elaborate course on the topic because they're happy to just learn what's new in these worlds. Same with expertise and support, which is more about thought leadership and positioning me as an expert in my field and also supporting my students. Direct topics I could talk about there would be freelancing, invoicing, structuring proposals, which I then have a solution to within my social media marketing class. But then there are other topics that I'm really confident in being a thought later on, but I don't necessarily have a class associated with it. That would be things like course creation, because obviously I've developed a lot of courses, so I'd be very happy to talk to somebody about that, and share my opinions and add value to that conversation, but it's not something that I currently have an existing class around where I could lead them down a path of becoming a customer. For your business, feel free to bundle these into just one column. If you don't think this makes the most sense for you and your business, it's something that's really helped me understand how to categorize my stuff to make sure that I'm on track with my goals. In terms of not being too promotional, but being promotional enough that my business is still running. But if it's not relevant to you, feel free to delete it. Later when we talk about structure and systems, you'll start to see how this can get out of hand if you don't have really organized systems in place for your content pillars and your content categories. But this is a real interesting article that I've linked to you guys to, where a digital marketer has analyzed the Harvard Business Review online presence to determine where their content is going out. This is absolute opposite extreme, where they found that in the month of January, this is how much stuff went live on their four major platforms and that content was categorized into 152 primary categories, which were then organized into 17 macro categories, or those would be the content pillars. You can start to see that if you really want to expand this out, you absolutely can. You just have to be hyper organized in how you actually categorize your content and making sure that there is a system in place to pull something like this off. Obviously, this is not going to be relevant to most of us, humans, who don't just live and breathe for our content, or don't have large teams to pull something like this off. But it's a really interesting read and it's a really good sense of how really big companies do this, where they can continuously pump out content around 152 topics that are within 17 different macro categories or content pillars. I'd encourage you to check that out, but as always, start small, lead with impact, make sure everything works correctly, and then expand out once you're ready. 5. Get Your Team Involved: At this point, we've identified our content pillars and we know the general themes that we want to create our content around. Over the following few lessons, I wanted to talk about additional things I want you to really consider in your content planning process that have to do with the humans behind the scenes, all of your brand, and then the humans on the receiving end of your content, your consumers and your customers. I know not all of you will have large organizations that you can feature in terms of their human interest stories and customer stories, the same way as some of the brands that we're going to talk about in this lesson. But I really want to encourage you to just think outside the box and think about ways that you can share the story of what's going on behind the scenes of your business, why your business exists, who are the people who are actually making things happen in your business and really humanize your brand for your audience in a way that allows them to really connect with the people behind the business, not just the business itself. Because at the end of the day, people trust people a lot more than they trust brands. Keep that in mind even if there's little pieces of advice that you can take away from this lesson on how you can maybe feature some more personal stories in your content. Then I really encourage you to write down some ideas of how you might be able to do this. Let's now jump into examples of these two brands that have mastered the skill in their content strategy. Starting with G Adventures life. G Adventures are a small groups tour operator worldwide. They have a really big focus on sustainability and good company culture. You start to see that throughout this Instagram account, but it isn't dedicated Instagram account specifically for their company culture, which helps in recruitment, but it also helps for people who are wanting to go on these tours, so they can really understand how the company is viewing their employee work-life balance and internal initiatives as well. It doesn't take very long to scroll down on their Instagram account and find out really cool things that they're celebrating within their office. They've got an actual G Adventures car, that's amazing. Volunteer things that their employees are doing, but also things that they're doing outside of work and things that are important to them outside of just their 9-5 and how that actually benefits them in the time that they're in the office because they have a better work-life balance. That's a really good place for inspiration of what might happen if you had a dedicated employee count, which not everybody can have. But the other one that I wanted to point you to is Digital Picnic because they are the masters of featuring their team in their content on social media, on LinkedIn in their newsletters, and really championing the needs of their team outside of work in terms of; they have side hustles, they've got dogs, they've got kids, and sharing that journey about who they are behind the scenes, not just within their job, but outside of their work as well, and how that really helps them be passionate in their day-to-day job as well. Also featuring stories of how they're progressing in their actual career path within their agencies. Just recently they shared this graphic from Lizzie, who has recently come in as a social media coordinator. But it's talking about all of her work, all of her amazing work within the Digital Picnic since she started with the brand, and how she's continuously upskilling herself. She's taken budget out of the yearly digital Picnic budget to upskill herself in Google advertising, and we reckon her future looks bloody bright. Very, Ozzy, very Rara we are your biggest supporters. This is the thing that future employees really want to see, because that is not just a gimmick that people say in interviews, what does my career progression look like within your company? It's something we all talk about in interviews, but not very many employers actually mean it. They might have an upskilling or a training budget, but then they'll guilt you out of using it when you're actually there. You need to share this stuff with potential future employees, but also with customers. This stuff makes me really want to employ their agency to take over everything, every part of my business because I'm looking at this thinking if this is how proud and supportive they are of their internal staff, imagine what they could do for me as a customer. No matter what way you manage to feature the people behind the scenes in your content that's going out there to represent your brand online. It's such a powerful tactic because it will add value to the end product or service in your customer's minds, and it'll also help with any refunds or renewal rights as people will feel a lot more of a personal connection to your business as opposed to just looking at it as a pure transaction. Not to mention that your employees will absolutely care a lot more about your marketing initiatives if they feel that their thoughts and ideas are being represented through the content that your brand is putting out there. They will also be more likely to share on their own social profiles, which is going to expand your reach even further. I've included these and a few other links in your class guide that you can use for inspiration of how other brands have done this in various formats, including LinkedIn video series called How I got here, which brings career stories to life, highlighting people from a variety of industries and professions with unique stories to tell about their path to success. Definitely make sure to check all of that out. But of course, that's a lot more about featuring people's stories rather than involving them in the actual content planning process. That's something we're going to get into in the next lesson. I'll see you there. 6. Secret Sauce of Creativity: Those of you who have taken my social media strategy class will know that I'm a big fan of carving out some time in your schedule for creative flow days. That is because when it comes to content, a lot of the time we get so busy doing and maybe even planning that we forget to just sit down and let the creativity flow. That is why it can become really difficult because it is quite a creative process to constantly be pumping out content. If you don't actually have something to look forward to at the end of your quarter, let's say, where you know that there's going to be this day where you're going to be able to share all of your amazing creative outside of the box ideas and really think about how to incorporate them into your content plan, that can really stifle your creativity throughout the month. It can also make it really difficult to actually have an idea bank to draw ideas from throughout the month as well. How you structure this is entirely up to you. It depends on how big your team is or whether you're just doing it with yourself and a client or whatever it may be. It does depend on your general workflow there. But what's worked well for me is to think about a way that you can really take yourself out of your general day-to-day environment. If you're working in an office, I would rent a co-working space for the day for you and your team. That is going to be completely unlike what you are in and surrounded by every single day in your office space. I would have food delivered. I would have music playing and sticky notes and bright colors. Everything that you can use to manufacture a little bit of creativity and fun and making sure that everybody knows it's a completely judgment free zone because that is really key. You want people to feel really openly sharing their ideas without fear of judgment or repercussions or anybody thinking that something that they've said isn't worthwhile or it's stupid or whatever it might be. I really encourage you to find ways that you can make it a really fun day that people can look forward to all quarter and have that day for just complete creativity. Now, this is going to seem really counter-intuitive given what I've just said about this day. But actually the key to having a really successful creative flow day is structure. Because otherwise, you can just have a really fun day that doesn't actually have the result that you want at the end. Which is to really add a lot of value to your content plan going forward. I'm going to give you my proposed structure, but of course, tailor this to your needs. You could start the day by just looking back at the past three months and talking about what's worked, what hasn't, and how everybody feels about the initiatives that have been explored so far. It's really important for that discussion to be judgment free but constructive. Always be looking at your content and asking, did this have the impact we thought it would, did it meet our social media goals, did it positively contribute to the wider business goals? How did the audience respond? Was there backlash? If there was, why was there backlash? What can we learn from that? Maybe even more importantly is that rather than making statements about what worked and what didn't, always be asking open-ended questions. Instead of saying, was this a good piece of content? You would say, what was really great about this particular piece of content? Or what could be improved about this particular piece of content? Then for the next part of the day, you want to be looking to the future. Everyone should come prepared with three to five really cool ideas to brainstorm about content they've seen online that your business hasn't done before or in a way that it hasn't done it before. Then they would explain what actually resonated with them about this particular piece of content and how it can add value to your business. By doing it like this, this really eliminates group think on the day, and it also allows everyone to have a fair go. No one feels overshadowed by people who are little bit more extroverted and a little bit louder in terms of voicing their opinions to the group. It's up to the team to brainstorm and think about how each of these ideas could add value to your existing content plan. The team at CoSchedule do something similar to this where they anonymously submit each idea. One person reads every idea out and then everybody has to rate that idea on a scale of one to three. Three being an amazing, fabulous idea you want to go ahead with. Two is an okay idea that might just need a little bit of work. Then one is obviously a no-go because it's not suitable for your business. If you think your team might be more comfortable doing it anonymously like this, because their feelings might be hurt if they have to openly discuss their ideas, then that might also be an option for you. What I want you to keep in mind is that the goal is not to incorporate every single suggestion into your content plan or into your business. The goal is just to have a day of creative expression and freedom to express your ideas. Because you never really know when one idea that's maybe not quite right for your content plan, is going to lead to something amazing. There's a really great podcast episode that I've linked to you guys to in your class guide where comedian and talk show host Trevor Noah talks about how he's team does this daily. Because they basically have to look at what happened the day before and come up with an entire show for that evening based on basically a comedic spin on news from the previous day. His entire team of people who just have really so much creative freedom to say whatever they want without fear of judgment, they just throw ideas out there. He talks about the fact that usually the jokes actually lands in the episode is nowhere near what it started out as. But because there's this continuous flow of creativity and people bouncing off each other's ideas, that joke that really didn't ever end up making into the show started somebody else's spark and somebody else added a little bit in. By the end of it, it looks totally different than what it started out as. But it was really important that every single one of his writers felt free to just share and collaborate and have people bounce ideas off of them. Make sure to check that on your class guide because I think it's going to spark some inspiration for you. Now lastly, and this is totally optional, but you can actually accept submissions from the wider business to explore during your creative flow day. What you could do is create a Google form like this one here, where everyone in the business knows about this. You could even include it in your weekly internal comms that you send out to the company. Where people outside of your marketing team can come in and share ideas about what they'd like to see more of from the company content or just cool things that they've seen competitors out there doing that they'd like to share with you. Then during your creative flow day, you can then go through the responses from the previous month or the previous quarter just as a team or you could actually patch people through on a video call on the day for them to actually share a little bit more elaborately about the idea they've submitted. You could just fill out all the questions, allow people to include links to things that they've seen, allow people to write a little blurb about what they're thinking in terms of the content that they're sharing with you. Then in terms of the responses, you could just have this going to your actual content plans spreadsheet because you can just say, this is going to go to an existing spreadsheet where you're going to have all the responses there. Which will make it really easy for you and the team to review it once a month or once a quarter whenever you have your creative sit down. I've actually recently seen something similar to what we're talking about here from a company called Promo. Where they have a similar process for people wanting to guest write for them. Where they can submit a little bit about them and some ideas about what they think they're going to be wanting to write about. But of course, for you, it doesn't necessarily have to have an attachment for files. It could just have a little paragraph format and a place for people to just add in some links to content they've seen that they felt really inspired by. Now, I know a day like this can be difficult to justify to your stakeholders and your managers who are really worried about how your time and your resources are being spent on taking away six people's time to go offsite and have a catered lunch and have that whole day earmarked for that creative flow day. The way I would encourage you to think about it is in terms of what that person wants to hear in order to approve a day like this. Generally speaking, it's going to be about how is this really going to benefit the business in terms of time and resources spent. The way that you can talk about it in that case is, yes, it's one day where we're going to have to book somewhere offsite to have this creative day. But throughout the quarter, our entire team is going to be laser-focused on everything we're doing because each of us will know that if we have a cool creative idea, there's a place for us to share that at the end of the quarter. We can pack it for the time being, not get distracted by it, not get veered off of our original content plan. Our productivity is going to be on point during the month and during the quarter. Then we can all get really excited in anticipation of this amazing creative flow day that we're all going to have where we're going to get to share all these amazing ideas. Always think about what people want to hear and try and tell them what they want to hear but in a way that it makes sense for you and your team. For those of you who maybe don't have a large team to do this exercise with, honestly, you can do this solo, you can do it with a small team, you can do it with a client, you can do it however makes the most sense for you and your business structure. I do this just by screenshotting comments I get from students here on Skillshare or YouTube comments or if I ever do Instagram polls throughout the month to figure out what questions people have or what they want to learn about next. Then I gather all of that amazing information into just a folder in my project management system and then take back and look at it once a quarter and go, all right, cool. This is all of this amazing stuff that's happened throughout this last month or last three months and how can I incorporate this into my content plan going forward. Hopefully, that sparked a little bit of creativity for you as well. I will see you in the next lesson. 7. Get Your Consumers Involved: As a part of your content planning process, I would also encourage you to think about how you can get your consumers involved. By consumers, in this case, I mean both your customers and people who are just consumers of your content, who are maybe still potential customers. Let's talk about customers first and the reason that I think this is a really important thing for you to consider really early on in your content planning process is because it doesn't generally follow a logical time line like the rest of your content. Because the rest of your content you might either have done in house, in which case, there's really clear deadlines, milestones, you know who's responsible for what and when it has to be done. Maybe you're outsourcing staff where you have guest contributors, in which case, there's still somewhat of a process. It can get a little bit messier, but there's still some structure to it. When it comes to doing stuff with your customers, this can get derailed very quickly, which is why you have to plan for it really far in advance. For example, let's say you're hoping to feature one of your customers in an Instagram Live or in a podcast interview and they're not in the same space as you are in terms of content creation. They don't think about the fact that they have a really terrible Internet connection or that your interview is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon when their neighbor practices tuba. They don't think stuff like this. You think logically, this is going to go great. You're going to have the interview on this day, it's going to go live on this day. Generally, that's not as straightforward when it comes to your customer's stories and featuring them in your content. We're going to talk a little bit about how some companies out there have done this really well in basically building their brand on customer stories and user-generated content and just a few things that you really need to consider when thinking about involving your consumers and your customers in your content creation. I will be starting with GoPro, because more than 6,000 GoPro tagged videos are uploaded to YouTube every single day and that doesn't even include what's tagged on Instagram and other platforms. The reason that they've been so successful in getting their customers involved like this, and building their brand on user-generated content is largely because they focus really intensely on entertainment, on sparking engagement and conversation from their audience, and on creating authentic content by showing people and their stories. It's important for us to talk about the fact that they don't think of themselves as a camera company. Just like Red Bull, who they drew their inspiration from is not considered just an energy drink company. They're both companies that stand for exploration, adventure, and a sense of belonging within a community of adventure seekers. GoPro have obviously tapped into this amazing machine of user-generated content of people using their cameras to capture their journeys. Well, Patagonia is another great example of how you can showcase both your company values and customer stories without necessarily even talking about the product that you sell. One thing that really stands out to me with Patagonia and the content that they put out there online is the fact that they're not always necessarily featuring stories of their customers or they're not necessarily saying their customers, they are sometimes featuring stories of people who just have shared values with their company values. This was a really, really good example of Courtney Reynolds who up cycles used materials to create clothing for her kids. There's a whole section of their website that's dedicated to customer stories like this and in that entire nine-minute raid, you won't find any mention of the fact that Courtney may or may not be a Patagonia customer. It just talks about her passion for creating unique clothing that's sustainable and really original for her kids. That is a really unique thing that Patagonia do really well with their website and with their social media. But even if you go on over to their YouTube channel, you'll notice that for a clothing brand, they have a ridiculous number of subscribers and that is because none of their videos features and benefits of their clothing. It's not talking about our zippers are smoother than the other guys or our jackets are warmer than the other guys. I think a lot of those product descriptions and those features and benefits are on their website. But in terms of the actual content they put out there, it's so much more emotional and human, and it just creates such an authentic connection with people who then buy into the brand values more so than the actual products. Then buying the products is almost a consequence of this connection. They've really nailed down with their content. I really encourage you guys to check them out. Let's talk about the different ways that you can get your customers involved. We talked a little bit about user-generated content already, which is, of course, one of the best ways to develop trust in your brand, but there are so many other ways that you can get your customers involved. You can interview them on an Instagram Live or YouTube Live, Facebook Live, any live video format will do. You can have them as a guest in your broadcast, or like we saw with Courtney on the Patagonia customer stories website you can get them to write about their experience on your blog. Of course, you can also ask for either written or video testimonials from your customers. The key thing there is if you are looking for video testimonials, you need to be very clear with people as to how they should film their testimonial, whether you want it in vertical or horizontal format, and give them rough guidelines as to what they should say in order for it to sound the way you want it to sound when you're then re-purposing those testimonials for your content online. This is an example of how Marie Forleo does this with her testimonials. She's got a whole success story section of our website where people share their stories and include an image of themselves as well, which really helps in terms of people wanting to enroll in her programs in the future because they can then see themselves in the people who have already completed the programs and have had great success with it. It talks about both her paid and her free offers as well and then at the very bottom, if you were to scroll down, there's a lot of them, you can then click to add your story and it'll lead you down a path of being able to submit your own testimonial. That's one way and it's a lot easier to have this publicly available once you have five or 10 testimonials that are already live because it makes it easier for people to want to be a part of that and add their own. If you're not at a stage yet where you have that kind of collection the easiest way I've found to do this is just to go through a Google form like this one I have for my own success stories. Where I basically just get people to give me their email, their name, their business name, and their URL and then also let me know which of my courses they've taken in the past or if they're not sure or maybe they've just consumed my free content but gotten value out of it, they can tell me that as well. Then I tell them to share their story, but I also say, "If you were chatting with a friend over coffee about my content, whether it's free or paid, what would you tell them?" This generally means I get a lot less formal responses, which is right for my business. I want people to talk about it as if they were recommending me and my business to a mate or a family member as opposed to a more formal structure, which is generally where people's minds go when they're required to submit a testimonial, and I didn't particularly want that. Take this as an opportunity to guide them in the way that you phrase that question and I've made it a part of my process to also ask for feedback on how I can do better and then you also want to have a disclaimer to say, Yes, I consent to this information being used on the website, I consent to being used on the website and for other marketing materials. Or I don't consent to it being used, it's for internal purposes only. Those are just some of the different ways that you can get your customers involved in your marketing content. A really powerful way for you to involve your consumers in your content who are not yet customers is by bringing them along your business growth journey. What I mean by that is if you can sort them behind the scenes of a day in the life of an engineer at our company or just showing them what's going on behind the scenes of a product launch that's not going to be ready for three or six months, but you're still working on it and doing an Instagram Live in that time or doing Q&A's on LinkedIn, or on Facebook or YouTube, and really making people feel like they're part of your journey so that by the time they're actually ready to purchase from you and become a customer, they will already feel like they've been there all along. It really depends on how long your path to purchase actually is, because for some businesses it's pretty straightforward, you're in need of shoes, you go and buy shoes. But some companies, it takes years and a famous marketer here in Australia talks about how it took him seven years to become a customer of Tesla and buy his first Tesla. But during those seven years, Tesla as a company followed him around, kept feeding him content through their newsletters, through being in media features and interviews and TV shows and basically everywhere for seven years so that by the time he was in a financial position to actually purchase a Tesla, he already feels like he was there at the very beginning when they're just getting started because they were so open about their business growth journey. Really think about how you might be to incorporate something similar within your business model as well. Now in the next lesson, we're going to talk about when to create and when to curate your content. I'll see you there. 8. When to Create: Now we're getting into the fun stuff which is all about your content creation plan, which is quite separate from your content execution and distribution plans, which we'll talk about in a little bit. Content creation plan is basically where you sit down and go, "Okay, what do we want to achieve over this given time period?", "What resources do we have available to us?", and "What will we create for our audience that helps us meet our social media goals?". Basically this is the fun bit. This is where you get to play a little bit and think creatively outside of the box about cool new things that you want to try with your content plan. It will really depend on your business size, your model, your industry, all those things will play a part when it comes to your content creation plan. But really you just want to make sure that the time you spend creating original content and investing your time and energy into this process, is worthwhile. The way that I've found this to work best for pretty much any business model out there, is to think about where is your time best spent in terms of the impact you want to have on your audience through your content? I'm going to be using myself as an example, because it will give you a bit of a stripped-down version of how you could approach your content creation plan if you only had one big overarching goal. Then you are going to create your content plan backwards from that goal. Obviously in your business, this might be a lot more complicated than what I'm about to show you, but it will give you a good place to start from. I'm just going to be using myself as an example here, and I'm just going to draw a few things out to make it a little bit easier for us to visualize. Let's say my overarching goal here is to promote my Skillshare classes and that would be, let's say over the next three months. That's the time period I'd be looking to focus on, but then I'll be looking a lot more in depth over the following month. That's where I'm going to be creating the bulk of my actual detailed content plan. But let's say the next quarter, that's my overall goal and I'm going to be promoting specifically beginner-friendly content classes so that I know that that is the focus there. I'm not just going to be focusing on attracting an audience to all of my Skillshare stuff. Just going to be focused on the beginner friendly content. Then I would be working backwards from that goal when it comes to creating my content and of course, we will be creating some known promotional content. But the way that I would go about this is go, who is my audience for this ultimate goal of where my revenue-generating part of my business is? Who is my audience and where they already looking for answers to the questions and the solutions that I actually provide? In terms of my Skillshare content, those people are probably already looking for answers in terms of beginner's guide to marketing, starting as a beginner in social media marketing, starting as a leader in digital marketing. All those things they're probably already looking for online and I would suggest that they would be looking for it on Google. They're also probably looking for it on YouTube. Oh my gosh, pardon my horrible writing, by the way, not a strength of mine. For anyone out there with great handwriting. This is terrible. This is YouTube. This is terrible. Google, YouTube, that's probably where they're looking for answers to some of their questions already. I would also say maybe something like Pinterest, would be a really good avenue for content because they're probably already pinning some content around, starting as a beginner in the world of social media and digital marketing. Maybe they're also asking questions on actual platforms like Quora or Reddit. Those could also be places where I could think about, not necessarily creating content, but drawing ideas for my content from. Historically speaking, just looking at this, historically speaking for me in particular, I know that my time is best spent on YouTube because, over the history of my content creation, I know that YouTube has worked really well for me because it also pairs really well with Google. If anyone's looking for any kind of information on being a beginner in the world of online marketing on Google, they still find my YouTube stuff, both in the general search results and in the actual video section of Google. That time is spent really well because whether they're searching for on YouTube or on Google, my stuff will hopefully show up if it's really a well-optimized. If I have limited resources, I would probably say, I know that they're looking for my stuff on YouTube and then maybe if I had additional resources, I would also think about how I can incorporate Google and maybe some SEO blogposts that I can add to my content plan there. Next I'm going to break it down with you in terms of actual content that I would create based on that final goal on the objective. And how I might cater my content on YouTube and on Google and all these different places of impact for me, around my ultimate goal. We're going to step it back like that in just a sec. But I did want to point out the fact that I understand a lot of you might be thinking, ''YouTube is a really logical place of impact for you in terms of content because you have a digital offer.'' That is true, but I don't want you to feel like you have to have a digital business in order for YouTube to work for you. An example for you is that when we were buying this house, we needed a mortgage broker and we actually found our mortgage broker through their YouTube channel. It's not a super polished YouTube channel, it was just really well optimized for local keywords for people who were looking for answers to their questions, who were first-time home buyers and didn't know anything about getting a mortgage and had so many questions. These guys had very specific, locally specific keywords on their YouTube channel where they were just sharing a lot of value. Not a huge production value, was just a guy and a camera, but he was so passionate and had such great value in the videos that we ended up going with them as our mortgage brokers, and they also referred us to our buyer's agent or solicitor, etc. I don't want you to think that, just because you can't imagine how something might work for you, that it's not a logical place of impact for you and your business. Just think outside the box. YouTube does not need to be your place of impact. If your entire business is revolved around teaching people how to use Instagram, then of course, Instagram would be your place of impact. Or in terms of written content is a really big thing for you and your business, then you might have a whole content library on your website and blogposts as opposed to any video content. I just want you to really think about, if you had to start from scratch, if you are just thinking about if I created just three pieces of content this month, where would those pieces of content have the biggest impact on my audience and on my overall business goals. Let's say my goal for the upcoming quarter is to bring awareness to my Skillshare classes. That's the goal I'll be working back from for the rest of my impact content plan. Then for just the upcoming month, my theme could be getting started as a beginner in the world of digital marketing. Then let's say that I know that I have the resources and the time to execute on two YouTube videos per month. Then these could be around topics that my audiences already searching for. One could be on getting your first digital marketing client, and then I could create a second video that's going to be about getting started as a visual marketing beginner. I would call it something like digital marketing 101. Both of these videos already exist on my YouTube channel, because I've created them in the past so that we can use them for the rest of the exercises in this class as well. Then both would have a soft-call-to-action for people to check out my Skillshare classes in the description of the video, if they'd like to learn more about these topics. I can then take these videos and publish them as blogposts with a transcript below the video, which gives me a bit of an SEO boost, but it also gives audience two different ways to consume that knowledge based on their preference. I could then also re-purpose this video as an IGTV video for Instagram, where I could link the original YouTube video in the description for people to click into. I could also share it to my Instagram stories and create complimentary posts throughout the month on Instagram to encourage people to watch these videos. I can then also create a few different pin designs that will appoint people to these blogposts on Pinterest. These are my areas of focus, but just as a bonus because I've already got the content to share, I could also share it in my newsletter. I can promote it on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Twitter, and basically anywhere else that I have an online presence. Suddenly this has filled up my content calendar with what originally started as just two pieces of content. While using this type of strategy is going to save you time and resources, it's also really important to continue to provide content that only exists on each individual platform where you have content going out. Because you need to give people a reason to follow you on Instagram and on your podcasts and on your blog and on YouTube, and everywhere else. I'm giving them something unique on each of those platforms, and that's exactly what we're going to focus on in the next few lessons. I'll see you in the next one. 9. When to Curate: This impact driven content creation is just one piece of this content planning puzzle, the second piece is going to come down to curation. What I mean by that, is that you're not a content creation machine, no matter the size of your business, you need to free up some of your time and stress and resources by actually just curating amazing valuable content for your audience from other reputable sources. It can actually enhance your own authority by doing this as well. You're doing yourself a massive disservice if you're not approaching this already in your content plan. The easiest way that I found with content curation to approach this, is to first begin by having a list of reputable sources that you can pull content from for your own content plan that add value to your audience but are not direct competitors. That's really key because at the end of the day, you don't want to be sharing content from competitors no matter how good it is, because it will drive your audience to switch to your competitor potentially. It needs to be really complimentary, add value to your audience, build trust, build authority, but not drive them away. The second thing to note when it comes to your curation, is to have a monthly theme that will allow you to really understand what content you can pull from these sources that's going to really play well with the content that you are producing as original content for that month. For me, for example, let's say my theme for the upcoming month is Social Media Marketing for Beginners or Digital Marketing for Beginners, then I know that I could pull content from other sources that is around this general theme. If you jump into the ''Content Foundations'' section of your spreadsheet, you're going to see a little area for where you can curate from and lacing brands who are complementary to your content and your audience, but not direct competitors. I've outlined just a couple here that I know are industry experts who create really valuable content that my audience would love, but their source of revenue is not the same as mine, which means they're not my direct competitors. So I'm confident in sharing their content, knowing it's going to add value to my audience, but it's not going to drive them away from myself. Then I would also hyperlink them to make it really easy for me to access their website. But one thing that I want to share with you as well, is if any of these brands that you're putting in here are experts in a particular platform that you are also focusing really heavily on, then you would want to link that platform in here as well. For example, if I was going to just share content from their websites, that would be really valuable for me, for Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, because I could just share that content directly on my platforms. But let's say some of these guys are real experts in creating epic content for Instagram, then I would want to also include their Instagram account here because that's something that I can then share content from for my Instagram stories or potentially repost some of their content with their permission. You might identify a couple of different platforms that they're present on all within here. If you're not quite sure how to actually find these kinds of brands for your particular business in your industry, the easiest way to do that is honestly just to google your particular keyword and search term and then have a look at who else is ranking for that on Google. That does mean they have to have a really active website. If you're not looking to share web content, but maybe you're just looking to share their social media content, then you would do the same search on your platform of choice and then you would just go through one by one and figure out if these guys would be really good reputable sources for you to share content from. But you can also use a lot of the tools we're going to be using in the next lesson to do a more in-depth deep dive into who your complimentary brands are, not direct competitors in this sense. Once you have a list of those guys, a really cool hack for you is that within Google, if you just write the word site, colon, their actual web address, and then your key word here, for example, if my monthly theme, and I do want to be clear on the fact that monthly themes are very optional, it just makes it a little bit easier for you to not have to make as many decisions. But if you do have a monthly theme, for me in this case, it would be Digital Marketing for Beginners, and I know I am confident in pulling content from Social Media Examiner, if I just put in their actual web address here and then this keyword, it's going to just pop up with anything that matches that keyword from that particular website. You'll notice that all of these results are from Social Media Examiner. I would then do the same thing with DigitalMarketer, with HubSpot, with Hootsuite and all these people that I'm really confident in pulling content from, but maybe I want that content to be around a particular theme. Then I would also just make sure I'm looking at the dates that this content was published, so I probably wouldn't be publishing anything that is talking about getting started with social media marketing in 2014, because it's probably not all that relevant. But that's not to say that it hasn't been updated since then, so I would just make sure to check these guys out. Anything from 2019, 2020 is probably good to go. It just makes it so much easier because not every website is very searchable because they may not have that functionality built-in and this just makes it a lot easier for you to find really good high-quality content to pull from your desired brand websites. I do want to take a little bit of time here to recognize that it does depend on the platform you're curating for, in terms of the complexity that's required and the forward thinking that's required of you. But don't shy away from curation just because there might be additional permissions that will be required for you to actually share other people's content. Yes, it's always going to be easier to share other people's content and include it in your content plan when it comes to networks like Facebook and LinkedIn and even Pinterest or even Instagram stories. Those avenues are always going to be easier than it will be if you're sharing original content on Instagram as opposed, for example, where you do have to get somebody's permission in order to do that. But it's really just about having a structure and a system in place for sharing other people's content and making sure you're getting the right permissions whenever possible. On the platforms I see this being an issue with the most is probably Instagram, because people really shy away from curating content from other sources because of the quite strict permissions. But you don't necessarily have to re-post an existing post. You can do something really clever like sharing a screenshot of a tweet from Twitter. In which case, ideally, yes, you want to tag the person on Instagram, but you'll very often see people doing this and actually not tagging anyone even if they are the author of that tweet, just because a lot of the time they may not be on Instagram or you're not able to find them on Instagram. Of course, it's best practice to try and find the source of that tweet even though it is a screenshot on Instagram, but it's actually not required because it's a screenshot of a platform where they tweeted this and it's got their handle in the actual image. This is a really clever way that you can still curate for your Instagram feed without having to worry about attribution. You can do this with a tweet or even with a LinkedIn post, as is the case with Dan Price here. The easiest way to do that is just pop on over to Twitter, find the tweet that you like, and make sure to click into it so you've got it full screen like this, then screenshot that, go ahead and size it down. You can do with a desktop interface as well, but it's a little bit messier, so I would really encourage you to just do it with your phone and then you can AirDrop it to yourself to continue creating your Instagram posts on your desktop. We're not focusing too much on the actual content creation in this class, so if you do want to check out a little bit more on that, make sure to check out my social media content creation class here on Skillshare, but I just wanted to show you how quickly you can create something like this within Canva. We can just search for tweet and it will give me some templates for what you could create if you were actually trying to create a design that looks like a tweet, but was never actually a tweet. You could actually just type in here some texts and make it look like you're sharing tweet that never actually went live on Twitter. But in our case, we actually have a tweet to share that we have pulled from Twitter. I'll delete all these elements, go over to my uploads and bring in my actual tweet here. I could size that up as big as I want it, I will then put in my website if I wanted to, or I can actually delete this bit. There you go. It's that easy for you to create something really cool that is curated but it really clever way. Then you could try and find Daniel on Instagram. He does actually have an Instagram account, I had to look. In which case, I would probably tag him because he's the host of the Marketing Millennials, which is a podcast within my industry. This is a really great way to also make connections with people in your industry by attributing them correctly, but it's absolutely not necessary because his handle on Twitter is already there. This is how people get their content shared and it's a really great way for you to curate content that adds value to your audience. Then this is something you could also share on other platforms. You could share this on LinkedIn, you can share it on Facebook. You can level up your game with different elements by adding in a video to the background, which makes it even more captivating. You can do all of this for free inside of Canva. It makes it so easy for you to just curate really powerful content like this. Of course, all of this has to be right for your brand. I just don't want you to shy away from curation because it can be such a powerful addition to your content plan. In the next lesson we're going to get into even more depth about how you can leverage these endless content ideas that I'm about to share with you and all these different tools and resources you can tap into if you're ever struggling for both original and curated content. I'll see you there. 10. Get Endless Ideas: If you jump on over to your spreadsheet within the Content Foundations tab, you're going to find a list of websites that you can pull ideas from. We're not going to cover all of them in this lesson, but just know that they're there. Along with some additional content prompts where you can generate content around your frequently asked questions, which is always a good backup plan if you are running out of content ideas. But for those of you who may not actually have existing customers because maybe you're just building out your business and your content plan, the tools that we're about to cover are going to help you get these frequently asked questions, even if you maybe don't have existing customers asking you these yet. Let's start with Google Trends because it's a free tool that has unlimited searches and it can be quite helpful because it has a breakdown by all the countries that you could possibly think of, as opposed to a lot of other tools that are a little bit limited on this front. You can also search for global trends as well. But the Explore page is a good place for you to start if you're looking to see how specific search terms or topics are trending in your country or globally within a given time period. I'm going to be using some slightly different search terms here, just so we can have a look at how I might do this for a different industry. I'd be looking for the topic of meditation and maybe compare that to a topic of yoga. If I'm maybe thinking about creating content around one of these two topics and I can't decide which one to tackle first, I want to see which one is a little bit more popular for me to create content around and get some ideas on what search terms people are actually searching for. I could increase this time period to be a little bit longer. Then I can also narrow this web search down to be YouTube search or maybe even Google Shopping. If any of you are running product-based businesses and you're thinking about bringing out a new product, you could look at it here and see if it's actually popular in trending at the moment, and whether it's worth the investment. But for me, I would just keep this as web search. I can see it's quite a big difference, in terms of people searching for meditation versus yoga. That is just at the moment, just topic. It's going to slightly change if you put it in as a search term and that as a search term as well. That discrepancy might not be quite as vast. It's actually quite the opposite if you look at it as a search term versus a topic. Keep that in mind as you're putting these in, it will ask you whether you want to look at it as a search term, a discipline, a topic, or actors, or any other search categories that could pop up for that keyword. Then you can see exactly where these topics are popular because I'm searching for worldwide. If I was searching for a particular region, it would break that down regionally within that country. Then I can see what queries are to meditation and then yoga. Then I can also have a look at this based on what's currently rising or just what were the top search terms in this given time period. Because I'm looking at the past five years, maybe it's not quite as relevant, I would probably be looking at top within the past year. But this is where I can get some really good ideas of what people are looking for within web search on these two topics, and then I could also export this entire list into a spreadsheet that I can then use for my content plan. Then let's move on to AnswerThePublic. AnswerThePublic is a really good place for you to go if you don't have those frequently asked questions for your audience. Even if you do, these will definitely give you unlimited content ideas about each of your different content pillars. You can come in here and go, find me anything that people are asking about meditation. This is where you can see that people are asking, can meditation help anxiety? Can it help pain? What does it actually do? When does it not work? Is it going to work for me? All of these different categories and ideas. Again, you can download this as a spreadsheet, and I've already done that and you can then bring that into your Google Drive. You can see that it's brought over, I think, about 400 different content ideas. Some will be better than others. Obviously, not all of them will be winners. But that's 400 different content ideas around meditation that I could then look at to guide my content plan around. Then BuzzSumo is another really great tool, even though it's limited in the amount of searches you get per day, but it's really great for finding out what's actually being shared on different social platforms. You can put in a search term or a URL. It could even be a competitor URL. Then it will give you a really good overview of how much content is out there that's related to the search term that's being really wildly shared online. That's always a good idea to see what the sources are. Obviously, entrepreneur.com would have a really large audience base on these platforms. They will have a lot more shares than someone with a 100 or 200 people that have followed them and liked them on Facebook. But it's still a really good place to start to see, okay, what are the people in my industry creating? How can I create something similar that people really want to engage with on social platforms? If that's a part of your social media goal strategy. That's more about social shares. Then if SEO is a really big part of your content plan, I would recommend Keywords Everywhere. It's a really easy-to-use tool that's very affordable. It's only $10 for a 100,000 credit. That's a 100,000 search terms that are compared with the tool. Also, it's actually not using any of those credits if you have the tool switched off in your Google Chrome browser. I always have it off unless I'm actually using it to analyze any search terms online. Then you can decide whether you want to be looking at global searches or by specific countries, but this is a bit of a limited list. Then if you have it switched on and you search for anything inside of Google or YouTube, it's going to give you some data next to the related search terms over here. But keep in mind at the moment we're looking at a global view. This may not be country-specific. This is a really good sense for you to determine how high the competition is for a particular search terms and how much it's trending. You want it to be trending, but you also want the competition to be relatively low because it means, if it's trending and there's lots of people searching for it, that's great. But if the competition is really high, it's going to make it really difficult for you to rank for this particular search term. If SEO and really well-optimized blog posts and YouTube videos are a big part of your content strategy and you want to get eyeballs on that content, I would really recommend this Chrome extension. It works exactly the same way in YouTube as it does in Google where these will just pop up and say, okay, these are related search terms to what you just search for. The people who have searched for this have also searched for this stuff. Here is the volume, this is the competition score, and then this is the actual trend bar chart. Of course, she can look to the extension to really analyze and understand all of those different stats. What that means for your content creation in terms of, is this a good topic to create content around, or is it not? Now to keep your content really organized for the future and to make it really easy on you and your team members, I've got a tab in your spreadsheet for content ideas. Now, you can choose to manipulate this however you want if this particular organization structure doesn't work for you. But I'm going to give you some ideas about how I think you could categorize your content ideas to make sure that you're staying on track, and to make sure that nothing gets lost in the process. I've listed some content ideas in here just to get you started, about let's say you have your frequently asked questions or you've pulled an idea from BuzzSumo or AnswerThePublic, or you just saw something cool online, and now you've got this idea. You would pop it in here. You would then say who pitched the idea, which is important so that if you need a bit of clarification or somebody wants to elaborate on it, you've got that there because, honestly, months down the line you're not going to remember who pitched the idea. Then you would also state which of your content pillars it suits. That's almost like a check-in point for you to go, does this actually fit in within our content pillars? If it doesn't, is it really worth thus making it? But it also allows you to then narrow your search down by your particular content pillars when you're actually going to create content. Same with your customer avatars. If it's directed at a particular customer avatar, it may not be, but if it is, this is where you would say that. Then you would say what kind of content you are hoping to create with this particular idea. Is it going to be an Instagram post, a YouTube video, a series, a podcast, a newsletter? Whatever it is, this is where you would identify that. Any additional links. If it's an idea that came from a blog post or a video that you saw online, here's where you would link it for reference because trust me, again, you will forget months down the line that you saw this really cool post somewhere. Make sure to link it for your reference. Then you can add some additional extra notes. Now I've got another column and the last column here for you, which is to identify the status of each content idea. Because as I've written here, if it's not approved, you should actually just delete it. There's no sense in keeping content ideas in here that you have no desire to ever make. If you've got a content idea, if there is an approval process for your manager or any additional stakeholder coming in here and checking it, they can then say, yes, this is approved and go ahead and make that. If it's not approved, just delete it. If it's in the process of being made, you can identify that as well. Once it's scheduled or created, you could identify that and switch the status there. Now I know it seems counterintuitive to have ideas in here that have already been created. But it's not a bad idea to have them in here anyways because you never know when a past idea that really sparked something for you might work for you again in the future. Then I would encourage you to customize this particular dropdown and any of your other dropdowns to a way that works for you. I've created a little bit of a guide here for you. The way that I would do that is to just select the column and I would hit Command on my Mac to just make sure these are not highlighted, because I only want my dropdown over here. You'd go over to Data validation, making sure that the criteria is list of items. This one in particular is for team members. I would say, Maggie, Nick, Peter. Then I would save that. Now I've got this list here. Every time I have pitched an idea, I can say, okay, I've pitched this one, I pitched this one. You would do the same thing for your type of content. You would again highlight everything, deselect the top two cells. You would identify the types of content that you normally create for your business. That could be Instagram post, tweet, YouTube video, whatever is most relevant to you, you would do the same thing with your content pillars and your audience, I promise you it'll save you so much time, but it will also make it so much easier for you to filter based on the specific dropdowns. I could then just highlight this entire column and say I want to create a filter. Then when I go to click on that filter, I could say, show me just the ideas that were created by Maggie. It's going to remove everything else. You can do the same thing with any other column as well. That's why dropdowns are so powerful for your business because it gives everyone a really easy way to access all of their ideas in one place. You can always turn off your filters and create new ones at any point as well. I hope that has helped you get some ideas of how you can create awesome content for your business. I'll see you in the next lesson. 11. Construct a Content Plan: By this point, we've talked a lot about all the different things that you could consider in your content plan. Now it's time for us to actually put it all together. I have created a few different tabs for you within your spreadsheet, one being for your quarterly content plan, and I don't want you to spend too much time on it and, of course, customize it to whatever makes most sense for you in terms of your place of impact for your content. But the reason it's there is because sometimes it's just a good idea to have a macro view of what's coming up ahead so that you can really figure out what you need to focus on in the upcoming month, which is where we're going to have this much more detailed content plan for the following month. But you want to know what's coming up ahead so you can plan for it in advance. For example, if you have a really big product launch and it's two or three months away, you might need to start thinking about how you're going to start teasing that out now, even though it's still a ways away. That really just depends on you and your business, but having these monthly content themes as well planned out for at least the next three months will really allow you to, during the month, think if you see any really cool content out there that really matches really well with your upcoming content theme for the upcoming month, then you can put that somewhere in your project management system so that you know for the next month, that's something that you can share that your audience is going to find real value with. Now let's get into the spreadsheet and start planning some stuff. Within your Quarterly Calendar template, you can be as detailed or as rough with this as you need to be in order to just get a really good sense of what's coming up ahead and what you might need to plan for within your monthly content plan. This is just an idea of how I might do this where I would just list the next three months that I want to be planning for. I would put in the relevant dates there, which I haven't done, but key is to just really identify your themes if you have any; if you don't, that's perfectly fine. Then, identify your pillar pieces of content that are probably going to also be the most time-intensive, as well as the content that you're going to be using to promote this. That might also be quite time-intensive. In addition to that, you may want to identify any customer or employee stories and any events or holidays that might be coming up. For example, if this was a content plan for December, there's a lot for me to look out for there, whereas with the other two months, maybe not so much depending on where you are based geographically and what holidays and events you might need to look out for, but this is really just a real big macro plan of what's coming up ahead that you can use to guide you for your monthly content plan. Now with your monthly content plan, what I would do with this is actually duplicate this tab so you always have one blank one to use as your guide, and then I would just go ahead and put the name of the month that you're planning for there, you would put your month up here as well. Then if you want to be super detailed with it, you could also have a weekly focus, which is something that companies that are content producing machines do, but if you aren't producing hundreds of pieces of content every week, then that's probably not going to be as relevant to you. This is just somewhere where you could put the actual dates for that upcoming week so you don't have to individually go through every day and write them in there. Now, I know I'm going to be catering everything around my pillar pieces of content, which will be my two longer YouTube videos. That's what I'm going to be working back from, and in order to actually understand when is the best time for me to post those YouTube videos, I would go over to my dashboard here on YouTube in the Analytics tab over to Audience and have a look at what's been happening on my channel in the last 28 days. I can see that my audience is mostly active really late at night and really early in the morning, which makes sense since my audience is primarily US-based, which for an Australian time zone is not ideal, but of course, I can schedule my video to go live while I'm asleep so it's not usually as much of a problem, but I probably want to be up and running as soon as that video is published so that I can engage with my followers, answer any questions, and really give that video the boost that the algorithm logs. What I would probably do is schedule it for Tuesday at 5:00 AM because that seems to be a time when a lot of people are online, and I would probably be online within the following few hours after that. That's probably the most applicable time to me and my content strategy, so we're going to be publishing those YouTube videos on Tuesday. I don't necessarily have to put in the time because that's going to become a bit more relevant once we get through to scheduling. I'm just going to zoom this out so we can see our different categories over here. Now, you don't have to go by these. These are just ideas for what you could add in here, but for me, I would basically just go in here and copy that, and I would know that that's my pillar content for every second and third Tuesday of the month. Then I know that my main promotion of these videos will be happening within the first 24 to 48 hours of these going live so I know that I'll have a blog post with a transcript that will need to go live probably as soon as that video is live as well. It'll probably go live on Tuesday. Then, I'll have Pins. That will be original Pins created around this blog post with the transcript probably going out on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. That's where these guys would be going out. I would then also have an IGTV. That would be a shortened version of this YouTube video that would point people back to my YouTube videos. That would also go live on the Tuesday, and it would also get promoted in my Stories either on the Tuesday or the Wednesday. I would also want to draft a newsletter to go out promoting these videos within the first couple of days as well, probably either the Wednesday or the Thursday. Again, we wanted to make sure we're driving most of our traffic back to that video or to that blog post with the video embedded within the first 24 to 48 hours. Then, I'd probably also know that not everyone's going to see my IGTV or my stories on Instagram, so I would also want to create some posts that will speak to the same topic as this particular video. I might release a couple of posts a week on the weeks between these videos. I could also do a reel, and I would definitely want to do a Facebook post or a Facebook video, which would again just be a snippet of what happens within the larger YouTube video, which might be 10, 15 minutes. This video on Facebook would be much shorter version of that, but then I could also share the actual blog post which has the video in it but also has the transcript. That could also go out on my Facebook page on the weeks between the YouTube videos. I could also create really short, quick, complementary YouTube Shorts to complement my longer videos if I had some additional time and resources to invest into this. It's not always right for my brand, but occasionally, I do share my YouTube content on my LinkedIn profile because a lot of my network is students and people within the digital marketing industry so they find the content quite useful as well. That's another way to fill up some of these gaps to make sure I have content going out pretty much every day of the week. That right there is pretty much four weeks worth of content that is actually just stemming from two-pillar pieces of content. I haven't even scheduled any of my curated content or any of my additional content pillar or content that I will be creating custom based on motivational, inspirational, educational stuff that's not related to these particular videos. You can see how really quickly you can fill up a content calendar just from having two really key, really powerful, really impactful pieces of content to share with your audience. As we now go into this content plan in a little bit more detail, I just wanted to bring up something that we haven't actually covered yet in this class because we've covered a lot of what to create and why, but we haven't really talked about the when and the how, as in, how frequently do you actually post on every platform and when should you be posting on every platform? To that, I would say that much like when it comes to pricing your services, people say charge what you're worth and charge what people are willing to pay. With any content, I would just say create as much or as little as you need to, impose as much or as little as you need to in order to have the kind of impact you want to have on your audience and on your overall goals because honestly, anyone who tells you that there's some secret number to how many times you're supposed to be posting on platforms or releasing YouTube video or a podcast episode or blog posts is lying. There is no such thing because it's so dependent on your own specific audience, how often they want to hear from you, and what do they really want to hear about because if you run a brand where you're selling pet food and all you're posting all day long is pictures of cute baby animals, I could hear from you 70 times a day and still be very happy to be seeing your content. Whereas if you're a divorce lawyer, I probably don't want to be seeing your content 18 times a day. I'd probably just need you when I need you, and then occasionally, I don't know that I would want to hear from you after that, to be honest. For that reason, you need to really just ignore what everybody else says and think about how often do you need to be creating content and posting content on your specific areas of focus in order to have the kind of impact you want to have on your audience and on your goals. Lastly, I would also say really consider the longevity of the content that you're producing. That will really impact how frequently you have to post in order to have the impact you want to have. For example, any blog posts, any YouTube videos, any Pins, will have a very long lifespan. I still have Pins from four years ago that are continuously driving hundreds of people to my website, same with YouTube videos, same with blog posts. All those things basically have a life of their own if they're really well maintained and kept up to date. You can create one of those every six months, and it will have more impact most likely than 100 tweets. That's just because of that longevity and that evergreen nature of those pieces of content. Reels and TikTok videos, to an extent, have the same longevity where some people will say a video went viral four months after they posted it just because the algorithm will decide to pick it back up, but then there will be some pieces of content that are really only valuable in real-time unless you're a celebrity and have some scandalous tweet from eight years ago that somebody has decided to dig up, platforms like Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn that really only exist in real-time. That content has to be created a little bit more frequently because it doesn't have a lifespan of its own after that point. Hopefully, that helps some of you who might have had some questions about how frequently to create and post content depending on the platforms you're looking to focus on. Now in the next lesson, we're going to jump into a project management system and start creating some processes around our workflow. I will see you there. 12. Assign Tasks and Deadlines: Hopefully by this point, you will have created a content plan for the upcoming month and a rough content plan for the upcoming quarter in your spreadsheet and it's been approved and you're ready to actually go and assign the tasks and deadlines and milestones for your team in the project management system of your choice. I'm going to be using Asana, but no matter which project management tool you're using, whether it's ClickUp, Monday.com, Microsoft Teams, whatever it might be for your particular instance, the process will pretty much be the same. I just wanted to pop in here before we head over to Asana and start thinking about how to actually map all this out and create your structure and systems in the project management system. I wanted to pop in and talk about something that I don't see enough people doing, and it's just because it's scary and uncomfortable and we tend to shy away from things that are scary and uncomfortable a lot of the time. But I really want to encourage you to think outside the box with your strengths and your weaknesses within your team. Because a lot of the time I see businesses really catering the content more to the skills of their team rather than the needs of their audience. Which is a really big mistake because that is just not how you're going to evolve in terms of your content process. Sometimes it can be easier to just say, our team are just an excellent team of writers, so let's focus really heavily on SEO and our blog content and maybe written LinkedIn articles and leave it there. As opposed to thinking, our competitors are doing really well on YouTube and Instagram Reels and IGTV and live video, why don't we actually try and figure out where there's talent that we can source who could help us execute on these different avenues that can really benefit our audience because these are slightly things that our team is not quite as good as they could be. Or maybe it's something your team is dying to be good at. Maybe they're just sitting there going, wow, I wish I could really upskill myself in these areas, and because I've been focusing on my written content for years and I would love to be better at video content, and you can maybe put them through some trainings and develop them, hone their skills and then they'll put those skills back into your business, and that's a win-win for everyone really. Just want you to think very critically about where your strengths and your weaknesses are. But don't shy away from creating content that can be super valuable for your business and for your audience just because it's not something that your team might be strong at the moment. Because I want you to remember that there's a workaround for everything and there's probably a resource out there that can help you out. For example, Shootsta is an amazing company I worked with in the past while working in house, which provides professional video equipment and training to businesses who want to take on video content creation, but don't quite know where to begin. Not to mention, these guys have dedicated account managers and professional video editors who take that raw footage that was filmed in house and make it look like it was done by a professional film crew for a fraction of the price. Just know that there's a workaround to almost anything that you want to do. You just have to be willing to really think about things outside of the box and think, is there areas that we could improve upon? Maybe are their team members who are really willing to step up to the plight with this different avenue of our content creation that we haven't explored yet. Always, we're thinking about how to develop your people and your content at the same time. At this stage, it's important for you to identify how long these things will actually take based on your approval processes, the team members that are owning each of these channels, and any additional levels of complexities that might come into play with executing your content plan. It's important for you have a real structure for the content that you're creating and follow that structure every time. Otherwise, you will have a very hard time working backwards from the day that you want something to go live. Let's take a look at how this will actually look in our project management system, at least in terms of the YouTube videos but then you would follow the same process for your additional platforms. If you're brand new to Asana, you can use it on the free plan pretty effectively. There are some limitations and it just depends on your budget. You may also be using a totally different project management system, which is fine, but I've honestly found it to be really, really effective even on their free version, and I've just started a new sample team, so I can show you how this might look when you're starting something from scratch because obviously, I've got my own workflow for my business up here. But that's an added level of complexity over years of me developing my own systems and structures. If you're starting from scratch, you would create a new team. You would invite your team members to that team, and then you would just start a new project for each of your different tasks. It depends on how you want to group this if you want to have all of your video production under one project or you want to have YouTube, and then any additional video production completely separately. You can go by platforms, you can go by the different areas of your business. It's entirely up to you how you structure this as long as it makes sense to you. But for me, I would keep YouTube separate just because of the added complexity that's required to pull off YouTube content, and I would probably have it as a board, but you can obviously change your mind a little bit later on. With timelines, this is an upgraded feature, but it can be really handy if you have five or more team members working on something, then I would suggest that you look into the Timeline feature because then you can see really transparently who's working on what. With every single one of your tasks, the first thing I would do is create an SOP card here. You can have this in list format if you prefer that or on board format, and you can keep switching between them. At this stage, all that I did by selecting board, is save that as my default layout for when I switch to this tab, but you can always change that later on. In my board, I would create a video workflow SOP, and now it's a copy me because I want people to make sure that this stays clean of any adjustments. This is just something you're going to copy every time you you a new video to assign tasks for. I would include a description here, either in written format or I would actually record a quick video, which can be really handy for onboarding as well. If you're onboarding new members, they might look into this. If it's their first time I'm working with a project management system, it might be quite overwhelming. It can be a really neat thing for you to just record a quick video to say, hey guys, here's how you use this card and this document, and here are the next steps. But either way, as long as you've got some sort there and then you can include your sub-tasks as a part of your SOP, which will allow you to give different deadlines and different team members, these different sub-tasks as their responsibility. Now I'm just going to start filling out some tasks that could be a part of your video workflow so that we can see how it all comes together, and I'm just going to speed that up for us. You can start to see how this can get really complex. I've just listed things off the top of my head that I can imagine being in this SOP and it's already getting quite lengthy. This is where you want to make sure that you have this process really broken down into all the different steps over this process, so then you can say, wherever the final step is, let's say we've added in all the additional steps, which would be things like final approval, schedule of the content, have all your end screens, have all your interlinks and all of these things that would have to go into this. But let's say we're at the final step, which would be that the video goes live. This is the actual point that you're working back from, but this is just a template. What you would want to do is copy this over, duplicate this task, and I would give it the actual title of the video. For me, let's say it would be my visual marketing 101. Now, it'll just create a new task, and I would move that to in progress because it would be the upcoming video I'm getting ready to plan. It's copied over all my sub-tasks as well. Now I can jump into the actual task and start assigning things accordingly. Now, of course, you would have more sub-task than the one that I gave it, but the actual ultimate deadline for this would be the second Tuesday of the month at 5:00 AM, so I would make sure that I am putting in my deadline there. Now there's probably no one who's responsible for this thing going live because it would be scheduled, but there's probably going to be a team member that's responsible for checking everything and make sure everything goes live smoothly. That's the ultimate goal we'll be working back from. But as I keep encouraging you guys to do, I would plan at least a month ahead for this. Another sub-task that would go before your video goes live would be to schedule a video, and that would be the actual thing you're working back from, which hopefully would be a month before your video is actually due to go live, which at this point is in the past. Let's just use an arbitrary date at this point. But let's say this is a month ahead or at least a couple of weeks ahead, and then this is what we're going to be working back from. I would keep assigning tasks to different team members so they can see it in their calendars, and they can also get notifications from Asana to say, this thing is what's due this week, or this is the person you're going to need to get approval from for a particular task. You need to keep making sure that if this is when the video is going to be scheduled, then we know that we need to have a thumbnail ready at least the day before in case there are any final revisions. There may or may not be an actual time assigned to that, and then a different team member might be responsible for the actual SEO work because you might have multiple people all working on this one task. But this is how you would keep working backwards from it and making sure that you have approval processes in your SOP in here as well, because this is something people often leave out of their sub-tasks and they just go, we're going to research topics, we're going to script, we're going to film, and they forget to actually assign the approval processes, which is often actually the thing that takes up a lot of your time because you might need revisions. You need to build in a bit of time for any additional approval parts of your workflow. But then you would do this for every single platform that you need to assign tasks for. If you have people creating original pins around these YouTube videos, blog posts to embed them and create transcripts around them. Basically, you can use this tool to get a really structured workflow for each of your content tasks and areas to make sure you're always on track but also so that you have a real transparency over what everyone is working on, when and why. Now, this is just a really brief overview of all the amazing things that can be done within Asana, and I don't want to go too much into depth with it because your team might be using a totally different tool altogether. But for those of you who like the look of this tool and would like to learn more about it, I've linked you to some helpful Asana resources within your class guide, and you can also feel free to check to me about it within the discussion section of the class. Now let's get into the next lesson where we actually go and schedule out some of our content. 13. Automate Your Publishing Process: At this point, you have created all of your content or we're assuming you've created all your content, your team members have done a fabulous job. Everything looks amazing, looks better than it did the month before. You did a great job. Now, it's time to actually schedule everything out and automate part of the publishing process to really take away some of that workload that you might normally have throughout the month. Of course, this is not going to be possible with every piece of content you're going to be doing throughout the month because you might be waiting on a few last little bits here and there. Your newsletters, your podcast interviews, if you're doing any throughout the month or any live webinars, live videos that you're doing throughout the month. All of that will obviously have to happen throughout the month. But most things can be preplanned and scheduled. I would really encourage you to get into the habit of pre-scheduling everything that you can. I'm going to be using Agorapulse to demonstrate this, but please do not worry if it's not within your budget and resources to have a tool like Agorapulse. It's certainly possible to just manually pre-scheduling some of this content that you're going to have going out throughout the month or using a more affordable tool as well. The main thing I wanted to bring to your attention is to understand the sequence of events when it comes to the way that your content has to be published. Because you can have all this content happening on the backend, it's all there, but in order for it to actually go live to your audience, there is usually a sequence of events that needs to happen when you are doing this strategy of this one piece of content that is your pillar content, that is your impact piece of content. Then your other pieces of content that point back to this piece of content and there is a domino effect that has to happen where something has to go live first and then the other things can go live afterwards because otherwise, what can happen is that you have all these amazing social media posts that are trying to point back to your blog post or your video. But because that hasn't been published yet, you end up with a lot of dead links, a lot of failed preview images, and there's a lot that can go wrong there. Just make sure that you know what the sequence of events has to be before you start scheduling everything out. For me, I know that I have to start with getting my videos scheduled to go live, and then my transcript blog post can go live after that because it's going to have the video embedded within it and then everything else can follow. Now I've seen some people schedule their additional content with what is going to be the blog post link once it's live or what's going to be the actual video link once it's live and just schedule everything out assuming that these things are going to go live flawlessly and there's going to be no issues. That's certainly a possibility but my preference is to just have everything ready to go live but have it all in draft mode so that I can do a final check to make sure the videos gone live. Everything looks good. The blog post has gone live. Everything looks good and I'm ready to actually publish and schedule everything out, and I'm really confident that the link it's going to lead to is going to have a blog post or a video there and there's no issues with me driving traffic to those places because things go wrong all the time. I don't have the confidence in publishing tools as some other people do but of course, you have to do what's right for you. First, let's talk about this original impact content that I'm going to be creating and scheduling, and then we'll also talk about how you're going to fill up the rest of your content calendar with curated content and content from other sources, as well as your own past content that you can repurpose for your future content calendars. For this particular video, which would be my visual marketing 101 video, which is a video that has gone live on my YouTube channel already in the past. We can use it for this example and ignore the unflattering stopping point on that video. But effectively, you would upload this video to your YouTube Studio and it would be private until you set it to go live. Your thumbnail, your description, your tags, everything would be optimized and then instead of it being public, it would be just scheduled and then it'll tell you this video is going to be private before publishing. You would set your publishing date there. Even though it's not technically live yet or imagine it's not live yet, you will have the video link there and that will allow you to actually check out the video and what it's going to look like and also get your embed code so you can get your blog posts ready with your transcript if that's something you want to do for your business. Let's say this video's going to go live on a Tuesday at 5:00 AM. I would have my blog posts ready to go with the transcript and with the video embedded to go live at some point after that, let's say 6:00 or 7:00 AM. It gives me a little bit of time to actually check that the video's gone live and it's all good and the blog posts can then go live. I'm not a morning person so I probably wouldn't be doing it that early, but you get the point, it just needs to go live after that. Then you'll have your video link ready to go and your blog post link so you can re-purpose it for your other content pieces. Just one thing I want to point out is that a lot of scheduling and social media management tools don't have the ability to create draft posts, which is a bit of a limitation. For that purpose, for Pinterest, specifically, I use Tailwind where I can have a few different designs of my pin that's going to drive traffic to either YouTube or my blog posts. Once those links are live and I've checked everything, I can come in here and schedule all my drafts to go live. Same with Creator Studio for the purposes of scheduling content for Facebook, I can create a post. I would include my links in here, some text, I could drop real links to my blog post here, but the preview won't work because it wouldn't be a live post yet. For that reason, I would just save it as a draft. Then once everything is good to go, I can come back in here, make sure everything pulls through correctly, and then schedule it to go live. The benefit of Creator Studio is that they have the same capability for your IGTV videos, which is still a limitation with a lot of scheduling platforms, this is where you can come in here and create a draft of your IGTV. Once again, you would drop the link to your YouTube video here that you want people to click through to you, from your IGTV, and then you would make sure that that's all live before everything goes out. I would do the same thing with my newsletter in my email marketing platform and making sure the link that I want people to click on is live and good to go. Then it's all about actually making sure that you have a content calendar that's filled out with additional pieces of content that surround this impact content that you're building your original content around for the particular month. But this is where you can come in and bulk publish. You can also create publishing queue which will allow you to recycle old content. Now not every scheduling platform has this capability, but Agorapulse in particular allows you to create queue buckets. I've got mine based on my content pillars, which then allows me to say, okay, education posts are going to go live Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 10:00 AM. Then anytime my schedule content is just going to put it in the queue. It's also going to allow me to say, I want to publish this three times over the next six months, which is really key with, especially with a really time intensive original content that you're creating, you want to keep promoting it to your audience because be very mindful of the fact that, especially on social media platforms, maybe 2-5 percent of your actual followers will ever see your content. You want to make sure you're putting it in front of them maybe in slightly different formats so you might use different images, you might use different language but the content will be the same, just the promotion around it might be slightly different so that you can get a longer lifespan of your content. The other benefit of using a tool like Agorapulse is having approval processes built into the software so you can manage people's permissions or restrict their permissions so that they're not allowed to actually schedule content until it's been approved, which can become really key for those of you who might have really junior marketers working with you, who might not have the attention to detail that you would like them to have. That's where you can set up user permissions to make sure that everything that they do, at least within the first couple of months is actually check over before it's scheduled. Then you can start scheduling either in bulk publishing or just as a single post but you can schedule for multiple platforms at once. Now one thing I would say is with Instagram and YouTube and Pinterest, which isn't actually an available platform to hook up to Agorapulse but those are platforms that are so visually and video heavy that I would pay really close attention to how you create content for those platforms. I would never be bulk publishing on all these different platforms, including Instagram and YouTube. I would do those very separately. But then it's time for us to actually pull together a bit of content that I already have live on my website that is around this theme of starting digital marketing as a beginner. I could make sure that I'm publishing that on the different platforms through out the month. I would obviously customize the description. I can change the thumbnail for each platform, I can change the title and the description here. I would also want to make sure that I'm really customizing it to how people prefer to receive content on the different platforms and that's specifically true for Twitter. For Twitter, I would say yes, post as an image instead of a Twitter Card and I would want to make sure I'm putting in hashtags and really customizing this piece of content to the particular platform. I can then add it to my queue, which would basically just take over the times that I've set for my content pillar buckets. I can schedule it now or I'm just going to go ahead and click on schedule. At this stage, I'm happy for this to be arbitrary times and I would just schedule this once but I could also say, this is a really great original piece of content, can you schedule this every couple of months for a maximum of three times, let's say. But I would say every two months for up to three times. But in this case, I don't have an original piece of content so I probably wouldn't want to be re-sharing it. I don't think I would do that with other people's content unless it was maybe featuring me. But in this case, I'm happy to schedule out for all of my different platforms and then that will then allow me to go to my publishing calendar, select the platforms that I know have scheduled content for. Head on over to you the correct month and then I can also move some stuff around. Don't necessarily need to have them on the same day. I just like having this quick and easy process for bulk scheduling one piece of content onto all the different platforms. Then that allows me to look at the month as a whole, understand where my original pieces of content will come in and then schedule other people's content on days when I'm not trying to highlight my own content. That's really important because for me, for example, I know that this is the day where all of my stuff is going to go live for my original video, my IGTV, my pins and everything else so I don't want to be scheduling other people's content on that day. Likewise, I probably wouldn't schedule the same piece of content to go out of my personal LinkedIn and my company LinkedIn in the same day because there's quite a bit of overlap in the audience. But never assume that just because you're posting on multiple platforms the same day, the same piece of content that people are going to see it twice because people don't live on social media the way that we think that they do. It's good to spread it out just to give them a little bit more chance to actually see the content that you are looking to share. But of course, some platforms will require a much higher frequency than others. For example, for Twitter, because tweets only really exist in very quick burst, you might want to schedule the same content to go out multiple times over the next few months. Then you would just continue filling everything up the same way that we were talking about where you have your trusted sources that you're happy to pull content from and you can do that either through Google where you put in the actual URL and then your search term if you have a monthly theme. If you don't have a monthly theme and you just want to share their most updated content, then you can go on over to bulk publishing, import from RSS from a website, and then you can put in their URL here and pull from their latest pieces of content here, which is another really quick shortcut to scheduling stuff. But of course, the key to making this as seamless as possible for yourself and to make sure that you are being as efficient as possible with your use of time and resources, is to have some structures and systems in place in addition to what we've already chatted about. More on that in the next lesson. I'll see you there. 14. Structure and Systems: One of the keys to succeeding with your content planning efforts going forward is always making sure you're a month ahead. I know that sounds easier said than done, I know it's not always possible, but I promise you, if you're thinking, ''I'm just going to plan two weeks ahead or a week ahead,'' and then in that week that you were supposed to be spending planning the next week, you then have a family emergency, you get sick, there's a big event on and suddenly you're behind and suddenly four months have passed and you haven't actually done anything with your content plan. That happens a lot more than I care to admit. The easiest way that I've found this to work is to just make sure that whatever month you are going into, that month's content is locked in and already scheduled and automated to go out. You've got everything pre-planned, you've got your YouTube videos unpublished and ready to be scheduled to go live, you've got your blog posts scheduled to go live, all of your social media posts, everything is already prepped and ready to go and then you're just spending that time planning for the following month. Let's say it's December 31st, you're probably not spending your time planning for content, but let's say it's December 31st, by that point, everything for your January content should already be scheduled and ready to go. Then you're just spending the first couple of weeks of January planning your February content. By the time you reach the month, you already have a month's worth of content ready to go so you don't have to do any ad hoc content planning unless there is some urgent media release that you want to fit into your content plan to share it with your audience. That's one part of it, but the other part is going to be to pre-plan even farther in advance if you are required to batch content because it's all about maximizing your resources and your time. Especially if video creation is a part of your content creation plan, it would not make any sense for you to go, "Okay, this month we are going to have two videos go live, so let's just film two videos at a time." That is really not a good use of your time because it takes time to plan and script and practice and your talent has to be prepped and they have to look good and you have to make sure you're booking out space so that people aren't noisy and there's a lot that goes into creating videos, but to an extent also blog posts and podcast interviews. Any kind of real-time intensive content should be batched in advance. So if you know you're doing two videos a month, I would say once a quarter, block out a whole week to do six videos in one go. You don't necessarily need to edit them all at the same time, but just have the footage ready to go and then you can edit as you go for just the month ahead. The other part of that is if you need any team shots, for example, don't take one photo of one staff member at a time. Just have a professional photographer that's going to come in and do a brand shoot on one day, is going to take photos of every single department, every single person, casual shots, formal shots, outside shots, inside shots. Basically you just can have so much content that you can then use for six months at a time that you don't have to worry about it throughout the month. Anything like that that can be batched, absolutely should be batched. Now let's talk about some more structure and systems, things that I want you to be really aware of when it comes to making sure that you're successful with your content plan going forward. We've talked a lot about content creation strategies, but where a lot of people fall short is in their content distribution and promotion style. A lot of the time people are so busy creating, they forget to have a plan for promoting their existing content and that's what we're going to look at and that's what this particular part of your spreadsheet is all about which is to have a backlog that is really easy to access and really transparent for anyone in your team to pull content from that is full of your amazing existing content that's out there, as well as any media, publications or guest features. Within the existing Content Tab of your spreadsheet, you just need to think about how to customize this to your particular needs and it might completely change the structure depending on the platform so I would say that this structure is relatively suitable to any written content and blog content. But for any platforms where you've got visual content, you may choose to include some visual elements like this for mine, for example, where I've got a backlog of all of my YouTube content and I also have a column for all of my thumbnails, which makes it really, really easy for me to scroll through and figure out which piece of content I want to be pulling from to promote based on the thumbnail. This is a little bit more visual, whereas with your blog content, you probably don't need to have your featured image there. But this is still very similarly categorized where I've got a Primary category, a Secondary category, my Title, my regular YouTube link, and then links to that particular video and different playlists, which would then allow me to send someone to this particular video. But as it exists as a part of my video marketing playlist, which means they would then potentially watch this video and maybe my other ones that are all in that playlist, which then increases my watch time, and it's another part of my promotion strategy that way. It honestly just saves you so much time whenever you're having conversations with people in Instagram DMs, or just with your audience online and they're asking you questions and you know you have really good content that answers their questions and you just need to be able to link them to it. If you have a really good structure in place for categorizing your content this way, it'll make it so easy for you to pop over to a spreadsheet like this, copy that link, paste it straight in the conversation, and move on to the next task. Within your spreadsheet that I have shared with you, you can create something similar and I would encourage you to actually categorize even content that was maybe trending and is not usable in the future because it's still good to have a backlog of it documented somewhere that it's a piece of content that's on your website because maybe once a year or once every couple of years you're going to do an audit of all of your published content and realize that actually some of that content that's not usable anymore can completely be deleted from your website, or maybe it's something that's worth updating for the future. You'll notice that this follows a very similar structure to your Content Ideas spreadsheet tab with the slight difference that you probably don't have a status because it's already been published, but you would have the same structure in terms of having an author, understanding which of your content pillars it's suited to, which of your audience segments it suits to, what kind of content it was, and then having relevant links. I just want to encourage you to go ahead and update these drop-downs, and once again, it's just going through to Data validation, and in this case it's already on lists of items because there's something there. Just customize this to whatever makes the most sense for you in terms of the topics that you write about or that you create content around. That will make it really easy for people to just come in here and select the topics that this piece of content is around. Same with your authors, you want to have as many drop-downs as possible to make this process really quick and easy for you. The one column I want to bring your attention to, which may or may not be relevant to you is whether or not it's a guest feature. You may have a completely separate tab in your spreadsheet for guests and media publications or may not be relevant to your brand at all. If it's not appropriate, just make sure to delete it, but if it is, for example, for me, I recently wrote this article for DigitalMarketer, which is a really big name in my industry, and this is definitely a piece of content that I would want to promote in the future so this would be a chance for me to make sure that I'm categorizing that, saying, "Yes, it's usable," and I would say, "No, it's not on my particular channel. It's on DigitalMarketer's channel." Having your content categorized like this makes it really easy for any of your team members to come in here and go, "Which of our past pieces of content can we promote in the future and leverage for our upcoming content plan?" But one thing I just want you to always keep in mind is whatever you're creating, it needs to be so simple that the marketing intern that's been at your company for three days knows how to use it. If you're ever looking at something and thinking, ''This is too complicated. I don't know if someone who's brand new to the business would understand how to use this.'' It just means that there might need to be a process allocated to it in your project management system or in your on-boarding process. There could be a training video or an SOP document or something like that that walks people through all of your different internal structure and systems so that everyone is on the same page and everyone knows exactly where things are and how to use them. Lastly, I want to encourage you to have a process in place for letting your team members and your employees in on your initiatives that they can share with their own network. Because this can massively skyrocket the brand awareness and the reach that you have with your content, if you have real people sharing it from their personal profiles. Because people trust people a lot more than they trust brands. That's just how it is and you can really expand the reach of your content by having people share it. But us as marketers, we sometimes get into bad habits by thinking that everyone else also knows how to find the exact right words to share about a particular post and that's just not the case. First of all, regular person, outside of a marketing team, probably not spending their days on every single platform so they might not even know that there's content to share, and then if they do come across it, they might really want to share it with their network. They want to shout it from the LinkedIn rooftops but then they sit down to actually write something about this piece of content that they're about to share and they freeze because it's really difficult sometimes if it's not your job to constantly be coming up with new content, to know what to say and how to say it, and how to make sure it's on-brand. If you can have a process in place once a week or once a month, some internal comms to say, ''Hey guys, here are three pieces of content we would love for you to share with your network if you've got the time or if you feel like this is right for you, and here's what you could say about it.'' People will be more than happy to make your content go further and expand your reach by having it shared from their personal profiles. I'd really encourage you to use that as a strategy for expanding the reach of your content. Now in the next lesson, we're going to get into talking about your class project and a few things that I'd love to see from you in the Projects and Resources section of the class so I'll see you there. 15. Class Project: For your class project, I'm going to be encouraging you to share with me a little bit about your business, your goals, and your place of impact in terms of where your content is going to be aimed at for your content plan. I know we've talked about it a lot in this class, and I'm going to talk about it again. But I promise you honestly more often than not, about 20 percent of your efforts in your business have 80 percent of the impact on your actual business growth. The rest of it is admin, it's busywork, it's meetings, it's emails, but it's not the stuff that's going to have a real impact on your business goals and your business growth. If you can master where that 20 percent is in your business that's having that impact and laser focus in on that and the rest of it is almost just complimentary and driving traffic back to your place of impact. That is how you're going to be really successful with nailing it in terms of where your time, energy, and resources are best spent in your content creation journey. Again, using myself as an example over the years, I've only published 23 videos on my YouTube channel this far. Those 23 videos have resulted in 300,000 YouTube views, thousands of email subscribers, hundreds of students who are paying students in my courses, and just endless amounts of amazing things that have happened from collaborations with cool brands that have discovered me through YouTube or Google, wherein comparison I probably spent cumulatively the same amount of time on Instagram, if not more and that has resulted in nothing in comparison because my approach to Instagram is a lot more just sharing the behind-the-scenes of my journey, connecting with my students, answering questions and connecting on a more personal level. But in terms of actual business growth, it hasn't had nearly the same amount of impact for the actual time and energy spent. Now it's your turn to think critically about where your zone of impact is and how you can use your other content areas to just elevate those efforts and make them go even farther for you. Let's jump into the projects and resources tab and have a look at how we can share our journey there. Just head on over to the projects and resources section of the class. You can then expand this out and actually copy over some of these points that I would like for you to share so that you can have it easily accessible for yourself when you actually go through to create your project. Then once you've copied that over, you can head on over to Create Project and in the project description is where you can paste over all of these details, give it a project title, and then you can use whatever image you'd like in order to submit the project because it's not a visual project as such, unless you want it to be, you can get creative with this. You guys saw me planning out my content plan just using sticky notes on the window in my office, so you can do something similar if you do want to get a bit creative with it, but absolutely not necessary, you just want to use any image to represent your amazing content plan and then fill in some of your details based on the guides that I've provided you with here, which will effectively give you the same impact-driven content structure that we've been talking about throughout this class. For your class project, I would love for you to share a little bit about your business. It's totally up to you whether you want to share your business name and your URL for me to check out and for other students to check out. But either way, I would love for you to share a little bit about who you are, why you do what you do, who you you, and how you help them, then your quarterly objective. What's your overarching goal that you would like to achieve with your content over the next three months. Then you monthly theme or a goal if monthly theme is not quite appropriate for your business, and it's not right for you then just share a goal of what you would like to achieve within the upcoming month. Then think about if you were just to published two or three pieces of content this upcoming month, what would those pieces of content have to be in order to have the greatest impact on your audience and on your goals and maybe share a little bit about why you've selected these pieces of content or these platforms to focus on. Then share a little bit about your complimentary content efforts that are going to complement your impact-driven content and how many or how few you select here will entirely depend on your resources and your budget because some of you might have a business presence on so many different platforms, and you're going to choose to focus on all of them because you have the resources to pull that off while others might just choose to focus on one or two additional platforms and narrowing your efforts because maybe your resources aren't as vast. But you understand now that if you want to have the greatest impact on your goals and your audience, that you are better off focusing more narrowly on creating high-quality content for fewer platforms rather than a high quantity of content across everywhere that your business could ever possibly be online. Once you've got all of that, if you do want to share any more content in terms of content that you already have live for your business, you can absolutely do that, but then you'll be able to submit that. Myself and other students in this class will be able to provide you with some feedback and support you along your content journey. Now, I'm going to go ahead and fill this out for myself. At any point, if you get stuck, or you just need a little bit of guidance on how to create your project, make sure to check out my own project in the project and resources tab of the class. 16. Thank You!: Well, that brings us to the end of the class, but I'm hoping that in terms of your content creation journey, this is just the beginning. I really want you to be walking away from this class knowing that in order to succeed with your content plan, the only thing you have to do is to remember to be kind to yourself because you can only do what you can do with the resources that you have available to you. You're not a superhuman, and you can't be everywhere all at the same time. In order to not overwhelm yourself with this process, just keep reminding yourself that it's always going to be better to create less but really high quality, intentional, impactful content for your audience than it is to be a content creation machine, but not coming at it from a place of impact. I really want to thank you for being here and wanting to learn from me from within this class. I'm so grateful to be able to be part of your journey throughout these lessons. If you want to find more ways to connect with me online, make sure to jump on over to my Skillshare teacher profile where you can also follow me, so you can be the first to know whenever I release a new class. In my classes, I always teach you guys to be vulnerable with your audience and encourage them to share their thoughts and ask questions. Now I want to do the same with you and encourage you to share with me your thoughts about the class and any improvements that you think could be made. Of course, please feel free to jump into the discussion section and ask any questions about how some of this content might be really relevant to your own unique business and your own unique goals. I'd be happy to help you out there because you just never know when someone out there might have the same question as you and your answer and your discussion with me might actually help them out as well in the process. Thanks so much again guys for being here today, and I really hope to see you again in another one of my Skillshare classes again soon.