Wrap Up 2013 and Plan for Next Year!
Have you ever played chess with someone who is really good? If you have, then you know you can’t win by brute force (throwing your pawns on your front line and trying to take out every piece your opponent moves). You win by strategically planning how to effectively and efficiently place your opponent’s king under an inescapable threat of capture: checkmate.
Many authors feel as though they should approach their article writing efforts with brute force: toss hundreds of articles on the Internet front lines and try to capture every click. Success-track authors don’t worry about reaching every reader, nor do they worry about matching each of their competitor’s moves. By creating remarkable content with value that strategically targets relevant readers, success-track authors know they are one step closer to achieving their goal.
Use this guide to strategically plan 2014 and get on the success track!
Phase I: Take a Look Back
Create a summary that measures how your articles did this year and whether you met your goals.
Check out the Performance tab of your member account, which includes the following article stats:
- URL Clicks
- Click Rate
- Monthly Summary*
Estimate what this data and other sources of information means by answering the following questions in detail:
- Did you meet your goals for the year? Why or why not?
- What was your biggest success and what elements led to it?
- What was your biggest disappointment and what led to the downfall?
- Was there anything that surprised you?
- What do you plan to continue doing in the next year?
- What do you plan on ending this year?
Phase II: Set SMART Goals
Using your 2013 summary as a guide, set SMART goals that are conducive to your efforts:
- S – Specific: Your goal should be precise and unambiguous.
- M – Measurable: Set benchmarks and incremental milestones to help measure your progress.
- A – Attainable: Be realistic with your goals by inventorying resources and identifying obstacles.
- R – Relevant: Your goal should contribute to your vision for your future.
- T – Time-bound: Commit to a timeframe and stick to it by setting:
- yearly deadlines
- quarterly deadlines
- monthly deadlines
Phase III: Create a Strategy and Do It
Start by chunking down your goals: Write your goal down and create a list detailing all of the elements needed to achieve it. Once you have your list, prioritize it in a sequence of events and due dates.
Ready? Do it:
- Organize a weekly writing plan to stay on track.
- Get to know your audience and stick to them like glue.
- Explore new ideas to leverage your credibility and improve your authority.
- Take precautionary steps to manage your time to relieve unnecessary stress.
- Eliminate distractions to improve your focus and achieve your goals.
Phase IV: Create a Content Plan
Begin by creating an annual Editorial Calendar that includes the basics:
- Industry events or your organization’s events
- Relevant holidays and monthly themes
- Pop culture and entertainment events relevant to your audience
- Other noteworthy dates
- Your goal deadlines
Plan monthly themes to help guide your content. For example, people in the health and fitness industry might assign themes like “weight loss” for January, “heart health” for February, and “women’s health” for March.
Ensure your content plan is flexible and create a stockpile of content. A stockpile will help you have content ready:
- when what you originally planned falls through.
- if the content you originally planned may be considered insensitive based on current events.
- the content you planned is no longer relevant based on major industry trends.
- for all of those unknown obstacles that fall onto your path.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the competition. Remember that earlier chess analogy? Don’t allow each of your articles to be reactive to your competition’s articles or you will consistently fall behind. Keep an eye on their movements so you can use their successes as benchmarks for your own improvement, but plan your next move based on what’s going to get you closer to your end goal and stay one step ahead.
Be flexible! Track, measure, and tweak your plan as needed. Create a monthly summary like the yearly summary in Phase I: Take a Look Back, which will help you a year from now when you look back on all that you accomplish in 2014 using this guide.
Are you ready for 2014?
*This feature is available for Premium Members only. Click here to find out how you can take advantage of this benefit and more by becoming a Premium Member.