It’s pretty much an end-of-the-year ritual. “I can’t believe how quickly this year’s gone!” everyone says at the start of meetings, in endless planning-related Instagram posts and emails stuffed with invites to their particular process for prepping for the new year. Even if there are still several perfectly good weeks still to go.
But even though it’s important to remember there’s still lots of time left to work on your goals (It’s not over till it’s over. And even after the clock strikes midnight, it’s not like you can’t keep working towards those goals left undone.) Even still, it’s a good time to start thinking about what you want the year ahead to look like.
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And so, every year in November, I dedicate a few days to my annual biz-versary retreat. It feels like an opportunity to celebrate one of the biggest turning points in my life (starting my business), look at how far it's come and look forward to the year ahead and what I'd like to focus on.
One year, I dragged my husband and my dog to a B&B in a tiny fishing village at the northern tip of the island I live on. Another, I turned my bedroom into a planning sanctuary for a fancy staycation. For a few of the others, I ran off to a hotel for room service, massages at the hotel spa, and ocean walks between planning seshes.
The point is that while the surroundings and details of my retreat might look different from year to year, the agenda is largely the same: work my way through the 2023 Content Empire Planner annual review and planning section, create my CEO dashboard, vision board and affirmation audios. Plus celebrate, celebrate, celebrate (I don't do a great job of this throughout the year so I get it all out here).
My annual biz-versary planning retreat is coming up in a couple of weeks and this year feels a bit different. Maybe it was how challenging the year has been on a personal front (losing my dad, a long-time team member passing away, moving unexpectedly for the 4th time in 3 years). Or the fact that between all that and a massive rebrand and new website, I felt like I had very little focus or energy for much else. And I can't think of a time when I wanted a fresh start of a new year more.
And I’m already pretty sure what my biggest content priorities are going to be this year:
- Going back to basics and revisiting the foundation for my own content empire
- Redesigning my core content bundles and workflows for more repurposing
- Growing my audience through intentional traffic growth strategies
So in this blog post, I’m taking you behind the scenes of what I’ll be tackling (content-wise) in 2023.
Priority #1: Revisit the Foundation of My Content Empire
First things first, I want to bring it back to basics and address some issues with my own content empire that have been bugging me for awhile (outdated pages, freebies, broken links, etc.).
Luckily, every year I run a big live round for my signature program, Your Content, Your Empire (and all of the alumni are invited!). I love getting to support others in real-time as they go through this process of setting up their sales funnels, organizing their content, documenting their content core workflow and ramping up their traffic.
Here’s what we work through together with weekly workshops in the live round:
But one of the other reasons I love the live round so much? It also gives me some accountability to go through the process again myself… and it’s very needed this year!
Here’s what’s on my shortlist to work on foundation-wise:
- Set up my 2023 CEO Dashboard and metrics dashboard to keep on track of my numbers, progress and goals
- A massive end-of-year-clean-up including organizing my digital filing system, my design assets (think: templates, stock photos), my content banks and assets, reviewing website pages and social media profiles, updating my inspiration and idea bank (removing things that no longer resonate or that I’ve already done)
- Mapping out new welcome sequence and evergreen sales system (one for YCE and one for the agency) so all is ready for audience building this year and to help me get the right offers in front of the right people at the right time
Most of this will be done by the time I finished the live round of YCYE (early December) although I might be wrapping up a few pieces in January.
Priority #2: Redesigning My Core Content Bundle and Workflow
My second area of focus is my own core content bundle and the workflow I follow to get everything created, published and promoted.
For background: I organize my content around the idea of content bundles. A content bundle is a package of content that you publish on the same interval. So instead of looking at each piece of content individually, or even by each channel, you start to bundle these pieces together based on if it’s a weekly, monthly, or quarterly thing. My core content bundle is centered around my weekly blog post (which also gets released as a video and podcast) and goes out usually on a weekly basis until it’s the last 6 weeks of the year (my creative recharge sabbatical time) or during launches when I’ll be emailing a bit more frequency about other things.
Although things are working fairly well in terms of content (and I’m not intending to ‘fix something that ain’t broken’ as my husband jokingly accuses me of on the regular), I want to look for more opportunities to easily break my core content up into smaller pieces that can be shared more places and go back through my newly organized existing content assets (see priority 1) to leverage these in more ways.
Here’s my semi-finalized hit list for this priority:
- Do a review of the content platforms and distribution channels we’re using: is there anything else we should add on? Are there any low-hanging fruit optimizations that would make our existing platforms and channels work better?
- Do a review of content tools available that could maybe help streamline the repurposing process: are there any tools we should test out or experiment with?
- Test out potential tools
- Settle on our final channel and platform plan for 2023
- Settle on our final tool suite for 2023
- Design our final workflow for 2023 and document the processes along with responsibilities, shortcuts and templates
- Design our final content bundle spreadsheet
- Create training videos and walkthroughs to go along with the core content workflow
- Update our Asana core content bundle template
I’ll be wrapping this up in December and early January.
Priority #3: Growing My Audience
My biggest focus for 2023 is audience growth. This has always been a priority in the past but last year completely took a backburner. It’s time to bring it back.
My approach this year will be to choose 1 strategy to focus on and implement per quester. Then at the end of the quarter, I’ll review the results and determine whether I want to:
- Do – continue doing this strategy (mostly myself)
- Document – create a system to streamline the process
- Delegate – hand off ownership of the strategy to someone else on my team or bring in a contractor who specializes in it
- Delete – shut it down because the ROI wasn’t worth the effort
I’m not 100% settled on the focus for each quarter (I’ll likely finalize this as part of my annual planning retreat), but here’s the loose plan:
Quarter 1: Paid Ads – Once I have the new sales system set up, I want to test it by running ads on Facebook and Instagram and then on Pinterest and Google Ads. This quarter will be all about experimentation to see what’s working now since I’ve taken a year off of running my own ads.
Quarter 2: Guesting/Pitching – I usually pick this focus for the final quarter of the year which is when I also happen to be the busiest promoting the live round of YCYE, the new edition of the planner and the mastermind, which isn’t exactly conducive for having the extra time needed for collaborating, building relationships and showing up for my guesting partnerships. I’m learning from my mistakes and doing this is the first half of the year this time.
Quarter 3: Pinterest – We’ve always gotten great traffic results from Pinterest but so much has changed with Pinterest that I want to dedicate a quarter to updating our strategy and workflows for distributing content on Pinterest. There’s a chance I might do this sooner by bringing someone else on to run it and if I do, I’ll pick something else for this quarter.
Quarter 4: SEO – I’m thinking that while I’m busy with promotions in Q4, it would be a great time to bring someone on to do some background work on our SEO since we do well on search but with the new website, might to fix a lot of things and optimize.
What Are You Focusing on For 2023?
I know firsthand what it feels like to want to work on everything and all at the same time. And how hard it can be to choose one to focus on (hello, guilt on all those other things you *should* be doing). But I keep in mind the reminder from Oprah, “You can have it all. Just not all at once.”
So whatever you’re looking to do or improve next year, give it a home in your calendar so you’ll know when and how you’re going to get to the rest of the things on your list and just worry about the very next priority in front of you.
And I'd love to invite you to plan with me in the Ultimate 2023 Content Planning Retreat which is happening from November 16th to 18th, 2022.