As the year ends, you’ve been reading loads of ideas, quotes, suggestions on how to make it YOUR year, right?
I am guilty of that too, so don’t you worry, it’s just the way it is. Especially when running a brand with many moving parts, the saying “fail to plan, plan to fail rings true.
It’s inspiring to get down to planning (I love planning). However, you won’t see me going crazy over a 5-year plan anymore. It could be because of what happened over the past 18 months, or maybe I believe in big goals, incremental upgrades, and consistent tracking (what gets measured will increase pretty much seamlessly).
How to prepare your brand for the New Year
You may reach some of your goals. You may not meet all of your targets. One thing our members know is that here at Creative Impact, we do not believe in failure. We are a stubborn bunch.
That’s why we believe that goal setting is a crucial aspect of creating a great strategy and a glorious brand.
If you do not see the results you expected, chances are you’re not going to achieve your goals by accident: it takes purposeful planning. If you don’t define those goals and create a plan to work toward them, you’ll never reach them.
Where would you like to take your brand next year? According to your stats, what were the most successful pages, Instagram posts, or podcast episodes this year? What are the emails with the highest click rate? If you haven’t answered these questions, you totally should. It will help you set better goals for your next quarter. I still rely on SMART goals when working with clients and members, as it’s a great way to set any milestone. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that helps you select the correct type of goals.
Quite straightforward. The more specific you make your goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. Instead of saying, “I want to make money from my content”, make sure you set a specific goal to make enough money from your content to pay, for example, for a week-long holiday.
Setting milestones can be scary, hence why we are more likely to shy away from them! Just like how people struggle to “grow their Instagram” because they do not know what that entails, you need to understand what accurate results mean. You want to know how many new followers you are expecting, how many articles you want to write in a month, how many new emails you wish to collect in a specific amount of time – this makes your achievements measurable and more manageable.
Less is more, especially when it comes to goal setting. Choose one big goal, and work toward it. Then move on to the next one. Remember, you can only achieve so much before your willpower dwindles and you jump straight into burnout. Don’t get fooled by the shiny object syndrome: if you create many goals to accomplish simultaneously, you’ll burn through your willpower very quickly.
Your goals should be consistent with what you want to achieve with your brand. Hence you need to know WHY you are in business altogether. There’s no point wasting time on a goal that won’t help you achieve your overall purpose. Think carefully about how the milestones you set are allowing you to achieve your purpose in your brand. Is doubling your Instagram likes going to help you create the financial freedom you desire?
A time-bound goal gives you focus and allows an end date for achieving your goal. Let’s use the weight-loss analogy just one more time. You don’t want just to set a goal, such as “I want to gain 1,000 followers”. Instead, you want your milestone to be time-bound, such as “I want to get to 10,000 followers by the end of the year.” By adding a deadline for achieving the goal, you will be able to see how close you are and keep yourself on the right track. Remember, you are always encouraged to adjust your deadlines according to the goal and its achievable.
Grab an old piece of paper and jot down the most important dates in your calendar (read a new e-book, your first live event, an e-course you are launching). It’s essential to have these dates handy to work your marketing strategy, guest posts, and features accordingly. If you haven’t already, answer the questions above to prepare you for next year.
Cleaning up social media
Content and social media are king and queen. They’re the perfect combination of beans and toast (I love this one) if used properly. To prepare your brand:
- Comb through your social media accounts.
- Be merciless (and I mean that).
- Use your analytics to determine which accounts are most productive to your brand then downside.
For example, let’s take Facebook: being part of many online masterminds and participating in engagement threads can be the reason behind this. If you’re like me, consider the most beneficial and productive groups and eliminate the others (I remember one time, 2014, I was engaging in about 30 groups). One of the most significant barriers to success is distractions.
If Pinterest is a heavy hitter for you, look at the popular pins to see what your readers like. Have a good spring clean through your boards and delete pins that no longer represent your brand and interests. Establish clear, concise boards for pinning.
Update your accounts and bios
Your branding, Instagram or website are representations of you. When people come to you, they don’t want to use Google Maps to find the information they’re looking for. They are coming to get the information and services that you provide. Make this easy for them, please.
When was the last time that you’ve updated your design? Is your bio up to date on social? When’s the last time you updated your links?
When it comes to your website, you are most likely to have on average ten broken links lying around; I recommend using tools like W3C Checker to spot them. We tend to run a health check for our website once a quarter to ensure all the dates are correct and my bio is not dated 2014.
Choose your word for the year
Think about the year ahead and ask yourself what one word would best represent your dreams and direction for the year to come. It is a powerful practice because no matter how busy or scattered we may get at various points in our 365-day journey. We’ll always have our word to hold onto and guide us through.
Here are some examples of words to consider (you can also think of them as themes for the year): Freedom, Love, Thrive, Value, Elevate, Fierce, Flow. You’ll find that more and more, your thoughts, decisions, and actions in the new year will flow in harmony with your word.
Looking for more help and support to get the focus you need for the year ahead? Check out our new 4-week online boot camp Built to scale.