August is often a quiet month with people you want to contact away on holiday. Instead of worrying about the possible lack of work, this is a good time to be reviewing your plans for the rest of the year so you are ready for when people are back at their desks. For example, do you have your marketing sorted until December?
Marketing yourself can seem a huge job and one of those things which you know you need to do but which can get lost down the back of the mental sofa. Building on the idea of my recent blog about making an appointment with your own business, I wanted to pass on a tip I was recently given on how to plan and keep track of all those actions you can take to keep yourself in people's minds.
The tool is a grid where you can record all your possible marketing ideas. The photo at the top of the page is a sample of my own grid which is done in Pages; you can do it on a wall chart using post-it notes or however works for you. You can just write it out in rough and then add it into your ‘to do' software, like Everynote.
Along the top of the grid you write in all the ways you market yourself. For example, Twitter, Facebook, your website, blog, exhibitions, online shop ... and whatever else is relevant to your particular area of work.
Along the left side, write in dates. These can either be by week or by day whichever works best for you. (I use daily simply because I like to do a little something every day.)
Once you have got the grid, you can start putting the regular things you do - for me, that is sending out my monthly newsletter and writing a weekly blog. This is a great place to start because it stops you from that awful blank sheet syndrome. Then you can put in the main events you can think of - an exhibition/open studios you are going to be in, a workshop you are leading, an e-book you are publishing, etc. Or it could be a public holiday or celebration you can tie in with - Easter, Christmas, Olympics.
Once you have these initial ideas, you can start working backwards. For example, if you are going to have an open studios on 26/27 October, write that in the relevant column for those dates. Then when do you need to start letting people know? And how? And how often? So on your grid for the week of 1 October, you might write “set up Facebook event” in your Facebook column and “tweet link to Facebook event” in your Twitter column. Get the idea?
The great thing about using a computer programme or a wall chart with post-it notes is that you can change it and be flexible with your plan, updating as the year progresses. You don’t have to do everything you write in it; it is as much a source of inspiration as it is a practical tool. As you can see from my own grid, you don't have to fill up every square in the grid, but do try an have at least a couple of actions, even if they are small ones, every week. The key points are that it gets you thinking about how to market yourself, helps you put things out in time so it becomes more manageable and it helps to tame social media.
So what’s the first thing you are going to put in your grid?
If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out if coaching will support you, book for a Light the Blue Touchpaper session.