Structure = Freedom

In the one and only acting class I ever took, I remember the teacher going on and on about Structure is freedom?. The second I heard the word ?structure?, I tuned out. Structure? What, like schedules and PRACTICE and stuff? Nope, not for me. I want FREEDOM! I want to do what I want when I want. HUZZAH!

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I totally missed the point of the lesson. When you’re engaged in an artistic pursuit, building a base framework of your craft so that you have a foundation of skill and technique is the only way you can jump off and get creatively inspired and create art. Think of a skilled chef. He works years to perfect skills and techniques and when he gets ready to cook, he’s got all his ingredients in front of him. It’s that framework and structure that allows a-little-of-this-a-little-of-that to become a satisfying dish. Here’s another way to look at it. You’re stoked about your New Year?s Resolution to eat healthy and lose weight, so you ditch the jars of Nutella and white carby bread from the pantry and stock the fridge with colorful veggies instead. You’ve just prepped your framework so that you can create new structures around healthy eating.

Marketing Strategies Need Systems

Organizing your marketing is no different. And when we talk about digital marketing, your foundation and framework help you content and deploying that content on your social media channels. The better you can get organized around your marketing materials, goals and assets, the easier it is to create your marketing, which of course means, making more money.Taking the time to get regimented around your marketing will allow you to create a kind of ecosystem that can start to function almost on its own.I’m not talking about automation? here. I don’t really believe that marketing should be robotic as you’re dealing human customers, not robots.

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The three things you need to create your marketing ecosystem is a Marketing Asset Inventory, a Marketing calendar, and a Procedure Checklist

Marketing Asset Inventory

First, you want to start off with what I like to call a ?Marketing Asset Inventory?. One of the problems people come across is that they lose touch with exactly what they’ve created over time. You might have a gem of a blog post or flyer or ebook hanging out that gets lost in the shuffle of running your business. Creating a document (and filing system) that helps you keep track of all the things you create will allow you to access them easier. So, take an afternoon and put all your logos, images, blog drafts, newsletters, ebooks, ads, flyers, posters, what have you, in a logical filing system. I recommend you don’t go to crazy with the sub folders. If you have to click through 15 folders to find what you want becomes really cumbersome.

[Tweet “#Productivity Tip: Create a filing system to manage your marketing inventory http://wp.me/p3d8A0-40g via @GingerSnapWorks”]

The next thing you want to tackle when organizing your marketing is an inventory. I like to do this in a spreadsheet. What you want to track is when you created the item, the title or topic, how it was used, heck, put in some keywords in there, go crazy. The point here is you want to be able to see everything in one shot. This is helpful because you might discover hidden opportunities, for example, you could see that you’ve got 10 great blog posts on a single topic that you can repurpose into an ebook. BOOM. More marketing, less effort.

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Marketing Calendar

Having a deep marketing calendar could change your life. A basic marketing calendar will help you remember when and where to publish content. It will keep you, well, on a schedule. And it will help you batch work together. Got a spare hour? Check the marketing calendar and you’ll see that you have to do 4 blog posts on health kale recipes in the next 6 weeks. BOOM. Knock those out all together in one shot. Now, when you start building depth into your marketing calendar, it becomes even more useful. Put your speaking engagements, your vacation time, conferences, holidays, EVERYTHING on the calendar. When you review it, you might see holes you need to plug or money making opportunities. For example, if you know that you’re going to Fiji on vacation in September, you might want to pad your budget with a quick product launch in July. You won?t know that if you’re not looking at your marketing AND your life side by side.

Procedure Checklist

Once you know the marketing pieces that you have AND you know when and where you need to launch or create marketing, exactly HOW you deploy that marketing is the next step. Now, I’m going to tell on you for a second. In your head, you know exactly how everything is supposed to work. You know that once you write a blog post, you should tweet it, put it up on Facebook, pin it to Pinterest, blast it out in your newsletter, share it in Facebook groups. There’s a bunch of stuff you know you’re supposed to do. AND it’s all in your head. And that’s cool, but You have to get it out of your head and on paper, for two main reasons. First, once you get the process down on paper, you can look at the check list and speed through rote tasks and save some time. Secondly, as your business grows, you’ll be handing off tasks to other people. So having a procedural checklist will help you delegate tasks. OH, and this is a biggie, don’t forget to add ?Log new content into the Asset Inventory? to your check lists. See how this all works?

Marketing often seems like a huge headache for most small business owners. But it is the vital step that keeps your business humming along. A little bit of effort to get things working systematically will ease some of the stress around your marketing programs.

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Bizapalooza Guest Chat

We’re hosting a Tweet Chat on Thursday Feb. 25 at 2:00pm ET/11am PT

You can join and follow the Tweet Chat on Twubs (just login with your Twitter account)

Join us on Blab at 3:00pmET/12:00pm PT — We’ll be going over IMPLEMENTING the tips in this article and from the Tweet Chat!

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