I’m usually pretty good at working to a schedule. There’s no doubt that the way our business works is with fast development. We come up with an idea, we get it developed (fast) and we release it.
And while that is still the way forwards for us, 2014 sees a slight change in order to make this process more structured. As of today we have six projects we are already looking to develop in 2014 and there is no doubt that more will appear as the year moves forward. Of these six projects at least two of them are big. When I say big I mean serious software development projects that are likely to cost tens of thousands in development.
So what does that mean for me?
It means that I need to be more organised with my time.
There is one thing that is more important than anything else in our business. And it’s probably not what you think it is. Most people think that the most important things are new products to sell, building new sites, generating new traffic etc…
And they’re all important, of course.
…they’re not the most important.
At least, they’re not the most important for me.
For me there is one thing that has more impact on our business than anything else. And that is… our readers.
They are the single most important thing.
Without you there is no point in me writing this. Without the readers of our other publications there is no point in writing them. And, without our readers we don’t have any customers.
That makes my email writing the single most important thing I do every week. I want to make sure that our emails provide awesome knowledge, value and expertise. I want to help everyone who reads my emails to feel that they’ve taken something away from them that they value. And I want them to also find them entertaining and a joy to read.
Which is why I write all our emails myself, and why I spend as much time as necessary when writing them. They are never rushed.
At the beginning of 2013 I had a schedule for my emailing. But… I didn’t have a schedule for when I was going to write my emails.
I found that I was usually sitting down to write them the night before, and since I usually send my first email of the week on a Monday that meant Sunday night. This didn’t please my (now) wife and I also found it stressful as I like to take Sunday off.
So by the middle of the year I had made a schedule of when I was going to write the emails.
The problem was…
I was sitting down at the time to write the emails and hadn’t written the articles I was going to be writing about in the emails!
Because I hadn’t scheduled it.
And then on top of that I hadn’t got a proper schedule for promotions either. With that put on top of all the other work, my email writing schedule began to slide and by the end of the year I was back to writing them again on Sunday nights. I’d gone the full circle.
Just before Christmas I sat down and wrote down a new schedule which will stop this happening again. And I’m going to share that with you now.
The first part of this is that Monday and Tuesday are purely about writing content for the next week. I hope to be, normally, finished with this on Mondays but if it runs into Tuesday then that’s no problem.
The content includes any blog posts, videos and emails. Over the course of the year this may also start to include podcasting as well. It’s something I’ve never done before but would quite like to do for this blog 🙂
That means that by Tuesday evening, at the latest, all my content for the week is done and I have nothing to worry about on that front until the following Monday. The rest of the week has immediately become less stressful.
During those two days I will also be turning on Skype and answering emails only twice per day. It’s very easy to get distracted and when you’re writing content it can add hours of time if you’re not 100% focused on what you’re doing.
I now have between three and four days for product design and development.
This should mean that our projects will get done even faster because I have a significantly larger blocks of time dedicated to them than I did before when I was doing bits and pieces as I fancied.
With the writing schedule I also needed a new email schedule. And here is how it is going to go:
Monday: Quality Blog Post
Tuesday: Segmented Promotion
Wednesday: Freebie / Content
Thursday: Segmented Promotion
Friday: Freebie / Content
I do have slightly different schedules for different sites but this is one of my main ones. I like to start Monday off with a weekly email which goes to a recent blog post, usually a new one every week. Although sometimes I mix in the most popular across the entire blog.
I don’t like to promote heavily so Tuesday and Thursday are my promotion days but as a general rule I will only be doing segmented promotions. This means not everybody will be receiving the promotion, only those people who have previously expressed an interest in what the product/service does will receive it.
This means that some people may not get promotions very often and others will get them more often based on their activity.
Wednesday and Friday are my freebie or content days. This is when I may provide some free content which is only available inside the email, link to another persons article/video on a different website or do mail swaps.
Saturday and Sunday are free days when nothing goes out to give my readers a break.
Now just because I have those spaces each week doesn’t mean that I’m going to fill them every week. Of course, sometimes they will. But more often than not there will be a couple of slots spare each week.
But… I will never put in more promotions or freebies than I can fit into those periods. This will help me to control the exact number of emails that are received by our readers to make sure that they always have just the right amount of content.
I hope that you will take this schedule and adjust it to fit your own business needs. I can promise that it will make a big difference the level of efficiency that you work at and the more efficient we are the easier it is to take days off when we need to, knowing that all the regular important work has been done.
And please, if your readers were not the absolute 100% most important part of your business in 2013, then make sure they are in 2014!