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Content Calendar Secrets That the Experts WON’T Let You In On…

abcFlashback to about four years ago. I had everything I thought I wanted: a job, partner, house, a car. You know the drill.

But there I was, lying in bed at night, feeling deep down that it wasn’t enough.

I longed for freedom, but I wasn’t sure what it looked like or how I’d find it.

I had an hour-long commute to work. I woke up at Midnight four or five times a month as part of my job. Staff meetings plowed straight through lunch.

In my spare minutes, I’d dash to the bathroom, scarf a granola bar, and shout out an answer to someone’s questions as I darted by.

If you see pictures of me back then, I look pale and distant.

Something had to change.

I made what I thought might be the biggest mistake of my career. I moved backwards. I quit the job that was making me nuts and went back to a copywriting position I had worked a year earlier.

Self-doubt gnawed at me. Would I regret this? But I also felt so relieved. It was like coming home.

Although I was happy with my job, I continued to seek that freedom I longed for. So I went to school to receive my yoga teaching certification. Teaching yoga taught me two things:

  1. I didn’t want to teach yoga.
  2. Many yoga studios were run by young women who needed business help.

I started to help one of my local studios with her website, and BAM! Something clicked. I wanted to help women feel less overwhelmed by their websites and copy.

The Leap

I signed up for an online business course almost a year ago exactly.

Normally I’m very indecisive when it comes to spending money. It has to be a sure thing. But this was the first of many steps where I surprised myself. I just knew. Now’s the time.

As soon as I signed up, I felt a mix of wanting to throw up and wanting to high five the world.

What had I just gotten myself into? What if I hate it? What if I never make this money back?

As the days led up to the start of the course, I noticed this thought kept coming up: “If I die tomorrow, I’ll know I tried something. I took a chance.” And that was enough for me.

I had to figure out everything: my business model, my ideal client, my skills, my services, my competition – my master plan.

It wasn’t easy, but it was fun. And even though I still work full time, I love this business so much that (most of the time) my energy stays up. Signing up for that course was one of the best decisions I ever made.

The Challenges

About six months in, I had a total of two clients. The good news was they were the definition of “ideal clients.”

The bad news: I wasn’t really sure how I had gotten those clients. It felt more like luck than strategy.

I was overwhelmed and flustered. What was I missing?

That’s when Danny Iny’s webinar for the Audience Business Masterclass popped up in my inbox.

I had previously opted in for Danny’s video training, which I loved, so I watched the webinar with high hopes.

During the webinar, I did the thing I always do when I like something. I told myself how much I’d be willing to pay for it (before knowing the price).

When I saw that the actual price was half what I was ready to pay, I signed up without hesitation.

ABM helped me see the whole picture. Things started clicking in a way they hadn’t before.

My biggest takeaway so far (I haven’t finished all the modules) is my content calendar.

I’ve gotta tell you, my content calendar was a major sticking point for me. All the experts talk about having your content planned 6 to 12 months out. I was always scratching my head: how the heck am I supposed to do that?

Having your content calendar figured out must be like finding gold because every time I looked for an example of one online, I’d find the worst spreadsheets ever. It was as if bloggers were saying, “There’s no stinkin’ way I’m going to share this with you now that I’ve unlocked the secret.”

Thankfully, after watching Danny’s videos, I was able to create the most rockin’ spreadsheet ever. It was like I could finally see my business from an aerial view.

I planned static content, set goals for my subscriber list and income, added tabs for guest posts – I mean, this thing was out of control. But it was exactly what I needed.

Today, my blog posts are planned through the end of August. (Still working up to the 6 month thing.) And all my big projects are planned through February of next year (!).

As promised, I’m giving you what the experts won’t: a swipe file of my content calendar.

YES!

(Real quick: this is just a sample of what my calendar looks like. I would’ve included more but I couldn’t copy & paste my full spreadsheet due to all the weird formatting. I think you’ll still find it handy.

Feel free to add or remove whatever you want. For example, you might not care about your Alexa ranking. I had someone publicly diss mine, so I started watching it to educate myself.)

How It’s All Playing Out

If my content calendar hadn’t come together, I never would’ve been able to plan my Vulnerable Blog Challenge last month.

The calendar enabled me to work far enough in advance that I could prep like a pro.

I found people who would donate prizes, I created all the rules and challenges (based on The Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt), I gave people time to register, and I also gave my guest writers time to submit their posts.

My goal was to get 100 participants, and I got up to 64. The conversion rate for my opt-in page was about 20% which I’m pretty thrilled about. (I have a pretty good idea of why I didn’t get as many participants as I expected, and I’ll likely be writing a blog post about my experience soon.)

The upside is that this contest has given me the confidence of knowing that I can plan a project in advance, network with my peers, and do something meaningful with my business.

Next Steps

My next big project is to revamp my services and really zero in on my ideal client. (I still haven’t “landed” on the client, but I’m getting closer.)

But before I can figure out my client, I’m taking some time to get to know myself: my goals, my vibe, the theories and wisdom I want to share.

After I nail that down, I’ll have a better idea of who I want to share that with and who will benefit from it the most.

Your Turn

I’ve been tasked to continue sharing my journey with you. But when I try to predict what would keep you glued to your computer, I feel overwhelmed and paralyzed.

So, tell me. What would you like to hear more about? Do you want to hear about the mistakes I’ve made? Want some copy tips? Interested in how I’m finding my way to my ideal client?

I’m up for anything. I’d love your feedback and guidance about what I should share with you next. Leave a comment, and we’ll get this party started.

About Adrianne Munkacsy

I'm Adrianne Munkacsy (that's mun-kay-see), a copywriter and content strategist who helps on-the-rise coaches peg their ideal clients and write clear, genuine content that attracts a steady flow of subscribers. Want to speak your clients' language in a way that feels totally natural? Start with my free worksheet: 4 Unconventional Ways to Write for Your Ideal Client.

17 comments

  1. So far on my path it seems like if it makes you want to throw up then its the right step! You need the right combination of fear and courage to know its the path (at long last) and then to step on it.

  2. Christen says:

    Adrianne,

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m not quite at the point of needing the spreadsheet, but I’m getting there and I know from the past that I would be struggling to come up with my own calendar. At the beginning of my efforts it’s so valuable to hear from others who are ahead of me.

    1. Adrianne Munkacsy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Keep it in your back pocket, Christen! And let me know if it helps. Even if it takes you some time to get around to it, it’s nice to know it’s there. 🙂

  3. Festus says:

    Hey Adrianne
    You deserve ‘props’ for risking society’s wrath by abandoning the corporate torture chamber in pursuit of freedom.

  4. Fiona Prince ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Adrianne, thank you so much for your spreadsheet. I’m working on my content for the next 6 months. I have the outline for each post/video and am setting up the associated landing pages for people to join my email lists. I’m very good at coming up with good ideas but getting them out of my head and into the real-world is much more difficult. And, once their in the real-world I’m not very good at tracking my results. I have that been-there-done-that-got-the-tshirt syndrome that has me constantly seeking something new instead of following up with what I’ve done and what I have.
    To manage this aspect of my personality, I need structure; you’re spreadsheet seems to be a perfect fit for where I am right now.

    I’ll let you know how it’s working for me in a few weeks. If you don’t hear from me, could you give me nudge by email 🙂

    1. Adrianne Munkacsy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      I’m the same way, Fiona—without structure I’m like a plastic bag thrashing in the wind. I find the spreadsheet helps me see the big picture. But like all systems, it only works when you use it! I get the most from it when I’m planning something long-term and need to get my head around the timeline. Let me know what you think, and I’ll definitely reach out in a few weeks!

  5. Becky Castle Miller says:

    This is great, Adrianne! Thanks so much. I’m two months in to my audience business project (wynmag.com), and I’m about to start a massive guest-posting binge. Your spreadsheet is going to be incredibly helpful to me as I keep it all organized. Thank you for giving away such a valuable tool.

    1. Adrianne Munkacsy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Good! I’m so glad it’ll come in handy. I peeked at your site, and I love your honesty and the fact that you’re making a safe space for people. I think your guest posts will do really well—people need the type of connection that you’re creating.

  6. Wow – I love the enthusisam that oozes from this blog post. It is great that you took the plunge to follow your dream – Yoga – then realize that it wasn’t for you. Then you were able to take the next step, instead of wondering, what if? etc.

    Congratulations of getting your challenge set up to0.

    I wish you all the success – you are putting in hard work so you deserve it 🙂

  7. Adrianne Munkacsy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Thanks, Ryan. Over the past few weeks, I’ve created some exercises to help me delve deeper into my ideal client, and I’ve gotten a ton of clarity. I’ve given the same exercises to my most recent four clients and they’ve been working great.

    I totally agree about the case studies, especially with copywriting. Thanks for your input!

  8. Ryan Kaufman says:

    dear Adrianne,

    I appreciate this honest article, and it looks like your game plan is something which all service providers should use from time to time to revamp their strategy and customer attraction model.

    First thing I’d do when finding the ideal client is to do some soul searching and understand the best results I’ve gotten over the years within my own life. They’ll speak for themselves. That’s your PROOF, that helps attract the right client…

    In marketing there’s a saying: don’t tell, show. I think case studies and proven results within your life and business, will help others mirror on onto your success, and want to do business with you.

    Does it help?

  9. Steven Fabian ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hi Adrianne,
    It’s great to see how you decided to change your life and then adjusted things as you went along (i.e.: you realized teaching yoga was not for you, but that helping others build their yoga business was something you liked). Improvisation is a useful entrepreneurial skill! 🙂 Now that you asked, I’d like to call you up on that promise about letting us know why participation on your Vulnerability Blog Challenge was lower than you expected. I’m sure it would make a great and informative post for all of us. Thanks for sharing!
    P.S.: I’m sure you know that you’re the “namesake” of the famous Hungarian painter, Mihály Munkácsy 🙂 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mih%C3%A1ly_Munk%C3%A1csy

    1. Adrianne Munkacsy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Thanks, Steven! As a recovering perfectionist, improv isn’t my favorite thing but I’m learning fast.! Thanks for the request for more info about the contest participation. I got great feedback from some of my participants that I’d love to share, as well. And yes, very familiar with Mihály Munkácsy. 🙂

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