Kathi is back with Tonya Kubo, creator extraordinaire, continuing the discussion on building followers from zero. The first week they kicked off the series talking about brand. The second week we learned about creating a compelling offer. This week is all about creating a content strategy and calendar and how they are beneficial. In this episode you will learn:
- The difference between a content calendar and a content strategy
- How to start developing a content strategy
- What are the top two mistakes that communicators make with their content
Links and Resources:
December Special Offer:
What if you were able to suddenly create a life where you not only looked forward to writing each and every day, but a life where you actually have the time and ideas to write, and could build a following of readers hungry for what you’re writing? And then, what if you were actually able to turn writing into a business?
And the best part? The Collective is 50% off for the month of December with code CHECKIN
To share your thoughts:
To help out the show:
- Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
- Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our list now and never miss an episode or blog.
Meet Your Hosts
Author, Speaker, Communicator Academy Creator and CEO
Tonya Kubo is the illustrious and fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter Free Academy Facebook group and the Clutter Free for Life membership program. A speaker and writer, Tonya makes her home in the heart of California with her husband, Brian, their two spirited daughters, and one very tolerant cat. Visit her at www.tonyakubo.com.
Read along with the Podcast!
Writing at The Red House Podcast # 223
Create A Content Strategy
Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to the Writing at the Red House podcast, where we gather at the table to break bread and tell tales with some of our favorite creators, who love to share the story of God’s extravagant love. Back with me today is creator extraordinaire, Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya. Welcome back to the podcast.
Tonya – Hey, Kathi. Thank you for having me.
Kathi – So, we had epiphanies and fun stuff in the last podcast about, basically, how to really zero in on your brand. I want to take it a step further now. You are actually giving all of our listeners this content calendar. Here’s my question, let me just break it down. What’s the difference between a content strategy and a content calendar? I feel like, in the world, they’re used interchangeably. I need you to tell me the difference.
Tonya – Well, a content calendar is what you post and when you post it. It’s a calendar, right? A calendar tells you what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. Day in and day out. A strategy is two things. It’s a general sense of what you’re doing, but really it’s why you’re doing it. When I open up my calendar every day, my calendar tells me what I’m doing at 9 o’clock, but it doesn’t tell me why I’m doing that thing at 9 o’clock. So, a Seth Godin quote I really like. I think it’s Seth Godin who said it. Now I’m second guessing myself. A strategy is what you keep doing, even when your tactics fail.
Kathi – Okay, so maybe I posted something today and it tanked, but I’m not going to change my whole strategy because one thing tanked.
Tonya – Right. Exactly. We keep using Clutter Free Academy or homesteading as our examples, as we’ve been doing this four-part series, and now we’re on part three. So, you homestead, not because you want to be completely off the grid. You homestead because you want to be lighter on the land, but also because there’s a certain coziness that comes when somebody sits at your table and they eat tomatoes that are grown in your garden.
Kathi – It’s also really nice to know, if I can’t get to the store I got some stuff here.
Tonya – Right, but it’s not because you never intend to go to the store again. You would be making entirely different gardening plans if the strategy was to never pay money for food again.
Kathi – No. Let’s just be super-clear. I really like potato chips and I’m not going to grow those at the Red House.
Tonya – I think you said this in the last episode: You really like going to Costco.
Kathi – I do. Costco’s my jam. I love it.
Tonya – So, your tactics of homesteading are different, because you enjoy going to Costco and you don’t have a plan to never go to Costco again. So, the same is true with your content. So, my content strategy, the strategy I employ on Facebook, on Twitter, in my emails, and on my blog, is: I want to get to know you as my reader, and I want you to get to know me, as a professional, on a deep, personal level. I take a people-first approach. I always tell people, “My strategy is people first.” People over profit any day of the week. So, it’s not about Motivation Monday, and Throwback Thursday. Those are perfectly fine tactics. If you want to organize your content with alliterative themes, that’s awesome. That is not nearly as important to me as it is that we get to know each other on a personal level on Monday and on Tuesday and on Thursday. So, I might throw out a question. I might say, “Hey! What are we reading today? Tell me what’s on your to-read pile.” That might fall flat. It almost never falls flat, actually, because writers always love to talk about what they’re reading. It’s a thing. It could fall flat. Does that mean I’m never going to ask anyone what they’re reading again, because nobody in my audience reads books? No. It just means, today, people had different priorities. I’ve had that before, where I’ve been, “Hey! Tell me what’s on your to-be-read pile.” And people are like, “My to-be-read pile is so tall, I don’t want to admit what needs to be read.” Okay, fine. So, I’m still going to try to get to know what people are doing. So, I might ask somebody about brussels sprouts. Actually, cilantro is what I tend to ask people about.
Kathi – Oh, man. It’s a very divisive thing in my marriage. Can we just be clear on that?
Tonya – So, I posted a picture one day from Chipotle. Chipotle has a designated parking spot for people who think that cilantro tastes like soap.
Kathi – Me. I don’t think it tastes like soap, but I think it tastes nasty.
Tonya – So, it’s one of those things.
Kathi – My husband gets so much pleasure out of cilantro. I grow it for him, but it’s my offering to him. I would never do it on my own.
Tonya – My husband feels the same way. Cilantro is extra special to him. For me, I’m like, “Oh, it has pretty green things.” I don’t have a deep, abiding love for cilantro, but I don’t have a deep, abiding hatred for it, either. I post this Chipotle picture every now and then, because I think it is such a great representation of knowing your audience. Chipotle probably chops a ton of cilantro every single day. They probably do. They chop it for people who really love it and I’m sure they know, in their heart of hearts, that they are chopping it for people who hate it. Who look at it and throw it away, and that’s okay. The fact is, when you think about your strategy, why you’re doing what you’re doing, what the end goal is, knowing full well that how you do it is going to change now and then, based on who people are, what their goals are, what your availability is, and that’s okay.
Kathi – I think that’s really important, too. You’ve talked about the difference between the ideal plan and the executable plan. You could post seven times a day, asking different questions, and that works for some people, but one: is that what you want to do with your life? And two: is that what your audience requires of you? So, how do we start developing a strategy?
Tonya – So, you start developing a strategy by figuring out exact what’s the outcome. What do you want your audience to walk away with? What do you want them to attach to you? So, when I think of Kathi Lipp, what is it, Kathi, that you want to associate to you?
Kathi – I think, the first thing, especially on the Clutter Free side? Non-judgement. That’s really important to me. Is this your know/think/believe?
Tonya – Part of it, yes. It’s what I want people know, to think, and to believe about me, as a professional. So, you need to have that. What do you want people to know, think, and believe about you? What is it that people need to know, think, and believe about themselves in order to be in your audience? So, thank you for putting those words around it, because I think it’s important. I do think, when it comes to strategy, you brought this up in the last episode. I live this. I breathe this, but sometimes, the rest of the world? They’re not reading my mind.
Kathi – This is not their jam.
Tonya – Right. So, the last episode we talked about the who/what/where/when/how. The framework. So, here, what we have to talk about are what are those belief statements? What do they need to know, think, and believe about themselves and about us, to make us the right fit? So, the strategy is, what’s that outcome? What do I want people to believe about themselves after they’ve left my space? Do you want people to know, that even though you are the Clutter Free Queen, they can still invite you into their homes, and have to move over a laundry pile? You have no problem moving that laundry over to sit down.
Kathi – Yeah. It was so interesting, today. My mom was berating herself for not getting enough done, but she had done a small amount. I’m like, “Mom, I know you don’t follow me and Clutter Free, but I’m the last person you have to feel bad about saying, ‘I didn’t get everything done on my list.’” My whole thing is, if you are even headed in the right direction, I’m going to celebrate that. Most people are headed in the wrong direction. Even if you’re just going in the right direction, I feel like it’s a huge victory. Other people feel like the huge victory is the house is completely clean and they can find that third bobby pin. I’m like, “No.” So, I want you to know that there is no judgement, and I will celebrate the small stuff, ‘cause the small stuff adds up to the big stuff.
Tonya – Right. We’re going to get to the idea of this plan, the calendar vs the strategy, but I’m always like, “We need the strategy. We need to know why we are doing the thing.” Right? Why are we taking a car instead of an airplane? That’s important, right? ‘Cause it all depends on where we want to go. I’m not saying that a plan is not important. This is something we’ve talked about often. You’ll say, “Well, I need a plan, Tonya.” And I’ll say, “We don’t really need a plan. We just need to serve people.” And you’re like, “Yeah, but if you actually want me to serve people well, Tonya, you have to give me a plan.” I need to know what I’m doing, because if I just show up and wing it, good does not come from that.
Kathi – I think I’m like most human beings. Somebody just asked me for a book endorsement today. I said, “Great. Let me know when you need it by.” And she said, “Whenever you can get around to it, is great.” I’m like, “It’s never going to happen.” I need a plan. I need a checklist. I need to know that I’m getting brownie points for all the things I’m doing. So, yes, I want the strategy, because the strategy helps me show up with the right attitude. I also need a plan to say, “Kathi, show up.”
Tonya – Right. That’s what your content calendar is. Right? It gives you the confidence. You know what you’re doing. You know when you’re doing it. Right? But, why you’re doing it today, and why you’re doing it for the next year? That’s the strategy. Kathi, it’s really hard to get up on a day when you don’t feel like it, because of the ‘why’ sometimes. Right? Let’s just take a dreary day. It’s easy to say, “I just want to cuddle up beneath a blanket, but I have stuff to do.” But it is hard for me to say, “Well, I’m going to get up today because there are people out there who need to hear what I have to share, but I can get out of bed because I have to be somewhere at 9am, because that’s in my calendar and people are counting on me.” People count on you, Kathi, on certain days of the week, to be on Facebook live. To declutter with them.
Kathi – They get very upset if I’m not.
Tonya – But you might not want to declutter. You may not be feeling it, but you show up because they’re relying on you.
Kathi – Yes, and I think that’s so important to understand that there are some people for whom this just naturally flows out. They’re so committed. Then, there are others of us. We see the bigger goal at the end. We see those changed lives, but the day to day is hard. We have to have the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ put all in there together. I think, really understanding who your person is, who you’re serving, and why you’re the right person to serve them helps you with that bigger ‘why’. “These people need to see me on Wednesdays at 11am to declutter, because they don’t have anybody else cheering them on in their lives.” When I think about it like that, I’m like, “Okay, I’ll go put on makeup.” I’m happy to do that. I’ve heard from people, and it breaks my heart, that when they try to clean and organize, their spouse says, “Why are you even bothering? You’ve tried this a thousand times.” It’s like, “Okay, well, I believe in you, so I will show up.”
Tonya – Or, their kids. I think that’s the heartbreaking things we hear about over there, right, is that the kids say, “Well, what does it matter? It doesn’t stay nice for very long anyway.”
Kathi – But it feels good for that minute. Let me have that minute.
Tonya – We’re going to celebrate that minute with them.
Kathi – Absolutely. So, if you figure out your ‘why’, you figure out who your person is and what they’re relying on you for, then what’s the first step in creating a content calendar? Now, I know you’re going to give them something, but help us understand how you came to create this?
Tonya – Right! I think that’s a great question. So, we have this idea of why we’re doing something. Now we need to figure out the ‘what’. So, when we’re looking at the calendar, and I’m visualizing it. I’m squinting right now. I’m visualizing the calendar. So, some of the ‘what’s we have to put out there are, “We need to tell people who we are.” Now, I know you think that’s crazy. Even you, Kathi, will say, “Really, Tonya? I need to tell people who I am? They’re on the Kathi Lipp page, Tonya. They know who I am.” Yes and no.
Kathi – Yes and no. I’ve discovered this, actually.
Tonya – First, they came to the Kathi Lipp page from various sources for varying reasons. So, if I encounter you on somebody else’s blog, or on somebody else’s podcast, I have certain opinions of you, based on that encounter. That may or may not be true all the time, so you’ve got to tell me who you are. You’ve got to introduce yourself at least a couple times a month, to remind me why it is that I am here. Why is it that I follow you? What is it, that you’ve promised to deliver that you deliver regularly? How do you do it differently? So, that’s something that’s key. You’ve got to remind me who you are and why you’re here. What can I count on you for? That’s part of the plan, too. You’ve got to remind me of the promise. I forget.
Kathi – You’ve got a lot of voices coming at you.
Tonya – I do. I follow a lot of people. Everybody follows a lot of people. We look this in the Facebook groups especially. You’re like, “Well, the Facebook group has my name on it.” Yes, but people are in so many Facebook groups, they don’t know what groups they’re in, or why they’re there. You need to remind them.
Kathi – I sometimes think somebody broke in on my Facebook account and followed a bunch of people. It was like, “Oh, they said something interesting three months ago.” So, remind people who you are. Remind them why they are following you, or what you have to offer. Then, give me one more key thing, that we can add to that calendar.
Tonya – Are we ready to talk about the number one mistake, yet? Or are we not quite there?
Kathi – Please. Go for it. Tell us.
Tonya – Here’s the number one mistake. The number one mistake that most content creators make is they only share it once. Whatever it is, they only share it once. The number two mistake is that that’s all they share. All the time. Every day. There’s a person, I can’t remember their name, but they’ll talk about the cocktail party and they’ll say, “Hey! I’m a photographer. Wanna see my camera? I have this camera. Did you know I’m a photographer?” Then I’m like, “Uh. Okay.” When, instead, you start off with, “My name is Tonya. How are you doing today. You having a good day? You having a bad day?” Then they’re like, “Well, actually, my mom’s sick.” You’re like, “Oh. Now is not the time to show them your camera, ‘cause they want to talk about their sick mom.” So, you get to know them on that very personal level. So the number one mistake that communicators will make is, that they’ll put something out there once, and then they never share it again. You have a podcast, right? What would happen is you said, “Well, we’ve done Episode #356. We did it once. We’re going to tell people about it once. Everybody knows. I told them. I told them two weeks ago about Episode #356.”
Kathi – We have to understand that, depending on when you’re looking at Facebook, or Instagram, or whatever you’re on, you’re going to miss 90% of the stuff that’s been put out there.
Tonya – Right. So, people that are listening to this episode right now. Some of them are going to be, like, “Oh my gosh. For the first time in my life, I know the difference between a content calendar and a content strategy.” It’s going to be the most amazing information of their life, and they’re going to hear nothing else that we’ve talked about. That’s totally fine. They got what they needed. There’s a going to be another group that’s like, “I totally knew that.” But they’re going to say, “Gasp! Confidence comes from having a plan and I don’t have a plan.” I don’t need to create a plan because I’m five years old and I need to be told what I’m doing at nine o’clock vs what I’m doing at ten o’clock. I need a plan because that’s where my confidence comes from. When I know that there’s a plan in place, I feel good about how I’m showing up in the world.
Kathi – Yes! And on the days when you don’t feel so great, there’s still a plan you can execute.
Tonya – Right! I just follow the plan.
Kathi – Now, you said that the number one mistake is, they don’t share and the number two mistake is that’s all they share, so what do you mean by that?
Tonya – So, the number one mistake is, we put something out once, and never talk about it again. The number two mistake is, all we do is talk about one thing, and we say it over and over and over. So, let’s talk about chickens. Can we talk about chickens?
Kathi – We can always talk about chickens.
Tonya – Okay, you could talk about chickens laying eggs every single day. People are going to get tired about the chicken laying an egg.
Kathi – Even though I have a really good story from today. We had two broken eggs. I know. It was a bad day at the Lipp Homestead. That’s okay. I shared my big news, but now it’s over. Go ahead. Please continue.
Tonya – The thing is, there’s a lot that goes into chickens.
Kathi – Yes there is. More than most people would ever care about.
Tonya – Let’s pretend this was a chicken podcast. “Really, you’re just going to talk about chickens all the time?” Well, there’s different breeds of chickens that we can talk about. There are certain things about chickens laying eggs. How you can help your chickens lay eggs. When chickens lay eggs. When they don’t lay eggs. What that tells you about the chickens.
Kathi – We could have a whole episode on bumblefoot. That’s a whole thing.
Tonya – I don’t even know what that is, but I believe you, Kathi.
Kathi – We really could have a whole episode on that.
Tonya – Then, there’s how to put your chickens to bed. How you don’t put your chickens to bed. What they eat. What they don’t eat. We could talk about chickens for a year, and barely scratch the surface of life, as a chicken owner. So, the number one mistake that we make is, “Well, you know, we already talked about chickens this year. We’re not going to talk about chickens anymore. People know all they need to know about chickens.” Then the number two mistake is that we spend a year talking about chicken toenails.
Kathi – Yes. Yes. Yes.
Tonya – Chicken toenails aren’t all they need to know about chickens.
Kath – It’s an important thing, but you don’t need to spend a year on it.
Tonya – Exactly. So, you need to be constantly looking at your content as if it’s being read since day one. They were your very first follower. They’ve read it all. They’ve internalized it all. You also have to look at your content as if I just fell off the turnip truck and just discovered who Kathi Lipp is.
Kathi – So, there needs to be a mix for the old guard and the new guard. Now, here’s the other important thing I think is important to do at a cocktail party. Instead of coming up and saying, “I’m a photographer.” No. I’m going to ask about you. I’m going to share a little bit about myself. I’m going to introduce you to a friend. That is another excellent thing to do at a cocktail party, because you have friends that people need to know about. You need to share that information, and I think that’s a beautiful thing to do.
Tonya – So, you know what you just said? I love that we’re dropping bombs left and right here, on these episodes. So, we talked about why; why you’re here in the marketplace; why you’re sharing your gift with the world. We talk about what it is that you should share. Right? What it is. Here’s the other thing. You introduce your people to other people who have great stuff to say. That makes you so much more valuable. If I can look to you, Kathi, to tell me all there is about chickens, or not just to tell me all there is to know about clutter, but to introduce me to other people who have amazing things to say about chickens, or to say about clutter. You just became my go-to place.
Kathi – You’re the resource. You’re the hub. My favorite thing, my super-power is the people I know. When I find out that you’re listening to this podcast, I’m like, “That’s amazing! I love that podcast. How did you hear about it?” And you said, “You told me about it.” I’m like, “My work here is done.” That’s my favorite thing in the whole world. What it does is, it helps your audience build trust in you. You’re not just schlocking stuff. You’re saying, “I want your life to be better.” Oh, Tonya, this is so good. Thank you so much for sharing all this wisdom. You’re going to get this content calendar when you check out the show notes. So, go check it out there. We’ve got one more episode, and you’re not going to want to miss it. You’ve been listening to the Writing at the Red House podcast. Thank you for gathering with us to talk about how to share the love of God with the world beyond our table.
*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items