[TUTORIAL] How to create a content plan you can actually stick to
Episode 464th December 2021 • Courageous Content with Janet Murray • Janet Murray
00:00:00 00:25:30

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Do you find it hard to stick to a content plan?

You’re ‘good’ for a few weeks. Then something happens: your child or team member goes sick, an unexpected challenge crops up in your business and/or you have to hit ‘pause’ on your content plan.

You tell yourself it’s only temporary, that you’ll get back to it as soon as you can. But days go by, maybe even weeks or months when you’re only posting sporadically.

And you start to feel frustrated with yourself.

You’ve proved you can stick to things in the past: what’s so hard about sticking with a content plan?

If this sounds familiar, you’ll love this podcast episode.

In it, I’ll reveal why you’ve not managed to stay on track with your content plan in the past and show you how to create a plan you can actually stick to.

Key Moments

[02:19] Why most content plans don’t work

[05:36] How failing to stick to a content plan affects self-confidence 

[06:47] Creating your annual content plan (in just 15 minutes) 

[08:59] Quarterly content planning – and how it reduces overwhelm

[11:53] When to create your monthly plan 

[14:11] How my 4 x 4 content planning strategy can save you time

[14:38] The four styles of content you should publish every week 

[21:30] A content repurposing tip that will save you time

[23:03] How my Courageous Content Planner and Courageous Live event can help you create more content in less time

Useful Links

Janet Murray’s Courageous Content Planner

Janet Murray’s website

Janet Murray on Instagram

Janet Murray on Facebook

Janet Murray on TikTok

Janet Murray on Twitter

Janet Murray on LinkedIn

Transcripts

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Hi, it's Janet Murray here and joined December. I'll be resharing some of the highlights from the courageous content podcast from 2021. This episode on how to create a content plan. You can actually stick to I'm sharing this episode in its entirety, because it was the most popular episode of the year. Enjoy. Have you ever created a content plan swearing to yourself that this is the one,

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this is the time you are actually going to show up every single day, publish amazing content and kick some butt with your business. You stick to that plan for a few days. Maybe you even manage a few weeks. Then something happens. You'll kick, get sick. A team member goes sick and unexpected change crops up with a client or one of your products.

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And you have to hit pause on your content plan. You sweat yourself. It's only temporary. You'll get back on it as soon as you can, but days go by maybe even weeks or months when you're only publishing content sporadically, you start to feel really rubbish about yourself. What is wrong with you? I mean, you're a capable person. You've proved that you can stick to things in the past.

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What is so hard about sticking to a blinking content plan? If this sounds familiar, please let me reassure you. I've been there hundreds of times, and I'm not even exaggerating, which is why in this episode, I'm going to share with you why you've not managed to si through a content plan. And reassure you that you are not a terrible failure of a person.

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I'm also going to teach you how to create the content plan. You can actually stick to. You're listening to the courageous content podcast. I'm Janet Murray, and I love helping poachers creatives and entrepreneurs create super engaging content that generates leads and sales for their businesses. No one starts a business and just knows how to create engaging content. It's a skill that has to be learned and practice.

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And there's always something new to learn, no matter how long you've been in business. And I know running an online business can feel messy, perfectionism, fear self-doubt and other mindset stuff can stop you showing up online in the way that's best for you. So you'll get helped with that too. Where did you get courageous with your content? Let's get started.

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The reason most content plans don't work is the same reason diets don't work. Number one, you're relying on willpower and most of us don't have infinite amounts of willpower. And number two, you're trying to change too many things at once as human beings, most of us can only focus on changing one habit at a time, which is why research around weight loss shows that people who change one thing,

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for example, taking up exercise, cooking from scratch, rather than buying takeaways or cutting out alcohol are more likely to lose weight and keep it off because they've only got one thing to change at a time when you create an elaborate spreadsheet with multiple social media posts on multiple social media platforms on multiple days, that has lots of moving parts. It's a bit like putting yourself on a really strict diet plan,

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which means you'll probably be able to stick to it for awhile, but a few weeks down the line, you'll probably feel your resolution crumble. If you've ever been on a diet and you found yourself at a party with a place, if your diet food, while everyone else is eating cake and drinking champagne, then you probably know what I mean. Eventually temptation or catch up with you.

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And you'll crumble because you're trying to be too restrictive. You're trying to change too many habits at once. If you've spent years being a yo-yo content planner, as I like to refer to it, meaning that you've been on and off different content plans, sticking at things for awhile, changing direction, trying something new, buying new planners, jumping onto the latest planning fad.

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Then that's not something that you're going to be able to change overnight a bit like years of bad eating or bad exercise habits or lack of exercise. And after years of helping clients with content planning and creation, I've come to the conclusion that a big part of the problem is that most small business owners are trying to create too much content. They're trying to publish too many social media posts on too many platforms.

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So it's hardly surprising that they get very easily overwhelmed. Just imagine if you were to focus on one thing, which was showing up four times a week on social media with four different styles of content, doesn't that feel a lot more manageable. And if you did it consistently, that's actually 16 pieces of content a month, which is well over 200 a year.

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That's a lot of content and I believe it's more content than most people who are in that yo-yo content planning trap are actually producing anyway. And that's what inspired me to create my four-by-four content planning strategy, which I'm going to share with you in this episode. And what really works about it is that you only have to remember one thing, post four styles of content,

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four days a week. Just one thing to focus on. I'm going to fill you in on what those four styles of content are in just a sec. But first off, I want to tell you about my courageous content method, because even if you just started the four-by-four strategy, posting four sides of content, four days a week, you would almost certainly see a difference in your output pretty quickly.

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And also how you feel about yourself and your content. Because part of the problem, I think with concept planning and creation is we start a plan that we give up on a plan. We feel really horrible about ourselves. We think where there's awful person that can't stick to anything, and it just becomes this really negative cycle, which is why I often make that link to dieting.

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But the four-by-four strategy is part of my courageous content methods. And I just want to give you an idea of how it all fits together. My Courageous Content method is all about breaking things down into smaller pieces, and it uses that multiple or for every time. One of the big mistakes I see people making when it comes to creating content plans is trying to do it in a linear fashion.

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So what I mean is they sit down at the beginning of the month could be January, February, September, whatever month. And they say, right, okay, I'm going to start with Monday and I'm going to plan all the posts I'm going to do on Monday. Then I'm going to move on to Tuesday. Then I'm going to move on to Wednesday,

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Thursday, and actually quite quickly you can become quite demoralized because you've only done three or four days. And you're only a few days into one month. How on earth are you going to manage to keep that up for the rest of the year? So what I suggest you do is you start with something that I call overhead planning. So from whatever point you're starting to create your content plan,

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you think about your year in quarters. So I'm recording this in August, 2021. If I wanted to create a year long content plan today, I'd be looking at Q3 of this year, Q4 of this year, and then Q1 and Q2 of next year. So I'm looking across my business for a whole year, from whatever point in the year I'm starting. All you need to do is just to think about each of those quarters and write down two or three things that are going to be happening in your business might be product launches.

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Service launches might be events. You're speaking at events that you're running. It might be a particular time of year where you know, there's going to be a lot of demand for your product or service because it's very seasonal. So you're just mapping that out across the air. But it's the most important thing that you do at this stage. People often say to me,

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but I don't know what I'm going to be doing. Six, nine months down the line. My answer to that is always, if you don't know what you're going to be doing in your business, six, nine months down the line, you haven't got a content problem. You've got a business problem. So you need to take a few steps back and do some business planning and look at what are you going to be selling at particular times of the year.

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You don't need to know the absolute details, but if you haven't got that broad overview, that's a business problem, not the content problem. So once you've outlined your annual plan, shouldn't take you any longer than about 15 minutes. And while you're doing it, you might want to think about some key dates or awareness days. So for example, if you teach podcasting,

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you might note down world podcast day. If you are a fertility coach, you might note down miscarriage awareness day. If you're a nutritionist or you sell some kind of food products, then you might note down veganry. I can never say that, but it's vegan January. You know what I mean? This will help you to identify at the very broad top level,

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some key dates that might be worth you considering creating some content around because they're relevant to you and also relevant to your audience. Step number two, if the courageous content method is about quarterly planning, say you're taking that annual plan and you're going to be breaking that down into quarters, but you're not going to do every quarter at once because that's quite overwhelming.

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So all you're going to do is put some time in your diary to create your plan for the next quarter, at least 30 days before the start of the next quarter. So for example, you put a date in your diary to do your key one planning in November, put a date in your diary to do your Q2 planning in February, your Q3 planning in may and your Q4 planning in August in those quarterly planning sessions.

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But it shouldn't take you any more than about an hour. It's just about looking across that quarter and getting into a little bit more detail, not a lot, but a little bit more detail about what you're going to be launching and promoting during that particular quarter. Are there any key blog pastes that you're going to need to create? Are there any podcasts,

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newsletters, are there any specific social media posts or a series of social media posts that you're going to need to create? And this can also be really helpful in terms of helping you work back from launch dates. So let's say for example, that it'd be launching new products on February the 14th Valentine's day. Then you can look at that and say, okay,

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well, how many weeks before, or maybe how many months before do I need to be creating content about this particular product? Because if you just show up on February the 13th and mention your products and start promoting from that, you're probably going to miss out on sales. So this is about helping you see the bigger picture and think about the kind of content that you need to create.

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And from there, you can start to sketch things out. So you can start to maybe just block out a few weeks or put down some dates. So I know for example, that the final quarter of my year is generally about my courageous content planner. So when I'm planning out that quarter, I'm going to be penciling in key podcast episodes like this one that you're listening to now that are going to need to go out to raise awareness of not only the product itself,

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but also some of the problems that my ideal clients and customers have that relate to that product because I need to get people warmed up. If I just rock up on launch day and start talking about my planner, I'm missing out on an opportunity to get people excited about my product, to understand why they need it. So some of my podcast episodes and the run up to it might be about helping people understand why they need a plan of why they need a system.

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And you can do all of that. If you're looking further ahead than you probably are now. And the great thing about this is that with quarterly planning, it really is quite broad. It's just about looking across jotting down a few key dates, blocking out a few weeks where you might be increasing your launch activity. So it shouldn't feel like too much hard work as long as you show up and do those four planning sessions across the year. Step three of the courageous concept method is about creating your monthly plan.

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So I suggest that you block out an hour every month to plan for the next month. So you just do a broad plan. This is all again about just breaking it down into smaller, smaller pieces. So it's not so overwhelming if you've done your annual planning and your quarterly planning, you should already have a few things penciled in for your month. Maybe a few key dates for awareness days,

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few ideas for podcasts or blogs or YouTube, whatever it is that you create. And this hour is just about fleshing that out a little bit and thinking to yourself, okay, well, if I want to publish that podcast next month, or if I want to do that series of social media posts, what do I need? Do I need any additional resource?

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Do I need any extra images? Do I need to set up an interview with someone? And it's just giving you that time to do the planning and the prep that you need to create the best content possible. It's also about helping you save time by saying, well, what have I already got that I've done before that works? Could I repurpose this either by just republishing the same post again?

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Or could I get it at a little tweak or an update? Maybe I did some content about this topic last year. I'm just going to have a look and see what I've got. And it might be that I just need to do a bit of a refresh again, when you're looking at your monthly plan, it might be about picking out some key dates or awareness days that you definitely know you'll be able to create content around.

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It might also be, and this might be more for your quarterly planning about picking out dates that might make sense for you to log it. So let's say for example, that you're launching a new range of t-shirts with kangaroo patterns on them. And you notice that the Australia day is coming up. It might make sense for you to launch on Australia day.

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So when you're doing this kind of planning, when you're just breaking it down, you're taking it really slowly. You're giving yourself time to think and plan ahead. And you're not spending loads of time. You're just giving yourself some time and space to plan and strategize. You start to see these lovely connections and patterns, and you start to think, oh,

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I don't need to create that new I've already got something, or, oh, actually it would really make sense for me to launch on that date. But this is the kind of planning that you can only do when you're not doing that. Yo-yo content planning. It's when you're giving yourself the time and space to get your thoughts in order, if you need accountability,

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definitely consider joining my Courators Club, as well as the monthly challenges and masterclasses. You can join my accountability planning sessions, as well as our weekly, get it planned sessions where we come together and plan our concept for the following week. We also have monthly and quarterly planning sessions. So you can get together with other business owners to create your content plans.

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And when you've blocked out that time in your diary, then it does tend to get done. So the fourth part of the courageous content method is the four-by-four strategy, 4,000 content, four days a week. If you only did that, if that was the only thing that you changed about your approach to content planning, you would definitely see a difference, but I hope by sharing with you the other three steps in the courageous concept method,

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that you can see how with a bit more planning, you could actually make those four styles of content four days a week, work a lot harder for you and your business. So what are the four styles of content you should be publishing four days a week. I'll just run through them for you now, conveniently they spell out nice. So it makes it easy to remember.

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So the first one is news and trends. So this is when you introduce your community to something new or something that's in the news. For example, the head of Instagram recently announced that Instagram was no longer going to be just a photo sharing platform. And it's all going to be about video going forward. That's an example of something that could work well for news or trends paced for me.

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So I shared that news. It came from the world emoji awards, and it also coincided with world emoji day and asked my audience to vote on which one they liked the best. If you have a product-based business and easy news and trends, posts might be sharing the colors everyone's going to be wearing in the upcoming season, or you might look at a new TV show,

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there might be a character that's wearing a particular style. Maybe everyone's wearing Crocs again, or somebody on a particular TV show is making espadrilles come back in fashion or whatever it's about making it feel really current. If you can jump onto things that people are talking about in the news or hashtags that are trending on Twitter, that's really the way to go with this.

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The next type is inspire. So this is when you share a story or a message that will inspire your community. So I created an Instagram carousel posts along these lines recently, and I use the awareness day lazy day to inspire the idea. And I just wrote down five things that you are not a lazy content created. If the first one was you don't post on social media every day.

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The second one was you repurpose your social media posts. And I had a list of five of those things. Inspire posts are really about inspiring your audience, reassuring them, making them feel better, connecting emotionally often. It's about saying to people, Hey, you're okay. You're doing okay. You will be okay, depending on your audience. You may find that different messages resonate,

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but this can absolutely work for you if you have a product-based business too. So to take that example of lazy day, if you sell branded t-shirts, you could do a post that was something along the lines of it's not lazy to wear your favorite t-shirt every day, five reasons. It's okay to wear the same thing every day, great way for you to show off your product,

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but also provide some education and advice. Another type of content that I would brand is inspired would be testimonials or stories about could be yourself or a client that has overcome a particular obstacle or had a great without. And actually, I also put my sales pace in inspiring as well, because if you can get away from thinking about sales content as icky, horrible and reframe it as here's a story about a customer of mine,

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he's had a really great result, or here's a story about me and how I've transformed, and I can help you in the same way. Then that feels a lot less heavy that can make you thought and not more comfortable around selling. The third style of posts is community posts. So this is where you ask the question that is designed to bring you closer to your community.

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Now, again, you don't have to use them, but awareness days can be a great way just to spark that idea in your head. So for example, one of my clients, Josephine Hughes, so she is a counselor who teaches other counselors, how to grow their business. She took one of the dates from my content planner, which was aunties day.

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And she posted in her Facebook community. Did you have an adult that you called auntie or uncle in your life when you were a kid, even though they weren't your auntie or uncle? Last time I checked in with that, that had had 78 comments in her Facebook group. Now you might be thinking at this stage, but what's the point of that if that's got nothing to do with my business,

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but actually that's a big mistake that I think lots of business owners make. If you're talking about business all the time, then it's actually quite hard for people to get to know you and for you to get to know them as well. People want to do business with people, which is why I think it's actually important. I mean, great. If you can come up with ideas that are relevant to your business.

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Perfect. But actually I think it's important to just ask questions that help you to get to know each other. For example, some of my best performing posts, where, what was the first record that you bought? What was your first car? How many goes did you have at your driving test? People do want to connect with you as a person,

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as the owner of the business. That's why community posts really do need to be part of your content strategy. And the fourth style of content is educate content. So this is when you share a tip or idea that solves a problem for your community members. For example, I recently created an Instagram reel, which was about how to use the remix feature on Instagram reels.

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I create quite a lot of tutorial style content on social media. So here's how to change the background color on your Instagram stories or here's how to getting more views on your wheels. People love that stuff. It's really important though, that you try not to tackle too much in one post, one tiny thing that gives people a quick win, something. They didn't know something that maybe they'd been trying to figure out themselves,

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or just a question that they've got a couple more examples for you. So if you're a nutritionist or a dietician or a health expert sources of iron for vegans, if you have a product based business, it's about focusing on the problem, your product solves and the problems people might have using a product like yours. So for example, if I see a really nice jewelry on Instagram and I love her rings,

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but I don't know my ring size, or maybe I want to buy one for my mum. And then I see that she's created helpful Instagram reel, which shows me how to find out my mom's ring size. Then that's a great way to help me take one step closer to being a customer first, taking you through my four by four method. Even if you'd just adopted the last part,

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the four by four strategy, it will make a huge difference in your business and also how you feel about yourself, because you can feel pretty rotten about yourself. If you're trying to show up and create content and you keep failing at your content plan. So the other tip I would share is to make four versions of your most popular posts. So that example,

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I just gave you there for lazy day. When I created a carousel post for Instagram about why you're not a lazy content creator. And there were five reasons. I also recorded a video version of that, which I can use for both Tik TOK and Instagram rails. And I turned the script for that into a text-based posts. And I've already tried that out on my Facebook page with tech talks and reels.

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What you can do is take the same theme and use different trends, different sounds. So you could do one with lip sinking. You could do one where you're just talking to camera. You can do another one where you're hopping onto a dance trend if you're brave, but basically you could create four videos with exactly the same topic, exactly the same angle,

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but just in different formats. So you can file them away and you can use them as contingency content. So if you're sick or he suddenly has to take a break from work, for some reason, you've got some content on topics that you know that your audience resonate with because it's already gone down well with them, but you've just got that content in a different format.

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So they're going to feel like their things, something new from here. And it's also a way to reduce your concept planning time, because if that's the reason why you shouldn't revisit a topic that your audience have clearly resonated with again in a slightly different format, nobody will notice. And even if they do, they'll probably be grateful for your content. I hope you found this useful.

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If you did. I'd love to hear from you. The best place to connect with me is over on Instagram. I'm at Jan Murray UK. And if you'd like to invest in one of my courageous content planners, I will put a link in the show notes. It's courageous contentplanner.com. You've got the strategy. Now the planet it's designed to help you implement the courageous content method and to use the four-by-four strategy in your content planning,

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it will save you a ton of time and it's definitely worth the investment. And if you do want accountability to make sure you get that content plan created, and you do show up consistently throughout 2022 and beyond then to come along to my courageous content live event, it's a virtual event for coaches, creatives, and entrepreneurs. And you won't just learn how to create your content plan at the event.

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You'll actually get it done. You will also get over 80 social media posts created at the event. So as well as creating your plans, that you know exactly what to post, where, and when you'll create 48 social media posts. So you never went out of content ideas, you'll create 24 social media graphics that you can re use and repurpose across the year.

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So you can create more content in less time. And you'll also create 12 social media videos. So you've got ready to go content for those days. You don't feel like showing up on camera and no, you don't have to show your face. If you don't want to. I'll put links to all of that in the show notes, it's a virtual event.

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You don't even have to leave your house, but it really would be lovely to see you there because you can get an awful lot done. You can really get ahead for 2022 without even leaving your home or office. Would you like to create super engaging content about your business and do it consistently? If so you need my courageous content planet in your life.

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It's a gorgeous April desk diary. That's so simple to use because it's based on my four-by-four strategy, which involves posting four styles of content four days a week. Yes, content planning really can't be that easy. There's templates for daily, weekly, monthly, and annual planning. So, you know exactly what's posed where and when plus hundreds of ready to go content ideas and prompts.

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So you'll never run out of ideas for social media posts again, and accountability trackers to keep you consistent with your posting. Their courageous content planner is both practical and proceed with four gorgeous cover designs to choose from. So if you want to ditch the content overwhelm and you want a simple content plan, you can actually stick to head over to courageouscontentplanner.com

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to order your copy today.

IMPORTANT: THIS TRANSCRIPT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED. WE GIVE IT A QUICK CHECK THROUGH BUT WE DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING AS IT’S INTENDED TO HELP YOU FIND PARTS YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO AGAIN - NOT AS AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT. SO THERE MIGHT BE A FEW QUIRKY WORDS/PHRASES HERE!

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