I’ll admit, goal-setting has never been a big focus for me in my business. I tend to be less of a planner/dreamer type, and a bit more of a do-er/action-taker. When I get good advice or learn about a strategy I think I could use, I take action and implement it right away.
Up to this point in my business, I’d think that being an action-oriented do-er has definitely served me. I’ve been able to bypass the traps of over-thinking, over-planning and aiming for perfection — traps that so many early-stage creative entrepreneurs get stuck in.
But this year I decided I wanted to take things to the next level. For me, that meant setting some clear goals and getting a little more strategic about the actions I’m taking to in 2017.
My big goal for 2017 was to build brand visibility, by being featured 35 times.
Some of the tips in this post relate to goal-setting, in general. You’ll find those in the section titled “Setting Business Goals” and other tips relate to increasing visibility, which you’ll find in the second half.
So in this post, I’m sharing 17 tips that have all been inspired by the lessons learned so far while setting and working toward my 2017 goals.
Setting Business Goals
Get help with your action plan if certain goals are in “unfamiliar territory” for you.
Visibility is a big thing for me this year. I’m working to increase mine by landing more podcast interviews and guest posts on popular blogs. But I’m not a PR expert and I didn’t know much about pitching to podcasts and blogs. So, I hired Brittney and she helped me out in this area.
Start slow if certain goals are in “unfamiliar territory” for you.
If you’ve got a goal to do something totally new, you might not know how long certain steps or milestones will take you to achieve or how much work is actually required. So, give yourself space in your schedule in case things take longer than expected (because they usually do your first time around).
Keep track of your action steps as you work toward your goals.
I’ve got a Google spreadsheet to track outreach for podcasts and blogs. Then, if/when I’m featured I’ll make a note of when the content will go live so I can share it on my social media, etc. It’s just a good way to stay organized and keep track of the effort you’re putting in.
Break it down into smaller chunks.
I broke my goals down per quarter. And, of course, they’re “SMART” goals so I can measure the progress I’m making. That way I always know if I’m on track to hit my bigger, year-long goal.
Work ahead to make progress when you can.
I made a lot of progress toward my goals in January, so I’m almost a little bit ahead of “schedule.” But that doesn’t mean I’m just going to hang out and not do anything until the date of my next “milestone” rolls around. I’ll keep working at a steady pace so that I’ve got a buffer if I face any roadblocks that set me back later this year.
Write down metrics related to “results” before you begin.
In my situation, if I improve my brand visibility, I can assume my social media following, email list size, etc. would increase in relation to that. So, I wrote down those numbers on the 1st of January this year, so I can look back later and see results related to working toward my goals.Want to build brand visibility? Check out these 17 tips from @jesscreatives! Click To Tweet
Increasing Brand Visibility
Guest blogging is a good place to start.
If you’re looking to increase brand exposure online, search for guest blogging opportunities on sites related to your niche. Many blogs accept guest bloggers, so you’ll be a lot more likely to get a guest-blogging opportunity than say, a podcast interview.
Decide on “your thing” before pitching to get in front of someone else’s audience.
What value will you bring to the table? If it’s more of a step-by-step tutorial type of value, consider going for more guest blogging opportunities. Podcasters typically favor more inspirational, story-centered content.
Practice storytelling if you plan to pitch podcasts.
The podcast host probably won’t want to have you back if you ramble or if you’re a dull storyteller. Before you pitch, consider the value you’ll offer and the stories or examples you could use to communicate that value. Then practice telling those stories and sharing example with friends or family before pitching or going on a show, so you know your communication is clear and captivating.
Or, you could start your own podcast…
Consider the audience.
This one might seem simple. But when you’re pitching blogs, podcasts, etc., consider the audience demographics and interests. Are the readers/listeners people who should know about you and your business? Are they likely to become clients/customers of yours? Consider this before spending a ton of time pitching platforms that won’t end up serving you in the long run.
Connect on social before pitching.
Nobody likes a cold call. And nobody likes a cold pitch either. Now, it’s so easy to connect on social media with your favorite blog writers, podcasters and other influencers, that there’s no reason NOT to interact with them at least a little bit online before sending a pitch email their way.
Listen to podcasts + read blogs you’re pitching.
It’s important to know the content format and topics covered on the platforms you’re pitching. It shows you care about contributing value for their audience.
Consider topics that have been covered recently.
If the platform you’re looking to pitch has recently covered the same exact topic you want to cover, you’re less likely to be features. At least any time soon. Put a different spin on your pitch or come up with a new idea altogether.
Pitch in advance.
A lot of podcast and blogs create their content months in advance. So if you’re wanting to be featured on a specific platform at a specific time (or at all), the sooner you reach out, the better.
Offer incredible value in your pitch.
For example, if you’re pitching a popular podcast and you know the host has an online course, you could always pitch an episode topic that would make for a great pre-launch show leading up to their course launch. Going above and beyond will make sure your pitch stands out.
For collaborative workshops, I will always try to make sure that I’ve got an offer related to the content I’ll be sharing. This way it will feel natural and truly serve the audience for me to share that offer with them.
Teach what you know and love.
Teaching is a big part of my brand. So, I’m spending more time teaching this year via live workshops and in my Facebook group. I don’t pitch during most of these teaching opportunities, so I make sure I’m teaching topics that excite me. That way, it’s a valuable use of my time regardless of the clients the come from it.
Collaborate with friends when it makes sense.
I love to collaborate with other entrepreneurs for workshops, summits, etc. It’s an extra treat when I get to collab with a biz friend! But I only do this when it makes sense for both of our businesses. That said, unless there’s some way for me to tie in design or websites during our collaboration, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for my business. And since I’ve got goals I’m working to hit, I’ve got to be focused and intentional with how I spend my time.
As I work hard to achieve my goals this year, I’m so glad I’ve got the support of an online community full of incredible freelancers and creative entrepreneurs. We’d love for you to join us, click here for access to the free Facebook community!
Which of these tips was most helpful for you? Let me know in the comments below!