Tuesday, December 29, 2009

3 Steps to Your New Marketing Plan for 2010: Part One - Freeing the Monkey Mind



Part One: Freeing the Monkey Mind

Over the weekend, I set out to create my new marketing plan for 2010. When I thought about my year in review as a freelance writer and editor, I realized I had accomplished more then I thought I could on a number of levels: client projects, technology, new media, learning. But I still felt I needed more of a blueprint for 2010, and a systemized method of checks and balances. Why? Because often unless we write things down, it's easy to drift, maybe get distracted, maybe even lose focus. And yes, OK, a certain amount of drifting is good, and indeed necessary to be creative and productive. But it feels good to know you have a dedicated plan to serve as your foundation.

So, writing a marketing plan when one is a writer should be easy, right? Not so much.

In terms of process, I knew there would be several stages in getting where I needed to be. As it turns out, it took 3 drafts to really get it right. For the first draft, which I'm dealing with here, I allowed myself to free my monkey mind. For those who don't know this expression, it's a term coined by the writer Natalie Goldberg, who in her excellent book "Writing Down the Bones," describes how we all have the monkey mind editor in us, who quickly criticizes what we have written down the second we write it. Bad, very bad. By editing yourself right away, you don't give yourself the creative freedom to get anything down on paper, and you're only sabotaging yourself.

So, for the first stage of your plan, let loose. Take a pad and pen, or write on your computer if it's more comfortable for you, and jot down all your goals for the year, in no particular order, just as they come to you. Don't worry about money, timetables, or projects that may end up being too complex or time consuming. Your unconscious has probably been working on this without you even knowing it, and you may find the ideas come quickly and readily. My ideas came out as general lists that were basically all over the place. (See photo!) I knew I wanted to write an e-book, and also do guest blogging. I wanted to explore more affiliate marketing programs, and also make sure I attended specific conferences and workshops. There was also new technology I wanted to learn or spend more time with, such as using Posterous more, and comparing it to Tumblr. There was also practical technology I needed to learn to change some day to day aspects of the way I worked. I wrote down everything I could think of for about an hour, with very little revising, except for the markings in red pen you see in the photo.

Spending the hour that I did on this exercise was great. It gave me the freedom to explore all my options before Step 2, when I needed to provide more framework and structure to the plan. When I reviewed everything I wrote down, I made e key notes for Step 2. You of course will have your own notes based on your rough outline and lists. For me, I realized:

1. Technology Needs to be Broken Down
I had too many programs and applications listed in a way that wasn't organized. I needed to draw a distinction between everyday practical technology that I needed to function, vs. new programs I wanted to learn and that I would gradually integrate into my systems of operation or not. Step 2 would take care of this.

2. What About Budget?
OK, so my wish list of going to a Twitter conference in Paris and an e-news workshop in the Hamptons would have to be reigned in a bit. In the next phase I would go over budgets and decide what I could realistically afford.

3. Strategy Needs to Align with Goals
I could have spent hours adding new tasks and plans to my marketing blueprint, but there was a disconnect. For one thing, there were too many goals to accomplish in one year. Secondly, there would be no point spending weeks and even months on a goal if it didn't ultimately tie in with a goal, or mission statement. I would also deal with this in Step 2.

So get your pen and paper out, flip open your laptop, and get started on your first draft! To help you out, I'm including a handy template you can fill in, with some suggested topic areas. Feel free to add your own. And stay tuned for Part 2 of this series on Thursday, where I will address aligning strategy and goals more fully, as well as some other surprises I learned along the way.


My Marketing Plan for 2010
First Draft - Any Ideas That Come to Me


Social Media:
_________
_________
_________

Events:
_________
_________
_________

Blog:
_________
_________
_________

Informational Products/Income:
__________
__________
__________

New Programs to Learn:
___________
___________
___________

New Client Services to Offer:
____________
____________
____________

Resources to Research:
_____________
____________
____________

Financial Goals:
____________
____________
____________

2 comments:

Betty Kaufman said...

What an awesome write up. Thank you. I love the concept of freeing your monkey mind. I completely agree with you that letting go of your inner critic gives you much more creative freedom and results in a much better end product.

caroline jaffe-pickett said...

Thanks for your comment, Betty. A great exercise is to write for about half an hour and don't allow yourself to cross anything out or delete. You can always go back over it later, but it allows you to be creative without worrying about every sentence