Why You Need to Plan

Why You Need to Plan

I’m seeing a trend that is troublesome. It’s a trend towards not making a plan. Instead, more and more marketers are flying by the seat of their pants hoping something works. For so many reasons, that’s unacceptable.

“But social media is ever-changing and we need to remain nimble and responsive!” Um, it’s not changing that much. And you can remain nimble and responsive while having some kind of plan.

“But I have too much to do and not enough time to do it.” Having a plan will actually help you reclaim time while getting more done than if you didn’t have one. With a plan, you take the thinking of what to do out of it and can work more efficiently.

I could go on like this all day, because I have literally heard all the excuses for this behavior. But instead, let’s talk about why a plan will help you.

A plan makes work better

This scenario comes up time and time again for me. “This needs to go out today and this was the earliest I could get it to you.” I then look at content that has come to me without any guidance from me because there was no time. There are always problems. There isn’t time to format it for different networks or to get the wording just right. So I end up having to post something mediocre just to get it out. Or I am stuck telling the client the reasons why it can’t be posted. That is always… fun.

Is there a way to prevent this? Let’s back up a bit.

I personally like to look at a plan at a minimum of three month intervals. For the latest month, we figure out any important dates and things we know are coming out. And then start talking ideas for what needs to happen. For the next month, we are gathering the information and content. And then we focus on execution for the month we are in.

Does this way of looking at everything prevent last minute additions? No, but it makes it so you are not functioning as if everything is a last minute addition. It also maximizes the number of eyes focused on content and the thought behind each piece, because there is time. Your work will naturally improve since mistakes are caught and the work isn’t rushed through.

Life-work balance can happen

The hustle used to be held up as the ideal. People celebrated and bragged about working at all free moments. Frankly, that’s nuts and the tide is thankfully swinging back towards better life-work balance.

But if you’re not making plans and everything is happening at the last second? We’re back at the hustle.

Let’s go back to the previous example. Getting content minutes before it is supposed to go live assumes that I’m at my desk, at a place where I can take a good look at it to spot any problems and then post it.

What if it’s the weekend though? And what if that content showed up with no notice? That then requires people to choose between life and work. That isn’t quite fair, especially when a plan would have prevented this kind of situation.

People deserve time off. A fresh, well-rested employee or consultant results in fewer mistakes and better ideas. A plan can achieve these objectives in so many ways.

A plan relieves stress

Do you know how stressful it is to constantly have to put fires out? And it’s even worse when you know the fires could have been prevented?

Moving from being reactive to proactive has the ability to cut the stress down.

Like I said previously, more eyes on the content will prevent potential problems. Fewer problems mean that you are not accidentally creating more work for yourself. You dealt with problems ahead of time, and you can now focus on looking ahead and creating.

And you don’t have to start with a blank page, which is the hardest part of creating. Instead, with my way of working, they dealt with that blank page at least two months ahead of time. At that point, more than one idea was considered, and the most promising was selected based on the information and content that was gathered. The slower pace creates more opportunities for better, more effective work, which in turn means less stress.

A more relaxed atmosphere for marketers doesn’t have to be a dream. Start planning and your employees and consultants will have a more manageable workload in the long-term. I promise everything will get easier if you just take a few minutes every day to work towards that plan.

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