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  • Diana Schneidman

Planning your New Year’s resolutions: Why not get next year all out of the way before year-end

Halloween is past and Thanksgiving is blipping on our radar. This year’s books close in 52 days, says my calendar.

Soon we’ll be seeing the end-of-year guru emails that instruct us in how to complete next year’s ezines (electronic newsletters) by the end of this year.

Let me spell this out a bit more clearly. The goal is to post every newsletter that we will issue between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010—whether one a month or one a week—by midnight on December 31, 2009.

This may be possible, but I don’t recommend doing it.

Sure, we won’t have to think about newsletters for an entire year! Our ezine issues will magically go out every Wednesday without any effort on our part.

Now if you’ve been reading my stuff for awhile, you may know that I do not recommend that a new solopro freelancer or consultant start marketing with a newsletter. To get results and start earning money quickly, I recommend phoning the best B2B prospects rather than mass communicating to a less finely targeted audience.

Still, you may be curious: How do people get the whole thing done so they’re off the hook for 12 months?

Let’s peak behind the curtain.

The mechanics are easy. Aweber and other newsletter management programs allow us to format and queue up way in advance of issuance dates.

As for content, there are a variety of ways to produce articles quickly but they tend to share a secret ingredient: Starbucks.

Take your laptop to Starbucks to avoid the distractions at home, power it up, buy your first cup and get started. Focus and type fast, and soon you’ll have the required 12 (or 52!) articles.

How to come up with enough topics?

Start with the basics that come to mind. Topics that start with “how to” or “trends in” or “tips.”

Most of the articles today consist of bulleted (or numbered) lists. So assemble lists under each topic. When you run out of general topics, take each of the bullets. Make each bullet into the subject of another posting and list (sub) bullets under each heading.

And so it goes, slicing and dicing even finer until you have a year of content.

Then work on each article, beefing up each bullet with a few sentences. Start each article with an introductory paragraph on the relevance of the topic and close each article with a restatement of importance, as well as a call to action if relevant.

Frankly, this whole process seems sterile and even bleak to me. As though I would complete all thinking for the year by January 1, with no surprise ideas for 12 full months.

Though I get a little frustrated with myself when other priorities have pushed back article writing for the last minute, all in all I enjoy the writing. And most of all, I enjoy all those ah-ha moments when a new topic strikes.

Nor does this work plan recognize all the changes in our industries, Internet marketing and world events that may color our thoughts and add writing fillips in the coming months.

I started my business for the pleasure, even euphoria, of exploring new ideas day by day. And since I especially enjoy writing, it is fun to see new ideas unfold on my computer screen.

Just like chess and checkers, article and newsletter writing can be a stimulating way to build your business. And just like these board games, when you give yourself time to ponder and strategize, it’s much more fun and rewarding, both for you and your readers.

Originally posted 11-10-09

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