Are you forever torn between your time available and showcasing your best?
Two key areas identified that many entrepreneurs struggle with, is time and achieving consistent branding. The two go hand in hand.
You’re spinning so many plates, and trying to keep them all going. All the tasks that need completing for the day to day running of your business; serving clients, arranging meetings, networking, marketing, selling, accounts etc. You’re a bit of perfectionist loving everything just so. But with so many time constraints and an ever growing to do list, some parts fall by the way side. You worry this damages your brand. But how do you get on top of this so that pieces seamlessly flow together? So that you’re not spending hours upon end trying to find and create the right content, making it look professional and presentable. Making it consistent.
Often you’re working on piece of content, then diving into client work, sending off an invoice, preparing a proposal, taking a call etc. In a perfect world you’d schedule like-for-like tasks in one sitting, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Scheduling can be hard – but if you can start to introduce a routine this will help ease some of the tasks (and it’s okay to change it and adapt it accordingly).
Firstly be kind to yourself. Turn off email alerts. Find a place/time that you feel ‘in the zone’ and inspired, and block out some time in your schedule that you can just sit down and write. Carry a notebook with you for when inspiration strikes.
We’ll make it all look beautiful, but first concentrate on the content and writing your ideas down. No editing yet, just pure writing.
TIME SAVER #1 beautiful templates
A simple solution to help you start saving your time is to create templates for the different content you create on a regular basis. For example: blog, invoice, email, social media posts etc.
Templates will help you to achieve a consistent look and feel when you are ready to format your chosen content. This could be in the form of
- a letterhead that you can add to your invoicing, project proposals and correspondence
- digital graphics for online; headers, banners, posts, events
- presentations and reports; slide templates, branded presentation folders to keep all the information together
Bring your brand colours in to a word document as a swatch. Set the formatting for headings, subtitles, body text, character text (for quotes / usp). If there is a particular piece of information you always need to include then add this now (e.g. within an article you might include a short bio at the end, your website, copyright details). Then save as a template.
Grab a coffee, open the template and bring in your thoughts and writings into your word document. Format the sections using your pre-saved settings. Then edit, double checking your message is consistent.
Where possible set up templates for your emails, website pages, and blog platform. (N.B. Some platforms will have limited font and colour choices. For your website a good option for fonts is google fonts which can be embedded within your site).
Save articles and reports as pdfs that your visitors can download or receive via email as part of your educating and nurturing sequences. People love to learn, and beautifully presented content captures the imagination and inspires the reader. Exporting files as a pdf preserves your layout and formatting.
Use your bespoke letterhead design to bring into your word documents, with all your branding present and key contact information. Perfect for invoicing, forms and correspondence.
Social Media posts
Set up a template to size for your social media platform. Set the fonts and colours ready to edit. Remember to include your logo. For instance, this could be added in a corner or used as a watermark. This all helps with building your recognition and establishing your voice.
Tip: Adding copyright meta data to image documents. If you set up one file as your main template, add the meta data details, then work from this and save a copy each time. If you are an Adobe Creative Cloud user you can add this data to multiple documents you’ve created. Adobe Bridge is great for this: ‘Tools/Create meta data template’ then select your image files ‘Tools/Append meta data’. Making it simple to add your website and copyright details. It’s a good habit to get into as a precaution and mark of ownership. I realise some platforms strip the meta data during upload, but it will still be saved on your original files.
Once you’ve created and formatted your presentation, save each slide as an image (jpg file) and import them back into a new version of your presentation. Save as your final presentation. This is especially important if your presentation is to be viewed on someone else’s computer as they might not have the same fonts in their system. If they don’t, it will play havoc with your once beautifully styled presentation. Saving each slide as an image – flattens all the layout so these won’t edit on viewing. Preserving your beautiful creation.
- remember to include your logo and copyright details on your slides.
Tip: You can also repurpose some of the slides within blog articles and social media posts