My mom always said, “What you do on New Year’s Day you do the whole year through.” While I don’t think she meant that literally, for years I’d use the first day of the year to set a tone for the year: waking up early-ish; possibly even exercising; and then clearing out my files of the previous year’s statements and other papers.
At least organizing and purging paper was always my intention; some years I was still working on it in February … or later.
And that time lag is fine when it’s old Nordstrom statements (I finally went paperless last year!). But when it’s your brand and your business, certain New Year’s tasks should be done timelier.
For example, have you ever visited website of someone you’ve heard is amazing, and want to start following them, possibly even do business with them? How do you feel if their website is outdated by years?
Having stale branding and marketing elements gives a certain impression of you and your business—and it’s not a good impression.
Ring in your new business year with these 7 essential updates to your digital universe and your print collateral. In all, reviewing these elements should take less than an hour, and then you can schedule time to make the updates—within the first few weeks of the year preferably.
1. The date on your website
Maybe this is just me, but when I go to a website and see a copyright date from a few years ago, I think, “Hmmm, this site is out of date. Can I trust anything this person says, if they’re not keeping up?”
Please, please, please update the copyright date on your website. It takes seconds! Usually this is the footer of your site. If you can’t update it yourself, remind your web person to make the change pronto. Most website admins will do this as a matter of course, but it’s worth a gentle reminder.
Remember, copyright law requires the notice of copyright to include the date and the name of the copyright holder. Something like this:
Copyright 20xx – 2019, Company Name
© 20xx – 2019, Company Name
I like using a timespan for the date. This helps preserve the copyright for your site from the date of creation to the present, so there’s no mistaking that even “old” stuff is copyrighted.
2. Your bio
While you’re on your site, head over to the About page. Is your bio still up to date? If you have anything tied to a specific date or length of time, make adjustments accordingly.
For example, my bio used to reference that I had practiced law “for more than 17 years.” When I was still practicing, I’d update that as each year of experience passed.
Double check any time-sensitive references in your bio. Then, make those same updates to your bio everywhere you have it.
What I mean is, if you have a version of your bio on your Facebook business page, your Linked In profile, or your Author Central page on Amazon … they all need to be updated!
To keep track of where your bio lives online, download The Ultimate Online Brand Map for free. It will help you see your digital domiciles in one place, making it easy to remember where you need to revise your copy.
3. The rest of your website
Have you looked at each page of your site lately? Take a few minutes to take a tour and see if anything needs a refresh. Maybe you’ve revamped your service offerings, extended your shop’s open hours, or changed your social media handles.
Our businesses change and evolve; make sure your website gets updated with those changes, too!
Some of these changes may take a little longer to implement, and that’s okay. (I’m in the middle of this myself.) Make a list of the changes and talk to your web person or your VA, or schedule time to make the updates yourself.
4. Links on your website
One last thing to check on your website, and that’s to ensure that all of the links are still functioning properly.
Broken links can damage your site rankings, and they negatively impact your site’s usability.
How do you feel when you’re reading someone’s blog post and click on a link, only to get a “404 Error – Page Not Found” message? Again we’re back to that negative impression and mistrust.
Let’s prevent anyone from feeling that way on your site.
There are a lot of free link checking sites out there. I use Dead Link Checker. It takes only a few minutes, and can save a lot of headaches. Out of 162 links, only one was bad on my site. Not too shabby!
Now let’s turn to from your digital space to your physical collateral—the printed stuff you use to market your business.
5. Your business card
When was the last time you had business cards made? Has your title changed? Have you added a social media channel, or maybe there’s a recent achievement you’d like to highlight. Look at your card and verify that everything is current, including your logo, your brand colors, and the overall look and feel. Make any adjustments necessary with your graphic designer.
I’m doing this as well—and I may get some funky, creative cards from Moo.
If you want to dive deeper on your brand review, read more about the areas where you may have gone brand blind.
6. Your services menu
Grab a copy of your signature brochure, your menu of services, or whatever printed materials tell prospective clients who you are and what you do.
Do you still offer all the services listed? Have any prices changed? Have you added anything in the last year that’s not reflected in your print collateral?
7. Your personal promotional materials
If you’re an author or a speaker, and you have a speaker sheet, a media kit, or any other promotional material, it’s time to take a look and make sure they’re current.
Have you had any great testimonials that you would freshen up your speaker sheet?
Any stellar media appearances in the last year to update your media kit? Are your pitches still timely?
Of course, if your bio appearance on any of your printed materials, update it as you did online in #2.
This list is by no means exhaustive but a good starting point to keeping your brand fresh and your marketing materials up-to-date. Modify this list as needed for your specific business and brand.
Don’t forget to download your Ultimate Online Brand Map to make this process even easier next year!
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