Over the last year, I've discovered this thing that has changed my life. Like I'm talking COMPLETELY FRIGGIN CHANGED IT. This magical thing is called batching.
I love batching more than raw cookie dough or Khloe Kardashian's snapchat feed.
I discovered batching in the first place, because my old content creation schedule was basically: decide the night before or the day of wtf to post wherever, and slap it up there. This caused endless panic attacks and "OMG, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO POST!" moments in my life.
I finally realized I needed to come up with a gameplan that would completely and totally eliminate those feelings from my life for good. That's when I discovered and fell in love with batching.
WTH IS BATCHING?
Basically batching just means grouping together all of the things that you need to and tackling them at one time--usually in 1 or 2 days for me.
So instead of a todo list where you have a bazillion things on there, where you slowly try to make your way through it all, and then end up finishing exactly zero things on it, I focus on one thing and one thing only. And I actually FINISH THAT ONE THING.
And holy shit, that feels good!
In fact, I love batching so much, I now use it in almost every aspect of my life. However, it's been super duper crazy helpful when it comes to creating content. So I wanted to share my method of batching up my content creation every month, in case you want to copy the hell out of it and use it for yourself.
This will be a bit of work in the beginning as you develop your own gameplan, but once you do, your life will be pretty much be: unicorn eyelashes and flower crown snapchat filters. Swearsies.
1. LIST OUT ALL THE CONTENT YOU NEED TO CREATE IN A MONTH
Now, don't go crazy here...I want you to list out the ACTUAL content you need to create in a month. So take a step back, think about all of the social media networks you are active on (and want to continue to be), as well as your site.
Everyone's list is going to look different, but that's the beauty of this method: it will work for your hot ass no matter what your list looks like.
This is also a good time to re-asses if you're happy with your content creation gameplan at the moment. For instance, years ago I was a crazy person on Twitter...tweeting my face off all the live long day. But one day I realized, "meh...I'm not so into Twitter anymore." And so I ditched it and don't include in my content creation list anymore. If there's anything you are not enjoying, get rid of it. And then you have more space to only focus on the good stuff you really, truly, madly, deeply really dig.
Here's what my list looks like:
- 30 Instagram posts - posting 1x a day
- 4 Email newsletters - sending out 1x a week
- 2 blog posts - posting 2x a month
And that's kind of it for now. Now yes: I do snap my face off on snapchat...and now Instagram stories is throwing a wrench into things too as I probably need to add them to the list. But right now that documenting my day video is spontaneous content for me. Also, I so badly want to be making videos for youtube, but I haven't figured out a gameplan yet to make it happen. So this is my REALISTIC content creation list. And it may change, but this is it for now.
Some other things you might have on your list:
- Facebook Live broadcasts (or Periscope if anyone is still actually on there)
- Facebook page posts
- Facebook group posts
- Pinterest posts
- Posts for Medium
Look, I don't know what's on your list, but you get the drift, right? Write all that shit down.
2. SCHEDULE OUT YOUR CONTENT CREATION IN BATCHES ON YOUR CALENDAR
Here's where we get into the nitty gritty of your gameplan. Based on the list you've created, we're going to back this content into a calendar for you. This will require some guesswork at first, but after a month or so, you will know how long this stuff will take for you.
Here's how I do it:
- First Monday of every month = Content brainstorm day. If you want to get good at this content creation thing, guess what: you have to figure out what in the hayl your content is going to be ahead of time. This might sounds scary at first, but I swear: once you start doing this and getting super intentional, creating your actual content is going to feel SOOOO damn easy. I use a calendar to map this out, and then print out my cal and carry it in my notebook (#oldschool AND #newschool).
- First Tuesday of every month = Instagram day. This is the day I take a crap ton of Instagram pics and edit them all. What kind of pics? Good question: look at the editorial calendar you created yesterday for the month and take alllll of those pics. I might stage some photos at home, drive to diff spots around town to take more pics, or even create graphics (like the quotes I share on Insta). All I'm working on this day is taking all of the pics that I need for the following month.
- First Wednesday of every month = Instagram day #2. On this day, I'm taking all of the photos I created the day before, and I'm scheduling them on Schedugr.am AND writing out the captions for each. What!? My insta feed is not a spontaneous record of my beautiful, curated life as it unfolds in real time every day!? Uhm, no. That shit is scheduled at least 30 days in advance. BOOM. (**if you want to use the same program I do and you click on that link, you'll get a credit toward your first month and then so do I).
- First Thursday of every month = Blog day. On this day, I'm writing 2 blog posts. For me this means: writing the posts; linking up anything that needs to be linked up (including creating affiliate links); Finding any pics or gifs or need and adding them to the posts; creating a separate Pinterest image for the posts; scheduling the posts; and *ideally,* though I don't do it every time, creating a freebie for the blog post (i.e. an extra somethin somethin I can link at the bottom of the post to get people to sign-up for my email list. Again, your process might be a bit different, but you're probably pickin' up what I'm puttin' down.
- First Friday of every month = Email writing day. I send out a bomb ass email every Friday, so this is the day I write all those suckers out. That means: writing out the emails; coming up with a catchy subject line; linking up anything that needs to be linked; finding funny GIFs; and scheduling the emails on my email platform.
There you go, bbs. 30 Instagram posts, 4 emails, and 2 blog posts are dunzo. An entire month's worth of content and I created it all in one week.
3. DEWWWWWWW ITTTTTTTTTT
As I mentioned, at first this is going to take some experimentation on your part. You might be sitting there saying "uhm, I have no clue how long it will take to create 30 Insta posts." But I want you to just GUESS and then get your calendar set up. Should you write out your gameplan in blood? Uh, no. In fact, I would use a pencil, or my favorite-y fave erasable Frixion pens that I always snap about. You've just got to do it in order to figure out how long stuff takes for you...the important part is that you schedule it AND batch it.
So this means on days you are writing your blog posts, for example, that's ALL you are focused on. Your todo list is going to have one thing on it and one thing only. I would suggest that you set aside maybe an hour or so in the morn to get anything else you need to get done for the day (i.e. respond to emails, update your site, or whatever else you need to do). Then you need to get focused, and I mean focused HARD on completing your task for that day.
Once I started this method, I basically went from feeling like I never, ever, ever, ever was getting anything done, to getting shit done each and every day. I can't tell you what an incredible mind shift this helped bring about.
Not to mention all of the vast space it opened up in my brain. I realized how much time and energy I had been devoting to worrying, and chaos, and last minute work, and OMG I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO POST. It was a lot. And I've pretty much eliminated all of that.
QUESTIONS I'M GUESSING YOU WANT TO ASK ME NOW:
- What if I'm not a blogger? Can I still use this method? 100% yes. Just switch out Insta posts or blog posts with whatever it is you need to focus on each month. Maybe it's creating lesson plans if you're a teacher. Or planning out meals for your family. Or even fun things like the books you want to read. Just make a list of all of your monthly goals and batch that shit up like it's your job.
- What if I can't fit into all of my tasks into a week like you did? No biggie at all! In fact, your calendar is almost definitely going to look different than mine. Maybe you don't post on Insta as much as I do...or maybe it takes you way longer to write your blog posts. It doesn't matter. Even if it takes you two full weeks to create the content for the following month, that still leaves you with two more weeks totally open.
- Do I have to plan out stuff a month ahead of time? What if I want to just do it a week ahead of time? Look, this is a free country...at least for now (PLEASE DON'T VOTE FOR TRUMP), so you can totally do that if you want. I've just found that getting stuff done a month ahead of time gives me the right amount of head space and comfort. It helps me to feel totally in charge and on top of my shit. Your formula may be different, and that's Kool Moe D.
- What if I don't want to schedule my Instagram content? Ok, don't. But remember: scheduling your content does not mean that you still can't post stuff spontaneously if you want to. In fact, I've found that I'm much more apt to do an on the fly post now because I don't have any pressure associated with it. I know I have my post scheduled for the day, and so no matter what, I know that I have content being pushed out there.
- Anything else I should know before I start my batch-a-thon? Here are a few things that come to mind:
- Don't get too caught up in the tools you use to help you on your batching journey cause it doesn't really matter. For the record, I switched back to a paper calendar/planner last year and I totally love it. But you can easily use gcal to schedule your stuff too. I also use an ARC notebook to hold all my stuff (including my monthly cal that I print out). I would def say this will take some trial and error too, so just be prepared to try things out, see how you like em, and then switch em up if you need to.
- Try to use this as an opportunity to get more intentional about your brand. For me, that meant doing things like: ensuring I had at least 1 insta post per week that drove people to sign-up for my email list. I also like to get up a post on insta every couple of weeks that drives people to my Etsy shop. What sorts of things are you trying to accomplish with your own brand? Think it through and make sure you are addressing these goals regularly with your posting/social media schedule.
- If you want to truly get a month ahead of your content, you may have a crazy month ahead of you. Unless you feel comfortable truly taking a month off to catch up, you might have a month where you are creating current content AND next month's content. This will feel crazy, and scary and annoying. BUT, if you can just get through it and then stick to your schedule, you will always be ahead of the game, so you will never feel those OMG WTF AM I GOING TO POST?! feelings again.
Ok, so that's it. You've got your assignment now, so go forth and batch, young grasshopper. If you have any questions, hit me up on snapchat [user = vintagedesignme] or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org