There is no denying that creating content takes a lot of time. You have to figure out what to publish, create a graphic, write a title, choose hashtags, publish content and engage with your audience in the comments – and then repeat it all, over and over again.
While the challenges of creating content on social media can seem daunting, their constant appearance has great benefits for your business. By consistently publishing valuable content, you can:
- Increase your audience
- Increase brand awareness
- Build authority in your industry
- Improve engagement
If you want to achieve any of the above benefits, it’s worth devising a sustainable time-saving strategy when planning and creating social media content. The key to achieving this is twofold – advance planning and group creation of work content.
Multiple tasks – a warning story
Let’s take a moment to talk about something we all do – multitasking. Multitasking often feels productive because you do “all things”, but in reality multitasking is one of the least productive things you can do.
It is estimated that only 2% of the population is actually skilled at performing multiple tasks. When you go from task to task, it actually takes 50% more time to complete the task. (John Medina, Brain Rules).
“Only 2% of the population is skilled at performing multiple tasks.”
So what should 98% of us who are not skilled multitaskers do? The answer – when it comes to creating content on social media – is creating a system and group work. Below is a process you can repeat every month to save time on planning and creating content on social media.
Content planning process
Each month, take the time to map social media content for the following month. By listing content on topics you want to cover throughout the month, you can view your content from a higher level and be strategically related to your content plan. Plan to spend 1-2 hours each month mapping your content for the following month.
Plan to spend 1-2 hours each month mapping your content
Things to include in your content plan:
- Number of posts. How often do you post (or want to post) each week? Keep in mind that quality and consistency are more important than the number of posts. Stick to a schedule and frequency that you can maintain in the long run.
- Goals. What are your overall business goals for the month? How can your content support these goals?
- All important dates. Do you have a new product launch or service or event? Include them in your plan first so you can fill in the accompanying content around them.
- Holidays on social networks that you want to “celebrate”. Are there relevant social media holidays you want to celebrate on your social platforms? This list has a good overview of these types of holidays or you can always explore the ones that are specific to your industry.
With this content map, you can confidently enter the month knowing what content needs to be created each week (more on that later).
What types of social media content do you need to create?
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to content on social media is knowing what to post. When creating content for social media, it is important to share different types of content. Your content should educate, entertain or sell.
Below are a few business examples that balance content that educates, entertains and sells.
Bulletproof balances content, entertainment, education and sales very well. They highlight their products, share recipes and answer frequently asked questions, and create funny, related GIFs.
Shopify shares inspiring personal stories of its customers, encourages conversation and engagement by asking questions and sharing video content with “how” and “why” motivating life hacks.
Flodsesk highlights new features, shares tips and best practices for email marketing, and encourages the engagement of your audience by asking “this or that” and “would you rather?” questions.
Another advantage of planning your content for an entire month is that you can better distribute and plan the types of content you will share. Instead of trying to come up with something to publish and potentially post too many sales-oriented posts or too many funny memes, advance planning allows you to be more intentional and strategic in relation to what you post. This ensures that you achieve all the ratings that build the knowledge, likes and trust factor of your audience, serve them and ultimately convert them.
Let’s say you want to share four posts a week. To balance your content types, you could share two educational posts, one sales-focused post and one fun post each week. As you plan your monthly content, you can begin to include your content ideas according to that rhythm and flow.
Bonus tip: This process step does not have to be high-tech. Simply use the monthly calendar (you can print it out on Print-a-Calendar.com if you don’t have one) and take sticky notes and a pen and start jotting down content topics. This process allows you to move things as needed to better balance and distribute your content. Alternatively, you can plan in digital form on Google Calendar or in software like Asana, Trello or Cickup. Choose the tool that works best for you to make you more likely to use it.
When planning content, it is important to remember that the content does not have to be too complicated. Indeed, everything can be satisfied if it is worth your ideal audience. Share your knowledge, take your audience behind the scenes, introduce your team, share testimonials or customer reviews, answer frequently asked questions. Know that you have an insight that your audience craves – that’s what they told you when they decided to follow you.
Simplify content creation with group work
Let’s get back to group work and how to apply tactics to content planning.
What does Batch do?
Batch work is a highly focused form of work related to topics. When you work in series, you divide the work into different hours / days and focus on only one thing at a time. Batch work can be applied to all areas of your life and work, but here we will focus on how to use it to create content.
The idea is that by focusing on one task at a time, you can get into a flow state when your productivity and creativity are really booming. The end result is better quality content in less time. Winning thing!
Step 1: Plan a month of content
As mentioned above, the first step in planning and creating social media content is to map the content to the entire month.
Assuming you have a monthly content plan and itinerary ready, you should follow the steps below each week to simplify the content creation puzzle section.
Step 2: Create all visual content
With your content map, decide which visuals to create for this week. Make a list of everything you need from stock photos, custom graphics, videos, rolls, cover images, etc.
Once you get the list, it’s time to start creating. You can use a tool like Canva for custom brand graphics. Create (or buy) a library of templates that you can easily customize with different content each week. This keeps your brand consistent and saves you time unlike running a design from scratch every week.
Step 3: Write all the titles
It doesn’t take much time to create an inscription. By grouping subtitles and applying a description formula, you can quickly write headlines that convert your audience. A good inscription should contain:
- Hook: Get their attention with a stick. Think of the first 7-14 words of your subject as the subject of an email. You need to inspire your audience to click “read more”.
- Value: Fulfill what you promised in your stroke and share content that educates, entertains or sells.
- Call to action: Tell your audience what you want them to do next (i.e. share, like, comment, click, buy, sign up, tag, etc.). Make your calls to action simple and fun to increase the likelihood that your audience will follow you.
Step 4: Schedule posts
Now that you have your visuals and captions, it’s time to arrange your posts according to a calendar with content. Using the Buffer’s Publishing tool, go to Settings and set a publishing schedule.
Then go to your row, drag and drop images and copy / paste the titles and click “Schedule Post” or “Add to Line”. Depending on the type of post, your post will either be posted automatically at the scheduled time, or you will receive a push notification at the scheduled time to post yourself.
Step 5: Add hashtags (if you are posting on Instagram)
If you post on Instagram, when you schedule your post, you also have the option to add up to 30 hashtags to the first comment of your post. Buffer’s hashtag manager allows you to store groups of hashtags directly on the platform. This makes it easy to choose the right group of tags with a tag to add to your post. When used thoughtfully and strategically, hashtags are a great way to expand the reach of your content.
Enjoy the benefits of planning and scheduling your content in advance
Imagine not having to constantly ask yourself, “What should I post?” As you get into the habit of planning and scheduling content in advance, you will see that your effort pays off. Not only will your content strategy benefit you, but it will also save you time and reduce stress around social media content. Instead of “posting just for the sake of publishing,” adopting a content grouping routine allows you to create high-quality content while in the “content zone” and schedule according to your social media strategy.
When you plan your content in advance, your content can better support your overall business goals. If you have a product or service you want to promote, an event or a company milestone, advance planning allows you to backwards create social media strategic content that supports those goals.
Lastly, by freeing up time and energy in the content creation process, you allow yourself to spend more time in other areas of your business. This extra time can be spent on building connections and relationships with your community on social media or in other areas of your business, such as sales, administrative tasks, networking or increasing your team, and even taking care of yourself. Think about what you would spend those extra hours on each month and use that as motivation to stick to your new content process.
Social media is a powerful tool for businesses. By planning ahead, you can use social media strategically and thoughtfully.
Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.