As a busy small business owner, becoming a master at content batching is key to saving you time and promoting your business online. But first, let’s make sure you’re in the right frame of mind. Online media for small businesses can feel overwhelming, or It can feel like an opportunity. Consider this: sitting in your office or store right now, you have the opportunity to have a conversation with your exact target customer. You can build a relationship with them without ever even meeting them. If you focus on the “social” part of online marketing today, the “media” part feels like less of a burden.
Ready? Let’s do this. 🚀 Key to successful online marketing so that you stay top of mind for your target customers is showing up. Showing up means creating daily social media content and weekly website content.
In last week’s blog, I talked about three forms of content you should be creating weekly, but let’s review them briefly here.
Choose your weekly website content medium
Blog: Blogging is a great way to consistently show up for your audience weekly and to keep your content easy to consume. If you enjoy writing, blogging is an obvious choice, but even if you’re only a mediocre writer, I still say go for it. Writing is like a muscle that improves with time. And there are a lot of tips and even online content writing courses that can help you improve tremendously. With time, writing gets so much easier, so put away your high school anxiety and try out this medium if you can.
Video: Like blogging, video takes some getting used to, but if you’re able to practice getting comfortable in front of the camera, it’s a great way to churn out content quickly. There’s a whole range of what’s acceptable in video content, and you can grow with it as you get more experienced and comfortable. Video blogging can be scrappy, with just your phone, a mic and a ring light. Or it can be as crisp as a TV episode.
With video, it’s easy to recycle that content. You can start with the video, but then add just the audio to your website as a podcast. And you can write a blog to explain what’s in your video as well. Trifecta!
Podcast: Podcasting is a great way to show up weekly for your audience, especially if you’re comfortable talking to your audience but don’t love the idea of a video. Podcasting makes it really easy to showcase guests too because you don’t have to be in the same location to be on the show together. Guests can call in from all over the world to join you. With podcasting, it’s also really easy to create a blog post with each episode by writing some of your notes or even pulling and editing the the show transcript. Rev.com is a great tool for this job, for $1/minute, and there are others like it.
3 steps to batch your content
Once you have your content medium of choice in place, you’re ready to start batching content. Content batching is simply setting aside times where you focus on creating a bunch of content at once. This ensures you’re productive during the time you work on your online content and rescues you from ever staring at a blinking curser. I recommend content batching by implementing three steps into your routine that I use in my own business.
Collect notes on the go: Whether on your phone notes or you’re kickin’ it old school on an actual notepad, start jotting down content ideas you come up with on the go to create a running list. An encounter with a customer, a quote from a book or movie or a problem you overcame in your business can all be sources of inspiration. These ideas are more likely to come to you during a workout or even in the shower. Add these content ideas to your list so you don’t forget. I’ve even found myself with an idea on the go when I didn’t have a chance to write it down, and I instead thought of an acronym or a trigger word to help me remember later.
Set up a brainstorming session: Reserve a 2 hour session on your own or with your team to create several weeks’ worth of content ideas. This should be a total brain dump where you think of every possible idea you can. Whip out the post-it notes and use the whole pack. For each idea you think you might use, develop a short abstract or an outline so that creating that actual content later is easier. Try some of the ideas I list below for inspiration, including the notes you’ve already collected.
Mark your calendar: Creating weekly online content means working weekly on content. And like the shoemaker’s son, you’re less likely to work on your own business when you have clients’ needs to meet. That’s why you’ll need to proactively reserve 2-3 hours each week to focus on creating your content. Since you’ve already developed a list and an abstract or outline, the time you set aside will be productive. I recommend creating content first thing in the morning, when you are sharpest. For my own business, I do this 2-3 times a week, around 6AM before anyone else needs me.
Content batching sources of inspiration for small businesses
Need help on your brainstorming session? Try some of the following sources of inspiration:
The calendar, including holidays and hashtag days. Here’s a great downloadable 2020 hashtag calendar that syncs with your Google calendar.
Seasonal themes: Depending on your business, focus on the seasons that affect your audience and create content themes, where you can go in depth over a few weeks or a month at a time. I’ve even done this with a B2B insurance broker, so you can for sure think of ones that will work for your industry (30 days to protect your business during cyber awareness month, anyone?).
Check out what’s working for your competitors. Of course, you never want to copy your competition, but you should check out what’s working for them (and what’s not) to glean inspiration. Key to not replicating what they’re doing is to take a peak and then walk away before you dive into your own content.
Like any new habit in life or in your business, creating content takes time to get used to, but once you get going and see the chatter increase about your business because of it, you’ll never look back. Happy creating!
Let me know if this blog post was helpful for you! Leave a comment or send me a message over on your social channel of choice.