Hi friends! I know it’s been awhile, but I am back with another one of these social media related posts. In this one, I want to go over ‘content planning’ a bit – what it is, why I do it, how it helps, and how to get started with a super awesome content strategy of your own!
I’ve been working professionally in the social media field for almost 7 years now, and I’ve learned so much during this time that I had no idea about before. Social media platforms can be extremely demanding – especially once you’ve gained any sort of momentum following wise. Keeping up with comments and messages on top of making sure to post regularly can create a huge amount of pressure, especially when a sudden lack of activity can somehow trigger certain algorithms into shunning you like the least popular kid in the class.
I run & moderate multiple Instagram accounts, Pinterests, Facebook groups, and more. Juggling things can be tough, especially if you’re not actually being paid to do it as your day job, so it’s understandable that some of this pressure can be a bit of a deterrent for people looking to branch out socially online. Because of this, content planning has helped me a lot – and I wanted to share that with you, just in case it may be beneficial for you, too!
What is content planning?
First, some basics. Have you ever noticed that some people seem to consistently post regular, engaging content, day after day? These folks are likely content planners – they plan their content in advance to maximize engagement & activity with their posts. Content planning is the act of creating a strategy for your social media posts, and can be as involved – or as simple – as you want it to be.
Whether you want to build out a full month of daily Instagram posts to promote your latest endeavor, or just add a bit of a buffer so you don’t feel as obligated to keep up with posting every day, content planning is a super useful tool. For bloggers, bookstagrammers, even authors & publishers – content planning can be instrumental in getting you closer to reaching your goals for things like sales & referrals.
From creating a monthly blog calendar to planning out your Instagram posts – content planning covers it all!
Why would people want to plan their social media posts?
For the average Joe Schmo, content planning probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you only use social media to share occasional memes or keep up with distant relatives, you probably won’t be super interested in planning your content out in advance.
For many others, especially people that own their own businesses or have something to offer sales-wise, doing this can be extremely helpful as a part of their marketing strategy. Planning your content & posts in advance allows you to have a regular stream of incoming promotional material, as well as allows a low-maintenance and low-effort way of building your brand and community.
Imagine having a shop – like mine, for example! If I don’t consistently talk about and promote my shop and the stuff I’m selling, I probably won’t sell much of it, right? There’s some old advertising rule that says people have to see things an average of 7 times before they take the leap to buy it – and it stands to reason that today, where things are literally at our fingertips and flashing in front of our eyes every second of every day on our screens, the average person would probably even need to see it a few more times than that.
But multiple posts take time, and what if you’re too busy this week & forget to share anything at all? Your followers aren’t going to your old posts ’cause that’s not how news feeds work. You need to have something backed up, something prepped and ready, and it’s important that you rotate it. If you sell a book or a product, keep sharing it! Don’t think that just because you’ve shared it once or twice, that’s enough. Marketing requires constant effort and hard work – it’s not an easy job!
Luckily, you can spend an hour or two a week and get all your content prepped and planned and then spend the rest of your time actually talking with people, and creating more things, and living your life – all while your sales stay boosted, and your blog posts keep getting views!
What can be gained from having a content strategy?
There are so many benefits to planning out a content strategy and making it a priority. By making this strategy time a part of your regular routine, you free up all the time you don’t really account for that gets spent trying to promote your blog posts, book sales, artwork, etc. It also provides a way for you to keep up with regular posting – something that is instrumental today with how quickly the internet moves and how short the average consumer’s attention span is – so that you can continuously share thoughtful content that remains meaningful for your brand, and keep yourself alive in the minds of the people with which you’re trying to connect.
So, with all that said, I’ve put a list together of some of my favorite tools. These are things I use daily – and I believe all of them offer free versions, or free trials at the very least. If you find that using these helps, I’d definitely recommend the Premium versions – and I’m not making a commission or anything, I just believe in the tools that much!
1) Asana for General Scheduling & Task Tracking
Asana is incredibly helpful for managing all the different areas of my life. With it, I’ve been able to create individual boards for the different things I need to focus on – Etsy, Patreon, Blogging, and even normal stuff like Chores & Shopping Lists. Using Asana for my goal and task tracking allows me to have a visual look at everything I need to complete, and also gives me a nice little sense of completion when I tick the box to check off a task after doing it.
A great part of Asana is that you can invite other people to join specific projects. I have my boyfriend shared on my “Home” board, because that way we can both add things like ‘Ran out of trash bags’, or ‘Need to get smog check done on car’. Having the responsibility on both of us keeps us both accountable for the things around the house, and lets us keep track of things even if we’re out separately.
I add every task individually to Asana ’cause it helps me keep things straight when I’m doing 300 things at once. I can easily pack up a bunch of Patreon rewards, Etsy orders, and rep packages simultaneously because I have detailed lists of who is getting what, and when, and where it’s being sent. Plus, there’s an app – so I can track it all from my phone!
I use Asana to help me organize my blog posts as well – I can make a list of “Blogs to Write” and then drag a title to “Blogs in Progress”, and then check it off once done with it! I can also add tasks for each step of promotion for a post with subtasks. So, for example, I could make a subtask list under a general blog task post, and then check off everything within it!
Main task: “Thursday 10: An Example List”
- Make list of 10 _____
- Gather photos for blog
- Create Pinterest graphic & add to Tailwind queue
- Schedule blog post
- Schedule blog post on Twitter
- Schedule IG photo review, redirect to blog post
- Post blog promo to IG stories
I know, it seems like a lot – but it feels kind of assembly line-ish, and everything is done super efficiently if you just set a small chunk of time aside to do it (like an extra 10 minutes after finishing the blog post content!).
2) Tailwind for Pinterest
Pinterest is super, super useful for promoting my blog posts & my Etsy stuff. With Tailwind, I’m able to schedule my content with their planning tool that helps choose the best peak times for my content to be shared – when people are most actively browsing through Pinterest.
Since Pinterest is essentially a search engine tool (with pretty photos), using it for businesses is an incredibly great idea when you have products to sell. If you utilize some general rules – like vertical photos being best for performance, and remembering to add links to everything – Pinterest can be hugely instrumental in drumming up shop sales for your business.
Think of how many people use Pinterest everyday – all they’d have to do for my shop is type in “Harry Potter embroidery pattern to buy” once I had some pins set up for those listings, and I’d be thrown in with the rest of the results! If I made sure my image sizes and keywords were optimized for Pinterest, it could dramatically increase my shop visitors and sales.
Since using Tailwind, my blog views have actually gone up by like 300 or so a month! While it’s obviously not the biggest driver for traffic, every little bit counts, and every one of those 300 new folks is just as welcome to be here if they came from Pinterest as if they came from Twitter or anywhere else!
It also offers some great analytics, which are super helpful for knowing about pin performance!
3) Later for Instagram
I really, really, really love Later – it’s so intuitive, so easy, and so useful! I use it to schedule both my bookstagram & art Instagram content, and honestly don’t know if I’d be able to keep up with either of them without it. With Later, you can upload photos directly from your phone to the app. You can then create captions & tags through the app as well – but I prefer to do this part on my computer, since typing with a tiny phone keyboard kills me! 😛
Some of the premium features include cool things like hashtag suggestions, which are great for keeping yourself from being repetitive in your hashtagging – something that can lead to the dreaded ‘shadowban’ of Instagram, yikes!
You’re also able to see your feed’s grid once you’ve scheduled posts to see if the main feed seems consistent – something that may not be important to everyone, but for those of us very into our IG aesthetic, it’s an appreciated function, haha.
4) Hootsuite for Twitter
I use this one the least, and it’s the only one I don’t actively pay for a subscription to because the free edition is sufficient for what I need. I like this because it allows me to post things like promotional blog posts or new Etsy sales by scheduling them in advance on Twitter, which is where a lot of my visitor traffic comes from. I don’t do everything through Hootsuite – probably 98% of my Tweets are done through the native tool by me when on my phone or computer – but for days I know I’ll be busy or working, for example, and there’s a post going up that I want to start sharing ASAP, I’ll schedule it!
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