Okay, okay. Batching - it's what everybody says you're supposed to do. It's the way to make social media, blogging, emails, and all the other things easier and less overwhelming. Just batch all your content at once, then set it and forget it. There's only one problem: creating a month's worth, or even a week's worth, of content is overwhelming too!
If everyone is always telling you to batch, how do you actually do it in an effective and efficient way? Sitting down and creating 30 social media posts in one day just isn't plausible (and certainly isn't sustainable). But we're here to show you a better way! A way that not only will allow you to finally adopt a batching strategy, but will also help your brand become more organized and optimized for growth.
Caveat: You Can't Avoid Hard Work
As you know, running your own business ain't easy. It comes with a whole lot of perks (that we think make it worth it), but you have to pay for them with hard work.
Batching, if you do it right, will lessen your workload, but you still have to do the work! It's not a magic bullet that will allow you to kick your feet up and relax everyday. But it will help! Depending on how much content you create, you might generate some extra time off. Just don't expect no hard work - that just doesn't exist if you're a passionate, heart-led leader.
The Game-Changing Side Effect of Batching
The best part of batching isn't the time you save, nor is it the peace of mind you get knowing your content is set for the next month. It's not the increased productivity and efficiency. It's actually what I mentioned earlier: batching makes your brand more organized and optimized for growth!
If you weren't convinced to give batching a try before, this side effect should give you the final nudge. As you'll see in the process I've outlined below, you simply can't batch effectively if you aren't organized. The good news is the batching process makes it easy to get organized! And by planning ahead, your brand will grow in just the way you want it to.
Why Does Batching Make You More Productive?
Some people may batch their blogging process by doing (or at least trying to do) all of these steps in one or two days:
Write a post
Create/curate graphics for the post
Format the post
Add links to the post
Schedule the post on the blog
Repeat steps 1-5 for the next post
While it’s nice to knock out multiple blog posts in a relatively short period of time, it’s not the most efficient way to do it. Each step is very different from the others. That means your mindset has to shift between each step, taking up valuable time and making you less productive.
I’m sure you’ve heard of being in the zone. Well, it’s impossible to achieve that level of productivity if you’re constantly shifting what you do.
Instead, what if you took each step in the blogging process and completed it for all your posts before moving on to the next step? In other words, write all your blog posts first, then create/curate the graphics for them, and so on.
As you’ll see below, each of our batches is very specific - designed to make the entire content creation process as efficient as possible. Following our batching process will boost your productivity, giving you more time to work, play, or do whatever you want!
Getting Set Up
Before you start, there are a few things you need to decide. But first, click the image below to download our FREE Content Calendar Batching Guide so you can update it as you go along!
Step 1: Decide on Your Batching Time Period & Start Date
First, what time period do you want to batch content for? We batch our content in four-week cycles, so by the end of our batching process, we have four weeks worth of content. While some brands batch for longer time periods, we don’t recommend any less than four weeks.
If you run a business that’s prone to last-minute changes, you might not be able to batch everything, but you can at least batch your primary content and a good portion of your supporting content.
Next, pick a start date for your content. In other words, when will you start actually posting the content you’re going to batch? If you’re batching four weeks of content, we recommend giving yourself four weeks to create it, at least to start. Over time, you’ll get faster and faster, but you want to make sure you give yourself enough time at the beginning, otherwise you’ll constantly be playing catch-up.
On the Worksheet tab of your Batching Guide, update your time period and start date. If you’re batching more than four weeks of content, add more weeks to the Content Calendar tab (copy & paste the last week as many times as you need).
Step 2: Choose & Schedule Your Primary Content
Your primary content is your blog, podcast, or video series. It’s the big stuff - where you give away the most free information. If you already have one, you’re in good shape. If not, now’s the perfect time to get started.
We highly recommend dropping new primary content every week. While quality is of course important, so is consistency. Your tribe wants to know they can count on you on a regular basis.
We use a blog (obviously, ha!) as our primary content, and we publish a new post every Friday.
In your Batching Guide, on the Worksheet tab, specify what your primary content will be and the day you’ll release it each week. Then, on the Content Calendar tab, place an X on the primary content row for each release date.
Step 3: Choose & Schedule Your Supporting Content
Your supporting content can consist of social media, email newsletter, email marketing, paid ads, etc. Chances are, you’re on IG and Facebook. Those are two great places to start, depending on your ideal customers of course.
Whatever you’re doing, we highly recommend building your email list. When a potential customer gives you his/her email address, it’s the next step down the funnel after engaging with you on social media.
An important note: don’t spread yourself too thin here. Remember, it’s about quality and consistency. If you’re trying to pump out too much content, one or both of those will slip.
We create A LOT of supporting content, but that’s because that’s what we do! We’re on most channels so we can help you rock whichever ones are best for your brand. We also send a weekly email newsletter called The Heart-Led Five - if you don’t get them, join our tribe!
Add your supporting content channels to the Worksheet tab in the Batching Guide. Then, decide which days you’ll post to each one, and make note of that on the Content Calendar. Oftentimes, it’s easy to post the same or similar content - to multiple channels, like Facebook and Instagram.
Step 4: Choose & Schedule Your Content Pillars
Content pillars are the types of social media content that you post. Examples include behind the scenes, how-tos, inspiration, resource recommendations, offering highlights, etc.
To be as efficient as possible, we recommend posting each pillar on the same day of the week every week. For example…
Mondays - Behind the Scenes
Tuesdays - How-Tos
Thursdays - Inspiration
Friday - Resource Recommendations
Saturday - Offering Highlights
Once you’ve developed your content pillars, choose which day of the week to post each one and add them to the Batching Guide.
Step 5: Schedule Your Batches
Below, you’ll find our six-part batching process. Before you start your first batch, whether you use Google Calendar, Asana (our recommendation!), a physical planner, sticky notes, or something else, schedule all six batches! Set aside the time (probably around six hours per batch) now, so you’ve got a plan you can stick to.
The Batching Process
I'm going to outline the exact six-part batching process we use at BE.FLOW. Your business is obviously different, and no one knows it better than you, so you might want to make some minor adjustments. We’re a team of two, so keep that in mind.
Batch #1 - Brainstorm & Schedule Launches, Promos & Content
To create four weeks of content, you need a lot of ideas. You know what that means - brainstorm sesh! Use our Content Calendar Batching Guide to follow these steps:
Start with launches. Product launches, freebie launches, primary content launches, etc. Put them on the calendar. After all, the goal of all this content is to lead customers down your funnel, toward your paid offering(s). Knowing which launches are happening when will (a) help you create content to promote those launches, (b) make the content brainstorm process easier by giving you topic ideas, and (c) force you to set a date for each of your launches!
Next, set your promos. Are you going to run any sales? Maybe to promote that upcoming product launch? Put them on the calendar! Once again, now you’ve got more content ideas!
Then, your primary content. If you’re batching for four weeks, come up with four great ideas related to your paid offering(s). If you’re on a roll, come up with some more and save them for future batches! Pick one idea for each launch date, and add them to the calendar.
Finally, your supporting content. For each piece of primary content, brainstorm ideas for each of your content pillars, and add them to the corresponding week on your calendar.
Batch #2 - Write Blog Posts (Primary Content)
After we get organized, the next thing we do is write our blog posts. Since our blog is our primary content, it’s crucial that we complete this step first. Once we have four blog posts to work off of, it’s easy to develop our supporting content.
Notice that I said write our blog posts. We use Google Docs to create our drafts, and we don’t use this time to create our graphics, worry about formatting, schedule them, or add other fine details like links to other blog posts. During this batch, just get your information out so you can use it to create your supporting content.
Batch #3 - Write Email Newsletter & Email Marketing
The first supporting content we tackle is any email marketing we have planned for pushing promos and/or launches. Then, we write our email newsletter, which goes out once/week. Each newsletter is more substantial than any one social media post, so we prioritize them before whittling down even more.
In each newsletter, we include information to supplement that week’s blog post, a summary of the post, or a snippet of it. Since we take care of the blog first, it (a) makes it easier to write the emails and (b) makes the emails more effective at leading readers to our blog.
As we write our newsletter, we sometimes decide to adjust our blog posts, which is part of the reason why we just create the drafts to start.
Again, note that we write our emails during this time - we don’t create graphics, schedule them in CovertKit, or fret about any other details. Like our blog posts, we use Google Docs for this process.
Batch #4 - Write Social Captions
The writing continues during our next batch, as we knock out all our social media captions. We choose to handle the captions before the graphics because it makes it easier to find the right image or create a graphic that fits the words.
We also use this opportunity to make any minor adjustments to our blog posts or emails. By writing about the same content three times, it helps us refine everything really well.
We use Google Sheets to write our captions, which makes it easy to organize and see what we’ve written for multiple posts.
Batch #5 - Create/Curate Graphics
After all our writing is done, then we create and curate the graphics to use on all our various content. The bulk of the graphics are for social media, but it helps to lump images for our blog and emails into this process as well. Oftentimes, we use similar imagery or just resize the same custom graphics based on where they will be used.
Canva is our tool of choice for Batch #5. Truth is, without it, we would only be able to create a fraction of the graphics we do, and it would be significantly harder to make them look as professional. The Pro plan is well worth it, as you get over 60 million premium stock images, photos, videos, and graphics.
Batch #6 - Schedule Everything
We dedicate the final batch to scheduling our blog posts, emails, and social media posts. We wait until the end so we can refine everything along the way, rather than risk having to make big changes once something’s already been scheduled. Scheduling is also a similar process for each medium, so it’s more efficient to do it all at once.
For our blog posts, we use Wix. We love designing websites on Wix because it allows an incredible range of customization, so we can create the exact website we want. It’s also easy to format and schedule beautiful blog posts with pinnable images and SEO optimization.
ConvertKit is our email service provider of choice. Using it, we’re able to make great-looking emails, tag readers based on what they click, and segment our email list easily. But ConvertKit’s functionality goes well beyond that - we also use it for opt-in pages and automated nurture sequences. It’s really a game-changer because of its ability to organize, manage, and target our email list.
To schedule our social media posts, we use Later. Its user interface and features make it a breeze to schedule a month’s worth of content across Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Using Later, we’re able to preview our IG feed, save and easily use different hashtag sets, tag users, add first comments on IG, and more. It’s really a great tool. If you sign up using this link, you'll get 10 additional free posts each month.
The Feeling You’re Looking For
Imagine going to sleep at night knowing that for the next month, all your content is done and will post automatically. You won’t ever forget to post, panic that you haven’t posted in a few days, or rack your brain for content ideas. What an amazing feeling!
And on top of that, your business will be better organized, with a comprehensive plan for the future! That is the beauty of batching.
The Calibration Period
Your content channels, workflow, and resources are all different than ours, so you’ll likely have to make some tweaks to fit your brand.
On top of that, you probably won’t get it perfectly right the first time. Maybe it will take longer than you thought to create/curate all your graphics, or writing just flows out of you, so you can combine Batches #3 and #4. And if you haven’t used our recommended tools, you’ll need a few rounds to become super efficient.
So if you aren’t completely sold after your first full batching process, don’t give up on it! Analyze it - ask yourself how you can do it better. Calibrate the batches to fit your specific needs and resources.
How to Implement Batching Now
If you’re already generating content, implementing this batching process poses one significant challenge: along with the content you batch for next month, you also have to create content for this month. There are a handful solutions to overcome this obstacle:
Skip a month of content. If you don’t have much of an audience, you might be able to get by without posting for a month. While it’s obviously not ideal, if this is your side hustle and you’re really pressed for time, you should consider this option.
Reuse content. If you’ve been at it for a while and have a good amount of content, you can likely reuse some this month while you batch for next month.
Suck it up. If you’re okay with losing some sleep, seeing less of your friends and family, and/or neglecting other parts of your business, you might be able to batch next month’s content while still churning out this month’s.
Reduce quantity. If you normally produce one blog post per week and five social media posts, back it off to one every other week and three per week. If you do that this month and next (your first batching month), you might be able to get on track with batching and increase your quantity the following month.
Phase batching in. Rather than batching all your content right away, maybe just start with your blog posts. Each month, you can batch more and more until you’re able to batch it all.
Choose a solution or a combination of solutions that fits your business - don’t let the overwhelm of this month’s content stop you from the future freedom of batching!
Questions? We’re Here to Help!
If you run into any issues using our Batching Guide to implement this strategy, let us know! Feel free to reach out to us via email or social media - we’d love to help!