How to Run Your Brand on Autopilot with Content Batching
If you’re a content creator, chances are you’ve experienced moments of overwhelm, stress, and frustration — I know I certainly have. As creators, it can seem that our to-do list is never ending, and just as we reach that glorifying moment of crossing off one task, another one appears in its place.
I spent months dealing with a roller coaster of emotions when it came to creating content for my blog, email list, and other aspects of running my online brand, until I finally hit my breaking point — I decided to search for a better way to deliver valuable and consistent content without (or at least less of) the headaches, tears, and sleepless nights.
I like to believe that I work better under the pressure of a deadline, and while that may be true, it doesn’t make my life any easier. Trying to keep up with blog posts and running a business means my schedule is jam packed nearly every day, and it can be difficult to find time for well, anything else.
So my solution? Content batching.
Content batching involves planning and creating significant amounts of content over a couple of days that are then scheduled to publish or post at a later date, so you can get back to enjoying other things outside of your online brand. Designating one or two days a week, for just a few hours, can open up so much more time and take a lot of pressure off your shoulders in the long run.
I’ll go over my exact method to content batching, but I wanted to let you know there’s a free content batching guide I created for you to help you get started. You can find the free guide here or click on the the button below. Use this guide to help you through each step.
Before you get started, think about what you want to content batch for and focus on one area at a time. You might want to content batch for your:
Social Media Content
Email List or another area that you spend a lot of time working on
You might find that some of these things flow into one another, but try focusing on one area to avoid becoming overwhelmed. You can content batch for different areas on different days but just make one area your central focus for right now. When you’re clear on your area of focus, you’re ready to start batching out your content.
Think of this as the Konmari method for clearing out your mind. This happens on the first day of your new content-batching routine before you begin creating any type of content. Find a quiet space, print out your free guide, grab your favorite beverage and get ready to write. I’m going to recommend doing this with pen and paper, not on your phone or computer.
A lot of people like to call this a ‘brain dump’ but honestly that phrase just makes me cringe. I usually dub this my brainstorm session or my brain purge. Call it whatever you want, your brainstorm session consists of taking all those thoughts swirling around in your mind and putting them on paper. In the free guide I’ve created, you have plenty of space for this process. Use that space and fill it up — print out another page if you have to. Let everything flow out onto the paper.
Your brainstorm session should take you maybe 15-20 minutes, or slightly longer if you have a lot on your mind. I recommend using a timer and committing to stopping when the alarm goes off. Of course if thoughts come up throughout the day, feel free to add them in later after we’ve gone through some of the other steps to this process.
While you’re brainstorming, write down anything and everything you can think of, even if it doesn’t directly relate to the content area you’re going to be focusing on. It doesn’t have to be neat, organized, or anywhere near perfect. Just Get. It. All. Out.
Topic Dissection + Organization
Once you’ve completed your brainstorming session, take a look at your list. Do you see any patterns? Does anything connect? When you start to see similarities, start organizing your ideas into categories or topics. Group similar thoughts together wherever you can. This is going to help you determine the type of content you will create, and this practice often leads to even more ideas. Make sure these categories are topics that will be valuable to your target audience — no matter what you create, you always want to have your audience in mind. If you have some ideas that stand alone, or don’t quite fit with anything else on your list, save them for later — you might find them useful in the future.
Plan + Outline
Once you have your ideas organized into categories or topics, you’ll need to start the planning process. Is there a certain order you need, or would like, to present each item? Does it make sense to create a series around any of your ideas? Is there any further organization that needs to take place? Take a good, hard look at your new list and see if there’s any room for adjustment.
The next step to our planning process is actually getting this content on the calendar. Will you be adding a new piece of content every week? Twice a week? You always want to make sure you’re providing your audience with valuable, consistent content, and content batching is the perfect way to ensure that happens. It’s up to you how often you want to reach out to your audience — just make sure you do it consistently. I keep a separate planner exclusively for my blog and freelance business, so it’s easy for me to plan out my content and keep everything organized. I don’t just write ‘blog post’ on every Wednesday block of my calendar, I write the title or topic of the post so I know exactly what to plan for, and what will be live each week once it’s scheduled.
I like to plan about six weeks (six blog posts, for me) ahead of time. That might work for you too, or maybe you want to start with only four weeks at first. Find out what feels right to you — you can always adjust down the road to determine how much content you want to prepare in advance. Use the guide to help you map out which topics you will cover over the next several weeks.
Now that you’ve brainstormed and planned out your content, I want you to take a look at your calendar and find one or two days that you can sit down for a few hours to create your content. I know we are all busy, but one or two days — or one or two evenings — of content creation will save you days worth of work, stress, and frustration. Just trust me on this one.
Once you have the day(s) picked out, put it on your calendar and stick to it. When that day arrives, know that you have an appointment with yourself to create your content — write your blog posts, record your Youtube videos or podcast episodes, put together your social media posts, write up your e-mails — whatever it is, it’s important that you stick to this creative appointment. Use these days to focus solely on creating content for your area of focus, and don’t worry about any of the ‘extra’ stuff just yet. If you’re batching blog content, I wrote this article about what to do after you publish a blog post, and while those are necessary steps to take after a new post goes live on your site, on this day you are focusing purely on the content. Save all that extra stuff for another day, or after you’re done creating your new pieces of content.
When I write, I need my work space to be clean, organized, and free of major distractions. Sometimes I like silence, sometimes I like something on in the background. I make sure I take breaks after long periods of sitting at the computer, and try to avoid disruptions that might make it more difficult for me to return to my work. If you’re podcasting or filming YouTube videos, I’m sure you know the importance of a quiet, distraction-free zone! I also make sure there is hardly anything on the calendar that day that might interfere with my creation session.
Of course, life does happen and sometimes things get in the way — just try your best; but make sure you have at least a couple hours to sit down and focus on your content. If this is your first time content batching, be mindful of the clock and see how long it takes you to create your first four or six pieces of content, so you know for future reference. If you can’t get all six pieces of content completed in one day, spread them out over two days. You’ll get a feel for how much you can produce as you practice these strategies.
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Schedule Finished Content
I blog and run my freelance business on Squarespace, and this platform makes it super easy to schedule out blog content. I’ll often write my content in a Google Doc, then copy and paste it into Squarespace so I can format it and schedule it to publish over the next six weeks. If you’re recording videos for your YouTube channel, you can also easily schedule your videos to go live at a future date. If you’re planning out social media content, I recommend using Tailwind to schedule your posts. You can sign up and schedule your first 30 posts for free here! It’s my favorite scheduling tool for Instagram; if you want to learn more about why I think it’s a necessary tool for social media, you can read more about it in this blog post.
Whatever you’re scheduling, just make sure it aligns with your posting frequency. Again, I like to publish new blog posts and send out emails once each week, so I make sure to schedule that content to go live every Wednesday.
The Final Touches
This goes without saying, but if you’re creating any written material, go over and proofread your work. Make sure you’ve added any necessary links, photos, and have formatted your content accordingly. If you’re recording videos or podcast episodes, make sure you have your files ready for editing. You can choose to edit your audio or video files on the same day you content batch, or reserve that for another day during that same week. Either way, have your show notes or video descriptions ready with necessary links and graphics.
Since I publish posts and send emails on the same day every week, I also like to prepare my emails ahead of time. I usually wait to content batch my emails until the following day, but if I can, I’ll work on them later in the day of my content batching date if I have time. I also create my pins for my blog posts and schedule them in advance with Tailwind, too so they go live when my blog posts are published. If you want to learn how to use Tailwind and Pinterest to drive traffic to your website, you can check out my course here. If you have multiple areas to content batch, designate different days of the week to create your content, but get the main portion of your content created first before you work on the ‘less’ important areas.
Once all the necessary content elements are set to publish, you can sit back and breathe. You have six weeks of content created and ready to go live, meaning you have some time until you have to get ready for another round of content batching. I know it sounds like a lot of work up front, and it is, but it will save you so much time in the long run. You won’t have to worry about rushing to get a post, video, or episode up every week — you’ll already have done the hard work. If you get stuck or confused, always feel free to send me an email. Your guide is there to help you stay organized and get in the routine of batching out content every few weeks.
If you found this article helpful, please feel free to share on Pinterest, with other content creators, or let me know in the comments below.
Have you tried content batching yet? Was it helpful?