This Is My Deal :: How I Created 3 Months Worth of Content in 2 Weeks
'This Is My Deal' is a post series where I share more behind-the-scenes looks at my business — like how I got to where I am, how I actually do the fucking work, how I make money, and all of that good stuff. This post is the second in the series!
You know when people always bang on about working smarter, not harder, but you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about?
Yeah, that was me too… Until I discovered one of the techniques they’re talking about — batch creating.
WTF is it? Well basically, instead of creating content on-the-go as you need it, you take a chunk of time wherever you can, and create as much content as you can, and then you schedule it out for the future. This means you spend more time just getting in the zone, going balls-out, and less time frantically rushing at the last minute to create content (like I used to).
For example — You might create a bunch of blog posts... Or you could do a series of Instagram posts… Or shoot + edit a whole bunch of branded photos. The possibilities are basically endless.
I’d tried this ‘batching’ thing in the past, but I half-assed it, so I wanted to try it out properly this year. So I spent a couple of weeks in January creating 99% of the content for my blog/emails, for Jan + Feb + March. I initially just wanted to get at least the first 4 weeks of the year done, but in the end I decided I might as well go all-out and schedule the whole first quarter — so I did almost all of my email/blog content (minus some promo ones for the magazine) for the whole first quarter — which ended up being 10 posts. WHEW.
I gotta admit, this shit was way fucking harder than I thought it would be… But not in a bad way that made me question whether it was right for me, it just felt like I was facing a MASSIVE amount of resistance because in the past I've seen batch creation as ‘cheating’ — which is obviously ridiculous. I’ve always been a ‘just do it at the last minute’ kind of person, so getting into this new habit of creating ahead of time was never going to be easy, but I know my future self will thank me for it.
I also don’t think this way of creating reduces the quality or the value of the content — if anything I hope it improves it because I’m not rushing anything or struggling for ideas, so I’m stoked to see how it goes and hopefully do it more in the future.
Okay so enough of that stuff, here’s what my whole process actually looks like.
I’ve tried to make this post as useful as possible so I’ve included lots of screenshots from my whole process to show ya how it goes down, and I’ve also included a bunch of prompts and tips for you — if you want to give batch creating a jam.
these are the tools i use to make shit happen
Evernote :: Where everything starts. This is where I write all of the content and keep notes + the whole shebang.
Google Calendar :: I use Google Cal as my editorial Calendar. I have a tag created specifically for blog posts and emails, I can colour code scheduled posts, and I can easily move them around.
Squarespace :: What my website/blog is hosted on.
ConvertKit :: What I use to send emails to ma gang.
Later :: What I use to schedule my Instagram posts.
STEP ONE ::
First, I took some time to map out my vibe + direction for the coming year, specifically the next 3 months (for which i would be creating content).
This included a combination of both what I want to do in my business, and also what people want from me. In December I sent out a survey to my Standout Squad (my email gang), so this gave me a bunch of ideas for new content to write.
Then, I brainstormed blog posts that fit into those both those things (what I wanted to do, and what people want more of).
STEP TWO ::
Then I’d create a note in Evernote for each blog post idea, and label it as a draft.
Any ideas, links or resources I had for each post would be added in straight away. If you have brainwaves, take them down as you have them otherwise you’ll forget.
STEP THREE ::
Once I had all of the post ideas mapped out, I planned them out on Google Cal so I could see what goes where.
This also makes it super easy to see what holidays there are, the order of the content, where I have magazine launches, etc. I have a mega simple system going in Google Docs so I can easily see what posts are drafts, and which ones have all been scheduled — just using a separate 'Calendar' for my emails + posts, and colour coding between draft posts and completed + scheduled ones.
So in the screenshot above you can see all of my emails mapped out on Tuesdays.
Brown = Draft
Orange = Completed + Scheduled
STEP FOUR ::
Then over the next two weeks I’d spend the time in Evernote writing each post + editing it down.
There was no real precise process here, I’d just work on whichever post I felt like writing at the time, and I’d commit to it. Sometimes I’d jump around between posts as I was inspired, but the goal was to have all of the 10 posts done by the end of January at the latest.
STEP FIVE ::
Once I’d finished each post, I’d then design up a header graphic for it using InDesign, and export 3 versions.
A vertical one for the blog post, a landscape one for the email, and a square one for Instagram. (I’d usually just start with the vertical one and then crop it for the other two versions).
STEP SIX ::
Then the post goes into my Squarespace blog, and it’s scheduled for the publish date.
Nothin' fancy goes on here — just setting up the post.
STEP SEVEN ::
At the same time, the post goes into my ConvertKit account and is scheduled for the same post date as the blog.
Not all of my emails are posted on my blog though, so this can vary.
STEP EIGHT ::
And then I’ll schedule the Instagram post!
I don’t post everything from my blog on my Instagram, so I’ll just pick and choose which ones I want to share over there and schedule it using the Later app. This makes it super easy to upload images from my Desktop, add pre-saved hashtags, and schedule the post date.
STEP NINE ::
Once the post is all done and scheduled, I go to Evernote and move it to my Archive Notebook.
I can still easily access it, but it’s no longer a working file.
STEP TEN ::
go back and change the colour of the post in Google Docs — from draft (brown) to scheduled (orange).
This is so I can easily see that it’s all ready to go.
So to recap my process (because who doesn't love a good recap to make shit easy) ::
1 :: Map out my business direction + vibe for the coming months. Brainstorm post ideas based around this, what I want to write about, and what people want to know from me.
2 :: Create Evernote notes for each post idea, and label them as 'DRAFTS'.
3 :: Put all of the posts into Google Calendar and move them around to wherever seemed like a good fit. Also label these as 'DRAFTS'.
4 :: Write the damn posts.
5 :: Create the header graphics for each post. Export at 3 different sizes — vertical (for the blog), horizontal (for the email), square (for Instagram).
6 :: Put the finished post into my Squarespace blog, and schedule it for the date I have set up in Google Calendar.
7 :: Put the finished post into ConvertKit, and schedule for the same date.
8 :: Schedule the Instagram post for the same post date (if required — as not all of my posts I put on Instagram).
9 :: Move the finished post into my Archive folder in Evernote.
10 :: Change the colour of the finished + scheduled post in Google Calendar from DRAFT (brown) to scheduled (orange).
And then repeat steps 5-10 for each post until they're all done-zo.
So that’s about it… There’s really nothing I have to do for each piece of content once these steps are done, as it’ll all send out when it’s meant to! I plan to repeat this process at the end of each quarter so my posts are always planned and scheduled at least 6 weeks out.
How to make batch-creating
work for you
+ Take the time to plan shit out
This is the biggest + most important thing! If you go into this and just try to wing it, it might work — but not half as well as it could if you took the time to really plan out what you’re going to create. Here’s some things to think about ::
- What can you batch? (Blog posts, Instagram posts, Twitter posts, brand photography, outreach, etc)
- How much content do you need to create? (e.g. If you send weekly emails and you want to be set for the next month, you’ve got 4 posts to create)
- What kind of content do you want to create? (What are people hungry for? What do you want to talk about?)
- When can you set aside time to get this done, and when is your due date? (You could take a few hours each day to work on batching, or you could block out a few days and get it all done in one shot)
- Is there any other work you need to take care of first to make the batch creation session easier? (Maybe there’s some other projects you need to wrap up first… Or your life would just be easier if you wait until after a certain date, etc)
- How can you make it fun? (Could you run away to a motel for a day or two and go balls-to-the-wall? Is there a co-work space you’ve been wanting to hit up? Where’s your fave work spot that always gets you stoked + in the zone?)
+ Start small
If the idea of creating 3 months worth of content freaks you out, just start with 4 weeks. I think for this to be truly beneficial you have to start with at least 4 weeks and go from there. You never know — you might get super into the zone and decide to create more.
+ Set aside time to do the work — and stick to it
If you haven’t created in this way before it might be hard, but it’ll be worth it. Just think about how rad its going to be knowing that your content is scheduled weeks in advance, so you can focus on other shit.
+ Don’t be scared to mix it up
If there's a post you really want to write that doesn't fit into your content calendar or planned posts, just do it. Then move that post somewhere else.
+ Always keep a running list of ideas on the go
It’s always a good idea to keep a running list of post ideas, so when it does come to actually write stuff — you’ve got a swag of ideas to choose from. These ideas can be things you're stoked to write about, things you've seen people asking or talking about a lot, or anything that relates to your audience and the direction of your biz.
I hope you dug this post! Keen to steal more of my biz secrets?
If you're keen to know more 'behind the scenes' stuff like this from my business, you might be keen for a new offering I'm working on. Think of it like a toolkit that shows you all of the documents + processes that keep my biz running. Enter your deets below and I'll be sure to send you updates and sneak peeks!
If you've sampled in the world of batch creating, how have you made it work for you? Lemme know in the comments below!
ps. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links — which means I might get a little kickback if you choose to sign up with any of those services. These are all services I use myself + highly recommend. 🤘