By Julie Hinker, VBOC Veterans Business Specialist
Photo Courtesy of VBOC of the Dakotas
About the VBOC
The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard, and Reserve members and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has 22 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as VBOCs.
Marketing can be time-consuming if you do it the wrong way. Wait, that is an understatement! Marketing is time-consuming no matter how you do it! BUT… there are ways to help it take up less of your valuable time without losing high-end content that will drive results. It’s all about working smarter, not harder. Luckily, there are some easy ways to streamline your content marketing, so that you can get on with growing your business. It’s called batching! Say goodbye to the pressure of pumping out content each week and say hello to not feeling constantly stressed about getting this chore done.
What is Content Marketing?
Before you can create valuable batch content that drives results, you will need to understand what content marketing is. In a nutshell, content marketing is strategic marketing that creates and shares valuable and relevant information through content sharing to attract and retain customers. It builds awareness about your business and helps convince them that your product is the one they should invest in. Content marketing can be anything you choose to communicate your business through such as brochures, posters, social media, newsletters, images, etc. It is your brand and what you represent as a business.
As a marketing guru myself, I understand the importance of batching content. While you may want to jump straight to implementing this method, it is important to make sure you have a consistent and strong branding message for your business. If you have not completed this yet, reach out to your local SBA resource partner for confidential no-cost advising. Here are a few ideas to start brainstorming for your content marketing brand pillars:
- What am I selling or promoting?
- What do people need to learn from me?
- What does my brand stand for?
- How can I get my customers through the selling funnel with valuable content?
- How can I take the necessary measures to ensure that my target audience comprehends my products well and is motivated to make a purchase?
What is Content Batching?
Content batching is a productivity technique where you create all your captions or visual content in one sitting. For example, instead of spending an hour planning, creating, and publishing one Facebook post, you will spend that hour writing or “batching” an entire week of posts and captions.
The main goal of content batching is to help you stay ahead of the curve so you can focus your energy on other areas of your business. Content batching also helps you save time, conserve energy, post consistently, and repurpose your ideas seamlessly across platforms.
Getting Started: The ideal outcome of batching is to help you be productive while reducing hours of time, allowing you to create an internal batching system. Once you get the hang of how to do this, you will only spend a couple of hours doing this per month. To be able to batch your blog content effectively, you need two core things: a schedule and a social media management software system. Let’s start with social media management software. There are many options out there that have different features and varying monthly pricing. If you are already using one, stay with that one. If you aren’t, it’s time to do some research online to help you find the one that will work best for your budget and team. Not sure where to begin? Reach out to us and we would be happy to assist you!
Next, set up a calendar specific for your business marketing, and schedule time to work on batching. Plan to sit down for a full day when you first start to allow yourself ample time to complete this task. Review your brand pillars with your team while paying close attention to past campaigns and posts that received high performance.
Incorporate these findings with a monthly calendar of topics/content that you would like to cover for each of those months. Now, start creating the content to align with each month. You may choose to only sit and complete one month at a time or maybe you plan to assign a team member a specific month to cover and schedule out.
Brainstorming Session: There is a happy medium when it comes to what you post for content. If all you do is talk about your business, people are not going to be interested in reading your posts for very long. If you engage your customers and show them you are interested in them, the overall engagement will increase. When we specifically look at social media batch content creation, the six types of social media content that help drive engagement include entertainment, inspiration, education, conversation, connection, and promotion. There should be an equal balance between all of these when you are creating batch content. Perhaps you ask your audience a question on Monday, post a fact on Tuesday, share a product feature on Wednesday, etc. This will help you know that each day of the week needs to have a specific type of engagement, already helping you batch your content faster because you aren’t coming up with new topics/subjects for every day of the month.
The next step is thinking about other important events, holidays, or sales that may happen during the upcoming months. For example, if you plan to have a summer sale in July, you will want to use the month of June to help promote that upcoming sale. All these ideas should be written down during your brainstorming session. These sessions will be messy and full of ideas, some that will work and some that won’t. They are all important and part of the process.
Moving Forward: Now that 50% of the work is complete, it is time to get to the final steps. Gather your team and start identifying who is going to be assigned what tasks. For example, you could assign one team member the task of creating all content for the month or you could divide the responsibilities among several team members. Find what works best for you and your unique team!
Next, identify the subject/theme for each month and create posts around that content. “Here at VBOC of the Dakotas, we are a small but mighty team, which means we must be strategic with our time. Each year we review the data analytics behind our past social media to see what worked and what didn’t,” states Julie Hinker, Veterans Business Specialist for VBOC of the Dakotas. “We then use those findings, along with our strong brand pillars, and holiday schedule to start batching our new content. Once we have the themes set for each month, our team can start creating posts that align with the focus for each month.”
If you need help completing a brainstorming session or setting up a social media schedule, reach out to the Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Dakotas and allow one of our business advisors to assist you! Ultimately, your content posts should support your business goals and be a key part of your customer’s journey, so your content helps to create the know, like, and trust factor
Scheduling and Tracking Success: Now that the content creation portion is done, the final step to batch content for social media is to schedule everything for publication. Scheduling ahead of time makes life so much easier because you don’t have to worry about posting in real-time. Plus, you can choose optimal posting times to ensure your content goes out when your audience is most active. That’s a guaranteed way to boost engagement. After each month has passed and you are ready to sit down and start your next batch, don’t forget to mark some notes to refer to next year on the previous month. Did a certain article or Facebook post get a lot of traction or engagement? If so, try to incorporate that style of content into the coming months.
Batching content for social media is a powerful strategy that enables individuals and businesses to maximize their productivity and efficiency while maintaining a consistent online presence. By dedicating specific blocks of time to create, curate, and schedule posts in advance, you can alleviate the stress of daily content creation and free up valuable time for other important tasks.
Batching allows for thoughtful planning, cohesive branding, and increased engagement, ultimately leading to a more impactful social media presence. So, embrace the concept of batching and watch your social media strategy flourish as you effortlessly navigate the everevolving digital landscape.