There are no shortcuts when it comes to genuinely engaging with your audience on social media. It takes time to develop conversations that help them like, know, and trust you. I don't have a hack for that. What I DO have hacks for, is planning your content ahead so that you can focus on the important things: engaging with your followers and earning that moneeeyyy!!
Hack #1: Make it a Date
I'm serious. Set a date for planning your content, clear your schedule, and do it. Get dressed up, or get comfy. Set the mood with a focus playlist. Ladies, I highly suggest you do this during the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle. (Whaaatttt you've never heard of cycle synching? Okay Read this, then this)
Putting aside time and making it a recurring event on your calendar may not be an ultra sexy hack, but prioritizing planning your content ahead is what's going to set you up for success from the start!
Hack #2: Get a Toolkit, Not a Toybox
You do not need a thousand fancy toys to start planning your content in advance. You can start the same way I did: a blank monthly calendar and a pencil. We are all guilty of thinking the new planner, the new pen, the new app, the new software will magically make us better at planning. It won't. but the right tools (not distracting toys) can help SO MUCH.
Start with the basics and don't overthink it. I'm a big fan of writing ideas in simple notebooks, then translating them to my Planning Spreadsheet (an Excel/Google Sheets document that anyone can learn to use in less than five minutes).
Hack #3: Make it UGLY
Start ugly, Start rough. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Ideas and creative inspiration will flow more easily when you work quickly on the first pass. Typically, I work two months in advance for my social media content. It's ROUGH and ugly and random, with notes and thoughts interspersed. I clean things up on my second pass, but it starts bad. Realllllyyyy bad.
If you demand perfection the first time you sit down to plan content ideas, I promise (personal experience, here) you will get burned out and frustrated real fast. When I do my ugly phase of content planning, it takes me 15 minutes or less to fill in a month. Sometimes I leave it at that for a couple days, sometimes I take a walk and come back for a refining round the same day. But never, oh never, do I do it all at once.
My favorite way to keep it ugly is to just put a general vibe or topic I want to explore on the date, then move on. Sometimes I add they type of content. A lot of times, it looks something like this:
"11/9/2020: REELS- Planning hacks -things stuff from blog ideas for plan"
Yes. That is actually what I had written in my spreadsheet a few weeks ago for today. 😂 Head to my Instagram to see how it turned out....
Hack #4: Capture Ideas on the Fly
Make a plan for capturing content ideas on the go. Keep a notebook in your bag, car, living room, bathroom (yes, I legit do this) and gather them all up when it's time to sit and plan ideas out. If you are more of a phone notes kind of person, turn all your notifications off on your phone while you read through your notes on content planning day to eliminate distractions.
Personally, I prefer to use a digital and analog method for idea capturing: I write them as they come to me randomly, and I spend some time right before I plan content sifting through the ideas I want for the month I'm working on and which ones are for future use.
Hack #5: Start Small for a Big Impact!
You do not need to plan months in advance to reap the benefits of content planning. Start small: try planning two posts in advance. Then try a week. Then two weeks. Things change quickly in social media land, so getting your content fully scheduled out six months in advance is unrealistic and potentially unhelpful!
Remember, the reason you want to plan content in advance is so you have more time to actively engage with your audience. Which leads to better relationships with your ideal clients. Which leads to DOLLAR DOLLAR BILLS, YO. Any step you take towards getting quality content in front of your audience is a step toward making more valuable connections!
Do you have a favorite planning hack? Let’s talk in the comments!
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New Bad Axe Blog posts get published on Mondays weekly. I explore all things digital marketing: from websites to social media, graphic design to branding and so much more. Become a site member and never miss a post!