One of the giants of online marketing is the use of content to drive traffic, build a list, grow a tribe, and (most importantly) convert leads. But when it comes to the specifics involved, particularly how to schedule your content, people often fall down.
Most entrepreneurs and digital nomads can wrap their heads around the concept of blogging. Some even crack the fine art of content upgrades and lead magnets. The truly savvy ones understand that using multiple formats is hugely beneficial.
But the better you understand the concept of content marketing (and we’ll be covering this in more detail in future posts), the more you realise ‘content’ truly is the name of the game.
There is so much content involved.
It’s seemingly endless.
Day in, day out, there’s more to create.
As if that wasn’t time-consuming, stressful and overwhelming enough, you also have to find the time to schedule it all.
And, somehow, be consistent about the whole thing.
It’s a tall order.
Today, I’m demystifying the process…
Why You Should Schedule Your Content
Here’s the thing: content marketing is most effective when it’s 100% consistent.
Your blog posts need to go out at the same time, on the same day, every single week (for me that’s 9am every Tuesday).
If you’re a vlogger or podcaster, your videos and podcasts need to go out at the same time, on the same day, every week.
You need to schedule social media campaigns that promote every new piece of content the day they’re published.
And the day after.
And every day after that at varying intervals.
For the rest of time.
Seriously, it never stops.
We’re not talking simple blogging here. No: One is useful. The other is a marketing powerhouse.
And while they’re extremely productive, powerhouses take a lot of juice to run.
If you try and stay on top of your content on a day-to-day basis, you are, quite simply, going to burnout. And quickly.
Your content doesn’t respect weekends, evenings, days off, lie ins, family emergencies, and the days you just don’t have it in you to do any more than the bare necessities.
If you rely on yourself posting each piece of content, individually, to a set schedule (which, by the way, gets more complicated the better you become at it!), you’re not going to do it.
That’s no reflection on you; it isn’t a personal failing. It’s setting yourself an impossible goal and then beating yourself up when you fail.
You didn’t fail; there was no way you could ever win.
Scheduling your content rigs the game. It enables you to deal with a bucket load of content in one go, ensuring every post, every message, every single individual piece of content is published at the perfect time.
Not just on the day you schedule it, but every day.
Scheduling makes your content consistent.
And if you schedule your content like a boss (which I’m about to teach you to do) it will also save your sanity!
What Content Can You Schedule?
I’ve yet to find any form of content that can’t be scheduled, one way or another. As far as I’m aware, everything can be scheduled provided you have the right tool.
What Scheduling Tool Should You Use For Content Marketing?
There are a broad range of scheduling tools available for your content, from free ones like Buffer and Hootsuite (which often have paid premium options) to all-singing, all-dancing paid options like CoSchedule and MeetEdgar.
My recommendation is to use CoSchedule. It allows you to schedule to all the main social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram (although that is slightly more complicated than the others). It also allows you to schedule your blog posts, and automate the whole process.
What do I mean by automating?
Simply put, you can create templates for all the tedious and extremely time-consuming elements of scheduling, from adding a list of tasks to complete for each blog post you create, to scheduling a social media campaign to promote it.
You can set up shortcodes that automatically add set text, links and other really useful things like hashtags, saving you massive amounts of time. You can also easily recycle your posts.
If you’re looking for a content scheduling solution, you can sign up for a free trial of CoSchedule here. I highly recommend this as the best solution, for two reasons:
- It allows you to schedule more content in one place than any other tool I’ve found.
- The various functions make everything really simple and easy to use, and will save huge amounts of time.
Essential Content Marketing Prep To Do Before You Start Scheduling
With all this talk of scheduling, it’s easy to forget there’s quite a bit of work that needs doing before you get to that point. We’ll be going over all of this in more detail in later posts, but there are several things you can do to make things as easy as possible for yourself, and maximise your productivity. This isn’t just true of scheduling your content, but every aspect of marketing.
Plan Your Content Schedule Well In Advance
The solid core of content marketing is that your content supports your marketing objectives. You should be using your content to do several things:
- Establish your expertise
- Build the know, like and trust factor
- Explain the high value of your products or services
- Provide valuable free content, tailored to your ideal client, to attract a perfect tribe to your business and entice people to sign up to your mailing list
- Add extra value and key information to your nurture sequences to maximise your conversions
- Drive traffic to your site
- Grow your social media following
- Increase your engagement
- Raise your profile
- Improve your website’s SEO
This isn’t even an exhaustive list of the benefits of your content, but you can already see how powerful it can be. Which means you need to take the long view: plan your content schedule six months or more in advance.
Decide how frequently you will post, figure out how many posts to will need in the period you are planning, and brainstorm topics. Weekly content generally works best, but you should always prioritise quality over quantity.
That being said, more frequent posts are statistically proven to be more effective, so if you can achieve both high-quality and greater frequency, go for it!
Tie Your Content To Your Core Business Objectives
To do all of this, your content needs to be tied very closely to your key business objectives.
For example, if you’re launching a new product or service, the content published in the lead-up to, during, and immediately after the launch needs to focus on the topics surrounding that product and service.
One of the core objectives of content marketing is growing your email list. That requires opt-ins (more on that in a minute!) to complement your content.
In short, to do this properly, you need to be organised about it. You need to know what you’re launching or promoting and when. You need to consider how your content can best support those goals. And you need to create as many complementary opt-ins for that content as possible.
Create A Super-Powerful Lead Magnet
Once you’re aware of your core objectives and subjects for the period you’re planning, design a super-powerful lead magnet. This might be an eBook or a mini eCourse. It should focus on your ideal client’s main pain point and provide tangible, actionable benefits.
Put quite a bit of effort into creating this, as it’s going to be the main incentive for people to sign up to your list.
Work Content Upgrades Into Your Content Schedule Wherever Possible
Your lead magnet isn’t going to be relevant to all your content. In fact, it likely won’t fit perfectly with most of it. To maximise your chances of converting readers you need to capitalise on the fact they interested enough in what you’re talking about to be on your blog/vlog/podcast.
Content upgrades take the subject of a post and expand on it, providing even more value to the reader, and a practical way of actioning what you have taught them in your main post.
If you can create content upgrades for all your evergreen posts (content that remains relevant for prolonged periods or indefinitely), that can’t be directly linked to your main lead magnet, you will create a lot more opportunities for conversions.
Batch Your Post Creation Before You Schedule Your Content
Once you have your content schedule planned out batch as much of it as you can.
What do I mean by batching?
Simple, rather than writing a single blog post, or recording a single video or podcast, once a week, record four or more at a time. It will take you more time in one sitting but far less time than doing them all individually.
You need to get in ‘the zone’ of content creation and run with it while your creative juices are flowing. By batching as much as possible, you will not only save time but ensure you’re not trying to force the muse to cooperate.
Scheduling your content in batches is also the best way of getting the most out of your scheduling efforts as possible. At the very least, batch your content for a whole week, so you can schedule everything for the week in one sitting, in advance.
If you can get a few weeks ahead of yourself, great.
To truly schedule your content like a boss, batch all your content for a full quarter (or two, or three, or the whole year!) by blocking off a solid week or more. Yes, it’s a lot of effort to put in all at once, but when you realise there’s next to nothing you need to do content-wise for the next three to twelve months, it’s a massive relief.
It will free you up creatively to work on new things (perhaps creating a paid course, writing a book, or other forms of passive income), or to take on new clients and earn more money.
Repurpose Your Content Into Multiple Formats
I mentioned before that multiple formats have a lot of benefits. The main ones are massively improved SEO and the ability to share high-quality content on multiple platforms.
The easiest way to go about this is to record your content in the form of a video. Once you have your content in video format you can do anything with it:
- Convert it into a podcast, or other audio content
- Use it as a webinar
- Have it transcribed and turned into a blog post
- Split off small sections of the transcript to use as social media posts
- Pull quotes and short, pithy phrases from the transcript and create social media memes
- Create great value nurture sequences including part or all of your content
It’s a lot easier to convert things from video into everything else than it is to do it any other way. The only exception to this is if you’re uncomfortable doing things off the cuff, and want to make sure your content is still very well articulated. You might also find unscripted recording is very time-consuming, and it’s more efficient to write your content out and record off a script.
Create Social Media Messages For Every Piece Of Content
Once you’ve batched your main content, you need to create social media messages to accompany each post. There are several different kinds you will want to create for every new post you create:
- Cover posts: an eye-catching image for each of your social media platforms with the name of your new post visible. Used to raise awareness of the fact you have a new post, and as an effortless, visual way for your followers to learn which topics you cover.
- Quote memes: eye-catching memes for your various social media platforms bearing short quotes pulled from your main post. A great way of demonstrating your expertise and driving traffic to your main posts.
- Image memes: enticing and eye-catching images with short, pithy expressions on. These don’t need to be direct quotes, but rather should sum up the core points of your piece of content.
- Tweets: written versions of the quotes and expressions you’ve used, formatted for Twitter (<140 characters and including relevant hashtags).
- Written posts: Create longer-form captions for platforms without character limits, and tailor them to the audience of each platform. These can accompany your images or stand alone with links to your post. For example, Facebook posts can be considerably longer and more detailed. Instagram and Pinterest posts should also include a lot of hashtags and do have character limits (albeit greater than Twitter).
- Content upgrade and lead magnet messages: create visual mockups of your content upgrades and lead magnets and turn them into memes and other bright and eye-catching visuals.
If you’re looking for tips on how to ensure brand consistency across all of this fabulous content, check out my recent post on creating a consistent online brand.
How To Schedule Your Content
The beauty of CoSchedule is it’s easy drag and drop calendar. You can create a new post on any day you like, add the title, categories, and author, then click a button that takes you directly to the editor so you can add your content to the newly created post.
Once you have a new post created, go back into CoSchedule and add a social media campaign for your new post. Use all the lovely content you repurposed to ensure your various platforms are well populated with new content, and consistently driving traffic and conversions.
How To Schedule Videos And Audios
If you use videos and/or audios, there isn’t currently a way to schedule them from CoSchedule or (as far as I’m aware) any of the other main scheduling tools to YouTube or iTunes. You can, however, easily schedule them on the main hosting platforms (YouTube, iTunes, etc.). You can also schedule videos to the social media platforms that support their own video uploads from CoSchedule.
This is particularly important for Facebook, as they give priority to videos hosted on Facebook over externally hosted videos – you should always upload videos directly to Facebook, even if you have a YouTube channel.
Uploading richer formats can be time-consuming, one great way around it is to set several to upload overnight, when you’re not using your computer. In the morning, they will be fully uploaded and processed, ready for you to add the relevant metadata and schedule for your chosen date and time.
How To Recycle Your Content
The final aspect of scheduling content you need to nail is the art of recycling it.
There is no reason to use your social media messages only once. The odds are, a lot of your followers won’t see things the first time you post them, and many of the ones who do won’t remember seeing them before if you wait a good amount of time between sharing.
This is particularly true on Twitter, where the ‘shelf-life’ of a Tweet is only fifteen minutes.
This isn’t the case on other sites like Facebook, and particularly the highly visual and searchable sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Even so, it’s worth recycling your posts on here too.
You can do one of two things: keep all your posts and schedule them in again at a later date or (and this definitely the ‘like a boss’ version) invest in scheduling software that has a built-in recycling system.
A social media scheduler requeue system is perfect for this:
- Set the number of posts you want to go out to each of your platforms each day
- Set the time window for posts to be published each day
- Use a super-simple activation button to add any evergreen social media message to your requeue
- Tell it how frequently they can publish the same post
- Sit back and relax as the app populates your social media schedule for you, repurposing all your existing content with absolutely zero effort!