Develop Weekly Valuable Content in 35 Minutes Flat
I’m sure you hear the scary-mentor voices chanting in your dreams...
Connect with your people.
And on and on with the seemingly "simple" mantras delivered for *guaranteed success* and conquering the stupid-freaking algorithm.
Sure, those things are simple, but ONLY if you know what value to provide, how to be interesting, what fuels connection with your people. Without all of those things, consistency is impossible, and PLANNING CONTENT is... well... in Lorelai Gilmore's words:
"I'd rather slide down a bannister of razor blades and land in a pool of alcohol" than plan content in advance when I have NO IDEA WHAT THE HECK TO SAY.
Today I'm giving you my workflow for planning a week of social media content in 35 minutes flat. BUT, I'm also giving you the BEFORE. Before you can plan great content, you have to have a foundation to work from.
Your foundation will help you remember:
- what you want to be known for
- what your audience wants to hear
- why *you* are the exact right person to serve them in that way
Okay, overwhelmed already?! Don’t worry. I’ll explain. OR we can do it together.
THE BEFORE | THE FOUNDATION
As with most of my advice, establishing this foundation is going to require a little bit of digging.
Here’s what you’ll need to know before planning can ever be a breeze:
Your Content Categories + Your Core Values
Creating Content Categories
Content categories are essential in any business. If you don’t know what you want to be known for or what your “thing” is, you might be caught sharing a recipe one day, talking about brand design the next, and sharing a million pictures of your kids or your home with a simple “It’s Tuesday, dude” attached.
Sure, you might “be consistent” and spend your time “creating content,” but if it’s content that doesn’t matter to your audience in any way, you’ll leave them confused and primed to unfollow.
While creating your content categories…
First, think of these questions:
What do you want to be known for?
What are you passionate about?
What can you teach people about for days/weeks/months/years?
What does your dream audience want, need, fear, hope for?
My advice: Nothing is small. NOTHING, people. There is a booming Instagram account all about pumpkins. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. There are people on the internet teaching how to scramble eggs and fold a shirt.
Often times, things that are second-nature to us are completely MIND-BLOWING to other people.
Start by writing absolutely everything you can think of in relation to those questions above.
THEN, categorize. Does anything fit together? Try to come up with no more than 5 Content Categories, to make sure you’re not overwhelming yourself and muddling your message.
THEN, think about this: Will this message fuel my business? How?
Content is an audience-builder, building your audience means making real connections, but we also really need to get paid. Amen, sister. Am I right?
Content is value in and of itself, but try to make sure it’s funneling people toward trusting you to the point that working with you is almost a given!
My Content Categories:
Copy + Messaging Tips
Business (tips + inspo + #realtalk)
Finding your voice
Community spotlight (brag central about my awesome friends and clients!)
My Most-Recent Client’s Categories:
Photography (education + inspo)
What I’m learning + loving (recipes, mom hacks, books, podcasts)
Legacy (encouragement to cherish the journey)
Unearth Your Core Values
Values aren’t something you come up with. They’re deeply engrained in your heart, they dictate the way you look at the world, how you do anything and everything.
For more info on how to unearth these Core Guiding Values, head to this blog post.
THE WEEKLY PLANNING
Step 1|Open your planning platform.
I use Planoly. It has everything I need, and allows you to plan on desktop. I would GO INSANE writing my “inspirational novel-length captions” (as many of my followers have affectionately dubbed them) on my iPhone. Planoly allows you to upload up to 30 photos on the free version, visually arrange your grid, and even auto-post if you want to! I don’t auto-post, because I try to make sure I’m engaging at least a little bit right after I post (#beatthealgorithm). I know many others swear by Plann, I’m just waiting for them to roll out their desktop function!
Step 2|Decide how many times you want to post this week.
I typically have a 4-day Instagram commitment, with one flex day if I need it. I find that committing to 4 days gives me less anxiety, and gives me room to post more if I have a big week, or something coming up! There’s no magic number. Decide what works for you.
Step 3|Solidify your topics for each day.
I strongly suggest developing a loose weekly flow for your social media content. Posting in real time about what’s happening THAT DAY, or what happened the day before is cool and everything. BUT… what if it’s an uneventful week? Are you going to settle for a random image with a “Happy Tuesday, whatcha doin?” and hope and pray for momentum, or that your mom will like it in the first 30 minutes?
My loose weekly plan is as follows:
Monday: Insta Post|#MondayGETTOlist (Have you used the hashtag yet?!)
Insta Stories|Weekend Recap
Tuesday: Insta Post|Promote blog post topic
Insta Stories|Chat about blog post + start conversation
Wednesday: Insta Post|Weekly encouragement or community/friend/client spotlight (or both)
Insta Stories|Project spotlight + weekly update
Thursday: BONUS DAY
Friday: Insta Post|Friday Introductions
Insta Stories|Lessons from the Lord
Saturday: Insta Stories|(bonus) You Should Stalk Them Saturday (spin on Follow Friday)
Step 4|Choose your photos + arrange your grid.
This is honestly the HARDEST part of the process for me. For this reason, I schedule quarterly (at least) photo shoots with one of my photographer friends. Yes, it’s an investment for me, but social media has been my ONLY advertising EVER in my business. It’s free, but posting quality, engaging content isn’t necessarily free. I also subscribe to Social Curator (because I ❤️J*) and use a few of those photos each month, as a fall back. Investing in quality photos that are authentic to my brand has changed my workflow for the better! When I go to choose my photos, I take a look at my calendar and my weekly Insta flow, and choose photos that make sense for my daily topics and what I know I have coming up. It’s not always perfect, and sometimes I change images last minute. BUT, I’m more likely to post if I already have the image chosen.
Choose images for each day you plan to show up.
Bonus points if you choose images + make graphics for Insta stories, too. This might add on about 10 minutes, but it would be so worth it!
Disclaimer: IT TAKES ME FOREVER! Seriously. The way most people struggle with captions, I struggle with choosing photos. First, I’m like, Wait, does this look good next to that? Oh, I posted one similar a couple weeks ago, is that bad? THEN, I’m like, But, noooo I love that photo! I don’t want to use it and not be able to use it again!
(cue dramatic antics)
If anyone can advise me on how to get the most out of all my photos, like use them multiple times, I’ll love you forever!
Step 5|Write your captions.
Captions are that razor blade bannister + pool of alcohol part for many of you, so I’m going to try and make this as simple as possible for you!
First, come up with a caption outline that will work for you. Or you can steal mine here!
Second, revisit your Content Categories + Core Values. These combined are going to be the magic behind your captions. So, you talk about branding, but do you really value learning and growing? Me too!
Try these captions:
Explain how your brand has grown because of what you just learned in a book or at a conference.
Tell a funny//embarrassing story about your Day 1 brand, and how it’s evolved for the better.
Tell an awesome story about what you used to do with your brand//biz from Day 1 that has changed (for better or worse) since you’ve grown.
Be vulnerable about how learning and growing looks, and how it feels. Ask your audience to chime in about their own growing pains.
If you’re interested in more tailored planning with your Content Categories + Core Values, book a Caption Strategy Power Hour with me! My most-asked-for-service is to write social media content, but I’m of the teach-a-woman-to-fish category, so I would love to walk you through the process and help you come up with some killer-connecting-captions in our hour of work together!
Step 6|Schedule your posts.
Before I schedule my posts, I go into Planoly on my iPhone and add emojis. Yes, I know you can add emojis on the computer (ctrl + command + space, on a Mac). Yes, I know I could do something easier than emojis. I LIKE THEM, OKAY?! They add visual interest, and a little bit of snark! After I add my emojis, I click the “schedule” toggle button, and schedule my post for my favorite time of Instagram day, late afternoon.
THEN I’M DONE! And officially free to do the real magic of connecting and building relationships, while ogling at everyone else’s feeds.
Establish your foundation! Grab a friend and head to a coffee shop. Dig deep into who you are, what your audience needs, and what you want to be known for!
PLEASE share your next step with me in the comments or tag me over on Instagram (@jessjordana) so I can cheer you on!
Also, feel free to DM me. I’m a fan of other people who stalk Insta stories, so don’t be shy!