How to Use a Virtual Assistant to Batch Your Content
Digital Marketing Made Simple with Jennie Lyon
Releasing content regularly-whether its blog posts, videos, social media content, or podcasts-can be a ton of work, and…
You want to know the real problem with content creation? It’s like being on a treadmill.
Every single week, you need to have a new blog or a new podcast ready. This is accompanied by social media posts, an email campaign, and all of your other digital marketing content. It never ends! That’s one of the reasons why so many small business owners fall off the content creation train after just a few weeks. They start out strong, keeping up with the pace. But soon, they start to fall behind, maybe missing a single week. Then it’s two weeks. And before they know it, their content is on the backburner.
Working in the digital marketing and virtual assistant industry, I’ve been fighting against that urge for the last twenty years. After all, I have a non-stop barrage of content coming at me daily! So, how do I keep on top of my clients’ content while also creating my own, week after week?
Easy: I batch the content.
That means that I create all of my content at once. Rather than write a blog every week, I take a day and plow through a whole MONTH’S worth. That way, I can focus the rest of my time on my business (and my clients’ businesses) without having to worry about keeping up with the constant demands of content creation.
I know, I know, writing four blogs in a day can sound overwhelming. Believe me, getting it all done at once can be a monstrous time-saver!
What Kinds of Content Can You Batch?
Blogs are a staple of content creation and a crucial part of building a fantastic website. They are also an indication of how a business views the importance of their online presence.
“Abandoned” websites have always reminded me of “haunted houses.” You know, those homes with boarded-up windows that no one has lived in for a decade? It’s almost impossible for real estate agents to sell them because potential buyers instinctively recognize that their condition has deteriorated over the years. That same instinct kicks into gear when a potential customer sees an old website without an update in months. They instantly recognize that business doesn’t really care about their website, and thus, don’t care about their online customers.
The best way to avoid the trap of an abandoned website is to update it regularly with a blog. Unfortunately, this content marketing strategy can take up a chunk of your week, as planning, writing, and editing a blog consumes hours and even longer if writing isn’t your thing! The way to fix this is by batching your blogs.
By writing four blogs at a time, you won’t have to worry about keeping up with them for the rest of the month. You will know that they are all there, ready to be posted at the appropriate time. If you aren’t a writer, paying a pro to write all your blog content ahead of time can be a wise decision to keep your website up to date (as well as provide you with content you can post to social media).
In fact, I have had several clients tell me that they were SUPER apprehensive to have someone else write their content. Then, once I took it over, they followed up by saying not only are they VERY pleased with the content but having it completely off their plate gives them a ton of free time to focus on the parts of their business that they can’t hand off!
Podcasting is something that many small businesses have started exploring as a component of their content marketing strategy. They have also discovered that it can take up a TON of time.
While podcasting doesn’t necessarily require the same level of writing as a blog (unless you are writing your scripts beforehand), the recording, editing, and posting processes can be time-consuming beyond belief. Trust me, when I first started this podcast a few months ago, I didn’t realize how tricky it would be to keep up to date with recording and editing episodes. So, I knew I needed to make a change to the way I did them.
Now, I batch my podcasts together. Rather than record one every week, I record four of them. This strategy allows me to edit them together as well, further saving time. Now, I don’t need to stress about keeping up to date. I have everything ready to go weeks in advance! In my opinion, this is the only way to do a weekly podcast without losing your mind!
Everything I just said about podcasts also goes for videos.
You have heard about YouTube burnout, right? Even the most prominent successful YouTubers eventually run out of gas when writing, recording, editing, and posting a video every week. It’s an incredible amount of work.
By batching together all of your video preparation, you can simply schedule your videos to go out at predetermined times. Hiring someone to edit your videos for you can be a great way to reduce the burden on yourself and get every video out the door on time weekly!
Lead magnets are a little different from blog posts, podcasts, and videos because there is rarely a predetermined due date attached to them.
When you create lead magnets, the intent is to provide your customers with free, valuable content that you can exchange for their email address, boosting your business’s email list. With that in mind, having at least one is a must for every business. But if you want to appeal to a variety of different clients, you should create multiple lead magnets, preferably one for each of your offered services or products (Check out my lead magnets, for example). Creating these can consume an incredible amount of time, which is why I recommend doing them in a single block.
There are several ways you can cut down on the time required to create lead magnets. Creating a lead magnet template can be very useful, as can repurposing some of your older blog content. But generally, I’ve found the best way is to get them all done at the same time. You can take a full weekend to write and edit a few lead magnets, or you can hire someone to do the work for you. Either way, having them all finished at the same time means that you can put your focus on the marketing, ensuring that you’ll get the most out of each of them!
Online Course Lessons:
Batching together digital lessons for an online course is, in my opinion, 100% necessary.
If you’re running an online course, the last thing you want is for your students to be waiting for you to complete your “homework” in coming up with the next lesson. If you’re presenting online courses, you need all of your lessons written, edited, and tested before anything goes live. That way, your students will be able to do the course at their own pace, rather than having to wait on you, the “teacher.” So, the only way to do that is to batch your course lessons and do them all simultaneously!
Six Steps to Batch Your Content
1. Plan Everything
Before you get started batching your content, you need a plan!
First, consider the type of content that you’re going to be working on. If you’ve created that kind of content in the past, use that information to create a projection of the amount of time it would take to complete a month’s worth.
Next, figure when you want your content to be published. You don’t want everything to live at the same time. Instead, parcel it out over a month to maximize engagement. You also want to make sure that you’re sending out the content at times when the majority of your audience can check it out. Posting a blog at 3 AM isn’t going to be an effective content management strategy.
After you have created a plan and know when you will post everything, it’s time to figure out WHAT you to post.
I find that brainstorming is one of the most effective methods for coming up with original content topics. Start with a simple list (try writing it down rather than doing it on the computer; I find this works better for brainstorming sessions). Jot down any ideas that pop into your head when you think about your products and services.
Next, consider those ideas in the context of the type of content you’re creating. For example, if you work as a coach and want to have a weekly blog, you might look at some of your thoughts on paper (coaching, life, & health) and develop a blog post topic like, “Coaching: Improve Your Life AND Health at the Same Time!”
3. Create an Editorial Calendar
Once you have all of your ideas down on paper, it’s time to get them formally organized into an editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar is a breakdown of your content topics into the periods you want them sent out. Personally, I organized mine by month. So, each month, I will have four slots, one for each blog/podcast topic. I then add a brief description of each to remind me of what points I want to hit in each topic. As I complete them, I cross them off.
The other reason why creating an editorial calendar is so important is that it will provide you with a roadmap for scheduling all of your content, emails, and social media. If you’re posting something on Tuesday afternoon, you want to make sure that all of your supporting marketing is ready to go right after.
Now the hard/fun part!
Production tends to be the most time-consuming part of content creation. If you’re writing a blog, you need to compile all of your research, make an outline on paper, then write each section. If you’re working on a podcast, you need to prep your recording set-up and have your notes/talking points in front of you. (You do have a good-quality mic and webcam, right?)
Batching your content can make this part of the process seem overwhelming. After all, writing approximately 4,000 words for four blogs isn’t exactly easy. That’s why I believe in hiring a professional writer to do it for you. You can go through their work afterward to make sure it matches your own voice. The nice thing about working with the same writer is that they learn your voice throughout your relationship, meaning you need to do less editing and tweaking on your end.
You’ve written your blog and recorded your podcast! Now, it’s time to punch them up a little bit.
You never want to post a blog or podcast without going through to make sure that it’s the best it possibly can be. For example, there isn’t a professional writer on the planet who would send a blog post off without putting it through a grammar check. And in that process, they might also notice some places that are a little awkward, so they can do an on-the-fly rewrite to make it read better.
If you’re creating a podcast, you don’t want every single “Um,” “Uh,” and “Hm,” to be a part of it. That’s why you need to edit. This part can involve putting your theme music at the top, an intro, an outro, and more. It can also be super time-consuming, especially if you’ve never edited audio in the past. Trust me; Adobe Audition isn’t a friendly program for podcast beginners. Save yourself the stress and hire a professional editor to put all of the pieces of your podcast together. It will save you time and frustration while also delivering a better product.
You’ve done all of the work creating your content. You now have four blogs, ready to be posted! But hold on a minute. Before that, you should do a review to make sure everything is 100% ready to go.
For blogs, this can involve simply reading them over on last time to notice any last-minute errors. A trick that I like to do is to read the blog out loud to myself. If I stumble over some words, that section might require a rewrite to make it read better.
For podcasts, I give everything one last listen (especially if someone else edited it). You don’t need to do this at full speed, however. Most podcast and audio players have options where you can listen at 1.75x. Doing this will save you valuable time, but be sure to pay close attention, as it will go by fast!
So, What Did We Learn?
Let’s review what we learned:
- You can batch blogs, podcasts, videos, lead magnets, digital course lessons, and any other content that you release on a schedule.
- Batching your content can help you batch your social media and other forms of marketing.
- When batching content, make a plan beforehand.
- Brainstorm your content on paper before finalizing topics.
- Create an editorial calendar to make sure everything goes out on schedule.
- Writing a blog can take hours; writing four can take 4x as long. Consider hiring a professional writer.
- Record all of your podcasts in a row.
- Take the time to edit your blogs, especially if someone else wrote them, to ensure they are all in your voice.
- Hire a professional to edit your podcasts.
- Always review your blogs and podcasts before posting, especially if someone else wrote/edited them.
No matter what kind of content you are creating, it will take time. That’s just the nature of the beast. Blog posts, videos or podcasts, especially, can give small business owners a tough time. If you want to give your own blog writing a try, check out my free Blog Breakdown Workbook. Inside, you will find all of the steps involved in creating a well-crafted blog that converts your website visitors into customers!
And if you don’t have time to write your own content, even if you are batching it, I can help there too! I handle the editorial calendars and content posting for dozens of my clients, and always recommend they batch their content. That way, I can write everything for them at the same time, ensuring that it’s fully prepped and ready to go when they want it. If you’d like to learn how I can help you create your content by batching it together, I invite you to contact me today for a free consultation!
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