I’m going to let you in on a secret: when it comes to simplified content marketing, you only really need two organization tools on your side: batching and scheduling. When you start scheduling your social media and batching your content, something magical happens. You start creating and publishing better content across the board. You’ll see a spike in your social media and content engagement. And the best part? You’ll be spending less time on all of it while still reaping the rewards. Let’s dive in and take a look at why these two concepts will completely revolutionize the way you do your business’s marketing.
This isn’t so much a marketing hack as it is a productivity hack. Time batching is something I’ve been using in both my professional and personal life for the last few months, and it’s made a world of difference in how much I get done in a day. I’ve been able to successfully take on more client work, dedicate more time to my hobbies, exercise longer and with more regularity, and spend more time with friends and family. So, how does time batching work?
You’ve probably heard of this concept before, whether you realize it or not. The core idea is that you build your days and your weeks in such a way that you’re knocking out a chunk of similar tasks in a “batch.” Rather than bouncing from task to task on down your to do list until you’re exhausted and bent out of shape about the fact that you’re scrambling to get it all done, time batching has you categorize similar tasks together and schedule them into your day. For example, let’s pretend you’re blogging once a week for your business’s website. If you don’t love blogging, or if you sandwich it between two tasks that have nothing to do with writing or marketing, that blog writing time might be the most painful part of your week. It can drag on for an hour or more if you include research, editing, finding the right images to go with your post, etc.
Rather than writing a weekly blog post for your business’s website, the time batching technique would suggest you sit down and write, say, four blog posts at once. That’s enough for almost a full month of posting. Now, if your current blogging routine feels like running a marathon through mud, that probably sounds unpleasant. But the thing is, when you dedicate a chunk of time to knocking out similar tasks, you move faster. You get in the zone. You’re greatly reducing the time it takes you to warm up to your writing flow, which makes jumping from one blog post to four a no-brainer.
If you’re like me, you’re probably prone to distraction. It happens to the best of us. And when you’re switching from task to task mindlessly, there’s a mental delay between each task you’re trying to complete. Ultimately, this is a huge waste of time and an even bigger energy drain.
Batching tasks can help keep you focused because you know that the other tasks you’re getting distracted by (email is by far my biggest distraction) have their own batched time scheduled for later in the day or week. I’ve gone so far as to apply time batching to my personal life, as well, which I mentioned above. My favorite example is that each week I batch out time for lunch meal prep. I love cooking, but I rarely have time to prepare something healthy and delicious in the middle of my already-swamped workday. Now, on Sundays, I make four or five lunches that I know I’m going to love, and I have something to look forward to each day without wasting time or energy on breaking out to make food while I work from home.
Other Ways You Can Batch Work Tasks
- Email. Batch email admin for 1-3x/day so you avoid intermittently checking it between other scheduled tasks on your to do list.
- Meetings and phone calls. Batch client calls for 1-2 days/week. You’ll be more focused and more likely to provide efficient and effective communication when you’re in the zone.
- Social media. If you can, batch a chunk of time to get your social media scheduled for the next 2-4 weeks. It probably won’t take you more than an hour or two, and it helps you stay off those channels except to respond to a comment or engage with your audience. Imagine the time you’d save if you weren’t just surfing the web for a half hour every morning trying to find the perfect article to post.
- Business planning. I like to take a full day at the beginning of each month just to focus on my own business growth and development. I lay out a calendar, decide when to batch certain tasks based on client deadlines, set goals, do a P&L report for the previous month, and spend some time just reading and researching different business tactics to help myself improve.
Unlike batching, scheduling isn’t really a state of mind or a way to completely change your daily work routine. However, it is a tool I suggest all my clients use in their content marketing strategy to be more productive and save time. Scheduling and batching go hand in hand. If you’re batching out the time to create content that boosts your marketing, you should also be batching time to schedule that content to post out. There are several tools that can help you make this happen.
Personally, I use Buffer for social media scheduling. I like their pricing options, and they’re very user-friendly. I’ve also heard that Hootsuite and Crowdfire can be useful, as well. If you’re big into Instagram, but have recently realized (like me) that you can’t post from your laptop in advance Gramblr is a free desktop app download that makes scheduling on Instagram easy (although Buffer also offers an Instagram scheduling option).
When you’re on a scheduling roll, don’t just stop at social media! There are several things you can schedule in advance:
- Depending on the website host or creation tool you use, you should be able to schedule when your blog posts go live. If you’re writing them in batches, schedule them to post out when you want them to so that the whole process is automated. Schedule social media posts promoting your new blogs with the link for after the date you set them to go live.
- Schedule email communications like newsletters or client reminder emails with tools like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. If you want an all-in-one marketing/CMS software I have clients who have had success with Infusionsoft. Regardless of what program you use, schedule things out in advance. You can always send a test email to yourself first before it sends out to the masses.
- Speaking of email communications, schedule any marketing initiatives you have in advance, as well. If you have an email or social campaign you know you’re launching, have all the content prepared, scheduled, and automated in advance. Take your mind off of the nitty-gritty tasks of launching ahead of time so you can focus on communicating with people participating in the campaign!
Stop glorifying being “busy” as a business owner.
The goal shouldn’t be to do busy work because as a business owner you have to “wear all the hats.” With time batching and scheduling tools you can automate many of your processes, freeing up some time to be “busy” with things that matter – like reaching out to prospective clients and completing more income-earning assignments. Letting go of the need to micro-manage in-the-moment posting and realizing that you’ll work faster if you block out time for specific tasks is life changing!