Content creation. For most small nonprofits, that means writing stories or newsletters as well as some social media.
Every time I talk to a client about writing content, their eyes gloss over and their anxiety rises. Who has time to do this? Is it really so important? Many organizations I work with only have one paid staff person outside of front-line staff. Can I really justify that their time be spent on writing stories?
The answer is a resounding YES and today I'm going to show you how to take this daunting task and make it easy, even fun.
I'm going to show you exactly what I did with my (small) team to crank out a year's worth of blog and social media posts in one day. Yes - one day!
The not-so-secret to our productivity is batching. Which is basically as it sounds - creating content in batches. Instead of sitting down every week to write a new blog post, I gathered my team with a goal of creating six months to a year's worth of blogs in one day.
You can't imagine the hours that this saves, let alone the space in my mind that I could use to focus on more client work or growing my business.
Why I chose batching
I made a commitment to blog every week. It's been very valuable for me in my business, but ultimately my hope is that it's valuable to you. But man, sometimes it feels like a huge chore. I'm not always inspired or I'm so busy that some blog posting days, I have to wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning to write it, just to stick to my commitment. Yuk. If I'm going to be working on something at 4 or 5 in the morning (which, if you know me, you know that isn't unusual), I want it to at least be fun.
I've been hearing a lot of online marketers talk about batching content, so I decided to give it a try.
I booked a day for my small but mighty team to do a content creation off-site. That time was sacred and we weren't allowed to book anything else, unless a donor for a client couldn't meet any other time. As it turns out, we had one donor call during our day, but it became a great source of inspiration.
This was a team activity. We are small, but I truly recommend involving front-line staff and others whose job usually has nothing to do with writing content. They have amazing stories and insights and it's a really easy way to involve people in fundraising.
My team consists of myself, Sarah, who is our Client Success Coach and works directly with our clients on implementing their fundraising, and Elia, who is our summer intern, focused on content, social media and the like. My team is truly amazing and I wanted their involvement. Plus, it made the day more fun.
The first thing we did was look at what we wanted to accomplish. We set a goal and agenda for the day that looked like this:
1. blogging and social media 101
2. topic mind dump
5. fun activity
All-in-all, we worked from about 10am until 3pm with a break for lunch. We had plenty of healthy snacks and refreshing drinks. Afterwards we celebrated with a swim!
The first thing we did was just put down on paper all the ideas we had for potential blog topics. Everything got written down, good or bad or other.
Then we took those topics and scheduled them out for the year, week-by-week. We looked at timing (what was relevant when) and how it fit in to things we will be doing in the business.
Finally, we turned on the voice memo function on my phone (and our intention was to use this online dictation tool, but it didn't work, although has in the past for me: https://speechnotes.co/). Then, we went through, topic by topic and dictated (roughly) the blog posts. Had the dictation tool worked, it would have all been typed out for us, but instead, Elia will be spending a day transcribing our audio file.
That, my friends, is 80% of the work, DONE.
What happens next
In just one day, we have mapped and written out a year's worth of blogs. From there, I will, in one large document, edit them all (I'll dedicate a couple hours to that). Once they are all edited, Elia will go into our blog and schedule them in to be published on their appropriate time and date.
We use Canva to create blog images for free (if you don't know Canva, sign up for it now - it's amazing).
Turning blogs into social media
Once everything is scheduled in the blog, Elia will then draft up 3-5 social media posts that will link to each blog post. These can be insights from the post, headlines or great quotes. Again, this will be done in a document that I will edit and review. Once I've signed off, we use Hootsuite to pre-schedule them to our chosen social media outlets: Facebook and Twitter. Hootsuite is also free!
Sit back and relax (or focus on everything else)
That's it! I'm now free to focus on helping our clients be successful and I don't have to worry about my blog and social media.
I hope you'll give this a try.