I'm a natural light portrait photographer for personal brands and young adults based out of New England. I capture joyful images for people who love bright photos with pops of color, and I draw most of my inspiration from the beach.
Up next for the content strategy series is my system for batch planning & scheduling content. Last week I shared my system for how I create content, so now I’m sharing how I plan & schedule it to be shared! If you missed that post, you can go back and read it here.
I’m a very visual person, and I really like to be able to get a big-picture view of things while I plan, so my system really reflects this. Everyone has different preferences and ways they stay organized, so this system may not be the best for you— and that’s okay! I’m sharing in the hopes that you’ll be able to at least get some tips or a new way of approaching something!
Typically, I like to plan my content on a monthly basis. However, I schedule my content on a weekly to biweekly basis. This is an important distinction— when I plan, I outline content to share and strategically plan when I intend to share it. I don’t go in and schedule it until the week of, because I want flexibility to adjust, and I don’t like to write captions more than a few days in advance!
I also want to mention that similar to how I create my content, I also plan & schedule with Instagram prioritized. I use this platform as my base, and then schedule my other channels around this. If you are more active on Facebook, then you can create your plan around that and then adjust for Instagram, etc.
So! Let’s dive in. To plan my content for the month, I like to use a nice big desk calendar— I got mine from Staples for under $20, and I like how it has space on the side to write notes as needed. I wanted a calendar large enough to be able to write on each individual date and add post-it notes as well. I also got myself an assortment of post-it notes to use on the calendar. I got a multi-color pack of small cube post-its, so that they would fit in individual dates on the calendar. I also got a multi-color pack of bookmark size post-its as well.
Since I primarily plan for Instagram, I decided that the cube post-its would be used to symbolize an Instagram post. This meant that the bookmark ones would be used for other types of content— blogs, FB posts, and pinterest. I wrote these in the notes section as a key for myself, so if I ever forget, I can quickly reference this for clarity.
The next thing to do is to color code by content topic/theme. These will be the primarily content themes that you identified from the content creation exercise (here). I identified five main content themes that I consistently share, so I assigned each a color from the multi-color cube pack. Likewise, I also wrote this down in the notes section as a key.
Once you’re all set up, then the planning begins. I work week-by-week, and essentially try to balance the type of content that I share on a daily basis. I primarily try to serve, not sell, so spacing out sales/promotional posts is important to me. I know that my audience enjoys seeing a mix of personal and professional content, so I incorporate that into my weekly plan. This is where the color-coding really helps— at a quick glance you can easily tell if you are focusing too much on any specific theme within a small time frame.
The next thing I do is plan when I’ll post on Facebook. I don’t post quite as often as I do on Instagram, so I only plan posts about 2-3 times a week. I just add a color-coded bookmark on the days I expect to post on Facebook, too. Next, I’ll outline when I expect to publish blog posts. I generally only share 1-2 a week, but I try to have an Instagram post that is relevant and coincides with my blog posts. So, I look for content themes that could match up with a blog post: tips/tricks and tutorials work especially well for this for me. Other options could be a client session, behind-the-scenes, etc. Similar to what I do for Facebook, I add a color-coded bookmark on the days I’ll post blogs. Finally, I choose two days a month (every other week) that I’ll sit down and plan/schedule Pinterest content for the month. This is pretty flexible, but I like to include it on my calendar to make sure everything is covered.
Once the month has been outlined and planned, I’ll start thinking about the content for that week. I’ll look at the themes I’ve assigned, and brainstorm specific talking points that I can use. Often, I’ll already have things in mind as I plan the first week, so this is generally pretty easy. The next step is pull or create images that will work for each content theme, with consideration for the specific topic. For example, if I’m sharing an introductory personal post, I should be sharing an image of me, not a client.
Now it’s time to schedule your content!
I use Planoly to plan, schedule, and publish for Instagram, and it also is able to automatically post to Facebook for me. I love Planoly for the ability to drag and drop to arrange my feed, write captions (with line breaks), schedule posts automatically, and for their detailed analytics. They have both a mobile and desktop version, which is great if you need to make adjustments on the go.
I typically add about a week’s worth of images into Planoly at once. I’ll arrange the images to look good with my feed— if the chosen image isn’t working, I’ll either try to find a new image, or reassess when I’m planning on posting it. This is why I love my post-it system so much: it is incredibly flexible and forgiving for changes like this!
Once I’ve got my images planned, I then write my captions for each post. I generally write 2-3 at a time, but sometimes more depending on my plan for the week, and how busy I am otherwise. After I write each post, I schedule it to publish automatically to Instagram, and if planned, Facebook. Planoly helps show me popular times to post each day based on my audience’s habits, so this is helpful for me as I schedule.
Once each post is scheduled, I’m done for the week! I get to just sit back, work on my other projects and tasks, and interact with people as each post goes up! I also make sure to monitor how each post is performing. If a post is doing well, I like to let it marinate and will cancel or postpone the next planned post to give people more time to see it and interact with it!
There you have it! This is my complete system for scheduling and planning my content! Next week, I’ll be sharing some of my best tricks and habits for repurposing content!