Batch-creating recurrent content types is one of the simplest ways to reduce the stress of social media management. In this piece I’ll go through examples of seven types of content you can batch, create, and schedule weekly for as long as you wish.
Why seven? Because there are seven days in a week!
Now, I’m not saying you need to do a different specific recurring content type every single day of the week. I’m not even saying you have to post every single day of the week. This is just a simple way to demonstrate how not complicated it can be to fill your social media calendar.
Feel free to use as many or as few of these ideas as you like as often as you like. I specifically chose ideas that can be applied to pretty much any business or organization, and that can be batch-created quickly and easily so that you can apply one concentrated period of time to creating the content and then schedule it out for days, weeks, or even months in advance.
None of these ideas are exclusive to video or text or images; each of them can work with all sorts of different content types. Do whatever works best for you!
One of the simplest things to break down is your most frequently asked questions. No matter who you are or what you do, there are things people don’t all know or understand about your business, industry, or organization.
Think not only about the types of questions people tend to ask you directly, but also about the sort of stuff you tend to help people figure out. Share those answers, regardless whether or not anyone’s ever directly asked the questions themselves.
We’ll start with the most basic type of post: plain text that contains both the question and your answer to it. If you’d like to make it a bit more eye-catching in the social media feeds, ask the question in a graphic and answer it in the post caption. You can also drive traffic to a blog or other source by posing the question in your post—with or without a graphic—and then encouraging people to click the link to find out the answer.
Another engaging way to answer a question is with video. There’s an immediacy to video; people feel like you’re talking right at them. Thus, your answer feels more valuable because it feels personal.
Andrew and Pete answer a common question about how to handle price objections:
The hardest thing about this one is just not overthinking it, and really breaking each question down into its simplest possible form so that you can do more of them. Jot down a list of all the questions you can think of that you’d be able to answer. Once you’ve got the first few, it’ll flow more easily.
Now, break each of those topics down as much as possible. It’s better to do a lot of short ones than just a few longer ones. Choose quick, simple questions with quick, simple answers. These aren’t just easier to create—they’re also easier to consume.
Finally, figure out what content format you’ll be doing and bang 'em out one after the other.
Get through as many as you can. Break them up, and then schedule them out.
Another simple piece of content to do is quote graphics.
I know a lot of people do this, but please, please don’t just grab something off Google that looks pretty and post it on your own social media. It takes such a small amount of time and effort to put your own spin on it, especially once you’ve created your own branded lockup with a simple tool like Canva, Adobe Spark, or Easil.
Don’t just plop down any old quote. Come up with some ideas and points of view that relate to you, your brand, and your audience. Keep a running list of quotes that work so you can drop them into your lockup at any time.
Really try to find out who actually said the quote—there’s a lot of nonsense out there, but please do not present it as though you are the one who said it (unless, of course, it’s actually your own quote!).
Laura Belgray integrates her signature snark and 70s-feel graphics, along with her logo:
This one requires a little bit of thought and preparation at the front end, but actually creating the content goes really quickly.
First, think about the types of quotes you’re looking for. What’s “on brand”? What kind of messages make sense to come from you? Once you’ve got a general sense of the types of quotes you’re looking for, go look some up that fit—the shorter the better, since we want these to be as instantly digestible as possible.
Figure out a consistent graphic look and feel for your quote posts. They don’t all have to be identical, but try to stay within a handful of different yet coordinating looks and make sure your brand or name is on there somewhere, though not in a way that could be confused as inferring that the quote comes from you.
Once you’ve got a list of quotes stored up, all you have to do is pop them into your lockup, download them, and schedule them.
A “did you know” post is similar to an FAQ post, but it’s less about explanation of concepts and more about presenting facts that people may not otherwise be aware of. It’s more about informing than explaining.
This works especially well for cause-based organizations. Facing the reality of the facts and statistics can often lead to a greater respect and appreciation for your important work.
Much like the FAQs, you can present this information in a variety of different formats. Text always works, or you can create a more immediate and eye-catching post by putting the relevant information into a graphic.
The Mighty provides information on the flu shot:
Much like with the FAQs, the key here is keeping it simple and catchy.
First, figure out the message you want to convey with the information you’re sharing. Do you want to inform people so that they’re more generally educated? Do you want to provoke an emotional reaction so that people are more likely to get involved with your cause? Do you want to teach people how to do something? Or do you just want to look smart (which by the way, is a perfectly acceptable motivation)? Figuring out what you’re trying to achieve by sharing information can help guide you towards what type of information you’re going to share.
Next, gather your facts. What is the stuff people maybe don’t know? It could be figures and statistics, it could be trivia, it could be things people think are true that aren’t—or it could be things that are true that people would never think were! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself here. This isn’t a dissertation. In fact, breaking it down into the simplest messages possible is going to make this easier—not only to create, but it will also make the information you’re sharing more likely to be retained by the people reading, watching, hearing, or otherwise experiencing your content.
Remember: these are quick shots of information, not a book. If people want your book, they can pay you for it! We’re just creating content here, and creating a lot of it.
Break it down into simple little informational alerts. Put it into whatever format you’d like and get it out there.
Testimonials are, of course, gold. Nice things that other people say about you will always be taken more seriously than nice things you say about yourself. Put word of mouth to work for you!
Videos are one of the best forms of testimonial. Since your audience is literally hearing these kind words from the person themselves, they know it’s not something fake you just made up, because an everyday person just like them—or not an everyday person, but someone who they look up to—is saying it directly.
The best part is these can be scrappy. A lack of polish only adds to the perceived authenticity.
Participants in a Systems Saved Me workshop explain how it’s helped their businesses
This one can feel a little uncomfortable for some people because it feels like bragging—but you’re not bragging. You’re simply passing along the messages that other everyday people, just like your audience, have passed along to you. You’re using social proof to reach more people who you can help.
And isn’t that a good thing?
The first step, of course, is to gather testimonials. You probably already have some. Has anyone written a review of your business or organizational on Google, Yelp, or Facebook? Has anyone ever sent you a message thanking you? Are you going to be at an event full of people who you already know think highly of your work? Use what you’ve got—and if you don’t feel like you have enough, don’t be afraid to ask. This is especially important if you’re trying to gather video testimonials, or if someone communicated their gratitude to you privately. Maybe you’ll have to hide their identity by using initials, or a first name and a town, or something like that. Do what you have to do. But do not be afraid to ask people if they have anything to say about your work. If you’re asking the right people, they’ll be delighted to help!
Finally, remember that most reviews aren’t quick one-liners. This is great, because you can break down a single review into a bunch of separate posts: pick out key lines, and while you’ll probably want to mix them up a little bit when you’re posting them so that it’s not a whole bunch in a row from the same review, one review could have maybe six different pull quotes that you can use.
That’s a really efficient way to create content. Think short and sweet!
Throwbacks are a fun type of post that enables you to tap into the larger internet hashtags of #ThrowbackThursday or #FlashbackFriday (yeah, they’re not as big of a “thing” anymore, but that will just make them stand out even more!). It’s also a fun way to humanize your brand.
Spanx founder Sara Blakely looks back at how far she’s come:
Since we’re relying on existing content, this is all about gathering. You don’t have to go too far back—even a year ago counts as a throwback. Look up old photos and scan them, or even just take a photo of that hard copy print with your camera. If you’ve got some digital photos that go a few years back, so much the better.
This is existing content. You just need to find it. This isn’t just baby photo time, though; make it relevant to your brand. If your company’s been around a while, that’s great. Share posts that play to that history. If your company hasn’t been around that long, feel free to share parts of your own backstory. What were you doing before? Do you have any footage of that past life? That backstory can really add context. You could even keep it really simple and just do, “On this day 1, 2, 10, however-many years ago.”
Also consider the timing of some of these posts. Is it around the holidays? Do you have a picture of a young you screaming on a terrifying mall Santa’s lap? Throw it up there. Is Mother’s Day coming up? Put up a picture of you and mom expressing your appreciation to her and all the other mothers in your life (or audience). Brand relevance is important, but so is playing to something that’s already out there.
Highlighting others in your community is a great source of content, whether they’re customers, staff, or if you’re a nonprofit, volunteers—whoever you choose to highlight. It’s a great way to show appreciation, as well as to look unselfish, because you’re not just talking about yourself. It’s also a great way to create more content, since there are probably lots of people to choose from who are helping you.
Video is always a powerful way to highlight people since it’s so engaging and relatable.
West Virginia University’s Integrated Marking Communication program highlights a successful graduate:
What you’re gathering and or creating depends on who you’re choosing to highlight and how there may already be existing assets out there that you can spin into a highlight. Have you or anyone else taken photos or video of the person you’re looking to highlight? Is there maybe some user generated content out there that you would ask to use?
Is this person documented at an event somewhere? These highlights are all about the context that you put around the imagery, so the actual photo or video is not nearly as important as the message that you’re posting it. If you’re going to be in a position where a lot of the relevant parties are present, such as an event or even a staff meeting, grab footage there.
Get a bunch of pictures or information all at once. Create your posts and schedule them out. If this becomes something you’re doing regularly, you can proactively prepare by gathering assets and information on an ongoing basis. Start documenting your personnel, volunteers, and even customers more. Set yourself up for future content.
Behind the scenes content is both incredibly engaging and incredibly easy to create because you’re literally just capturing what you’re already doing, the stuff people don’t normally get to see.
Photos are a simple way to do this. Just take shots of what’s already happening around you: ingredients before they turn into product, donations being processed before going out into the community, and the kitchen volunteers at a local meal for the hungry are all great ways to highlight the stuff people don’t often get to see.
Video is an incredibly powerful way to capture what’s going on behind the scenes. Just take a shot of what’s happening around you!
Unshattered takes us along with them for a team building day:
This could not be easier to create because it is, by definition, a little less polished and more accessible. You’re literally just documenting what’s already happening. Take a picture of your workspace; do a boomerang of a colleague pouring coffee. The matter of fact minutiae of day-to-day life is absolutely fine here.
And once you get into the habit of documenting the mundane, you’ll start to develop a better eye for what your audience actually wants to see.
Also, keep in mind that not everybody needs to know that you just got a whole bunch of footage on the same day. As far as they know, that video of the office from six months ago just happened today. So don’t be afraid to just grab a bunch of pictures or video one day and spin that out. Try to grab as many situations, people, and locations as you possibly can, and then watch how you schedule it all so that it’s not super obvious if it’s all in the same day.
Get other people in your organization to contribute as well. Encourage them to capture behind the scenes footage of things they’re already doing that will really mix it up and provide a multitude of interesting perspectives.
I really, really hope I’ve helped you understand the magic of batch creating recurring content types. Go for it, and have a much simpler and more effective content calendar!
Christine Gritmon @christine
I think you’re a rockstar.
Let me know what lights you up—I want to hear YOUR stories (and to have you write for Social Media Pulse!)