Episode 56 – Content mega batching | How to only think about your content once a month!
Holly is a business coach and freelance management consultant from San Francisco in California. She helps clients start service based businesses and be their own bosses through her program, the Consultant Code.
Holly’s One Hot Thing
- Create consistently great content with mega-batching
How to connect with Holly
What is mega-batching?
This has changed my life. I am a solopreneur, and what I mean by that is that I am the only person really in my business and I hire people to help me out from time to time. But sometimes, this can make me feel really overwhelmed about all the things I have to do and I would stress myself out and end up not getting anything done. And so I came across an idea I like to call mega-batching.
So, a little context. I made myself a goal to publish one new piece of content every single week. For me and my business, that means a brand new blog post on my website. And there is a lot that goes along side creating a blog post – it isn’t just writing something, clicking post and hoping people find it. That just doesn’t work anymore in this day and age and with all the other bloggers out there and all the other content people are being fed. If you want to get found, if you want people to know about your content, there’s a lot more that goes into it.
So I realised there were numerous steps that went into creating a blog post including: coming up with the idea, creating an outline, writing the post, publishing it to my website and writing the personalised social media posts to name just a few. And because there is so much that goes into creating a successful blog post I found that I just wasn’t doing it.
So I came across an idea called mega-batching. Basically the concept of it is to squeeze all of the tasks that you need to do into one period of time. So I’ve decided that I’m going to take the last week of every month to do all of the work for my blog posts for the upcoming month. Now we’re at the end of November. I am right in the thick of my mega-batching week where I am doing all of the work that needs to happen for four blog posts that are going to drop in December.
How do you have the time to do everything in one week?
How do I possibly have the time to do this all in one week? I hired a copywriter. I realised what is and isn’t feasible to do on my own. I tried to do everything on my own one month but it was too much. I decided to outsource writing the email copy and the blog post copy to my copywriter. I create the outlines and the idea and the vision and then she takes runs with it. She’s brilliant.
Then I can focus on creating all the content for social media and all the copy for that because I really want it to come from my own place. I also help keep us organised and on track, I’m a project manager by trade and so I’ve been used to getting paid to plan things for a living for close to 20 years.
Planning and organisation helps us stick to our timeline. I use the free tool Trello. It’s very easy to do, very easy to use. And so my copywriter and I just collaborate on Trello. I also create tasks for myself so that I can remember what I’ve done for each post because there’s seven tasks assigned to each post. So that keeps my head straight and helps keep myself and my copywriter organized on what needs to happen and when.
Why is mega-batching so efficient?
Perhaps mega-batching isn’t for everybody. But I think it works for me just as it relates to my mental bandwidth and head space around it. I know that I have one week a month where I sit down and I just churn out all of this work. And I know that I have the rest of the month to work on other things. I can let the gas off just a little bit and the pressure around getting the content out there is reduced.
It gives me some headspace to get things done. I know I have time scheduled to do this work. If I do get any ideas I can create a Trello board, throw the idea in there and know that when it gets to the last week of the month all the ideas I’ve come up with are in there. I have a place to start and I know that I have dedicated time set aside. So then the other weeks, like I said, I can spend time working on other things.
It gives you the ability to plan your life as well. I know that if I want to take a vacation or take the last week off I need to do by mega-batching before or after. Before my mega-batching days I would find that it just wouldn’t get done and that obviously is counterproductive to building a business. And so now I know that I have time set aside where I don’t schedule anything else in. I’m very conscious about what I do socially and personally that week because I want to make sure I get everything done. But then the other few weeks I have to play if you will. I can be more liberal with my time and how I spend it with friends or socially because I know I have that dedicated time set aside once a month.
How long have you been mega-batching for?
This is my third month doing it and every month I learn something new. Every month I learn what did or didn’t work last time, or what was too time consuming. And I know I need to switch it up or not do it.
The first time, I was writing all the blogs myself and it was just too much. So I switched things up. I extended my copywriter’s contract to also include blog post writing. She was writing my copy for my emails and I extended more work to her.
I guess last time around I learned that I was writing Instagram stories that were too long and time consuming for me. I was doing seven or eight slides to roll out a blog post. This time I’m going to do two to three and then just be done. So I’m continuing to make things more efficient just by what I’ve learned the previous time.
How can people incorporate other freelancers or staff into their mega-batching process?
When I thought about incorporating my copywriter into this process, I honestly was a little nervous to ask her to drop everything one week a month as well. While that’s the system that may work for me or that the system may work for you or someone listening, it doesn’t always mean it’s going to work into someone else’s life. So I just asked her if she would be interested.
I said, “Hey Mac, I’m trying this new system, would you be interested in doing this one week a month? We pound out everything. We just churn and crank out all the content, all of the copy and then you basically have three weeks out of a month where you don’t have to do anything.” That’s kind of how I convinced her. She’s great and probably would have been on board no matter what. She’s just amazing that way.
There is something in it for the people that you collaborate and partner with as well. It makes it easier for them to plan their work and then they could probably take on other clients or do other types of work for you in the other three weeks if you have more of a full time arrangement with them. But I think there is a risk that it won’t work for the others that you collaborate with. And then you have to figure out if you are okay with their work coming in throughout the month. And then you can mega-batch the stuff that you personally do. It doesn’t work for everyone. But I still think mega-batching your own tasks would save you a lot of mental space and sanity. Just make sure everyone else’s work is in before a certain date so that you can work on what you need to. Their timelines all may be a little different but it will still work.