Coming up with a week’s worth of social media posts can seem overwhelming, never mind an entire month’s worth! But what if I told you that you could actually sit down and map out 30 days’s worth of social posts at once – with a “set it & forget it” approach? That’s exactly what visibility expert Allie Martin does for herself and her clients, and with great success. She’s here to share her tips, strategies, and tools that she uses to help her take the stress and frustration out of her social content strategy.
Rich: My guest today is visibility expert and owner of Fame and Fortune. She works with female entrepreneurs to elevate their brand and gain credibility and cash through proactive public relations and strategic social. She formerly worked in public relations for Amazon, Alltech, Kendra Scott, and the International SPA Association. She also produces and hosts the podcast, Selfish, a show dedicated to self-care and following your dreams. Today, we’re going to be talking about how you can create a month-long content plan in just 30 minutes, with Allie Martin. Allie, welcome to the podcast.
Allie: Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Rich: Okay. So I saw that in your bio that you live in Shelbyville, Kentucky. So I’m curious, do they sell Shelbyville, Shelbyvillions t-shirts there the archrival of the Springfield Isotopes baseball team?
Allie: So Springfield is just south of us, actually. It is a neighboring town. So, you know, I’m not saying the Simpsons were based on us, but maybe there’s some truth to that.
Rich: So we’re going to talk about this whole idea of a content marketing plan. And you say we can create it in just 30 minutes. So working backwards, what does the final product look like? What do we have in our hands exactly at the end of this 30 minutes?
Allie: Well, Rich, first I’ll say really the reason this came about is the number of clients that I have come to me and people reaching out just wanting help, is people feel like there’s not enough time in the day to create content. And the clients that do come to me that maybe said that they would, just post whenever they think about it. Well, that just never happens. Or you post whenever you think you’re going to be inspired. And you know, three months will go by, and you’ll realize that inspiration isn’t coming when you have a million things on your plate.
So really the idea of kind of getting this down to a science so that it can be as simple as possible and as quick as possible. I really wanted to create a process that allowed you to walk away with a month-long social media calendar, fully scheduled out, so that you can turn it on, schedule it, forget it, and walk away. So that frequency can depend on how frequent and consistently frequent you can be. But truly it is a process where you can set this social media on a scheduler and walk away.
Rich: Fantastic. All right, so let’s go back to the beginning. We’re looking at a blank sheet of paper or a blank spreadsheet, and our social media content plan has to be on the boss’s desk in 30 minutes. How do we get started?
Allie: All right. So we are going to nail down your social talking points. And let me explain exactly what social talking points are. They come from the process of whenever you are working in public relations – which I also do – you create talking points for your clients before they go on to media interviews. And the idea behind talking points is, no matter where the conversation goes, I want you to take it back to these points that I’ve written for you.
So this is sometimes helpful with politicians, as you mentioned in my bio, I served as a publicist for Amazon. Sometimes those interviews can kind of take a detour, and it is the requirement of the interviewee – in my eyes – to take that conversation back to where I want that conversation to go. So when you are creating your social talking points, it is essentially the same thing for your social media. So what are those points? What are those buckets, those content buckets that you want your social media to go back to no matter what.
So really to give you an idea, some of these social talking points for me would be for me, Allie. So who is Allie? What is her dream? What does she enjoy doing? Really getting to know Allie as a person. Services would be another one that I think would hit for a lot of people. So actually spelling out what services you offer and what that includes and what the client receives from that. Products, if you have products. I think we really try to over-complicate social media, and we think just really sharing the basics of who we are, what we do, how we help. Those are really points that we need to be going back to month after month.
So those are three ideas. You know, just in general, you mentioned I’m in Shelbyville. I live on a farm. I have lots of farm animals that get into trouble. So sharing just little tidbits about myself and really getting the followers to know me as a person. Those are all ideas of social talking points. And you really should have between 9 and 12. And the idea behind that, if you are posting three times a week and there’s four weeks in the month, and you can get 12 posts, then you’ve got 12 ideas right there. And essentially the idea is you go back to those 12 ideas every single month and you are re-introducing what that is in a different way to your followers. So again, if it’s services and you have three different services, you have three different months where you’re talking about a different service, and then you start talking about that service again.
I think with the algorithm, people get really frustrated and they say, “People aren’t seeing my content.” “No, no one is engaging with me anymore.” And the truth of the matter is, they’re not seeing your content. I mean, the algorithm really only opens up your post to 10% of your audience. And based on what that 10% does, it opens it up to more or less people. So the idea behind that, most people probably aren’t seeing your posts is actually a valid excuse. And because of that, I’m a big believer and reiterating your message and branding that in your follower’s minds so that they know exactly who you are, what you do, and how you help.
Rich: All right. So we’ve got our talking points down. Maybe they’re a little bit about ourselves or our team. Maybe they’re about the products and services that we offer. That’s great, but where do we go from there? So what’s the next step after we figured out what our talking points should be?
Allie: So I really am a big visual person. So I actually like to have the calendar in front of me. I use the planning scheduler, Planoly. And so I like to have that on the screen. And essentially if you are dedicating to posting twice a week, three times a week, whatever that is, you’ve got that mapped out on your calendar. So you know exactly the number of posts that you have to fill. Now again, you may deter from your social talking points if you have holidays that you want to call out. I mean, there could be really timely holidays that align with your industry. So marking those out, marking any sales that you have going on, any big launches, all of those are going to account for a day here and there. And essentially, you’re taking the equation of hook, supporting facts, and call to action, and you’re creating captions for each of these using your social talking points.
But I find that really the biggest qualm that most people have is, I don’t know what to say, don’t know what to talk about. But if you have your social talking points there and you’re not deterring from those, and those are what you go back to every month, you use that and you use the equation of hooking your audience, providing supporting facts, and then giving a call to action. That’s the formula that you need to write your captions in. And then providing that with either a personal photo, a photo that you have gotten professionally taken, or even a stock photo. And I’m going to even push beyond the photos and say video is now being prioritized in social media. So if there is a video that you can incorporate there, that’s going to be even better.
Rich: All right. So let’s say I’ve got my talking points. I know what I want to get out over the course of the month. And I’m thinking about my own digital agency, flyte new media, because we’re having these conversations as we roll into 2022. I guess one thing is, as you put together your calendar, and let’s say you want to talk about, you know, for us, it might be about SEO. It might be about website design. It might be about conversion rates. So we decide that those are a few of the talking points that we’re going to do. Am I writing out each post and choosing the image or video that I’m going to use on each different social media channel? How detailed should we get here? Or is it more about just saying I’m going to write, create content on this day about this on this platform.
Allie: Yeah. I mean, I don’t think we really need to complicate things as far as there’s going to be different audiences on those different platforms. And it may cross over in some instances, but again, they’re not going to see every post. And even if they do, it’s further branding it in their mind. It doesn’t look like it was unintentional in that manner. They know that you’re sharing that, those messages and that those images across the platform.
And I think you bring up a good point. If you are talking about SEO and you know that’s something you want to talk about, and you’ve got this equation of hook, supporting facts, call to action in front of you, but you’re like, but what do I talk about with SEO? There are a few different tools out there that I really like to use. There’s one called Answer the Public, where you can simply just see what people are searching for online so that you can say, I need to talk about SEO, but what is the question that people are asking. Use that question as your hook, and then give your response to what that question would be. And there’s a post right there.
So I think it really just comes down to getting back to the basics. We’re the ones that are in our business every day. So we know what our audience wants to know. We already know that. So it’s really hard for us to kind of come back at it from a different perspective. They don’t know what they don’t know. So we have to give them that information just in a different manner.
Rich: That’s helpful. But I want to ask my question in a slightly different way, because I guess I’m not being clear. So when you’re creating your 30 day calendar, are you literally writing out what you’re going to say on each platform those days? Or are you just saying we’re going to talk about SEO or this element of SEO on LinkedIn that day – and then on that day I go out and I find the exact wording and the exact copy? Or did you preplan that for 30 days?
Allie: Yes. Yes. We write it all out. We are scheduling it. We are turning it on, and we are not coming back to it until we have allotted that time for us to batch content for the next month ahead.
Rich: So I’m curious, you use the word ‘we’, and this was one of my questions I want to ask. How does the approach change if you are a solopreneur, versus if you’re part of a larger marketing, team where there might be multiple people who are creating content? What approaches might work for one that might not work for the other? Or is it the same regardless of the size of the market?
Allie: Yeah, Rich, that’s a good question. Because I definitely do think it shifts a little bit whenever you are in those different roles. So as a solopreneur, whenever I was creating content and scheduling it out on my own, I liked to work better in a visual first perspective. So I like scheduling software. I like Planoly where you can drop in images. So I can spend a few minutes going through my camera roll and see what photos I have taken this last month that I want to share out on social media, dropping those images in, and then working backwards saying, okay, this one works for this topic, and then writing out the content that way. We work in kind of a reverse order. So we are writing the captions – and I have a copywriter that’s writing the captions – and then we have our graphic designer that’s going back in and creating the images to go along with those captions. So it kind of can depends on how your brain works, of which one you prefer to go at it.
You know, especially with stock images out there, being able to pull some really solid stock images to go with your captions. If you don’t have something and you need to talk about SEO, like where is that image that you can grab to support that? So yeah, I definitely think you can adjust that based on how you are.
Rich: You mentioned stock photos a couple of times now. And I definitely think that there’s a role for stock photography, especially because we can’t always get out there and take pictures. But what is your feeling about taking a slightly imperfect photo that you took on your phone, versus perhaps using some stock photography that may be gorgeous, but maybe your competitor or somebody else might be using as well?
Allie: So, there’s definitely an approach where if you can take the photo, that is always going to be better. But I definitely have a lot of students and a lot of clients that get hung up on the idea of it isn’t perfect. And they have that deep perfectionism in their bones, and so that doesn’t allow them to post that. So if posting a stock photo is going to allow you to get your message out there, I would much prefer you to use that. I definitely think that stock photo needs to be on brand. I really like Social Squares. It’s a stock photo subscription that really gives you those brand specific brand colors and images that surround that brand color, so that you can really feel like it is aligned with your brand and it’s not completely off the wall and looks out of place on your feet.
But if you have the ability to post something that’s maybe not perfect, maybe not edited, I always prefer you post something that you’ve taken yourself. Because that’s going to be much more in line with your followers and they’re going to be able to connect with you in a little bit easier manner.
Rich: We’re likely on more than one social channel these days. So do you believe that we should be everywhere, or do you believe that we should narrow our focus and create content just for one or two different social media platforms? Or does it really depend on the size and needs of the business?
Allie: So anyone that’s listening, I’m going to give you permission right here, right now. You do not have to be everywhere. As a matter of fact, I don’t think you should be everywhere. So not only do you do not have to be there, I don’t think you should. It really, you need to determine where your customers are hanging out. So if they are on one or two platforms, that’s the one or two platforms you need to be on. And yes, there may be customers on those other platforms, but is that where the majority of your customers are? Is that where your number one customer is? So focus on where your number one customer is hanging out and just really kill it there, just really nail it. And don’t feel like you have to spread yourself thin across all platforms.
Rich: And as you’re approaching your content calendar and you’re looking at it for the course of the month, the social media calendar, how do you determine the right mix of the written word, versus audio, versus video, versus photos or infographics? Like, are you trying to find a perfect mix, or does that not come into your consideration as you’re developing out this calendar?
Allie: Yeah. I really like a mix of different mediums. Because I like to think about it, I’m also a college professor and so I know that my students learn in different manners. So I like to share different types of content whenever I’m teaching a specific topic. So I may share an article. I may share a video. I may just get in front of the class and just talk about it. The same manner goes with your social media. So carousel posts are super helpful in really sharing that listicle type of approach that we see on a lot of articles. And so being able to kind of take that content from one place and repurpose it into a carousel, allows people to really be able to swipe in and kind of go through the numbers of what you’re teaching.
Just as much as video and getting your face in front of your follow-up is adding to that pair of social relationships. So there is a psychological effect where when you see someone’s face over and over again, you get to know them, and they become familiar. They feel like a friend. That’s why all these social media influencers truly feel like all of our friends, even though we’ve never met them in person. Because they get on the camera and they talk about I’m going to do this today, and then I’m going to do this. And you feel like your best friend just gave you their download on what they’re going to do for the day. So getting your face in front of the camera, really making sure you’re giving a mix so that your followers can learn in whatever manner is best for them.
Rich: All right. How much repurposing should we be doing, both in terms of using the same or similar content on multiple social channels, but also in reusing content on the same channel, either within the same month or over the long run?
Allie: This is a big one for podcast hosts like you and I, because not only are some people not tuning into the podcast through the app, but if we are repurposing just soundbites on our social media. That might allow them to say, “Oh, that’s an episode that I need to tune into.” So I don’t even really like to think of it in the negative sense of people are like, oh, I don’t really like repurposing because I just don’t want to be repeating myself. I don’t want it to seem like I’m being lazy by not sharing new content. I look at it as, you never know where somebody may pick up on an idea. And the old marketing adage of somebody has to see something seven times before they’ll buy really comes into play also with content, too.
So, you may share that you have a blog post up and share that in a regular post. And then you need to talk about it in your stories. And then maybe you go live on Instagram, and you can talk about that blog post there. Then maybe on your podcast you’ve mention it. All of those things are really good. And I encourage that because it no need to recreate the wheel. You’ve already been able to create this masterpiece. So share it in as many forms and fashions as you can, to allow all of your followers to find it in one way or another.
Rich: You know, I think about a lot of businesses having both evergreen content and then kind of ‘of the moment’ content. You know, certain things that we talk about and change very slowly, if at all, over time. How much evergreen content that’s been produced before this month, should we be bringing into our content calendar, or should it only be fresh material?
Allie: I love working with clients that, for instance I have a client that is a parenting coach. And she does a lot of work on YouTube and on Pinterest. And truthfully, the reason she started her business was because she shared a blog post from her personal blog about parenting, and she shared it on Pinterest and it just truly went viral. And it’s number one in many different search terms. I love bringing that content back because we have already proven that people like that content and it is valuable. And in her case, with parenting, that stuff doesn’t expire. It doesn’t go bad. So, there’s definitely a time and a fashion where pulling this content that has performed well, is a great way to reintroduce it to your audience. You may have new audience members that have not seen it before. And it can just be a good reminder. So, I definitely encourage you to look at what content is performing well, and make sure you’re reintroducing that to the audience from time to time.
Rich: You mentioned a couple of tools that you’re using currently. What are some of the tools that you find makes this process easier for you and your clients?
Allie: So, first of all, I use ClickUp as my project management tool, and that’s just a great way to organize with my team. But even as a solopreneur, I was using it on my own just to track deadlines and due dates.
And then moving into Canva to create any type of graphics that met you may need, and really just resizing and reformatting images on the. Planoly is the planning software that I use and recommend. And then having a good stock photo company, like Social Squares in your back pocket, if you may need to go into it. I mean, honestly there’s months where I don’t even need to dip into it. But then there’s months where I go, okay, I need three or four images that kind of all go along this. So just having that in your back pocket and not having to go search for something. I think having all of those lined up really allows you to just go through this process seamlessly and be able to just crank out your content and get it on your calendar and move on to the next thing you have on your plate.
Rich: Allie, I’m thinking about the fact that, let’s say we’ve got all this content out there. We’ve got the social media calendar done. We’ve got the things plugged into Agorapulse or Sprout Social, whatever the tools we may be using, or if we choose not to use those tools, we put them in natively into the platforms each day. But then there’s always going to be those moments of something comes to mind. Do you generally recommend that we hold off and we put that into next month’s calendar? Or do we just use our social calendar as the minimum amount of social activity we’ll do, and we add things on throughout the month as they come.
Allie: I definitely have taken both approaches. If it’s something timely, I like to get it out there, there’s no point in waiting on and letting it become old news. But I will occasionally have these ideas where I’ll think, oh, that would make a really good post, but it’s not necessarily something urgent now. So, I like to go on and add that into my scheduling tool as a note for a future date.
Even especially when you are leading up to an event. I have a virtual event happening soon, and so I’ve kind of allowed me to drip out that content over time and not feel like I have to cram it all in one month and overwhelm my followers. So there definitely is a little bit of a planning process whenever you do have something longer term or an idea that maybe isn’t timely. Yeah, get the content out there. I will occasionally just go live if I am feeling inspired one day and I’ll say, I’m just going to talk this out rather than scheduling another post on my calendar. Just get that content out there, even if it is just verbally.
Rich: Alright, now let’s talk about metrics. How can we determine if our plans are working or if they need to be tweaked? What are the KPIs you’re looking at? What are the KPIs you recommend your clients look at?
Allie: Reach and engagement, while they are both very simplistic metrics that all of the platforms allow us to tap into, that really is what you’re able to judge is happening organically. So, looking at the number of people that are sharing a post so that it’s getting to more eyes, not every post is going to be shared across the board. And you don’t really even want that. But thinking through, okay, this kind of content really was shared heavily across my audience last month, so let’s recreate something similar so that we can get some more reach out of that.
And then with that call to action that you’re going to include in every post, it may not be to engage with the posts. It may be to go to the website to purchase a ticket to my virtual event. It may be to send me a DM so that we can talk through any questions you have. But from time to time, you are going to ask them to leave a comment. You are going to ask them questions. That’s going to further that engagement on those posts, and that’s really going to boost you in the algorithm as well. So thinking through those posts that are getting you the reach that you are looking for, getting you the engagement, those are ones you’re going to recreate. And also, just pay attention to, as you’re reviewing your analytics month by month.
Rich: I feel like I should have asked this next question right at the beginning, but here we go. As I’m thinking about looking and trying to create this balance and this mix of social media content for the month, I want to talk a bit about just goals. Because sometimes you get on social media for branding purposes, awareness purposes, and other times it might be about conversion rates, leads, sales. Is there an appropriate mix that we should be after when it comes to looking at this social media calendar for the coming month?
Allie: Really those social talking points allow you to have that mix. Because I see it a lot and it’s not necessarily people that are coming to me, but I wish they would come to me where every post on their social media is ‘buy this’, ‘here’s the sale I have’, ‘why don’t you come to my website and buy this”. it’s really, they don’t have that mix of providing content that is valuable to the followers. They don’t have that personal content that allows me to get to know you as a person, people buy from people I’m not going to buy from your sale post that you post every other day, I’m going to buy from you as a person. So you do have to take that time in your content plan to allow the followers to get to know you on a personal level.
So yes, creating that social talking points calendar and rotations allows you to, okay, I’m going to mention my products. I’m going to mention my services, going to mention a big launch that I have or a sale coming up. But that’s just three posts out of the month. The rest of them are going to be value-driven posts. They’re going to be personal driven posts and informative posts. So yes, you’re right there. There definitely is a mix. And for anyone that’s listening that you think I’m talking about you, I probably am. So make that note and really try to do better next month.
Rich: Sounds good. This has been great. Allie, if people want to learn more about you your agency, where can we send them online?
Allie: I am on all social media platforms at @TheAllieMartin.
Rich: Awesome. We’ll have links to that in the show notes. Allie, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it.
Allie: Thanks for having me, Rich.Show Notes:
Allie Martin helps her clients increase their online visibility by showing them how to create a solid social media strategy. Not only does she share the tools to achieve social media success, her podcast encourages entrepreneurs to keep focusing on themselves & their success.
Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.