Create Great Content and Save Time? Yes!
Plan your work, work your plan. For many independent and small retailers, putting those six words into practice seems impossible, and yet, many successful business owners will tell you how important it is to plan your work. Only then can you see the gaps and make progress in meeting goals. Planning your work also helps when it comes to marketing. We’ve covered the need to schedule everything from special events to email blasts, but did you know you also can schedule things in advance to save yourself time and frustration? Taking a moment to create a plan and see how all of your work interplays can be a particularly effective strategy to manage your time and marketing efforts—from emails to social media to blog posts.
Most email programs allow you to create your emails and schedule them. If you know you’re going to send out emails on a certain day of the week or month, go ahead and pull up the templates now and schedule them. You don’t need to fill them out yet with content (although if you have some info at the ready, like trunk shows you’ve lined up 6 months from now), go ahead and knock those out so it’s all ready. You can also work on these emails when you have some unexpected down time or ask an assistant or intern to work on them.
With every new social media platform we seem to get a new tool or app that helps us to manage our social media accounts. Someone actually told me once that posting on social media for her doesn’t take much time – she just posts a photo here or there or lets her customers know of a sale happening via Facebook. Except when I asked her to keep a log of the time she spent on these “no time at all” posts, she was shocked. One post could take her 15-20 minutes to write because she had to stop what she was doing, think about the content, snap a picture and post it with text that didn’t have any typos and made sense. Then she’d take that same info and make it shorter for Twitter (which took another 5-10 minutes because she also searched for hashtags) and then another 5-10 minutes for Instagram. That one post was taking her about 30-40 minutes!
There are so many tools in the marketplace that it’s hard to recommend any one in particular. Try out various ones to see how you like using them. Among the most commonly used are HootSuite, Buffer, Everypost, and Sprout Social. In addition to helping you schedule your posts and updates, they all come equipped with rich analytics that show you such details as the best times to post based on the type of content you share.
Blog posts can be anything from updates from your business to recipes from your customers that use some of the items from your shop. It could be a Q & A with someone participating in an upcoming trunk show to just a single image (Wordless Wednesdays can be just one image, for example). Some people seem scared to sit and write a blog post, thinking it needs to be a novella. Blog posts don’t need to be lengthy. In fact, shorter is better, in most cases, because people don’t have much time or patience for long-form narratives these days (and if they do, they’re likely reading other types of blogs or sites). The great thing about blog posts is that the time you take to create your content can be used across all channels and scheduled in advance. Write your blog post then add it to your email newsletters and schedule it on your social media platforms accordingly. Have strong and compelling imagery, since social media favors good images.
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