Content Planning The Easy Way

Content Planning The Easy Way

Digital Strategy | Web Design

If you’re like most of my clients, coming up with something to post every day is not only draining but frustrating when you have other important tasks to accomplish for your business. If you’re unable to hire a social media manager to help you in this area, then the next best thing would be to set aside time at the beginning of each month to map out your entire content calendar for the next 30 days. Sounds intimidating? Don’t worry, there’s an easy way to do this.

Photo by Nick Morrison

Identify Brand Pillars

Identifying your brand pillars and mapping them out in the spreadsheet gives you a visual flow of how often to post from each pillar category. Follow the general rule of marketing which is 30% branded posts and 70% community posts. No one likes to be sold to 100% of the time. So talk about what makes your brand unique/awesome but also engage with people in your shared mutual interests. This will develop a relationship with your customers.

Not sure how to do that? I wrote a post about how to identify your own brand pillars.

Create a Content Calendar

The next step is to put it all together. I’ve been using Excel for the past several years to manage my content calendars because it’s completely flexible in how you want to set up your file. These files live on my Dropbox so I’m able to access them from any device at any time. Here’s what mine looks like:

>> Click To Download Content Calendar Template <<

If you already have a yearly marketing calendar, make sure your monthly content calendar aligns with that. Includes things like unique events happening in your city (like beer week, festivals, summer events), national holidays, and cultural events like the Superbowl when appropriate and relevant to your brand.

If you aren’t into Excel, I would recommend looking into AirTable which is a great online calendar that syncs across your devices.

Schedule Your Posts Ahead Of Time

Sometimes you may not be able to plan out your content calendar 100% all the time. Things may change daily, or you may not have all the information you need at the moment of planning, but try to schedule out as many posts ahead of time as you can. There are several social media tools that make this easy.

Here’s what I use:

  • TweetDeck – I prefer using TweetDeck over Hootsuite for the simplicity of use. It’s a great way to schedule out your twitter posts for the month, track mentions, and follow relevant community hashtags.
  • Grum.co – I use Grum.co to schedule out my Instagram posts. Their interface is easy to use and allows for multiple accounts.
  • Facebook – Facebook has really great scheduling capabilities within the website itself. You can also register for a business account which gives you even more flexibility with ad spending and targeting.

However, there are also platforms out there that handle all of the scheduling in one place:

  • Buffer
  • Sprout Social
  • CoSchedule
  • HootSuite

Buffer wrote a great blog post comparing prices and services of social media management tools: check it out here.

Stay Flexible

Even if you are able to plan out your content including all your captions, assets, and ad spends, it’s important to consistently refer to your content calendar and allow for flexibility and spontaneous posting. You don’t want things to come across as too robotic and leaving in space for spontaneous posts humanizes a brand.

The Essentials: Photo Resources

The Essentials: Photo Resources

Digital Strategy | Web Design

As we’ve discussed before, having beautiful and clear photos are essential to marketing your business. But sometimes you don’t have the time to set up a photoshoot for a simple social graphic. Luckily, there are some really great photo resources out there to help fill this need.

UnSplash

UnSplash is the largest photo library of high-resolution professional photos. And get this … it’s totally free. I know, right? Dreams do come true.

Creative Market

Creative Market is another great resource for photography. They also have a plethora of design assets from fonts, to templates, business card designs, and more!

Foodiesfeed

If you’re looking for mouth-watering food photos then Foodiesfeed should be your first stop. Beautiful, high-resolution photos of foods of all kinds.

Pixabay

Pixabay is another great FREE photo resource. You’re also able to download the photos in whatever resolution you need which saves on hard drive space.

Four Free Fonts

Four Free Fonts

Digital Strategy | Web Design

No matter what project you are working on, whether it be a blog post, a website, or a social media graphic, it’s all about the content. When choosing fonts for your project it’s important to keep in mind what you’re trying to communicate. For more inspirational social posts you may want to select a script font, whereas, for a project communicating an important message about your company, you may want to go with a straight-forward serif. However, the most important thing to remember is to choose a clear and readable font. Here are a few of my favorite FREE fonts I’ve used in a variety of designs.

 

Bebas Neue

 

 

Amadine

 

 

Eccentric

 

 

KG All Things New

The Essentials: Mobile Photo Editing Apps

The Essentials: Mobile Photo Editing Apps

Digital Strategy | Web Design

As a business owner, it’s important to document your process. Visuals are a huge key to connecting with customers, showing what you do, and an essential part of modern-day marketing. If you don’t have a DSLR, fear not! Mobile photography capabilities have come a long way and it’s easy to capture clear crisp photos to use on your website and social media. First, make sure you are familiar with photography basics to make sure you are optimizing the capabilities of the camera on your phone. Then, take a look at these apps that will help bring your photos to the next level.

Remove Blemishes

Photoshop Fix has impressive capabilities but my favorite one that I use the most often is their healing tool. Out of all the other mobile photo editing apps I’ve tried, the healing tool in Photoshop Fix is the closest you can get to removing imperfections from a photo just like you would in the desktop version of Photoshop.

Apply Filters

VSCO has been around for a while and for good reason! Their impressive filter library allows you to custom pick the look and feel of your photos. They have tools that allow you to adjust the hue, tint, brightness, exposure, contrast, shadows, highlights, add a vinaigrette, add grain, adjust skin tone, crop, straighten, fade, apply a tint to just the shadows or highlights, add a border, and clarify.

Make A Collage

Layout is the easiest way to make an image collage on a mobile device. It also has the ability to sync with your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts which makes exporting and uploading even easier!

Advanced Editing

Enlight Photofox is the most robust editing app available right now. It’s amazing all the capabilities it has. From simple filter application to overlays and complex collages, it has basically everything you’ll need to create a unique image. Watch their video to see what it’s capable of.

Photo by Jenna Day

File Sharing When Working Remotely

File Sharing When Working Remotely

Digital Strategy | Web Design

An essential part of any work relationship is clear communication. Since I work from home, file sharing is crucial to sharing progress, next steps, brand assets, marketing materials, photos, files and more with my clients. For years I’ve worked off of terabyte external hard drives, a system that has worked really well so far. But with the increased mobility that comes with working remotely and my increased database of files and images, I knew I had to come up with a more streamlined solution where I could access any file at any time, anywhere.

But before I make any change or make an investment in a product or service, I turn to my handy-dandy list of Pros and Cons. Here was my thought process when approaching a cloud-based storage service.

External Hard Drive Pros:
  • Works offline, so speed is fast and no internet connection is needed.
  • Easily handles large camera files and documents without lag time.
  • Able to work off of Finder which is easier to navigate when moving files in and around programs.
External Hard Drive Cons:
  • How many backups to a backup can a gal have? Having to constantly backup manually added an extra step to my already busy schedule.
  • The fear of the device falling and losing files (which has happened to me years ago and still haunts my nightmares from time to time).
  • If I don’t have my external hard drive, I don’t have access to my files. Accessibility is extremely important to me.
Cloud Storage Pros:
  • Access to my files from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Peace of mind for file safety.
  • Up to date backups
Cloud Storage Cons:
  • Must have an internet connection to upload new files instantaneously. Dropbox acts like a normal Finder window on my desktop. So I have access to all the files that have been uploaded even without internet connection. However, if I don’t have an internet connection and modify a file or add a new one, it simply waits until the connection is back to sync with the cloud database. Not a huge con in my opinion and I haven’t run into any issues with this.
  • Since cloud storage is internet based, internet speed is a factor in how fast you are able to work. Nothing is more painful when you’re on a roll and waiting for the computer/internet/cloud to catch up.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both options. So I did more research to see if I could find a solution that solved the cons of both options. This is what I found!

Dropbox

For the past year, I’ve been using Dropbox cloud storage for my business. This is why I chose it:

  • Easy to sync across all devices
  • Works out of the Finder window on Apple computers so there is no lag time when switching between folders.
  • Easy to share links with clients
  • Terabyte storage

Before landing on Dropbox I also experimented with Google Drive and the biggest reason why it didn’t’ work for me is that Google Drive is a 100% web-based program. Meaning, to use Drive I had to have an internet connection and open web browser all the time. I loved the compatibility Dropbox has with the Finder window on Macs and for me, that’s what made the difference.