I’m not really who you would call a planner. Well, at least, I used to be able to say that about myself. Nowadays, I’m a planner with some flexibility. I like to have a plan, but I also enjoy switching things up when the need arises. If my audience on Instagram is asking for information about Reels, then I’ll switch up my planned content to focus on that topic more. I’m going to show you ways you can be a planner while also staying true to your creative nature. Here’s how to plan when you’re not a planner!
Why you should start being a planner-
1 Predictability Builds Trust
If you are creating a piece of core content– blog post, podcast, IGTV, etc.– and you decide to show up every day/once a week, your people will come to expect that and they will want you to continue with that schedule. I post a new podcast every Tuesday. That podcast is always accompanied by a blog post every Tuesday. My followers can expect that, and they can put me on their calendars because they know I will be showing up for them in that way.
I have a live coaching session I do every Thursday on Instagram, and I’ve noticed that the more consistent I am with that, people are starting to expect that and tuning in more and more. I used to want to do a live whenever I felt like it. But that wasn’t a good use of my time because nobody would show up for it. Why? They didn’t know I was going to be going live! Now that they know I’m going live every Thursday morning, I’m seeing my audience grow.
2 Planning Gives You More Freedom
You might think planning doesn’t give you freedom, but let me tell you why that is wrong. I did a little experiment this week. I planned out my day the night before in my google calendar with time blocks. When I woke up this morning I already knew what I needed to do, and I found out that I had enough time to do fun stuff, too! If I don’t have a plan, then I end up wasting my time checking emails or getting sucked into Instagram for too long.
Here’s another example for why planning ahead will benefit you. I’ve talked before about my podcast. Well, I don’t record my podcasts the day that they go live. That would be crazy, right? I record my podcasts earlier than I need them to be published so I can get a blog post written about them, an email ready to be sent out, and social media posts planned. This way I’m able to stretch my core piece of content (my podcast) and use it in many more ways. I couldn’t do this if I didn’t plan ahead! I’m not stressed out about creating content last minute.
3 You Create Better Content
When you plan your content ahead of time, you are able to create better content. We’ve all thrown together a blog post or Instagram post quickly because we realized we needed to post something. And let’s be honest, those posts aren’t our best work, right? I mean, they get the job done, but they aren’t usually a great example of what we stand for. Give yourself the gift of better content by planning it ahead of time.
So that’s why you need to plan. And now here are some easy ways to overcome your fear of planning.
1 Create a Plan Using the Tools That Work For You
The first thing you need to do is to create a plan on whatever tool works best for you. I’ve used Trello before (click here to check it out). I have a paper planner (available here) that is fantastic for those of you who love paper planners. I have also created some google sheets that are great for planning content. These are great because I always have it on my phone through the google sheets app. (find my templates here.)
Whatever you use to plan, whatever works for you, please use it. We get too hung up on the right way to do something, and then we get mad when it doesn’t work for us. You need to adapt these suggestions I’m giving you and figure out what works for you. If scheduling out each hour of your day doesn’t work for you, please don’t do that. Figure out what works for you, and do that. The important thing is to plan.
2 Be Flexible With Your Plan
I create a content plan quarterly. I schedule my content for 3-4 months at a time. But! It’s not locked in. I take into account what events I’ll be attending, what sales I will be having, and any launches I will be having. I take these into consideration as I create my content for that time period. This way my content will support my goals. I bet you could do this right now. Look ahead 3-4 months and map out your goals, launches, and content ideas. It will take only 30 minutes!
Each month, I look at my quarterly content plan and I decide if the content I had originally planned to share is still relevant to what is going on in my business and in the world. I look at what my audience has been asking about on Instagram, and I make changes as needed. This is where being flexible comes into play. I do this weekly, as well. Recently Instagram launched their Reels. I didn’t know they were planning this launch, so I didn’t have it planned into my quarterly content plan. However, my audience has had a lot of questions about using Reels in their business, and I’ve been able to reach a bigger audience because I was able to pivot my content and start sharing on Reels quickly. Being flexible has been so key for me to be able to take advantage of the excitement about Reels.
Why would you make a plan if you’re going to change it? Most often you will not be changing your entire content plan for the month. The thing that stops us in our tracks the most is a blank sheet of paper or an empty Instagram square without anything to share. Having a plan and being flexible with that plan helps us to avoid that scenario!
3 Keep a Running List of Content Ideas
Most of my audience has told me they don’t know what to post or create content about. This tells me you need to talk to your audience more. I didn’t know what kind of Reels to create before I started asking my audience. I knew everyone would want an intro to Reels, and that was easy to come up with at first. The rest of my Reels content I was inspired to do because I asked my Instagram audience what they needed help with.
I keep a running list on a google doc of content brainstorming ideas. I want you to not be super burdened by the overwhelm of not knowing what to post. Every time someone asks you a question, write it down and keep a running list. I also add anything that pops into my head when I’m cleaning or researching. It’s a great way to have a thorough list on hand at all times! This is where you can draw from when you’re creating your content plans.
4 You’ve Gotta Boss Up and Make a Plan
I love that you are a creative. I am, too. But sometimes you use that as a crutch. You have to realize that creating content is a huge part of your business. It’s such a blessing that you can create content and build an audience with little to no money. You’ve got to create content. Schedule it in. Make a plan. A plan will make you more money! It will help you be more strategic and know exactly what you need to post about. I love you. But boss up and make a plan, ok?
You are a legit business owner. Treat yourself like one. Be accountable and show up. Be the business and the person you need to be. I believe in you! Don’t forget, if you need a business coach in your corner, join my Money Makers coaching group here!