If you’ve ever participated in social media training of any kind, you’re likely familiar with the concept of batching your content creation, i.e., creating multiple posts at one time versus one by one. Batching work best when you’ve done the work to identify or commit to a set of content bins. So if you want to get a system in place to use periodic blocks of time when you can get into a creative head space to craft content, do this FIRST!
But Jen, what’s a content bin?
In my home and office, I’m a bit of an organizing geek. I love to keep things neat and tidy and organized, and I approach social media content in the same way. We want to have a way to think about, brainstorm, and organize it. In my system, I like to think of them as content bins. You could think of these as your content topics or categories or any other name that makes sense to you. Lots of people teach this in a similar way and use different techniques, and terminology. You can use whatever language you would like.
Brainstorm your bins
There are countless ways to divvy-up and organize content types, so I’ve shared some ideas below. Consider these examples a starting place for crafting bins that suit your needs:
Calls for volunteers, donations, and other ways for people to contribute their time and talent to the various activities and initiatives that forward your mission
Any gatherings that you host, whether it’s a big annual event like a fundraiser, an open house or meet-and-greet, or classes, trainings, workshops, and other programs or gatherings
Showcase programs, services, products, information or how to find resources, support, tutorials, etc.—whether it be something YOU provide, or redirecting folks to external resources that your organization trusts or recommends
Feature various people connected to your organization and mission—the folks doing the work and making a difference—e.g., donor recognition, partner shout-outs, staff profiles, volunteer spotlight, etc.
Are there activities or services you only activate during certain months of the year? or things that happen or need to be spotlighted on a quarterly, annual, or periodic basis?
Ways to inform or shape policy, educate decision makers; circulate online petitions; encourage people in the community to provide testimony or show up for a public meeting
Stories of impact or transformation; anecdotes or vignettes that bring to life how your work transforms lives and communities; testimonials or quotes from people who’ve participated in your programs or contributed to your work
JUST FOR FUN
Inspirational quotes, relevant memes, humor; give folks a peek behind the scenes, show your team in action in the field or the office–think of ways to humanize the work and remind folks that people are working on this every day, every week, throughout the year
Remember: identifying your content bins is about coming up with themes or categories, not crafting the content.
Click either of the worksheets that appear below to download a digital copy that you can print or save to your computer. The first worksheet–Our Content Bins–is a fillable PDF that you can use to brainstorm content bins for your cause. The second worksheet–Content Bin Ideas–can be used for inspiration but is not an exhaustive list.
Challenge yourself to come up with at least thirty possible content bin ideas. Then revisit your brainstorming worksheet some time later (give yourself at least a day, but no more than a week so you don’t forget!) and pick your top five or six content bins. These are going to be your content pillars, or you could think of them as your roots, or the bones of a content plan.
Helpful criteria for your content pillars include topics or bins that are:
- mission-focused, aligned, or advancing
- important to share about regularly (weekly or monthly)
- of value or interest to our target audience
This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t use additional content bins or talk about other things. It simply means you’ll be more successful if you start with some core content pillars and develop a system to consistently create and publish them.
Once you’ve identified your core content bins, you can begin working them into a content calendar. Determining how often you’ll share something from each content bin will help you calculate the number of posts you’ll need to create each month and make it possible to enlist others in collecting information and drafting posts. You’ll find a few additional templates and more tips on batching content and creating a content calendar in this post.
Looking for resources to help you feel in control of your social media content? Would having a month or more of pre-scheduled social media posts feel like a dream? Then register to join us on Nov. 17, 2022 for Strategic Social Content Systems. This 90-minute interactive online workshop will guide participants through a simple process for crafting mission-aligned and audience-engaging social media content.