Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

#524: How To Monetize Your Instagram (Without Changing Your Content Strategy) With Natasha Willis

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:#524: How To Monetize Your Instagram (Without Changing Your Content Strategy) With Natasha Willis

AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey there, welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield. Tell me this, do you remember the movie Groundhog Day? 

Bill Murray plays a newscaster in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, reporting on the annual Groundhog Day festivities. He wakes up everyday to the same thing happening again and again. He tries to make these small course corrections throughout the day but everyday just resets and replays. 

Have you seen that movie? Well, that’s exactly how I felt about six months ago with this exact podcast. Everyday felt like Groundhog Day except in my world I would just call it Podcast Day. 

Here’s what would happen. I would wake up in the morning and it would be Podcast Day again. Maybe I’d be creating outlines for the podcast or coming up with new ideas for the podcast. The next day I might record a one-off episode. The next day we would focus on writing the show notes and the emails and I’d be reviewing all of that. 

The next day maybe we would be thinking about a podcast freebie and the next…You get it. The next day, the next day, the next day. It was Podcast Day everyday in my business. 

Maybe you don’t have a podcast but with content creation in general if your goal is to get something out every single week then you, too, might be having a Groundhog Day experience. Can you relate to any of this? 

It’s always in your mind. You’re always thinking about it. Worst yet, you’re probably thinking, “Oh shoot, I’ve got to get to that,” or “Yet again I’ve got to do this and that,” for this one consistent content creation project you’re doing. Whether it be a blog, video show, or podcast it doesn’t matter, this can happen to anybody who’s creating consistent content. 

Because it felt incredibly draining to me I felt I had to change something. Then I discovered mega batching, not just batching. I’ve talked about batching before on this show and I’ve tried it but I wasn’t consistent with it. 

I don’t know why something has shifted in me. Actually I do. Now I look at it as mega batching. I first heard about this term from my dear friend, Michael Hyatt. I learned about it a little from him and then I ran with it and made it my own so that it worked inside of my business. 

Here’s what happened. Back in August of last year I told my team I wanted to give something new a try and asked them to get on board with me. I told them I wanted to mega batch our podcast. That means we would batch the podcast ideas and then we would batch our outlines for our podcasts. 

We would then batch my podcast recordings and then we would batch the writing that goes into each podcast, the show notes, the emails, social media, and all that good stuff. We would batch that as well. This is not just batching but mega batching. 

When I said it out loud it seemed a little crazy. Even when I tell other people about it they think it’s a lot of batching but that’s why I created this episode. I want to break it down for you in hopes that you might get the mega batching bug as well. 

Today we’re moving into our third wave of mega batching. I have to say I absolutely love it. I am a little bit obsessed with it. I think it’s that good. My team loves it as well. 

Again, I wanted to share what this looks like inside of my business and hopefully you will want to jump on the mega-batching bandwagon as well to save yourself from experiencing Groundhog Day with your content creation. 

Here’s the thing, if you don’t have a podcast keep listening. Mega batching is not just for podcasting. It can be used in any type of consistent content creation: A blog, a video show, or anything else you might be cooking up. 

Keep an open mind and get creative on where this strategy could work for you. Let’s jump into it. 

First, let’s talk about the “why” around mega batching. Yes, it was prompted by my Groundhog Day experience that I was trying to escape. But there was more to it than that. 

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#1 – Sometimes we got caught when our schedules didn’t go as planned. If an interview fell through or something came up on my end and I couldn’t record when I planned to record we would be scrambling because we wouldn’t have an episode for the upcoming week. We were working that close to the deadline. 

I like to practice what I preach so I believe we should be creating original, consistent content every single week on our blog, our podcast, our video show, or whatever it might be. I was struggling to get out that content every week when just one little thing would come up and throw us off track. 

#2 – I had this feeling of always being behind. Remember I mentioned that I started to dread it and often thought, “Ugh, I’ve got to do this.” I hate when something I used to love becomes a pain in the butt. The podcast was starting to feel that way. 

Because I wasn’t getting ahead of myself we were always right there, up until the deadline. If I was recording something it was likely for the coming week, just days away, the next week’s episode. I hated that feeling. 

After I record I have a small team that works on all of the stuff on the back end to make it go live so I was stressing everybody else out as well. 

#3 – I wanted to plan our guests our further. With the podcast, at times, I wanted to have some bigger names on the show. If they are a bigger name you have to book them out way in advance. So because I wasn’t getting ahead of this I wasn’t getting some of the really big influencers that I wanted on the show. 

We’ve been working on mega batching and we have some awesome influencers coming down the pipeline. 

#4 – I needed a solution. I didn’t want to have to think about the podcast everyday. This is the one I mentioned with Groundhog Day. But I want to bring it up here again because imagine what I wasn’t focusing on when I was always thinking about the podcast. 

I do big, live launches in my business. I’ve been creating some new content I can’t wait to get out there to you. I want to make more videos and do bigger things in my business. But at all times the podcast was kind of on my shoulder, “Hi , hi, hello. I’m here, I’m here.” 

I can’t create that white space for being creative. I always felt there was a nagging thing I had to get to. So that does not make for a really nice creative space to come up with new ideas and feel the freedom of dreaming bigger. 

This whole concept of always touching something every day in your business can really stifle your creativity and I know first hand what that feel like. So that’s a little bit of the “why” (in fact that’s a lot of the “why”) behind mega batching. It’s exactly why we are now doing it differently inside my business. 

Hopefully you can relate to some of that and I’m encouraging you to try mega batching even more. 

You know this podcast is all about the “how to” and not just the “what”. So I’ve given you a bunch of the “what”. Now let’s get into the “how to”. 

I’m going to break it down for you and explain exactly how we do it in my business. Remember I said to have an open mind. It will look very different inside of your business but as an entrepreneur you want to get strategic and see that it’s working for me, I am having great success with it, it’s freeing up my mind to be more creative, and you want some of that. 

So how are you going to work this into your own business as well? I’m going to get very specific on how it works in my business. You will take it and say, “How will I make it work in my business so I can be a mega-batching super star?” That’s our goal for this episode. 

Here I go. I’m going to break it down. First of all, I do six episodes per mega batch. Six episodes tends to be our sweet spot. It’s doable. It’s manageable and it gets us ahead more than a month. That works really well for us. 

Inside the mega batch there are five sessions I’m going to walk you through. These five sessions, if you look at them on a calendar, might take a total of two weeks. However, for me, it feels like just a few days so I’ll explain that. 

My team, in general, is touching the podcast for about two weeks. Then we take a big break and then we come back to it. So let me walk you through these five sessions. 

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Session 1 – The Brainstorming Session 

This is where you will come up with your content ideas. Inside my business this session takes about three to four hours max. Three hours will usually do it. I don’t do it alone. Gina, who helps me with my content for all of my podcast episodes, comes to the session with me. 

Together we pitch and catch on topic ideas. Typically, we have surveys I’ve done that we can go through. We look on social media. We look inside my private Facebook groups for the questions people are asking. We come up with six topics for the podcast. 

It takes so long because we’re talking about different stories I can tell or different examples I can use. We are also breaking down the flow of that actual podcast episode. We really hash it out in the brainstorming session. 

I love this session because I don’t have to do it alone. It’s nice to pitch and catch with somebody that really knows your content well. Gina has been with me for a while now. She’s not an employee. She’s a contractor. She spends a lot of time inside of my Facebook groups getting to know my students so it’s nice that I’m not alone trying to think of ideas. 

If you can get somebody to help you with this I highly encourage you to do so. 

In the brainstorming session we come up with topics. We make sure we’ve got a flow, we’ve got ideas, we’ve got examples. We always look at the topic and ask what the question is that we are answering for the topic idea. 

If we can come up with a good question that we’re answering that we know my students would want to know then we feel it’s golden and we move on. 

Session 2 – Outline Review 

After that brainstorming session the next session is the outline review session. Gina takes all of our notes and makes them into really detailed outlines. She spends about a week doing so. It’s not a full week but she works off and on and I don’t have to worry about the podcast for a full week. I know Gina’s working on the outlines and we’re going to come together for session #2. 

We book about two to three hours for the outline review. We sit in a room and Gina and I go over her detailed outlines one by one. I’m looking at the flow. I’m making sure it feels good in terms of how I’m going to deliver it. I can’t just have someone create my content and I sit and read it. 

I’ve got to be a part of my content and Gina knows that. So we kind of play around with the outlines a little bit. We might talk about more examples. One time we came together with one outline that was just not cutting it for us. She put it together but said, “This one just feels a little bit sloppy.” 

We took a good 30 minutes reworking the outline together. That’s why I like to have a few hours to review outlines. If I don’t need it and just review them and love them then we’re off to the races but we give ourselves that space to be creative if we need it. 

Session 3 – Record the Episodes 

After the outline review session, the very next day, since it’s in my body and I’ve read all of the outlines and am ready, I go into my recording studio. I allow myself two days to record six episodes. Some of these episodes will be interviews so I need to make sure that we get ahead of that. During my two days of recording my interviews are set up as well and we’ll talk about that in just a moment. 

I record for two days and I’m done. I’ve got six episodes knocked out. Sure, I could say I am going to do that in one day and that was the initial plan. But I had to get honest with myself and see that I just don’t do well in recording six episodes in one day. 

My friend, John Lee Dumas, can record 100 in a day. I just can’t do it. It’s just not me. I don’t want to hate the process so I’ve given myself two days. So that’s session #3. 

Session 4 – Production Session 

I am totally out of this session. I don’t have anything to do with creating the show notes or writing the emails or writing any of the social media. My team handles that. Because of that I get to be free again to just focus on the other projects I’ve been working on and not keep touching the podcast. 

Session 5 – Review 

Once everything is written the fifth and final session is the review session. This is where I come back in for about two hours to review all of the emails and show notes. I just read them over. It doesn’t take me long because my team is really good at this part but I like to know what’s going out there. 

I’m just not okay with totally stepping back and not seeing the email that’s going to go out or the show notes or whatever. This is my brand, my voice. This is me. This is my baby. I want to be a part of it. 

{15:00} 

Let’s walk through those sessions one more time because I want to point out where I get involved and where I get to step out. 

Brainstorming Session – This session is just a few hours. I’m in and then I’m out. 

Outline Review Session – A week later we come together and do an outline review session in just a few hours. I am reviewing everything. I’m making sure I’m ready for recording. Done. 

Recording Session – The next day I go into the recording session. I probably get three done and the day after that I get another three done. Then I’m done. 

Production Session – The team works for a few days on all of the copy that’s needed. 

Review Session – I come back in for a few more hours for the review session and I’m done. 

For me, it feels like I am focused on the podcast for just one week. It’s just a few hours each time except on my two recording days. The team is definitely touching it more so than I am so that’s why I say to look at the calendar and I would guess a mega-batching session takes about two weeks. 

We’re definitely not touching it every single day in that two weeks and once it’s done we have weeks without even talking about the podcast. It’s funny. Someone on my team, during a non-mega-batching session (we were working on other stuff) came up to me and said, “But, Episode #180, I was thinking…” 

In my head I was thinking, “No, no, no! We’re not talking about the podcast.” I have become diligent about it. I don’t want to think about it because here’s the great thing, when I do come back to it I’m really excited to jump in. 

Let’s talk about what’s great about mega batching and then I’m going to share with you a few areas I’m trying to improve on as it relates to mega batching. 

What’s Great 

I love getting into a room with Gina and just working on the content, the topic ideas and then the outline reviews. It allows me to be super focused and then let it go when I walk outside of the room. When we’re focusing on six episodes and we’re really in it that feels good. 

Then it feels really good to walk out of the room and be done with it. That doesn’t mean Gina’s done with it but for me, as I’m running this business and doing a million other things, it’s important that I let go of something and come back to it when the time is right. That’s exactly what mega batching has allowed me to do. 

I also have more time to look back and see what we’ve done in the past. We have an issue where I felt we started to repeat content. We actually had a full episode outline created one time about six months ago and I sat down to look at it and realized we had already done the episode. 

I didn’t realize it in the moment that we came up with the idea. No one checked against our grid of all of the topics we had covered. It was a huge waste. So slowing down and getting laser focused like we’ve been doing now allows us to go back and really look at the past episodes and see how we can add to them or make them better but not repeat the same stuff we’ve already done. 

I also think the team likes having a break from the podcast just like I do. It recharges your batteries. I alluded to this a little bit earlier but I was getting really drained by the podcast. 

Now that we mega batch, and this is really the truth, we are more excited about it. When I come to the table I am ready to jump in and it feels really, really good. So I just wanted to put that out there because if you’re feeling like something in your business in terms of consistent content creation has become a big pain in the butt maybe it’s time to mega batch so you can walk away from it for a very big period of time and then come in excited to tackle it again. 

As I mentioned, I also want to improve on a few things as we continue to mega batch. In my business mega batching is definitely here to stay. But it’s also not an exact science. We’re still figuring out the timing of some things as it relates to getting people on the calendar to interview them. 

If they are on the calendar to interview we’ve got to make sure our outlines are ready. There’s a lot of communication back and forth. So I do feel interviewing people for the podcast in mega batching tends to show up as a challenge sometimes more than anything else. 

Again, with timing, we are working on that. I feel like we’ve gotten a lot better with looking into the future to see what we have to plan for in order to get these people on the calendar early enough. 

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I also don’t have a dedicated social media person in my business. This is something we are definitely looking to hire in the near future. We want to do someone local so they can be with me here and we can do more video on social and talk about the podcast in new ways on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and all that good stuff. 

Because we don’t have a dedicated social media person in the business it tends to not get the focus it needs inside of the mega batching. As I hire someone down the road I feel they might have their own session in terms of the mega batch so they can build out some better social media to get each podcast episode out there to a bigger audience. 

I just like to share with you my own personal experience of areas that I think we can still improve. 

Next week’s episode, #183, is a good one guys. It’s all about How to Create Your Promotional Calendar for the New Year or really any time of the year but since we’re getting into the New Year soon I’m going to show you how to plan your calendar. 

In that episode I talk about wanting to focus even more so on my podcast. I feel as we improve the podcast and add new elements to the podcast that will become part of our mega-batching experience as well. 

As this evolves I will be sure to keep you in the loop and let you know if I learn anything new around this process. 

There you have it. As we move into the wrap up I want to leave you with two things to think about. First, make this process your own. Remember how I told you I first got this idea from Michael Hyatt? I can promise you that mega batching looks very different in his business than it does in mine. 

I had to take into account the team I have and my own personality and how I like to create content. I know my weaknesses and my strengths. So all of that played a part in my idea of what mega batching looks like in my business. Take it and make it your own. 

Second, this is a process. It feels very awkward in the beginning and it could even feel a little bit overwhelming because six episodes at one time, in my business, felt like a lot. But as we started to work out the kinks and move things around a little bit and figure out where we might have a challenge and fix that, all of that typically happens in the beginning. 

In our very first mega batch we had to work out a few things. But it got really good into #2 and now into #3. I highly recommend that you give yourself a little flexibility. You will work it out. Do not give up after your first mega batch. 

I hope you enjoyed this episode. I love sharing all of these tips and trick with you. I cannot wait to come back again next week so I’ll see you soon. Bye for now!