One question that comes up all the time with my clients and members of the Side Hustle Teachers community is how I manage to consistently put out my blogcast week after week.
There are 2 things I rely on; systems and tools.
I’ll address my systems in a future blogcast, but today let’s talk about tools. I’m going to walk you through my complete content creation process and tell you which tools I use for each step. Some are free, some have a modest fee, but all of them are indispensable in my business.
Google Business Suite
I use Google in a myriad of ways, but when it comes to content creation, I use it in 2 key ways. First I maintain a spreadsheet of blogcast topics. Every 6 months or so I draft a list of ideas to share, then organize it into a spreadsheet, organized by planned date of publication.
When it’s time to craft my content, I have created a Content Planning Worksheet that provides spaces for every aspect of my content, from title to the actual blogcast, to social media shares. (The Content Planning Worksheet is available to students enrolled in Content Made Simple.) I make a copy of the CPW for each blogcast, then craft my content in the doc.
I pay for Google Business Suite for the extra storage (it’s $1.99 a month), but it’s also available for free until you reach your storage limit.
Once the blogcast is crafted, it gets pasted into a new post on my website.
My website is built on WordPress and it allows me to host all my content, sales pages, and everything else I need for an online presence. If you don’t have a website already, I recommend getting your domain and hosting through Siteground. I’ve been with them since I started my blog many, many years ago and have yet to be disappointed by their service. Siteground also makes it easy to install WordPress on your site for free.
I use the Divi theme on my site, but there are many free themes to use as you get started. Each year WordPress releases a new theme of the year, which are typically well designed and audience-friendly.
My next step in the process of crafting my content is to create my graphics. I make 6 graphics for each post, but that is not what I’d recommend when you’re starting out. Before deciding what graphics you need, consider what platforms you’re going to use.
I suggest you create a square and horizontal image for each post or episode. If you also want to utilize Pinterest, you also need a vertical image.
Within my website I use the plugin called Social Warfare. It allows me to create prepopulated shares for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more, for each post. It also gives me the floating bard on the side of my website that allows people to share my blogcast with just one click.
Using this tool, when someone clicks the share button, let’s use Pinterest as an example, their new pin will populate with the image I’ve selected and the description I’ve created. They can edit the description, of course, but it gives me more control over the way my brand is presented.
There are hundreds of programs that let you record your voice for a podcast, but the one I like best, and use every week, is Adobe Audition. It’s part of the Creative Cloud program, so you may have access through your school.
I like Audition because it’s fairly easy to learn and it enables me to edit my own blogcast in minimal time – because anything that saves me time is awesome. I know it has a lot of features I don’t use, but the ones I do use save me time and money.
Adobe offers a discounted rate for teachers. Scroll to the bottom of the linked page to find it.
Once the sound is recorded, I upload it to my podcast host, Libsyn (short for Liberated Syndication). I recommend using a paid hosting company like Libsyn (only $5 a month) over the free platforms because of the ease of use, customer service, listener stats, and multiple distribution channels. Libsyn also allows me to embed my episodes on the blog post page, making it easier for people to listen and helping to grow my listenership.
Once the content is created, I draft an email to those signed up for my list. The email text is included in the Content Planning Worksheet, so I can simply copy and paste it into ConvertKit.
One way I make my weekly emails easier is to duplicate the email from the week before, then adjust the sections as necessary. This also ensures that the correct people on my email list get the Side Hustle Headlines email. Those who are new to my list are in what’s called a nurture sequence, and to prevent them from getting an overload of emails I don’t send them the weekly messages. The ability to create nurture sequences, tag subscribers, and segment my list are what makes ConvertKit my email service provider of choice for 7 years now!
The last step in my content creation process is to schedule my posts for social media. In my personal opinion a good scheduling program is essential for all business owners, but especially teachers. We aren’t available to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In all day long.
Just imagine, “Hang on class, I just have to post this prompt to my Facebook group.” Ummmmmm. No.
Each Sunday night I get all my posts for the week loaded into CinchShare, use their auto-scheduler to set up times for everything to go out, and click “schedule.” So before I go to bed I know that all my prompts, stories, posts, questions, quotes… you get the idea… will go out on time.
Using the right tools can have a massive impact on your business. It can take stress off of you and make running a business while teaching much more manageable. While it may take a small investment to get access to some tools, the time, energy, and effort you save will be well worth it.
For a complete list of all the tools and programs I recommend, check out the resources page on my site.