Use A Content Calendar to Turn Posts Into Sales
What came first, the chicken or the egg? What came first, the cutting board, or the video of you making the cutting board? The reality is you are not just a woodworker, you are a content creator. You're not just building a woodshop business, you are also building a media company.
Why are your favorite Instagram accounts your favorite? Of course you learn woodworking skills by watching, but also: is it the video quality? The way they explain the skills on camera? Do you also know them from their podcast or YouTube channel?
In fact, they probably identify themselves as content creators first and woodworkers second. The live edge coffee table with bow ties is a byproduct of wanting to create that video. But both are necessary for the other to exist. They need a commission for the table before making the video, and previous videos probably got them the commission.
THE CONTENT CYCLE
Disney makes incredible movies. So do any number of movie production studios. But look at the Disney business model for a moment. When you want to see that Disney movie again, you need to pay for Disney+. Your child needs the Disney movie character toy and maybe the pajamas. Later, there are spinoff movies or weekly TV episodes, continuing the cycle. Ultimately, you have to take the family to Disney World to see that movie’s new theme park. Disney, through careful planning, found multiple ways to monetize their audience, after the initial movie.
Now let's leave Orlando and bring this home. You need cutting boards for the craft show. You really love creating cutting boards. (Maybe not 20 at once, but the end product is worth it.) You create a video or take still pictures of you batching out 20 boards. (Remember how some of your favorite accounts do it, or the Disney movie.) Now you have a video for your YouTube channel, your Instagram Feed and IGTV, either from filming, or piecing together the stills. You also have images for other Instagram posts, maybe your Facebook feed (like the Disney spinoffs). Plus you have 20 boards you can sell (like the Disney toys). You can reuse some of that footage, because you are a brand ambassador for a tool or product you used. You also tagged an account for a product you used and you want to be an ambassador for (like the Disney commercials). But the cycle continues, because someone watching the video DMs you to make a commission (this is like Disney World). And now you have the subject of the next video, and maybe a new tool you bought from your profits.
But all this doesn’t happen accidentally. It takes planning to turn your single cutting board order into several future orders. That starts with the single cutting board order... and a content calendar.
We’ve all had those days when you have no idea what to post today. But you are forgetting that you haven’t called out your brand ambassador in weeks, you stopped posting about a tool some of your followers loved, or you haven’t posted anything about you personally in forever. Planning a week or a month of posts on a content calendar fixes that. Let’s start with who our audience is and what we want them to know about us.
We will assume you are a part-time woodworker, with a day job, and not @dustylumberco or @izzswan_woodworking. Your ultimate target is customers purchasing from your Etsy store and your craft show table, but accolades from the woodworking community are also nice. You want every opportunity to monetize your audience, and maybe someday do this full time, even if that means waiting until retirement.
What do we want our customers to know? We obviously want to show the quality of our product. But we also want to create some type of connection, so they feel confident we can create the table they have in their head or the gift they want to give. They can trust us. That means we want them to see our skill, maybe some idea of our shop capabilities (they may not know what those machines are, but they look cool), and to see we are a professional business interested in their satisfaction.
Let’s unpack that, because to do all that is a lot:
- We need to post pictures of our product
- We need to create a post that creates a personal connection with the audience
- We need to create a post that shows some type of skill we have in creating our product
- We need to show some cool shop tools at work
- We need to show something that looks like a professional business, like a brand ambassador endorsement or our craft show setup
But wait there’s more:
- We need a post for the holiday this week
- We need a post to sell the t-shirts we just got in
- We need a post for the giveaway or charity drive we have
- We need a post for the customers’ pictures they just tagged us in (called UCG: user generated content)
When you list it all out, you quickly go from “What can I post today?” to “How am I gonna fit all this in?”
PLANNING A CONTENT CALENDAR
To fit it all in, and assuming you post daily, start with 7 themes that are important enough to the customer or to you personally, that you want to repeat almost weekly.
Maybe it looks something like this:
- Monday: Business (ambassador, affiliate link, or selling yourself to get one)
- Tuesday: Product (YouTube videos or pictures of your current project)
- Wednesday: Trust (glamour shots of finished products, pictures of your shop)
- Thursday: user generated content or pictures of items in their homes (even if it’s your home)
- Friday: Product (YouTube videos or pictures of a project you wish you sold more of)
- Saturday: Personal (why you do this, what themes are important to you)
- Sunday: Other monetizations (shirts with your logo, shout-out to upcoming craft show)
Now we start filling in a spreadsheet using the project we're working on next. List the days of the month across the top, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc, repeated once for each week of the month. Then list your social media channels down the left side.
Your strategy may begin with a YouTube video, so start by filling in when that will be posted.
Now fill in the Instagram Feed themes across the top for each day and repeat them for each week. So for simplicity at this time, make every Monday the same, every Tuesday the same, etc.
Next, for the woodworking project you have coming up next, fill in possible Instagram Feed posts to fit your themes. Some posts will fill in easily, and some will take some thought.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR YOUR CONTENT CALENDAR
- Future Work: Make the calendar work for you. If you want to do more CNC work in the future, showcase those capabilities weekly, even if you don’t have a current CNC project. If you believe veterans’ issues are first and foremost, get them in the schedule. If you’re trying to grow your Etsy store, feature an item each week.
- Major Holidays: You may need to shift things around weekly to accommodate a holiday, or you have more progress videos but no UGC. But you can see how planned out posts can move you forward and lead you to your goal better than random ideas each day.
- Minor Holidays: Check that month’s Planning Calendar. Are there any holidays you need to call out? Get creative and think hard. Could you wish everyone a happy National Middle Child Day, by showing a cutting board glue up with the middle section missing? Could you post on National Bad Poetry Day? (There once was a girl from Nantucket…) Have you got a candidate for National Ugly Truck Day?
- Instagram Stories: Your Instagram Stories are most likely a version of your Feed posts. So plan those out also. Using the calendar, you now can schedule the same post on your Feed and your Story on different days, without losing track of where you are. For example, the same progress video can be on your Feed on Tuesday, and your Story on Thursday.
- Audiences: Consider that the audience on each channel is not the same. For example, my Instagram audience is primarily serious woodworkers, but my Facebook audience is weekend DIYers. So my posts on Facebook are more woodworking t-shirts. Not so much custom printing and shop banners. Your TikTok audience is a younger audience that wants to be entertained more than informed. Your LinkedIn and Twitter audience will be more business-oriented. Fill in the Audience column for each social media channel, to remind you each week where to focus your posts.
- Your Personal Life: This took me years to realize, but check your calendar once again, but this time with an eye toward your non-woodworking life. If Mondays are super busy for you, make that a post that’s easy to execute. Be realistic, are you really gonna post on Sunday? Or is Sunday a perfect day for you to post?
- Content Planning Day: Consider setting aside a specific time each week to plan all of next week’s posts. Mine is Thursday afternoon for the day job, and Thursday night for the night job. For me, it takes a specific mindset to be creative and thoughtful. I can’t do it between non-creative tasks like spreadsheets, accounting, and HR responsibilities.
- Content Scheduling Apps: Also consider using an app to schedule as many posts as possible to post automatically in the future. Popular apps like Hootsuite, Later, Loomly and Ripl all offer the capability to post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter in the future. Facebook will allow you to schedule a future post natively in their app. If you are a subscriber to our SUPPLY CHAIN email newsletter, you are eligible for our LINK IN BIO account, that also includes a free Instagram scheduler. Subscribe here!
The Disney empire we know today wasn’t built by random cartoons created on an inconsistent basis. Careful planning was needed, leading customers through a sales funnel, monetizing them along the way, and creating a circular system that keeps them coming back for more.
You too can create a carefully planned schedule that excites your customers, allows them to know you, trust you, and identify with you. That creates a circular system of future orders that you use to generate income, and to create content that leads to even more orders. It’s all part of the business and of owning a business.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Scott Chervitz is owner of George Supply Company, dedicated to helping woodshops build their brand. See more at GeorgeSupplyCo.com. You can reach him at Scott@GeorgeSupplyCo.com, on Instagram at @GeorgeSupplyCompany or Twitter @ScottChervitzBrian Chervitz M.S. is Associate Instructional Designer at the University of Wisconsin Extended Campus. He can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianchervitz/