When I was a beauty editor at Essence.com, at one point I was responsible for writing up to 14 articles on the site in one week.
In fact, today there are 1,336 beauty articles still live on Essence.com with my byline!
You can see them here: https://www.essence.com/authors/nicole-marie-melton/
(That’s 71 pages… with 19 articles per page on pages 1-70… and 6 articles on page 71. Yes, I did the math!)
The way that I learned to crank out beauty content for Essence.com is the same way that I teach beauty entrepreneurs to create content for their businesses today!
This is a throwback to allllll the beauty products that were sent to me to write about. It was a very busy job, to say the least.
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Our team at Essence used a platform called Smartsheet for our editorial calendars. Each editor had access to see and edit the editorial calendar. (It was much like Google Docs.)
My deadline was every Monday to upload my content calendar into Smartsheet. All article topics were due two weeks in advance.
I joined Essence in 2011, and although I didn’t know it would at the time, this job created such a strong foundation for me to later manage my own content marketing business and teach beauty pros how to create content consistently.
Now that you know a little bit about how I learned and mastered creating content… I want to share step-by-step the way I would recommend creating a content calendar today.
Although the platforms have changed… the same principles of ideation, planning, and writing remain the same!
5 Easy Steps to Master Your Content Calendar
In the following paragraphs, I’m going to teach you how to create a beauty content calendar in five easy steps:
Step 1: Decide you CAN conquer content
Step 2: Develop your creative muscle using Morning Pages
Step 3: Write down post prompts for the entire month
Step 4: Looking at your month, create a content calendar, writing out three posts per week (for a total of 12 posts)
Step 5: Go through your photos to find images to match those 12 posts
Let’s break it down, shall we!
Step 1: Decide You CAN Conquer Content
With over 20,000 beauty pros in my social media community, hundreds of you have also taken an online course with me, and I hear over and over again that you have doubts about showing up on social media.
- I don’t know how to create pretty graphics.
- My followers never comment on my posts so why am I doing all this work for nothing.
- I’m not sure which camera or lighting is best.
- I can’t figure out what to write in my captions.
- I don’t think I look “pretty” enough to go live on my Instagram page.
Today is the day that I want you to say enough is enough! You have to make a bold declaration that you CAN show up and win on social media.
I have literally been creating content since I was five years old. I would write stories and speeches to memorize for bible study.
I share this because while creating content comes easy for me… it simply means that you have to spend time learning how to do it.
If creating content doesn’t come naturally to you, you have to START with realizing it’s your weak point… and continue with being OKAY with investing the time to learn it.
Once you make this realization, you have to commit to deciding you WILL learn it and find the resources to help you do just that!
Step 2: Develop Your Creative Muscle Using Morning Pages
I am currently in grad school for my Master of Divinity at Howard University. In the fall of 2017, one of my professors assigned us to read The Artist’s Way and start a practice of writing Morning Pages for the whole semester.
It’s simple: Each day, write three pages in your journal. These are your “Morning Pages.”
Writing every morning before you get caught up in the business of the day not only allows you to nurture your creativity, it also helps you to develop as a writer.
Start with one full week of Morning Pages before you create your first content calendar. I promise, once you’re more comfortable with writing in your Morning Pages, this ease will flow over into your social media content.
I’ve been doing it for three years and I recommend it so highly for all creative entrepreneurs!
Want to learn more about unlocking your creativity with Morning Pages? Grab these two books:
Step 3: Write Down Post Prompts for the Entire Month
Now that you have your mindset on creating content… and you’re in the habit of writing every day, creating content consistently will be so much easier!
This step is where you create your post prompts. Post prompts are just the “thought starters” or topics for your posts. (We are not writing out the full posts in this step yet.)
Take this example of post prompts for the month of May:
- Begin promoting my Mother’s Day beauty specials – the week of May 1st
- Attending the Makeup Show in NYC – May 3 & 4
- Mother’s Day brunch with the family – Sunday, May 10th
- My sister’s baby shower- Saturday, May 23
Now it’s your turn! First, take a look at your business calendar and your personal calendar and then, make a list of what you have going on for the month that you can share on social media.
I recommend writing your post prompts on a monthly view calendar template, like this one, which you can click and download below!
Print out as many copies as you need to and write all over it! Don’t worry about making this neat. On this calendar, I just want you to do a brain dump of your month which you’ll use for the next step.
Step 4: Looking at Your Month, Create a Content Calendar, Writing Out Three Posts Per Week (for a Total of 12 Posts)
The reason why I suggest starting with only 3 posts per week is because it’s a realistic, achievable goal.
If I told you to post twice a day, every day… that means you need enough content for SIXTY or even SIXTY-TWO posts.
Which would you rather start with… 12 posts or 62 posts?!? LOL
Take your posts prompts from Step 3 and write out full captions for those topics. Below is a free template you can use to write out your three posts!
I am a huge fan of long-form captions, which studies show, create more engagement. Just make sure you use paragraph breaks! (So people don’t just see a big word blob!)
This is another reason I looooove Morning Pages each day. It gets you in the habit of writing, writing, writing!
Step 5: Go Through Your Photos to Find Images to Match Those 12 Posts
You’ll notice that I’m having you start with the WRITTEN caption before finding an image to go with it.
I find that MOST of my students struggle the most with writing captions. Finding photos or taking a picture of a flatlay is muuuuuch easier than sitting down to get your thoughts written on a page… for 12 posts.
Trust me on this one. You will feel so much relief seeing those 12 posts written on the page, which will give you energy to go and create or find gorgeous images to match!
Also, we are living in an era where the image no longer has to match the caption. Exhibit A: check out this post I wrote below:
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I’m live streaming session 2 of our #GrowontheGram series today at 1pm ET/12pm CT! Join me as we discuss “The Purpose of Your Platform.” It’s going to be a GOOD one, folks! ⠀ ⠀ Your free Show Notes for today’s episode are now ready for immediate download at growonthegram.com! Print them out and bring them to class at 1pm ET/ 12pm CT. I am live streaming on Facebook. Search for “Beauty Content Studio” or visit the URL fb.com/beautycontentstudio. ⠀ ⠀ What questions do you have about growing on the Gram or finding the purpose of your platform? Drop them below and I will answer in today’s live class!⠀?? ⠀ #beautycontenttv ⠀ #growto10k ⠀ #beautycontentcoach ⠀
The caption has absolutely ZERO to do with what’s pictured in the image!
(P.S. If you want to take your own stock photos like this, please read this post on how to take your own photos right at home, along with the backdrop paper I use and LOVE!)
And There You Have it! You Just Created a Content Calendar!
Seeeee! It was a lot easier than you thought, right?
To recap our 5 easy steps:
- Step 1: Decide you CAN conquer content
- Step 2: Develop your creative muscle using Morning Pages
- Step 3: Write down post prompts for the entire month
- Step 4: Looking at your month, create a content calendar, writing out three posts per week (for a total of 12 posts)
- Step 5: Go through your photos to find images to match those 12 posts.
I’m so excited for you to go on this creative journey to create content for your beauty biz. If you have any questions or feedback you can comment below or in my Facebook group here.
Don’t forget, you can grab a free template to help you through these steps below!