* This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission if you purchase this tool, but it will not cost you anything additional.
Remember when social media was actually fun?
While I do miss all the foodie pics, I’m kind of glad we’ve phased out of that (and no…it doesn’t have anything to do with my *possibly* embarrassing old pics).
Us business owners tend to scoff at social media — and I get it. We’ve got good reason too. Algorithms change on a dime and the cost of running ads is out the wazoo.
But the data doesn’t lie, my friends.
That, however, doesn’t mean we have to spend ALL of our time creating social content.
In this post, I’m going to share what my social media content workflow looks like and how I manage to keep it flowing — even when I’m feeling a little unsure about what to post!
I always approach my social media calendar with a strategy I like to call the quarterly champagne campaign system. This is just my fun way of saying that each quarter, I tackle one big sales push. That means I have 4 big pushes each year. Nothing more, nothing less.
All my social media content points to that quarter’s big push, whether that’s Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Pinterest.
I do this because those big pushes are what’s going to keep the lights on in my business. They’re what brings home the bacon (and the biscuits). Anything else I can talk about — like my personal life or helpful hacks — is the gravy on top.
The big pushes serve as the baseline for all of my content. Essentially, they’re content pillars that guide everything else that I do. I don’t necessarily have to use the same language or CTAs in each post every quarter, but they do all need to reference or point to the same thing.
This works out great for my audience too because creating content pillars means you’re diversifying your content and making sure your audience doesn’t get bored. Nobody likes hearing the same thing over and over.
With content pillars, you make sure your content is still relevant enough to stay on brand but exciting enough to grab and keep your audience’s attention.
This is when I do my editorial calendar workflow. I work on #AllThingsMarketing. I don’t do client work, I don’t do finances, just marketing all.livelong.day. Which yes, includes writing the entire week’s social media posts for all platforms.
I know not everyone likes batch-creating content, but it’s something that has continued to work for me and my biz. I find that when I can batch out my days, I’m more focused and more productive because my brain isn’t constantly switching back and forth between different types of tasks.
I have an app called Prime that I love and have been using for years. It helps you figure out your best posting times for Instagram, which is a huge help because I used to have to trial and error it or look at analytics and crunch some numbers to figure it out. Prime gives you ideal posting times based on your audience — easy breezy!
My social media workflow is housed in Asana. It’s something I implemented in my business back in 2019, and it’s here to stay. I love it!
It’s basically the brain of my business. I keep everything in there. It also houses the content calendars for all platforms — which includes YouTube, Instagram (and getting specific…Reels and Stories too), Pinterest, etc.
I keep my content pillars in there and idea banks for post ideas, captions, and CTAs. I keep my quarterly champagne campaign system marketing calendar as a reference (those big pushes I talked about earlier). It also has my weekly posting template!
If you want to get a visual look at how I use Asana for my social media content planning, check out this video!
Coming up with what to post about and what to say on social media is a biiiiig time suck. It’s taken me time to refine a process that doesn’t leave me feeling stuck.
Here are a few tips that I’ve learned over the years:
Keep in mind that you don’t have to strictly rotate through your content pillars. It ends up making you sound like a robot and takes the humanity out of your content when you don’t leave any wiggle room.
Having great images is just as important as the copy you write. Low-quality images are a signal to your audience to scroll in the other direction, but higher-quality images and graphics can grab their attention, making space for your copy to keep it.
What’s helped me consistently get great photos for my social media content was building a library of brand photography (shoutout to Abby Grace Springman who did my brand photos — I love them!). Having those to always pull from and mix and match with content saves you a ton of time you’d otherwise spend on searching for free stock images.
You can also snag a subscription to a stock photography membership like Social Squares. I promise you — these aren’t your mother’s stock photos. Social Squares has a library of THOUSANDS of stylish images…ones that I constantly use in my marketing!
You can also browse through Creative Market for social media graphic templates that you can easily customize in Canva to fit your brand. Instead of sifting through templates on Canva, I have tons of them ready to go whenever it’s time to batch content. It’s worth the purchase my friend!
I’ve used a few different platforms to schedule my posts in the past, but TBH, I’ve found Plann to be the simplest and easiest to use. I can easily draft up my content in Asana and then drop it into Plann to post.
It’s all there in an easy-to-see grid (great for visual planning!) and also shows me basic stats so I can see what’s happening with my content. You can also access suggested hashtags for your post — which is *mwah, chef’s kiss* because you don’t have to research them yourself (and somehow spend three hours doing so).
The BEST part? You can schedule Instagram Stories and Reels. You’re welcome. 😉
If you want a visual walkthrough of how I use Plann, check out minutes 12:21-14:02 of this video!
One of my favorite ways to knock out big chunks of content planning like I do for my quarterly champagne campaign planning is to take a workcation. I try to take these once a quarter (doesn’t always happen…sometimes it’s more like a staycation) but the basic idea is to get away from your normal work environment (like at a hotel) for a day or two to hunker down and get things done.
If you’re like “Heck ya I need me one of those!” watch the video below! I’m going to take you behind the scenes of how I plan my workcations and what I do while I’m there!
Reading Time: 5 Minutes * This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission if you purchase this tool, but it will not cost you anything additional. Remember when social media was actually fun? While I do miss all the foodie pics, I’m kind of glad we’ve phased out of that (and no…it doesn’t have anything to do […]
Honesty hour: I get nervous about starting a new project. If I’m overwhelmed by the size of a project, or I am worried that I’m not going totally rock it, I freeze. I’ll find other things to do. I know I have to get that big project out, but… it’s scary, right??
Have y’all ever been there? (Please say yes, so I don’t feel so alone in this!)
Usually, when I get to this point, I know it’s time to pull out of my best business tools: The Workcation. If you’re not sure what a workcation is, or how to plan one to help you get stuff done, you’re in luck! Keep reading (or watch the video below) to hear more about how to plan a workcation so you can get over that procrastination hump and move things forward in your business.
Simply put, a workcation is an environmental hack to help you get stuff done. It’s all about changing your environment so you can push through and get that big project done — you know, the one you’ve been procrastinating on?
I first learned about workcations when reading Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work. In that book, he talks about something he calls “The Grand Gesture.” He tells a story about JK Rowling, when she was struggling to get out her last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She was overwhelmed by the distractions at home and just couldn’t bring herself to focus on the chapters she needed to write (sound familiar??). So she checked herself into a 5-star hotel down the street from her own home for a night — and she kept coming back because she was so darn productive.
While you don’t have to book a 5-star hotel to have a successful workcation, I do think there are so many best practices we can pull from Cal’s story here.
“By leveraging a radical change to your normal environment, coupled with perhaps a significant investment of effort or money, all dedicated to supporting a deep work task, you increase the perceived value of the task.” – Cal Newport
When you’re in a new space, especially one chosen to support focus and execution, you can reduce your mind’s instinct to procrastinate, and get a much-needed boost of motivation and energy.
Of course, workcations are just one way to introduce grand gestures into your work. I love a good pen, for example, or paper products you only use when you work on a specific project. Candles are also a must-have for deep focus. But a workcation is the ultimate example of a grand gesture.
Heading off for one day or two is absolutely magical, especially if you’re a business owner with kiddos, a partner, a house to run (why do repair guys always come when you need to focus??), and so on. But how do you get ready for a workcation? I’ve got you, boo!
Believe it or not, I don’t typically plan my workcations with a ton of foresight. They come as an antidote to solve a problem that comes up unexpectedly — and they usually happen during the week when I need to hunker down and get something done. These definitely aren’t week-long or even weekend getaways. They’re just to get work done in a short amount of time.
While they may come up unexpectedly, I can also usually tell when I might need a workcation in this quarter — because I know I have a big project (or projects) on the calendar. When I see this coming, I look ahead at my calendar, our family calendar, and my husband’s shifts to make sure that I can get away. If needed, I may also look at pulling the grandparents in for help, but I’m not usually gone for more than a day or two.
Those are the times that I know I’ll need a workcation, but y’all… sometimes I just need it when I need it. When that happens, I’ll work with my husband to get the logistics down and get things rolling as soon as I can. As a mama of two and a business owner, this isn’t usually instant, but it can be done with a couple of weeks’ foresight.
Once I know I need to get a workcation on the books, my next step is to find the perfect, *chef’s kiss* location.
Where should you book your workcation? I don’t typically go very far, but you may decide that you need a whole new change of scenery (as in, a whole new state).
I actually focus on the hotel room more than the location — I want a room that looks magical to stay in because I’ll be in there about 80% of the time. My best tip? Judge a hotel from its guest picture reviews. They’re wayyyyy more accurate than the listing photos.
I also look for low-key, calm locations. One time I almost booked a workcation in Palm Beach and realized that would be a terrible idea because… who can focus when there’s a gorgeous pool and beach within sight??
Find the perfect hotel
You read that right. I said hotel, not Air BnB or VRBO. I like hotels for my workcations because they have fluffy down beds, fluffy robes, and other amenities that other places don’t. They also have:
I also look for hotels that have:
Honestly, college towns are my favorites for workcations. They have strong-like-southern-sweet-tea wifi, are within walking distance to coffee shops and bookstores, and they have Apple stores and tech stores when your tech fails you (it happens!).
Now that we’ve got the where of your workcation sorted out, let’s talk about what you’ll be doing on this trip.
When I am planning a workcation, sometimes I have ONE specific, in-depth project that I need to get done. But sometimes, I take a workcation with two to three projects in mind, depending on their size and urgency. I usually tell my team or my husband — “Make sure I don’t come back home until I get this thing done.”
Once I’m at the hotel and have my butt in the desk chair (or, more honestly, tucked into the fluffy down comforter bed), I am much more able to enter “work mode” and focus on the projects I’ve been procrastinating on.
But I don’t just do a workcation to get some small tasks checked off — no ma’am. Instead, I focus on the project that leads to important financial results. This is not the trip for a vanity project or a creative endeavor that I kinda want to dabble in. This is the time to work on a project that will make the business money in the next 60 or 90 days.
Why do I focus on financially relevant projects? Because workcations cost money. I’m paying to be out of the office, to travel to a hotel and a new city. So what I do on these trips better make me money back — otherwise, it’s just a boring personal trip, right??
I’ve used my workcations to…
Writing this, though, I realized something important: I didn’t take a workcation before my 2 maternity leaves. But in hindsight, that would’ve been a really good time to take one, so I could have the space to focus on what needed to be done before I went out. This is also a great idea for projects that need done before your wedding and honeymoon, a big trip or sabbatical, a surgery, and so on.
If you want to hear more about how I did plan for my maternity leaves, though, you can read all about that here.
I love a good packing list, and this workcation packing list is one I’ve refined myself over the last few years. Here’s what you’ll want to bring with you:
Of course, you’ll want to pack your other essentials, like toiletries (I love a good self-care moment on these workcations, so bring the fancy facial stuff!), comfy clothes, a swimsuit for a hot tub break, and so on.
* I only light my “focus candles” if I’m working on specific projects because they put me in the zone. I am not allowed to burn that candle except for when I’m getting those projects done! Sense of smell is tied to memory, after all, and when I light those candles, the muscle memory kicks in and I KNOW I’m in work mode.
You want to have a schedule for your workcation or you’ll just end up bingeing bad hotel cable TV… or at least, I would. I’ll share my workcation schedule below, but of course, I don’t expect this to work for everyone!
During my workcation, I am working and my team is, too. No out-of-office auto-responder is needed and I’m usually available for responses and team communications.
However, I am focused solely on the specific project(s) I came for, and I like to break those deep focus sessions into 2-3 blocks during my day. Usually, these are in the early morning, afternoon, and night.
I get up super early and get a morning sprint done and out of the way. Then, I plan for a workout in the late morning/early afternoon. I also change locations often and hop between the hotel room, the lounge, a coffee shop, etc. If there’s someone in the area who I know, I’ll also schedule a friendly chat over coffee or dinner!
I also only plan to be on my workcation for 2 days. After that, my brain is pretty well fried. Again, this is just what works for me — it helps to know how long you can focus, how many “sprints” you can get done in a day, and the environments where you can focus the most. If you’re a people watcher, probably avoid the busy coffee shop next to the hotel, ok?!
If you’re a veteran AW reader, you probably have seen me write about the Focus Keeper App (you can grab it at the Apple Store or Google Play Store). I love this app because it keeps me focused without getting too sucked into a project that I forget to move, eat, or take potty breaks.
It runs on the concept of Pomodoro sprints — 25 minutes of focus and then you get a 5-minute rest period. If you use this app consistently, you will get the 25-minute sprint, 5 min break, and repeat that 3 times before you get a longer 30-minute break. I particularly love this app because I can hear it ticking down the time, and it’s this auditory reminder to stay on task.
If you use something like this on your workcation, you can absolutely bet that you’ll get a lot done. Of course, I’d love to hear how you make your workcation your own — and what kind of project(s) you’ll be working on when you get to that lovely hotel room.
Reading Time: 7 Minutes Honesty hour: I get nervous about starting a new project. If I’m overwhelmed by the size of a project, or I am worried that I’m not going totally rock it, I freeze. I’ll find other things to do. I know I have to get that big project out, but… it’s scary, right?? Have y’all ever […]
Are you ready to grow your reach, get new eyes on your offers, and drive some sales? Social ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram might be on your radar!
Of course, we know that social ads can be expensive, so how do you set yourself up for success as much as possible? With social media ad copy that designed to convert.
Since you’re here, you probably already know that you need to write killer ad copy to get results from your ad spend. So, in this blog, I’m talking all about how to write engaging ad copy that gets the click!
Below, I’ll share some Facebook ad writing tips from inside our copywriting agency so you can write your own ads (instead of outsourcing them), grab people’s attention, and convince them to take action on your offers.
Hey friend! Not sure if you should run ads, or what your budget should be? I talked all about whether or not social ads are worth it and what to consider before you get started in this video. You know I got you!
Before you even start writing, I want you to ask yourself: “What’s the ultimate goal of this ad or ad set?” I’m sure your first response is something like, “To capture people’s attention,” and that’s great.
But I’ll be honest: Your ad copy won’t necessarily stop the scroll like imagery or ad creative does. Copy is more to expand on the image and to really hit home on the ad targeting.
You could have the best copy in the world, y’all, but if your targeting is off, that message is going to fall flat.
So, again, I ask you: What is the ultimate goal for your ad (or set of ads)? I can definitely help you here, y’all.
Your ad copy (and honestly any copy you write, for that matter) has only one job.
In the case of ads, that job is to get the click and take people from Facebook or Instagram or wherever they see the ad to the next place. That might be your website, landing page, sales page, etc.
These ads are relatively shorter than other copy, like a sales page, so you’ll want to make sure that you hit the goal (drive the click) in fewer words.
Fewer words means less time writing and faster ad creation, right?
* record scratches in the distance *
Not so much, my friends. We wrote 185 ads in our agency in 2021 and I’m here to tell you… short copy ≠ easy copy.
Don’t let that stop you, though, because I’m about to give you some ad-writing tips that are going to make short, impactful copywriting a bit easier for you.
When you’re writing something, you write the first sentence and then keep going until it’s done. Right??
Actually, I have a nugget of unconventional wisdom for you: When you’re writing an ad, start writing the bottom of the ad first, where the offer and call-to-action are.
Get to the meat and potatoes first — don’t worry about how you’re going to draw someone in. This is where you share what this offer is, what they get, and how they can get it. The nitty-gritty, if you will.
I have another little hack for you: You don’t have to write this from scratch. Blowing your mind right now, aren’t I?!
If you have a landing page for your offer that’s already converting (you should know your page converts before you put ad spend behind it), pull language from over there!
This is what copywriters call “message matching.” How many times have you clicked an ad or a link, thinking you’d find one thing, only to find something totally different?
Y’all, that does not feel good. And with your ad copy, you want to make sure that doesn’t happen.
All of that to say… don’t be afraid to lift your favorite sentences from your landing or sales page — it’s not cheating. It’s smart copywriting!
This helps lace everything together with a little golden thread and creates a cohesive experience for the lovely folks clicking on your ad.
If you’ve used my Sweet 16 Sales Page Template + Copywriting Workbook for your sales page, go to the solution section and lift some of that copy for your ads. You can thank me later 😉
People are on social to kick back, relax, and scroll. If you have a super formal brand voice or your offers are somewhat technical, ads are the right place to sort of “bend” your brand voice rules a bit.
Short, personality-packed ads do best on social platforms because it’s a platform full of other engaging content. You want to make sure your ad doesn’t just get scrolled right past, right?
You should also include different variations of your solution, with long-form and short-form variations. This way, you can cater to the type of people who need a bit more info before they click and the people who just want to click to learn more.
Now that we have the solution for your ad written at the bottom, it’s time to move to the top. I know, I know, I told you it was unconventional!
The hook is the most important part of your ad copy because it’s what grabs people’s attention and pushes their eyes further into the copy. Before we send any ad live, I want to test out different hooks and copy that I can layer on top.
This is part of why I love Facebook ads, y’all — because they can tell you quickly if your audience is more responsive to one type of messaging or another. It’s like your own little copy lab!
Speaking of labs, let’s put on our lab coats and start by testing some copy.
Let’s start with a hypothesis: What do you think would grab someone’s attention as they’re scrolling? How would that be different if someone was, let’s say, new to your brand vs. someone who’s already familiar with it?
Is there a story that really resonates with new audiences? Or is there a “spicy take” that your loyal followers love to hear? Pull those into your hooks.
Remember: Different fish need different bait. Don’t be afraid to try some unique angles that help lure different people into your offer.
In general, when creating ads, I like to use three to four different types of hooks in my ad sets. These include:
Not sure how you want to start your ads? Take some inspo from other people’s ads! If you’re not seeing a ton of ads as you scroll social, though, don’t worry.
Facebook offers a really cool feature: You can actually check out ads people have created from their Facebook pages and see their ads.
Just go to any brand’s Facebook page, scroll to “Page Transparency” on the sidebar, and click it.
Then you’ll see a button that says “Go to Ad Library.”
Voila! Now you can see how other brands structure their ads, what kind of hook they use, and if there’s anything you want to try for your own brand.
I don’t have to say this part, right? Don’t use Ad Libraries to copy what other folks are doing! It’s just to help you research structure and style so you can make your ads your own.
Not sure which part of your existing copy to pull from when finding your hook? Here’s a tip straight from the Ashlyn tool belt for ya:
Send your landing page to some of your biz besties, your mastermind group, or peers.
Ask them to turn on Loom and read the page out loud. It never fails — whenever I have my peeps do this, they’ll pinpoint a phrase they love. “Oooh, I love that!” or “Ugh, that just really hits home.”
If their eyeballs found that line and it resonates with them, you’ll know that same line can help draw people’s eyes from their Facebook feed, straight to your ad.
Once you have your hook variants drafted, it’s time to craft some “bridge copy” that leads into the last half of the ad (that you already wrote, too!). These can be a continuation of your story, a shift into why you created the offer you’re about to tell them about, and so on.
Now… You’re still in your lab coat, right? Great, because it’s time to mix up some ad copy concoctions.
You can take a story hook and add it to the long-form solution copy you drafted.
Take some of the “stake in the ground” ad copy and sprinkle it on top of your short-and-sweet CTA copy.
You can also play with different formats for the creative, from different graphics and images to different spacing, emojis, etc.
The variations are endless — and don’t be afraid to play. I know that ad budgets can feel overwhelming, but knowing what works means that you’ll see more ROI in the long run.
One last note on format: You want your ads to look as “feed-native” as possible. I want it to look like it’s supposed to be on Facebook or Instagram, so whatever combination of parts you put together, also think about how it will look as someone scrolls.
Ready to find out if your hypothesis and test copy are working outside your little Facebook ad copy lab? There are a few stats to look at, according to my friend Adrienne Richardson. For one, you want to get close to a 1% click-through rate. Higher is even better!
If you’re seeing that your CTR is below 1%, it might be time to tweak the ad copy to fit your audiences better — or to shift your audiences a bit.
You’ll also want to monitor your cost per action. This is how much money you spend on clicks and such.
To lower your cost per action, make sure your landing page is already converting. You could have the best ad in the world but if your landing page won’t convert, what’s the point?
If your ads are converting well and your cost-per-action is within budget, but you’re not seeing the sales or sign-ups you want… What gives?
Sorry to tell ya, but the page you’re pushing people to probably isn’t working for you. If struggling with on-page conversions, whether it’s a sales page, a landing page, or a website page, you can check out my Copywriting for Creatives course.
It’ll help you clarify your stand-out message, write your site, and launch to sell — all of which makes your ad copy more effective. None of your copy operates in a silo, alright?
While I’d love to sit here and tell you that your perfectly structured ad copy is all you need to get your ads to sell, it’s just not true.
You’ll also have to consider the imagery, graphics, or videos you add to the copy.
Of course, you want to make sure that your creative assets match the theme of the ad — you don’t want to be telling a story about a time you were burnt out in your business and have a quote of you celebrating or sitting on a beach, right?
But what else should you know about creative?
My friend Adrienne recommends that we start with static imagery. Just still photos or graphics that catch the eye — no need to jump right into video.
I personally start with a mockup version …
… a variation with my face …
… and a variation that’s copy-heavy
Just like you’re mixing and matching parts of your copy, you can mix and match your creative to see what works with different ad copy.
Honestly, friends, this is where the power of social ads lies. You can use so many different variations of your ads and quickly discern which hook reels them in, which body message gets the click, which headline works the best, and what imagery is most scroll-stopping.
It’s all based on data and you can easily turn off what’s NOT working and focus more of your budget on what IS working. It’s a copywriter’s dream — and a business owner’s, too.
Of course, I wouldn’t leave you hanging with just these tips and no way to kickstart your ad copywriting adventures. That wouldn’t be very Ashlyn of me.
So you know I’m about to hand you something you’re gonna love: My NEW ad copywriting templates inside the Copy Bar.
Reading Time: 8 Minutes Are you ready to grow your reach, get new eyes on your offers, and drive some sales? Social ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram might be on your radar! Of course, we know that social ads can be expensive, so how do you set yourself up for success as much as possible? With social […]
Get a front-row seat to sales copy tips & hacks I’m applying to write first-rate/top-shelf funnels for clients, what’s on my desk (and in my earbuds), and what lessons I’ve learned … sometimes the hard way. Hope you’re ok that I’m a little more personal here than I am in social media land. 😜
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