In today’s episode we are discussing the art of content creation, how to start and tips for making it work! —
I get messages regularly from people wanting to begin a blog, a podcast, an Instagram account as a form of creative exploration or for a new business. I often get asked the same questions, where do I start? How often should I post? How do you decide what to write about? In general, where do you even begin? So, here are the top tips that I give people when they are just starting out in their content creation journey. This by no means covers it all, but, hopefully, this gives you a good place to start!
1. Combine your blog/podcast with your website.
If you're blogging for business, keep your website and your blog together. You want people to get from your blog to what you offer easily and without frustration. This is why my top platform recommendations are Squarespace & Wordpress. If you aren't concerned with design flexibility you can go with wordpress.com or squarespace which are a bit easier to get started with. wordpress.org offers more control, room for growth and can eventually be less expensive. If you want to get started soon, squarespace would be a great place to start.
2. Simplify your message.
If you haven’t noticed, this is what I struggle with the most. I want to discuss everything forever. But, if you want to grow your audience swiftly it’s a huge asset to know what you want to talk about and keep it simple. It's a lot easier to gain followers if your message is clear. In particular, when you are starting something new, the clearer it is what you are talking about the better. You can always add on from there once your following is established and you think there's room to expand. We all have varied interests. It can feel like we need our content to encompass all of us. However, neglecting to tell people that you love knitting when you have a food blog does not mean you are being inauthentic or not being fully represented, it just means that you have a clear and concise message. Confused viewers don't stick around. If you have a large number of potential topics and are struggling to narrow them down, I suggest talking it out with someone and potentially putting a feeling out to your facebook community to see which topic is best responded to. Even better, ask yourself which one would be the most fun and just do that!
3. Be consistent.
I don't care how often you post on your blog or podcast as long as it's consistent. If you only have time to post once a month, that's totally fine, be honest with your audience about that and do your best to maintain that momentum. There's nothing more likely to lose your audience than going silent for a period of time without an explanation. They will eventually get exhausted at checking your page and seeing nothing new. Let me be clear, I'm not telling you how often to post, that's up to you, just be consistent. I've had seasons where I blogged 5 days a week. It was awesome for me and my traffic was extremely consistent and growing. I'm in a season now where I can only post on this blog every Friday, my creative blog on Mondays and I send out a newsletter every Wednesday. That's enough content creation for me right now. Both blogs are actively growing still and my creative blog has seen posts receiving over 20,000 unique views even though I'm only posting 1 time per week. Consistency is much more important than frequency.
Now, I’m not telling you that you can NEVER take a break and this is wildly different based on your platform of choice. ( youtube and instagram are more forgiving than a podcast or blog where you are easily forgotten ) But, in general try to set a par that feels easily doable for yourself and only up that par when you know you can consistently show up. This also helps you to not get overwhelmed and stop creating all together. Seasons of our life change and what we can produce changes, just keep showing up.
4. Buy your domain name.
It's simple. Your domain name costs around $10 most of the time and the credibility that it provides for you is priceless. Just do it. Both Wordpress and Squarespace even offer the option to buy your domain through them so it's incredibly easy.
5. Determine themes and series.
One of the questions I get most often is 'what should I post?' When I was blogging 5 times per week it was incredibly helpful for me to have internal themes. I say internal because I didn't always tell people what they were, but, they served as a way for me to know what I would talk about which days. So, maybe that looked like: Motivational Monday, Tip Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday, and Freestyle Friday. (alliteration is not a requirement)
Currently, I do this with Instagram stories because it gives people something to look forward to and frees my mind up from having to figure out what to do everyday. I do mindset monday, wednesday round-up, Ask SJ & Day in the life’s. That’s 4 days of content covered every week! Plus, it’s fun!
6. Keep a note.
My other big tip for sitting down and not knowing what to write is that I keep a note in my phone filled with ideas for blog topics, newsletter topics, podcast topics and more. When I hear something or see something that inspires me to write a post, I add it to my list. That way when I sit down at my blank computer screen I can pull up the list and pick one that I feel resonates with me at that moment.
7. Platform swap.
I love platform swapping for several reasons. 1. Because I love introducing you all to new voices and ideas. 2. Because I love an excuse to write. 3. Because, it gets your name out in front of a new audience and is one of the key ways to grow your following. Make sure that you are swapping with people that have a similar amount of followers as you if you can. That way you are truly helping each other out. Often, I find great joy in bringing people onto my platforms who are still building their audience - because I think their voices are valuable and I want them to be heard. But, for marketing purposes, I would stick to swapping with people that align in audience type and follower numbers.
8. Create a calendar.
I know how hard it is to create content consistently. One of my favorite ways to not neglect my platform is to create a calendar. Plan your content out a month in advance. That way you know what you're going to post before you even sit down at your computer. You can spend the week or days before sitting down to write the post opening yourself up to information and new ideas on that topic as well. It's also great for those of you who need specific photos to go with your posts. This gives you time to prepare. If you are someone who likes to follow your ‘flow’ of creative energy when writing or creating - I just suggest getting ahead of your creation which brings me to point 9.
9. Write your content ahead of time.
One of my favorite secrets to not hating my life is to not procrastinate. This takes me out of high-stress emergency mode and puts me into steady steps forward mode. I really like steady steps forward mode. How do I recommend doing this with your platforms? Write your content a week or more before you post it. That way you have time to write, time to edit and then you can post. This also means that if you find yourself behind on your post you aren't without content. Also, fun fact, both Squarespace and Wordpress allow you to schedule posts out in advance. So, if you're the kind of person who gets bursts of inspiration one day and doesn't want to work for the next three days you can bust a bunch of content out at once and schedule it to post over several weeks. It's way better to wait an extra week to post than to post a bunch of content at once and run out of things to share before you're ready to create more content.
10. Know why you're posting.
Every blog should have an objective. It doesn't have to be to sell something. But, you need to know why you're doing it in the first place. Is it because you want a creative outlet? Is it to give people helpful recipes? Is it because you have information you want to share? Do you want to sell a product or service? Knowing why you are posting in the first place can serve as a great filter when it comes to what kind of content you want to put out. If you are using your blog as a creative outlet and you start working on a piece that doesn't inspire you, you get to stop doing that! If you are hoping to sell a product or a service that is unrelated to food but, you start posting recipes on a regular basis, that may not be the best way to go. Know your why.
Remember in everything that you do, know that you are doing it by choice, let it be fun, let it serve the role that it is meant to serve in your life - no more and no less. You are in charge of the decision you’re making to create - you get to be in charge of how it impacts your life as well! Set yourself up in a way that feels good to you. Choose a topic you love, a frequency that feels fulfilling and a schedule that suits your needs! Happy creating!
I so enjoyed talking about content creation with you today. Thanks for joining me for todays episode. As a reminder, leaving a rating and review in iTunes will help this podcast to reach more amazing listeners just like you and if you have a friend who you think could benefit from this episode, send it their way! In the mean time, I will see you next week!