This week on the podcast, I am sharing about the eleven ways to create a content strategy that is sustainable.
Listen to this week’s episode here or read below.
Content creation takes tons of time and energy, and because of that, many business owners put it off (I know I’ve done that in the past). But since prioritizing content creation in my business, I’ve developed a sustainable content strategy that is genuinely valuable to my audience, helps me land more clients, and keeps me sane.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way so you don’t have to! Here are my top 11 ways to create a sustainable content strategy in your business.
Creating a Sustainable Content Strategy
1. Consistency is more important than frequency.
When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if you’re posting daily, weekly, or even monthly. What matters most is that you post consistently. This keeps your website up-to-date in Google’s eyes and keeps your audience coming back for their regular content fix.
2. Keep a running list of ideas.
Why is it that my best ideas come around when I’m not at my computer? Instead of letting those ideas float off into space, keep a running list of ideas on your phone. That way, you can jot down whatever comes to mind and return to that list later when you’re staring at a blank Google Doc unsure of what to write.
3. Theme your content.
Not all content creators theme their content, but it really helps me stay consistent in my content strategy. At the beginning of the year, I sit down and assign a theme to each month. Then, I create content around those themes. These might change as your business pivots, but they’ll give you a solid starting point, and you’ll always know what’s coming up in your content calendar.
4. Hone in on your foundational content.
Do you love recording podcasts but hate writing blog posts? Or maybe you’re an Instagram Story fiend but despise writing captions? Whatever your favorite medium is, make it the foundation of your content strategy. I, for one, love creating YouTube videos and podcasts. I focus on those two platforms, and then I repurpose that content into Instagram captions, blog posts, and emails. That way, I can save my energy for the content that makes me feel most creative.
5. Batch content ahead of time.
I’m a firm believer that everyone should batch their content. Creativity and motivation comes in waves, and there’s nothing worse than smashing out a lackluster Instagram caption minutes before you hit ‘post.’ Instead, save yourself the stress by setting aside time to create your content in large batches and schedule it weeks in advance.
6. Make content creation a priority.
If you want to attract clients through your content, you have to make it a priority in your business. Schedule out time for content creation, and hold yourself accountable to a consistent schedule. I do this by blocking off one day per week solely for content creation. I don’t schedule meetings, take calls, or scroll Instagram. What you focus on grows. If content is how you want to scale your business, you have to give it the time and energy it deserves.
That being said, you’ll drive yourself nuts trying to create original content for five different platforms every week. That’s where repurposing comes in. Shoot for spending about 20% of your time creating content and 80% repurposing it. Once you’ve created a piece of content on your foundational platform (be that your blog, Youtube channel, or podcast), use it to fill in the blanks on your other platforms.
Personally, I love recording podcasts. Once I’m done recording, I repurpose that conversation in to a blog post, several Instagram captions, and an email. I spend less time scrambling for ideas and more time creating valuable content.
8. Build systems for content creation and repurposing.
Through trial and (lots of) error, I’ve developed a streamlined content strategy that I can repeat every single month. From the brainstorming phase all the way to scheduling and posting, I know when to start each phase, how long it will take me, and which steps to take along the way. Once you find a system that feels good to you, repeat it! Trust me; you’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy.
9. Focus on the most important platforms.
Don’t feel like you need to show up on every social media platform there is. That’s a one-way ticket to burnout. Instead, focus on the platforms where your ideal clients hang out and search for information. There’s no sense in creating for a platform your ideal client doesn’t use.
10. Outsource the work that makes you procrastinate.
I love creating content, but even I dislike certain parts of the process. When I took the time to identify the steps I didn’t like, I was able to outsource those and focus on the rest. If you find yourself putting off writing those podcast notes or editing that Youtube video, consider outsourcing it. That way, the work gets done (by someone who actually wants to do it) and your content strategy doesn’t get derailed.
11. Bring your audience back to your website.
I hope Instagram is around for a long, long time, but there’s no guarantee. (Remember Vine?) If Instagram went down tomorrow and you didn’t have an email list or regular blog readers, you’d be up a creek. That’s why I **direct my audience to my website and email list. No matter what happens, I’ll have their contact information and they’ll still have a way of engaging with me.
EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION: Sustainable Content Strategy
Hey, and welcome back to another episode of the Intentional Creative Podcast. Where we help creative business owners make intentional shifts in their life and business to build momentum and create sustainable profit. Today, I want to talk to you specifically about my content strategy and what that looks like behind the scenes.
I’ve been getting a lot of DMs on Instagram about this lately. One of my new year’s resolutions was to be more consistent when it comes to creating content in my business. And as other business owners have watched me be consistent, they’ve seen that I’m posting more. They’re seeing that I’m putting out more content. They’re asking me how I’m doing that, how I’m showing up so consistently and what that looks like behind the scenes.
So I’m going to share with you some of the things or some of the mistakes that I’ve made along the way, trying to figure this out on my own. And after making a lot of those mistakes, how I’ve pivoted to do this well, and to do this in a way that’s sustainable for my business and for my mental health as well, because creating content is a huge time-suck. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of energy. So I’m always looking for ways to do this so that.
I’m not running myself into the ground and I’m not feeling that overwhelmed that a lot of us, small business owners face. The first thing I want to say about creating content and putting together a content plan. Is that it doesn’t matter so much how you post when you post, how frequently you’re putting out content, as long as you are doing it consistently. So take a hard look at your life at your business. What time commitments you already have and choose a consistent schedule. Whether that’s every week, every other week, figure out what’s going to work best for you. And stick to that. I’d rather see you pick something that’s a little bit more conservative and be able to follow through on those goals that you set for yourself then said something that’s really aggressive and then fall short of those goals because you’re not going to be able to keep up that momentum, keep up that positive energy to put out content on a regular basis. If you’re always feeling guilty about not meeting those goals that you set for yourself.
The other thing I find really helpful is to keep a running list of topic ideas. And if you don’t know what to write about, if you don’t know what type of content you should be creating for your audience, look at the frequently asked questions you are getting from your clients, from your community and write those down. Because even if you think it’s a really obvious question, or even if you think it’s something you could never forget, trust me, you will forget it. So whether that’s on a pen and paper next to your desk, or the notes app on your phone or something like notion, which is the tool I use to manage all of my content. Make sure you are keeping a list somewhere that you can refer back to so that you’re never able to use lack of ideas as an excuse for not creating anything.
Another thing that helps me personally, is I like to have a monthly content theme. So I looked at every month for 2021, I made a list of general content themes that I can create content around. And I wrote all of those down. And then within those content themes for each month, I’m picking out topics from my running list to put inside those themes. So that way there’s a general flow of what content I’m creating every month and making sure that those content pieces fit together. I’m also looking at what I’m launching each month. What services do I have available each month? What am I trying to push? What is going to make me money in my business that month? And how can I create content that aligns with those larger promotions that I have going on throughout the year? So again, my contents, not just going to be willy nilly, it’s going to be more strategic. Did I just say willy nilly? I did. That way your content is going to be really strategic and it’s going to support the larger promotions or campaigns or initiatives that you have running in your business throughout the year. If you don’t want to plan that far ahead, if you don’t want to look at an, at an entire year in advance, you definitely don’t have to, especially with everything relating to COVID and all the pivoting we had to do in 2020. It’s totally fair to take it one month at a time or one quarter at a time. Do whatever -feels good for you?
The next thing I want you to think about is the foundational content type that you choose for your business. Some of us really like writing blog posts. Written content is the way that we prefer to communicate. Others are not writers at all. And writing makes them really uncomfortable. So they prefer audio or video or going live on Instagram or Facebook, whatever it is, just make sure that you’ve picked the type of content that is going to work best for your business. This foundational piece of content or type of content is going to be where you start. And then you’re going to repurpose from there for other channels to give that content more reach and more life.
You’ve got your list of topics. You’ve got your posting schedule, you know, the type of content you’re going to be creating. The next thing is to set aside time to create and batch this content. I do not recommend creating content week to week, because what happens is all of a sudden it’s Thursday afternoon, and maybe you post every Friday and you’re realizing your schedule isn’t allowing you to get that piece of content done in time. So you just skip a week here or there. And eventually that breaks the habit and it turns into skipping few weeks in a row. So the more that you can plan ahead and the more that you can set aside time, whether it’s every week or every month to create that content in larger chunks of time, the better off you’re going to be in the long run at staying on schedule.
For me personally, one of the biggest reasons that I wasn’t consistent with my content creation in the past is that I wasn’t prioritizing it. So when somebody says they don’t have time for something, or there’s no room in their schedule to add something, what they’re really saying is that thing is not a priority for them. And that’s totally okay. Not everything has to be a priority for you, but if you want to use content marketing as a way to drive traffic, as a way to drive clients to your business, you need to make it a priority. And that means putting it on your to-do list above other urgent tasks. That might seem more pressing in the moment, but aren’t going to serve your business in the longterm.
I set aside every single Wednesday as my content day. That means Wednesdays have no other meetings and no other tasks assigned to them other than creating content. Everything else on my to-do list goes on pause on Wednesdays and I focus on creating content and I like to be at least a month ahead. This does not always happen. And sometimes I’m a little bit behind, but the more I can get ahead with my content schedule, the more I can be flexible. If something comes up that I have to take care of.
I also use Fridays as a content day in my business, but that’s also kind of a catch all day for me. So sometimes I do client work on those days or catch up on other tasks on my to-do list. So it’s not purely dedicated to content, but I like to set aside Wednesdays and I don’t put anything else on the calendar that particular day.
If this isn’t feasible for you because you have kids or because your schedule doesn’t work that way, that’s totally fine. I would suggest that instead, maybe you take the first hour of every day and dedicate that to content. So if you can’t do large chunks of time, that’s fine. Just find other ways to work it into your schedule and to make sure that you are prioritizing content over other tasks on your business. It’s really easy for urgent tasks, kind of take over your to-do list. And a whole week will go by where you realize that you didn’t actually do anything that’s going to serve the long-term success of your business. And you need to build this into your schedule and you need to be able to ignore certain tasks on your to-do list to get this done.
The next piece of my content strategy is re-purposing content. I like to think that you should really only spend 20% of your time creating content and you should spend 80% of your time promoting the content that you’ve already created. That means talking about that content in different ways, creating content in different mediums. So if you record a YouTube video, that means taking that video and turning it into an IGTV or transcribing that video and turning it into a blog post or into Instagram posts. You’re going to use this one foundational piece of content and use it in multiple ways across different platforms to get more reach and more bang for the buck on the time that you spent creating the content in the first place.
I do want to be honest, this part of the process can be really time consuming, but it is so worth the investment. And you can put systems in place so that you have a repeatable step-by-step process that you go through with each piece of content when it comes to repurposing for different channels.
That way you can kind of go into automatic mode and just go through the steps instead of having to think strategically every time you start to repurpose.
Now I have a team that helps me with this. I have a part-time assistant and I also have somebody helping me to repurpose content because again, this part of the process is really time consuming and I think it’s worthwhile to mention that because a lot of people just pretend they’re a one-person show and you see them putting out all this content and showing up on all these platforms. And you don’t realize that behind the scenes, there’s a lot of support going on.
Without the support that I have, my content strategy would not be possible. I would have to really strip it down, take elements out of it and simplify the process to make it doable for just one person.
When it comes to your content strategy, I would make a list of all the platforms that you use, all the ways you could repurpose the content that you’re creating and strip that down to just the most important platforms. Where are your ideal clients hanging out? Where are you getting the most engagement? Focus on those platforms first. And don’t worry about trying to be all the places. All the time.
Remember the goal here is to create a sustainable content strategy, not something that’s gonna make you burned out and regret creating content to begin with.
If you are interested in outsourcing part of your content strategy, I have some tips for you based off of the mistakes that I made when I first got started.
Once you’ve gone through your content process on your own a few times, maybe you’ve kind of got it up and running for a couple months, instead of looking at your strengths and weaknesses and what tasks you think you should be outsourcing.
Look at the tasks that are consistently causing you to procrastinate.
Those tasks are the bottleneck to your successful content plan because they’re keeping you stuck and preventing you from getting your content out into the world.
Once you’ve identified these procrastination bottlenecks. The next step is to find the right person to help you fill in the gaps and to help you take your content across the finish line.
I first started by outsourcing the editing of my content. So I was outsourcing the video editing. I was trying to outsource blog editing, but the problem was I actually was getting that part done on my own. I liked having control over that piece of the puzzle.
After going through my content strategy for a couple months, I realized that where I was getting stuck was taking the completed content and getting it ready to go out on all these different platforms. I was happy to create and edit the videos, but then I would just leave them sitting in a folder and I would never get that blog post ready and written so that I could actually publish it and share it with my audience.
This was a big pivot for me. And I actually ended up hiring someone this year to help me take my completed content, get it on my website and promote it across my social channels.
Another thing to think about is if you notice yourself procrastinating, creating the content all together. Look at changing mediums. So maybe you think you love to write, and you’re really excited about writing these blog posts, but you just noticed that again and again, you are skipping your writing days. You’re avoiding it. What other types of content can you create? A lot of people who procrastinate on starting our people who do really well creating live content because when they schedule it for their audience, their audience expects them to show up. And so they forced themselves to be there live and they get it done.
Then, you can repurpose that live content by transcribing it into a blog post or breaking it into video snippets for IGTV.
If going live is terrifying to you and you would rather create content that feels a little bit more scripted and intentional for you maybe look at podcasting or prerecording video content.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the type of content you should be creating as long as the content is evergreen. And what that means is you want to make sure that if you’re putting all this effort into creating content on a regular basis, that people can find that content, not just the week you post it, but weeks, months, or even years after the fact.
Something like a blog post, for example, this is going to rank in search engines like Google and bring people to your website consistently.
Video content on YouTube is another great example of this. YouTube is a massive search engine and it helps you generate traffic even when you’re not working.
While I love social channels like Instagram or Clubhouse. Those are more for immediate connections and not as great for building long-term traffic to your website. Another thing to look at when you’re choosing platforms is that some platforms you own and other platforms you have no control over.
I always use apps like Vine as an example. I don’t know if you remember Vine from way back in the day. Uh, if you don’t, it’s probably because it doesn’t exist anymore, but if you had built a giant audience on Vine and spent all this time creating content, but didn’t lead those people back to your website or your email list, you would have lost them when the app was shut down.
While, I don’t think Instagram or YouTube are going anywhere. I want to make sure that if you’re spending the time to create content that you’re using your website or another platform, like your email list or even podcasting, which is just a simple RSS feed. Yes, it has a host associated with it like you host your content somewhere, but technically you could take that content if your host decided to close down one day, you could take that content and move it to another host. And that RSS feed would still exist for your audience. The same can not necessarily be said with YouTube. If YouTube, for some reason ever shut down, you would lose your videos. You would lose the traffic associated with them and you’d have to start from scratch.
So make sure you’re focusing on your own website or those owned platforms so that you don’t get burned in the long run.
I’m really excited to hear about your biggest takeaways from this episode. Do you have a content plan in place? Do you want to outsource some of your content strategy? Take a screenshot of this episode and tag me on Instagram @localcreative.co. Let me know you listened in, share your thoughts and I can’t wait to connect with you there.
If you enjoyed listening, head over to Apple podcasts and leave a review, it helps more creative business owners like you find out about the show and tune in. Thanks so much and I’ll see you next time.
Want to learn more about content strategy?
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