Whether managing social media channels for your business or starting a YouTube channel, content is your key to success. Content includes everything from a 10-second video to a 1,000-word blog post. Content is what you provide your customers and audience. And content for your business isn’t the same as posting hourly Snapchat videos for your friends.
High-quality, effective content can help you and your enterprise:
- Engage with customers
- Get your brand in front of more people
- Increase sales
- Gain free (aka viral) advertising
- Establish yourself as an expert in your field
Here’s how you can master the art and science of content creation for your startup or small business.
CREATE A CONTENT STRATEGY PLAN
Hopefully, you already have a business plan, right? (Right???) Now, create a content strategy plan. You can keep it simple or get as detailed as you want, but the minimum you should include is:
- Your schedule
- Content type (blog post, social media post, video, etc.)
- How you’ll measure your content’s success (Google Analytics? Likes? Comments?)
We’ll talk more about each of these points below.
DETERMINE YOUR SCHEDULE
Will you post something new every day? Every week? Twice a month?
Be realistic about your timeline. Posting a sentence or two on LinkedIn every day might be easy, but a daily 1,000-word blog post or 20-minute YouTube video will be much more challenging.
Each social media channel and online platform has its own best practices for how often to post. These suggestions are designed to help you post often enough to stay engaged without spamming your audience.
Of course, you are not an entire company. You’re not even an entire marketing department! You might be a one-person show. That’s also something to take into consideration. How often can you post without burning out or running out of content?
CREATE CONTENT AHEAD OF TIME
One of the best ways to make sure you post only the highest quality content is by creating content ahead of time. This will allow you to really think about what you want to say and how to say it. Before the content goes live, you can edit it all you want.
Some content schedulers will even track engagement for you. What does that mean? Keep track of your most popular posts so you know what works. Do you get 3x as many likes when your dog wanders into the frame during your TikTok dances? Keep Fido around for future videos! Tracking your performance helps you make more of what works and stop wasting time on what doesn’t.
We know what you’re thinking: but won’t pre-arranged content mean you aren’t keeping up with current trends or news?
The answer is: not necessarily. There are 2 types of content you need to create. One is called “evergreen.” These are your product reviews, your “how-tos,” and your “best of” lists. This is content that will last for a long time and rarely goes out of style. Years from now, new fans should be able to find your evergreen content and still find it relatable.
The other type of content is trendy. Reactions to the news. Real-time conversations with customers. Think product launches, special events, seasonal content, reactions to new trends, and personal announcements.
Evergreen content can be created and scheduled as far in advance as you like. Even seasonal content can be created ahead of time since you know when holidays are coming. Trendy content can be posted at any time.
STICK TO YOUR TOPICS
If you’re starting a YouTube channel on how to decorate cakes, don’t post videos ranting about politics. Resist posting snarky hot takes on Instagram. Stick to cake decorating. You can still include opinions, just make sure they have to do with your topic and try to stay positive. Avoid complaining about the unfairness of your favorite contestant getting eliminated from The Great British Baking Show. Instead, talk about all the things that the contestant did during the season that you found impressive and maybe want to try doing. And don’t pick fights with your competitors!
Unless your topic is something deeply personal, like chronicling your journey through an illness, try to keep your personal life out of your content. An occasional reference to your dog, or having your cat show up in a video, is fine. If you know you’ll need to take a break from posting for a while, be sure to say so ahead of time. Corrections and apologies are great. Just remember that content is not your therapy session.
MAKE SURE YOUR CONTENT IS THE BEST IT CAN BE
To stand out from the pack, post only the highest quality content you can. This means using tools like Grammarly and Hemingway App for your writing. Invest in reliable gear for your videos, including microphones and lights. Avoid cursing. Practice speaking clearly so the audience can understand you.
KEYWORDS, HASHTAGS, AND LINKS
These items almost deserve their own blog post, but here’s the TL;DR.
Keywords help people find your content when they use search engines. Going back to your YouTube channel on cake decorating, optimize the use of keywords in your video titles and descriptions. Think about how people search for useful videos on cake decorating. They might type in phrases like, “Easy cake decorating,” or “Cake decorating for beginners.” Tools like Ask the Public can help you brainstorm keyword ideas.
Hashtags also help people find your content. And while it may be tempting to use as many hashtags as possible, studies show that each social media platform has an optimal number you should aim to hit. (Sorry, no 30+ hashtags on Insta.)
Make sure you link back to your own content as well as to outside sources you like. Tag people you know or admire and who are relevant to your topics. Links are a great way to boost your profile, grab attention, and establish yourself in your field.
Creating content can be one of the most fun and creative ways to grow your business. Be smart about it and you’ll soon find yourself with a solid following of fans, customers, and sponsors!
Young entrepreneurs in Florida may be eligible for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Click here to learn about what we have to offer and how to apply.