The difference between someone with a lot of followers and not much money, and someone with a lot of revenue but fewer followers comes down to the way they each use their content. Use this content strategy to reach the goals in your business faster.
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Today I want to share basically everything I know about creating content with a purpose.
What’s that purpose? To reach the specific goals we have for our business.
Whether your goal is more sales, more freedom, more control, more followers, it doesn’t matter. Content marketing is a free way to get the outcomes you want for your business and your life.
The common story that I come across is a creative or artist who has spent years building up their social media following, with nothing tangible to show for it.
10,000 or even 100,000 followers on a social platform has no inherent meaning other than people are interested in what you post.
The number itself doesn’t equal sales, or revenue, or freedom, or any of those things.
So the disconnect between followers and results is where we need to put our focus today.
How do we use content to get the results we want in our business?
Let’s dive in:
Creating Content With A Purpose
Most creatives approach social media with the idea that they need to post as much as possible, get more followers, and somehow the results take care of themselves.
I have rarely seen this to be true. Every so often there’s an outlier that creates a new social profile or YouTube channel or blog and it becomes a massive hit and they can start to monetize off of all of the awareness they’re getting.
We can’t build a system around outliers. Rather, we have to look at what works across industries and people who have figured out how to turn content into results.
Years ago, I was taught the 4 Cs from Jeffrey and Daniel Harmon, collectively known as the Harmon Brothers.
This is a team that has made a business out of creating content that gets results for their clients. Just look at their home page.
Here’s the 4 Cs they taught me and my business partner years ago:
- Collaboration/Cross Promotion
- Call to Action
Let’s walk through them one by one, because it’s likely that you’re doing one or two of these quite well, and just need to add the rest to get the results you’re after.
When we talk about content, we’re not only referring to the video, image, tweet, or post. The content refers to everything – your title, your thumbnail, your hashtags, your profile.
What I’ve found to be most important when it comes to content is to make it as “native” to the platform as possible.
The most recent example of this in 2020 is the recent battle between TikTok and Instagram Reels. You see plenty of people trying to copy/paste their tiktoks over to Instagram, but Instagram isn’t promoting those as much as their native version (*cough* copy *cough*) of that short-form content.
Similarly, if you post a YouTube video to Facebook, it will get much less distribution from the platform than a native video you upload directly to Facebook.
One of the videos I produced has over 18 million views on YouTube:
But when they added the video to Facebook, they uploaded it natively and it added another 340 thousand views:
The same thing goes for blog posts. Whenever I paste the content of a blog post into a new Facebook post, rather than just linking to the post on my site, there are 10x the views.
The platforms want to keep people on their platforms. The more you can post natively, the more they will share your content with your audience.
You’ve got to give the platforms what they want – native content.
Collaboration & Cross Promotion
The size of your audience is what it is at any given moment. When you’ve got a big piece of content that you’re going to publish – a new album, a sale on your products, etc – you’re limited in your reach.
The fastest way to exponentially reach more people is through collaboration and cross promotion.
I’ve used this principle over the last month to grow my newsletter faster than I have been over the summer. I started reaching out to other newsletter publishers with a similar audience to mine and asking if we could each promote the other’s newsletter to our audiences.
The results speak for themselves:
Some other ways people use this principle are in collaborations on YouTube – inviting another channel of a similar size or greater than you to be in a video on your channel.
Podcasts are built on this principle – you invite a guest on to be interviewed and get their audience to consume your content when the guest shares it with them.
Instagram giveaways often include products or services from multiple vendors, and they all benefit from each other posting and requiring that you follow all of the accounts in order to be eligible.
Who else out there has an audience of the people you’re trying to reach and how can you work with them to collaborate or cross promote each other’s work?
I remember years and years ago when Devin Graham (aka DevinSupertramp) spoke to a bunch of us YouTubers here in Utah at a meetup. One of the things he mentioned that has stuck with me is the concept of consistency.
It was around the same time we had this chat with the Harmon brothers, and so it was really reinforced over a short period of time.
If you have an online following, you need to be consistent with how you release your content.
Whether it’s once a month, or once a week, or four times a day, the consistency is key.
People want to know that if they follow you or subscribe that they know what they’re getting into.
Whether it’s explicit – “new episodes every Tuesday!” – or not, decide on a publishing schedule and stick to it. You can scale it up or down over time – look at this 60 Days Project for an example of scaling it up – but be clear with your audience and bring them on the journey with you.
How many of you have a favorite podcast that you listen to on the same day every week? That’s the power of consistency. They associate an entire day with your content.
Calls To Action
This is the one that most people avoid or forget to incorporate into their content strategy.
A “call to action” is what it sounds like – an invitation to do something.
“Click the link in my bio”
“Tag a friend”
When you forget to do this, your content – as great as it may be – serves no purpose other than to give your audience something to consume.
(Or, possibly, to scroll by with the flick of a thumb…)
When you include a call to action, you’re telling your audience that they need to DO something in order to GET something.
Now, you don’t want to – or need to – be “salesy” about it. You can do it gently, naturally, and in a way that makes the experience of consuming your content a pleasurable one.
If someone posts a new song that they released, I want to listen to it, or add it to my library, or purchase the full album.
I don’t want to have to work to find out how to buy it!
You have an opportunity to make it easy for your fans to be your fans!
Calls to action are an opportunity to pull your fans closer to you and engage at a deeper level.
Someone sees your content with no call to action = they keep scrolling.
Content with a call to action = a percentage of people will click on that link or do that thing you asked them to do, and those are then given an opportunity to become an even bigger fan.
Someone who has purchased your music is a bigger fan than someone who just follows you online.
Someone that comes to your show is a bigger fan than someone who just purchased your music.
See what I mean?
Calls to action are like different parts of a freeway. You have the slow lane, the fast lane, and the express lane! You’ve got to give people options.
Maybe the slow lane is to subscribe, then the fast lane is join your email list, and the express lane is to hire you and become a client.
What are the ways that you can create opportunities for people to become bigger and bigger fans of your work through calls to action in your content?
One note – limit yourself to just one call to action. You don’t want to give people too many options – like, follow, subscribe, share! No thanks.
Give me one action to take and make it as simple as possible. Then at that point you can invite those people who took that first action to take another.
Focus On The Outcome
Going back a bit to where we started, what is the outcome that you are after?
More fans? (Why?)
Choose the outcome that you’re working towards and then “reverse engineer” your content to help you reach that goal.
Use the 4 Cs with your content and track the work that you’re doing to see how it helps you get what you’re really after.
Oh, and before I forget my own call to action – I’ve added a “work with me” page on the site, so that you can easily take the next step, if you enjoy posts like this one and want to take things to the next level with your business.