There’s a specific term that’s slipped stealthily into our digital lexicon in the past few years, and it’s none other than the word ‘content.’ Everything is content this and content that. Content is the way to grow your business! But what *exactly* is content, and how is every fast-food brand, middle schooler, and french bulldog on social media doing so well at creating it? We see your sighs and secret Google searches in-between business meetings, and raise you the following guide on pro-tips for content creation. Let’s get into it.
As posh as it may sound, content is simply the stuff you share on social media that aims to tell your brand’s story or spread ideas. The range of content possibility is near infinitesimal and runs the gamut from photos and graphics to videos, podcasts, long-form blogs, and stories. Makes sense, right? Where it starts to get complicated is figuring out which types of content make sense to create and share, and then how do you ensure what you’re sharing is actually serving a purpose and resonating with your audience? It’s easy to get caught up in a vicious cycle of putting the cart before the horse with content creation. The easiest solution is developing a simple, to-the-point strategy to focus your efforts – now you’re working like a pro.
Begin by establishing a simple framework for your content strategy, and use the following checkpoints to guide your process:
What are your content goals?Remember: Great content is more than just a pretty post for Instagram (although we live for those). You want to share the kind of content that says your brand knows beauty is only skin filter deep. Think about what you want to accomplish through your content. Are you aiming to attract a wider audience with a new product? Do you want to flex a new skill you’re working on to the #girlbosses in your network? Keeping these goals top of mind while developing your plan will ensure every content move you make is strategic, and ladders up to a pillar of success.
Who are you trying to reach?Not to yell but, WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO? No, really, who is it? You can’t create content – good content – if you don’t know who you’re trying to reach, and ultimately elicit a response or drive an impact. Knowing this is key to deciding what type of content you should share. For instance: let’s say you’re a new boutique gym that caters to a more mature audience of fitness-savvy boomers. You probably want to scale back the Addison Rae dance moves and swap your TikTok video for a video on Facebook or a graphic-led post in Nextdoor.
What types of content make sense for your brand?
Content isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. You can see this truth come to life on every social platform in the market. It’s why Wendy’s social team kills the digital game sharing snarky, quippy content on Twitter, but IHOP’s cringeworthy IHOb campaign still stirs secondhand embarrassment. Quirky content isn’t meant for everyone – but that’s okay! The moral of the story is: focus on sharing content that’s simple and authentic (especially if you’re still earning your pro badges). Dive deeper into your target audience’s demographics and interests to gain a sense of the type of content that will resonate with them. This will also help you down the line when planning your grid for the month.
PLANOLY Pro Tips:
- For product releases, shoot a series of aesthetically pleasing formats that each tell a story for your brand. We love seeing a product’s look and feel captured through a flat-lay photo, as well as seeing it come to life in motion through a Reels tutorial.
- For sharing information-heavy topics like social justice issues, current events, or even contest guidelines, opt for a highly visual graphic format to easily highlight key information you want your audience to take away. @soyouwanttotalkabout does an excellent job of tackling heavy topics in pared-down, educational graphics.
Pro-Tips for Content Creation
Before you panic and run to Amazon to buy every electronic item you saw on a blogger’s must-have list, rest assured most of your content can easily be made with your phone or tablet, a natural light source, and a few savvy apps. If you’re not the most technologically adept or find yourself short on time, you can always hire freelance content creators through Fiverr or Upwork to support your brand needs.
Start by getting a general sense of the kind of content you’ll create. Let’s focus on video for the purpose of this example, since it’s the most lucrative format across all social platforms. If you’re planning to create video content for a product release, say a new skincare item, follow the steps below:
- Outline the beginning, middle, and endpoints of your video (yes, even if it’s a Reel or Story!) What will your hook be? What about your call-to-action?
- Draft a quick script to guide your voiceover recording (if applicable)
- Source any props needed to help style your product (hint: for product videos, we recommend an editorial/lifestyle look to add a relatable feel)
- Shoot your video in natural light, outside, or with help from a ring light
- Use apps like StoriesEdit and Canva to create pro-looking video covers, slates and graphics
- Edit your video with easy-to-use apps like InShot and the aesthetically-pleasing RTRO; or shoot them directly in-app and take advantage of the pro-level features like Reels and TikTok’s AR, music, and filters
- Before you clean up your workspace, find ways to maximize the shoot: take product stills, capture shots for a stop-motion video, film a Q&A with you and the product, etc.
- Create an editorial calendar to support your content - this helps plan your content and ensure brand cohesion across your grid
- Instagram Algorithm: Strategy and Content Best Practices
- A 10 Step Guide to Creating Great Content
- Content Planning: How to Create a Content Calendar