In this chapter, we are going to cover everything that relates to content. We will go through a content loop framework that will help you understand all stages and create quality content. At the end, we will sum up what we’ve covered with management insight so that your content creation process will be effective and straightforward.
"Information designed for consumption, seasoned for enjoyment, and packaged to share." Scott Hepburn
Almost anything on the web can be considered to be digital content. It could be text, video, images, apps, etc.
Digital content is a key part of social media platforms. They are built around the content and users' interaction with it. This is why content is a key part of every influencer strategy nowadays. It helps you communicate with your audience and build a relationship with this group of people by creating and sharing content that they value.
If it is done correctly from your side, it will help you build a relationship between you and your audience, or better, your community. It helps build trust and if they trust you, they are more willing to complete desired actions. And that's what brands are looking for.
Every influencer nowadays is a content creator. To become a successful content creator you have to acknowledge the process of content creation. This process consists of four successive stages in a loop, since it is a never ending story.
A key part of the content loop is the planning stage. Without a clear plan and strategy, you can easily get lost or run out of ideas. The role of planning is to generate ideas, analyze them and bring them to the creation stage.
If you completed the planning stage correctly, you should have dozens of ideas. Now it is important to find those ideas that you can turn into content. Whether it is an Instagram post, YouTube video or a blog post.
A common mistake is to have an idea list in your head. This won't work on a bigger scale, so you should look around for some tools. You don't need anything complex, even the basic Notes app on your phone is a great place to store your ideas on the go. We suggest using Trello as your primary place to save ideas. The advantage is that you can organize the whole workflow in one tool.
Providing valuable content is an important stepping-stone on the way to becoming a successful influencer. Valuable content means that people are interested in it, they respond and react to your posts.
There are several strategies to find such content...
This is basically the best option. Analyzing your own data of your published posts gives you a fairly clear idea of what content is resonating with your target audience.
On Facebook, you can find this data in Page Insights> Posts. Keep in mind that on Instagram, this option will only appear in your Business or Creator profile.
This is often underestimated, but still a very valuable data source. There is nothing easier than just asking you followers “What content do you want to see me posting?”.
Use a poll sticker on Instagram Stories to ask your audience what kind of content they like.
There are also tools on the Internet that analyze a huge amount of social posts and can quite accurately estimate what content is resonating across social networks. In real time.
Check out Buzzsumo, for example.
Even your marketing persona will help you with content creation. It is basically a detailed description of your customer or follower.
Does it contain value for my audience? This is more important than just well-performing content. Your community should be the first place you look to, so that the content you are creating will be of value to them. Your job is to find a balance between value and performance to achieve the best results.
Creating content itself is easy with today's tools, but on a bigger scale it can become very complex and ineffective. You probably know a lot of apps to edit photos or add filters and effects. The truth is, that these apps are important, but the real success lies in the process of creation behind each piece of content.
Now you should know what to do, so it is time to launch some apps and start creating. There are many apps you can use and you probably know a lot of them. Just in case you need a little help to get started, we've created a list of apps that you can use. Check out the list below.
Don't forget to factor your creation stage into your plan. Each piece of content takes some time to create, so be sure that you have enough time for it. Use your calendar to plan when you will be creating what. It gives you an overview and you will be able to see visually how things are going, as well as how long each part of the process really takes.
In order to deliver the content to your audience, you need to publish it. Posting itself is very easy, but to ensure a high reach from your content, you need to post at the right time.
Every platform works a little differently in regards to the time that is the best for you to post. If you post at the wrong time, even perfect pieces of content could easily be drowned out by the noise of the virtual world. Your goal is to avoid this phenomenon by posting at the right time.
One possible strategy to use to find the right times is to study your data and analytics. This could work, but if you are just starting to post content, your data is probably not so relevant yet.
We suggest you follow these rules:
The best time to post on Facebook is Wednesday at 11 A.M. and 1–2 P.M. These are, on average, the best times across platforms. According to Sprouts data we can say that Wednesday, in general, is a great day to post. And that the absolute worst days are Saturday and Sunday.
The best time to post on Instagram is Wednesday at 11 A.M. and Friday from 10 A.M.–11 A.M. It is an all industry average. Just like Facebook, Sunday is the worst day to post on Instagram.
To dive deeper into this topic, we suggest you read this Sprouts' blog post. Overall, you just need to keep in mind that there is no wrong time to post, just some days when you should expect lower engagement.
Posting at a specific time doesn't mean that you have to do it manually. There are some apps that can help you schedule posts and publish them automatically.
Buffer is probably the most famous tool used to automate social posts. With this tool you can prepare social media posts in advance, set a date and time as to when it should be posted and Buffer will do it for you. With Buffer, you can connect a bunch of social media profiles such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Later is a well-known app that features a packed marketing platform for Instagram. One of its main features is planning and scheduling social posts. Its well-arranged interface is easy to use so planning and scheduling will be much easier for you. It is free to use with limited features and accessible via a smartphone app.
Fighting with algorithms is a daily battle for all of us. Even if your organic reach is above average, you are mostly limited to reaching just your followers and their close surroundings. Reaching a much broader audience can sometimes be more difficult.
Almost every social media platform offers an advertising platform, where you can set up your own ad and reach almost any of its users. Using these platforms is not easy, however, their potential and targeting options are (nearly) endless.
To make it easier, we built a tool for that. It's called groost and allows you to publish ads across channels from a single app.
Although the content loop looks easy to follow, it can sometimes get tough. To stay on track, you need to be organized. Luckily, there are dozens of tools that can help you with this and here is the list of four tools that we recommend or even use at groost.
This is by far one the best project management tools. It doesn't matter if you use it independently or in a team. Trello is the pioneer of all today's kanban apps. Kanban means that your projects are split into single tasks which are moved through stages in columns. It is my favorite management system because you can visually see the whole process and its stages with every single task. This system is great for sorting and organizing every content piece through a whole content loop framework- all the way from coming up with the idea to the final publishing stage.
This perfect mobile app for both iOS and Android allows you to capture ideas on the go. You can type a text note, add images or photos or even record a note with your voice. We like Trello for its ease and it is free to use with all the features that one may need when working on a given task or project.
Although we like Trello, Asana is the tool we use on a daily basis here at groost. The system is essentially the same. The purpose of this text is to mention good tools you can use, not to compare features, you can do that here. Overall, Asana is a free-to-use tool for up to 15 team members and offers good mobile apps.
Who doesn't know Google Sheets, right? With a little exaggeration, this is by far one of the most versatile tools ever. At first sight it looks like Excel, but the difference is that it’s online. And the great thing is that it can be used for almost anything you can imagine. From basic tables and graphs to complex financial analysis, all the way up to task and project management. The truth is, that there are much better tools on the market for each individual need, but to be honest, if you can work in one, with a well-known user interface, the slight restrictions it brings can easily be ignored.
Google Sheets is free to use, all you need is a Google Account. Sheets, as well as other tools, are accessible on smartphones through official apps.
For some reason, people like spreadsheets. And we understand that, because they can capture complex data, which can then be adapted for your various needs. Airtable noticed this and built a beautiful, but still powerful database. It's like Google Sheets on steroids.
The possibilities and ways to use it are literally unlimited. From the basic table, to the calendar and kanban view to forms, this tool allows you to build your own management system, because not everyone is comfortable with just a kanban or just a spreadsheet view. Airtable combines both so you can work with your data both ways at the same time.
Airtable is free to use, although it has some premium features in paid plans. The databases are of course accessible through free iOS and Android apps.
This is truly a mind blowing tool. Zapier allows you to connect over 2,000 different apps and online tools and automate your daily tasks. Connecting apps means that an action from one app can be transferred to another. For example, you can use this workflow – Pin your new Instagram posts on Pinterest. This is called Zap and it is a set of actions completed across different tools. It doesn't just save you time, but it also eliminates mistakes.
After publishing a given piece of content, your work may be completed and you can start creating new pieces. But that would be a shame because all social networks offer unique ways to analyze content. You can see in real time how well your content is performing, how users interact with it and what is the response from the audience. And it is very accurate and fast.
This data will then help you with the so-called content optimization. With the right analysis, you can quite easily understand what content is valuable to your audience and transform these findings into future work. This will not only help you develop a relationship with followers, but also grow your fan base.
In the following chapter we will look more closely at the analysis part of the process. We'll walk through all the key metrics, as well as ways to apply your data analysis to the content creation process.
In the next chapter, we will cover the basics of metrics and reporting. You will learn how to analyze all important data and how to utilize this data in brand collaborations. 😎