Welcome to Mo’s Letter, a weekly publication by Dr Mo about social media, business strategy and career development. Today’s article is about content creation.
Creating social media content can be time-consuming. Many social media managers, marketing professionals and business owners struggle to post relevant content to their social media platforms; but brands need engaging content to captivate their audience, reach new people and successfully sell new products. The key, therefore, to success with social media content creation is finding a formula that works for you and automating it as much as you can.
One way of keeping your social media accounts filled and busy is with what I call base content. This is simply content that runs in the background, giving your fans something to interact with year-round.
Think of it like buying groceries. When you’re at the store, you tend to buy staples. These include your starches (rice, pasta, flour), your grains (bread, oats, muesli, cornflakes), your proteins (milk, chicken, meat, eggs) and your fats (oil and butter).
Every day, your meals will need one or more of these ingredients. You thus buy them in bulk to save money and avoid making multiple trips. But every once in a while, you buy chocolate. Once in a blue moon, you pick up a frozen pizza, or cake, or Doritos and dip.
You don’t need these products. They are occasional treats you use to spice up your diet. You don’t buy them in bulk, and they usually don’t last very long at home.
Base content is your staple food on social media.
Base content is what your audience can look forward to each week. It forms the basis of your long-term content strategy.
EMEI: The 4 Ways of Interacting on Social Media
As I mentioned in How To Go Viral On Social Media, there are four main ways of interacting with your social media audience. These include:
- Educating people
- Motivating people
- Entertaining people
- Informing people
Ideally, you want some combination of the above. The more blended your content is, the more nourishing it is to your fans.
In this post, I’m going to share with you a strategy I use for creating long-term social media content called #ThinkTwelve.
What is #ThinkTwelve?
#ThinkTwelve is a formula for creating base content. It is based on a few tenets:
- You only need 12 pieces of content for any subject related to your brand; one per month.
- If you apply the EMEI principle, you can create enough weekly content for a whole year.
To put that second point in perspective, think of each tenet of EMEI as corresponding to one week each month:
- For Week 1, an educational post
- For Week 2, a motivational post
- For Week 3, an entertaining post
- For Week 4, an informative post
#ThinkTwelve is all about applying structure (EMEI) in order to automate content creation and free up your time significantly.
Let’s see how #ThinkTwelve works in action.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m averse to avo. I believe it is an overhyped, overpriced food that tastes like warm Vaseline.
But as the video below shows, avocado has a pretty interesting history for a berry that tastes like petroleum jelly. So we are going to find nice things to say about this fruit to generate enough content for a year.
Let’s start with an EMEI breakdown. How do we educate, motivate, entertain and inform people about avocados?
We can do it as follows:
- Educate – post facts about avocado’s health benefits (ugh)
- Motivate – help people stick to a greener diet with avo-based recipes
- Entertain – post avocado memes, competitions and quotes
- Inform – tell people where they can buy avocados, as well as where it’s grown
Looking at our list, #ThinkTwelve tells us we only need 12 of each. A simple Google search should provide enough content for each line item.
Let’s take the first one: educating people about avocado’s health benefits.
When I searched for “benefits of avocado”, the first article that came up was titled “12 Health Benefits of Avocado.” This article gives us enough content for each month of the calendar.
You can do the same with the others. There are articles on how to stay motivated on a vegan diet, the best avocado recipes, the best vegetarian restaurants in Johannesburg, lists of countries that export avocado (we only need the top 12), as well as the best avocado memes. As always, Google is your friend.
Once you’ve gathered enough content, shorten each post to the length of a tweet. You can link the recipe posts to their online sources.
Next, grab appropriate photos from Unsplash, Pexels, Nappy.co, or a subscription site like iStock. If you have the money, you can spring for stock videos from sites like Storyblocks and VideoHive.
After that, design individual image posts using Canva or Adobe InDesign (my go-to software), and add your logo to each graphic.
That’s it: your content is ready.
Creating a content calendar
At this point, you’ve crafted your copy and collected your graphics. It’s now time to compile a content calendar with those assets.
Let’s first tag our prepared content for easier identification:
- Educational posts get tagged ED-1 to ED-12
- Motivational posts: MO-1 to MO-12
- Entertainment posts: EN-1 to EN-12
- Informational posts: IN-1 to IN-12
Assume we publish new posts every Monday. Our content calendar for the entire year will look like this:
This gives us 48 pieces of content in total, based on a posting schedule of one day a week. If you wish, you can create similar content streams for say, Thursday, so that you have content to publish twice a week.
With a calendar like this, you can now afford to focus on other aspects of running your business without worrying about whether your page has fresh content.
Schedule your content in advance
The final step is to schedule your content in advance. You can do this with tools such as Hootsuite, Lately, Later, Buffer or Planoly. Compare pricing and features to find the best platform for you.
Once you’ve signed up for one, link all your brand’s social media profiles. Proceed to schedule all your posts according to the calendar you’ve compiled.
Completing this now lets you devote more time to community management, customer enquiries, order fulfilment and planning short-term campaigns such as competitions, holiday posts, and more.
Social media content creation becomes easier when you have a formula for generating content. You can then apply that formula to any platform, for any type of business.
#ThinkTwelve helps you plan your long-term social media strategy. You work for a day or two to create enough content for a whole year. This efficiency buys you an immense amount of time to devote to other business activities.
Because in our busy day-to-day jobs as social media managers and business owners, nothing is more precious than time.
Till next week,
Contact me for social media services via my website.
I’m also on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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Mohammed Shehu, Ph.D. writes on content and marketing for creators and brands. You can find him online @shehuphd everywhere.