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Creating a Content Strategy to Work Smarter, Not Harder

If you’ve ever felt like you spend way too much time creating content that seems to lead to zero results for your personal brand or business, you’re not alone. I’ve been there and have made ALL the mistakes.

In today’s episode, I’m going to try and provide some clarity around content strategy – including the why, the what and the how – so you can start to map out a plan for yourself that doesn’t take over your life and actually helps you to build a profitable (and not just popular) brand.

Stay tuned for next week’s episode when we’ll dive into building out a content calendar to help you stay consistent and make sure you’re posting the right stuff at the right time!

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Read the transcription 👇

You’re listening to Episode 24. Creating a content strategy to work smarter, not harder.

This episode is for you. If you just feel like content creation takes up way too much time in your week, it stresses you out and just doesn’t seem to actually be moving the needle for your brand. Like you’re not getting the right people on your list.

They don’t seem to be, you know, prepared to buy. And you just wonder what the hell you’re doing with your time right now. So hopefully by the end of this episode, you’ll have a little bit more clarity on how to map this out. And then in the next episode, after two days, I am going to then give you a strategy on actually mapping it out into a content calendar so that you can make even more sense of it.

We’re breaking it up into because this is a big topic I don’t want to overwhelm. Let’s just dive in. Welcome to the personal branding project.

I’m your host Kat Elizabeth, an actor and personal branding coach who is obsessed with how Being creative entrepreneurs like you build personal brands that change your life for good from attracting bigger opportunities, more joy and freedom in your life, and the ability to get paid to do the things that you love most each week,

I’m bringing you inspiration, practical advice and the occasional dose of tough love. So you can stop dreaming and start doing what it takes to make those dreams a reality. Welcome back. And thank you for being here. I have decided to continue this theme of talking about social media and content and just keep going because it’s just a huge topic. And I think it’s easier if we just break it down into bite sized pieces.

So today we are going to be talking all about the actual strategy behind the content you create and hopefully bringing some clarity to why you even do what you do. And the the bigger picture plan of like where your content begins and where it ends, and the whole point of that.

So that Next episode, we can then dive into creating a content calendar that works for you. And hopefully helps you stay consistent with the strategy that we’re talking about. So the number one focus of today, the theme, I guess, is beginning with the end in mind. So I spent way too many years, like just chasing my tail with content creation, creating content, not really for the sake of it.

But there is this kind of danger zone, which I’ve heard someone refer to this as the traffic trap, where you try and just create the content that your audience loves, because it gets you you know, the views, the follows whatnot. But the problem is, it’s not getting them to take action and move to the next stage of the journey with you.

Which is why it’s really important to begin with the end in mind and know Okay, why am I creating this piece of content and where is it going? So that you know you don’t get stuck in the traffic trap? And you remember that, okay, like, yes, I’m delivering value.

This is like this piece of content here for a reason. And then the next step is this, there has to be a next step. So what I thought we would do is basically reverse engineer this journey that I’m talking about. So that, you know, you can start to see the steps. And hopefully they build on each other.

And it’s going to get easier for you to figure out what kind of content to create, we are not going to deep dive into exactly what kinds of ideas and everything to come up with today, because it’s just too much. But hopefully, this is like the overarching plan that will pull it all together for you and get the juices flowing. So when we reverse engineer something, we need to start at the endpoint.

And so that endpoint is your offering, the thing that your client or customer is going to be paying you for. That is why we create content is to get them there. And along the way there were all these things that we need to do to make sure they’re ready to actually buy from us. So a really important concept to keep in mind is the five stages of customer awareness. Now, this is like a copywriting thing.

And that was a copywriter came up with a very long time ago. But it’s like at the core of marketing like this is a really important concept. And it’s basically that your ideal customer or client is always going to be at one of five stages in this awareness journey, with the lowest being that they have no awareness.

And when I say no, when is I mean no, when I said they even have a problem. Obviously, for someone to look for a solution, they need to first know they have a problem. So no awareness means they know nothing. And really, we don’t want to aim for these people because they don’t know that they have a problem. They’re not even going to be paying attention to what you’re creating about if you’re talking about the problem that maybe you know they have.

So the next step up is problem aware. And this is where it starts becoming interesting because they aren’t they do know they have a problem. So if you can somehow get in front of them and start talking about that problem.

They have They’re going to be like, they’re going to resonate with that. And go, oh, okay, this person knows. And that is when you can move them to the next stage of the, the awareness level, which is solution aware, solution aware is when they finally realize that not only do they have a problem, there is actually a potential solution for it, there may be more than one solution for it. But it’s kind of generic at this point.

They just know it’s out there. They don’t know what’s you. So the next stage along is when they become product aware. And so that’s when they actually aware of your specific solution. Because they have come into contact with you. They’ve heard about you, they know what you do. And so you’re on their radar. And then the final step is most aware, which is when they might have you know, maybe they’re on your email list, maybe they’ve already bought like it actually covers a lot.

But basically, they’ve started to become more of a fan they’ve bonded with you. You know, it can go anywhere from them, getting your content regularly, and maybe having signed up for something to all the way like to being a problem. A superfan who tells all their friends about you.

So the point of content creation is to help make that journey quicker, you do not want to get someone to a sales page or on a sales call pushing a product in front of them. If they are too far down that awareness stage, it’s it’s going to be too much work. So the idea of content is that we create it to help kind of knock down the dominoes, you know, that need knocking down for them to then realize,

Oh, actually want to need your solution. So this is where we need to be asking questions like, Okay, what kind of false beliefs Do they have about what I do? Like what do they need to believe about themselves? What do they need to know about me? What do they need to know about my product and looking for opportunities to put those things into our content, whatever they may be.

So we began with the end in mind, I just wanted to give you a little like, that’s a bit of a theory lesson, but I thought it just might help a little bit. Let me know if it did or not. Feel free to send me a message over on Instagram @iamKatElizabeth and let me know if that resonated if you want more on that. But if we’re beginning with the end of mine, so we have the offering so that this is the point when they actually work with you, let’s step back.

Usually the next thing before that is going to be email because again, it can be like sometimes people are just going to go straight from you know, downloading something or looking at you’re consuming some of your free content and then straight to the buy, but they weren’t always so we need email there to continue nurturing the relationship. And the beauty of email is once they’re on your email list, you have a lot more control over whether they see your email or not.

Yes, like they’re not always going to open it but at least you know, it hits their inbox, whereas with social media, you’re lucky of 10% of people actually seeing your post which is not a good, that’s not a good number. So I want you to be thinking then about Okay, so what is the weekly content that I’m going to be sending my audience To continue moving them along this awareness scale.

And usually like if we go now to the step before that it’s your lead magnet or an entry level offer. So it could either be something free that they signed up for, or something very low cost like a no brainer offer, that is usually going to jump them along the scale a little bit further, because you provide them with so much value a quick when they’re all motivated, they have more awareness of what it’s like working with you, then what kind of primed so then you can use the email to build on that.

So to continue that momentum, make sure they keep seeing improvements, then start educating them about what you do for real and why it’s important that they do that. So stepping back before so the lead magnet itself needs to be something that matches your audience where they’re at right now. Like what is the problem that they do know they have? Because here’s the thing, and I’ve spoken to a quite a few people about this because there’s this frustration that we know what our audience really But they don’t necessarily know what they need yet.

They just know what they want. And so we’ve got to find that sweet spot of giving them what they want, but then being able to deliver what they need, or they say, you know, sell them what they want, give them what they need.

So you have to make sure that whatever it is you’re putting out there, this lead magnet or entry level offer is something that really appeals to your ideal client, where they are today with their level of awareness about their problem and the solution, that it’s something that’s exciting to them that solves an immediate urgent problem, then you have this opportunity once I’ve done that, if you can give them that when to start making them more aware of all the other stuff that you know they need that they might not know yet.

So try not to get carried away with your lead magnet and put everything in it that you want them to know about because it’s gonna be overwhelming. It needs to be really simple, bite sized, it needs to be like digestible straightaway, something that they can immediately start Using and see an improvement in their life from if you can do that the trust level shoots through the roof and they’re going to be so much more receptive to then receiving emails about you that stopped selling things and they’ll be like, fair enough, you earned that right?

Okay, so the lead magnet is a big one. We are going to be talking about lead magnets and list building next month. So June inside the personal branding collective my monthly membership, even if you don’t join for June like if you’re listening to this in the future, high in the future, you will be able to join and then get access to all of the existing training. So don’t worry, you haven’t missed the boat.

That yet this is something we’re going to do a whole deep dive on because it’s it’s so important. I have created so many of the wrong lead magnets trying to solve either the wrong problem. So it was a problem for someone else that wasn’t my ideal client, or got them overwhelmed with too much information or didn’t solve the right problem. Like there’s a list of things I’ve experimented a lot with lead magnets. And I’ve learned a lot. I’ve done a lot of training on this too. So I’m just going to boil it down to the absolute essentials. If you want the information on the membership, I’ll include a link in the show notes.

Or you can just head to personal branding project CO and you’ll see links everywhere moving on, though. So the step before the lead magnet, because obviously they’ve got to sign up for the lead magnet. But why would they sign up for the league lead magnet, if they don’t know who you are? They wouldn’t. So this is where we have our hero and our supporting content. And they kind of go side by side.

Because often you’ll find that people sign up for the lead magnet from one or the other. But they support each other in this I like to see your hero content as like that really meaty, high value content that goes out every week, and probably draws a lot of eyes on to your channels. It’s very searchable.

You know, it attracts an audience and then you have that opportunity to tell them about your supporting platform, whatever social media platform that might be They go and follow you over there. And that’s where you start the conversation. Okay, so here a platform is more just about talking out at your audience like it’s a more of a one sided conversation, whereas supporting social media is the two sided conversation where both people are talking. So these kind of go hand in hand. But when we’re talking about working smarter and not harder, we need to make sure that our hero content that we create, because we put so much effort into it, is feeding our supporting content.

So we don’t have to create a million pieces of content from scratch every single week. So I want you to start with the idea but you’ll hear a pace every week. Look at maybe every two weeks I’m saying every week because that’s what I believe in it. You’re gonna see foster results if you do it this way. But if you can only do one every two weeks, that’s fine.

I personally wouldn’t do less than that, because you’ll just find the results happen too slowly. But again, we’ve got to be realistic and high quality and consistent. Like they’re the key So whatever the minimum viable product is for you to be able to do that, go for it. But once you have that hero piece of content, you need to make sure that everything else that you’re creating, you know, can draw from that so that you’re not having to reinvent the wheel.

So one thing you can actually do is, you know, use your email, your weekly email, to just promote the hero piece of content, like quite simple, really, it’s up to you how long you want it to be, you might want to go into a full story, you might just want to share a link to that piece of content. Like it’s a good idea to experiment because everyone’s audiences are different.

But you know, don’t think that your email has to be this like absolute work of art, you’ll find it still does its job in getting your, your client along that awareness scale. If you can just send them to your hero content and they keep getting wins from that. Then with social media, we’re looking at ways to recycle your content.

So like is there other smaller snippets that you can create from these videos or blog articles that can turn into posts? Could you just do like a pull quote from some of them and create graphics where it’s just like one sentence that you said, and then you can have a post that just talks about that could it be you literally get a transcription of the video will the podcast and you like copy and paste a whole bunch of the section of the video into a pose like,

Just think about any ways that you can recycle it, tease it, and use that to head back to your hero content, always sending them to that actual platform, you’ll find like, for instance, YouTube is very big on making sure that your eyes are on the video within the first 72 hours, even less like it’s called velocity.

So it’s really important that in that first, you know, 72 hours, you’re sending everyone back to YouTube because it shows YouTube that this is a popular video and they’re more likely to push it out to a larger audience. So that’s why it is extra important that we use know our social media to support it and send it back.

Some of the things we can do is literally just talk about the thing we just created using Instagram stories or a Facebook Live, like really off the cuff relaxed, just chat about the thing you created, why it’s important who it’s for, and give them a call to action to go watch or listen, you know, you don’t have to overthink this.

And then what you’ll find is once you have found a rhythm with how many posts each week you can create based on your hero piece of content, there’ll be way less gaps and that is when you start coming up with some great story ideas to fill those gaps covering some really sort of key categories I guess like so the way I break it down for myself these days after so much trial and error is like the conversation so you know making sure you get people talking to you and engaging with your content so that you increase your reach your connection which is going to be you sharing your own story and building A lot more know,

Like and trust, credibility. So all those social proof pieces like sharing stories, like from your own life from your clients experiences to really show that you’re an authority, and then conversion, which is where you push a lot harder to get people to go take an action and, and get onto that next stage.

So you know, taking people to your lead magnet to sign up for your free challenge, or maybe to buy something that is currently you know, in enrollment or something like that. So, those four categories are kind of what I use as my pill is to make sure I’m covering all bases in my supporting content, and that you know, need to be included each week, as well as those, you know, snippets of the bigger pieces of content also, those four kinds of posts can easily be tied in to these mini posts of your hero content,

Like you can use them to share a story that then leads to you saying and here’s how that ties into today’s Video, okay, so don’t think it’s like one or the other you either charities, or you share these four kinds of posts, use them interchangeably. And if you can start really utilizing the power of story to, you know, to grab your audience in and to really connect with them and do something that’s a little bit different.

That is when you will notice that your personal brand starts to get established, people will start to remember you more, they feel like they know you better. It’s like, I don’t know, something clicked when I started sharing actual stories, as opposed to just a quote here or just like a quick lesson there but really tying it into relevant stories, whether it’s a that was about me and my experiences, or if it’s to do with clients and students or observations I’ve made,

They just made all the difference like, which is literally why I created the social storytelling method. And this was, you know, some of you were around for the social Storytelling Challenge that I did earlier this year. I had so many people take part in that say they started to notice a difference when they really put some effort into their stories on social media.

So I basically kind of used that as the inspiration for this, this new little mini product, I think, if you’re feeling like, at the moment, you’re just feeling very uninspired, flat, like you’re just not coming up with the right ideas, then maybe you need something along those lines to just get the juices flowing and force you to go a little bit deeper with the stories that you’re telling instead of just following, you know, paint by numbers almost of what you’ve been doing this whole time.

It’s one of those things that ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if you can really see it’s not working right now, then you need to do something. So I’ll include links to everything that I’ve mentioned today in the show notes, if you want extra help, but also there are resources everywhere.

I’m not saying you need to use mine. I’m just saying like, we can create very high impact content without a ton of effort. Like it can be easier than you think we’ve just got it in our heads that like good content takes time. And tons of time.

But a lot of it is just having the right ideas and trusting that there’s a strategy in place, and then finding workflows and systems that make it better. And so that’s how around this out is that now that you sort of know this, this map of where your content has to go. So basically, I don’t want you creating anything.

Now that doesn’t fit into that, like, if you’re creating anything that doesn’t go anywhere, don’t create it. Or if you’re going to create it, like make sure you tweak it so that then it goes somewhere, like everything you create should just be working to raise your ideal clients awareness level of their problems and the solutions and what you do so that they can get onto your list and then eventually buy from you like that is the purpose of content.

And so if you’re running around like crazy trying to create all this incredible content, but it doesn’t have a strategy behind it has no end game, then that’s where all your energy is kind of going and it’s we can just pull right back from that. But now let’s talk about systems. There is no single system. that just works better than others. Because everyone’s brains work differently.

And we all have different amounts of time on our hands, we will think differently. Some of us have a team, some of us are working solo. So you need to do you need to do your time and figure out what works really well for you. So I have tried, I’m currently on using Clickup. I’ve recently switched to click up from Asana just because I found it a bit more flexible and way better value for money.

But if you’re not needing a team and you’re not needing all the features, the Asana free version is fantastic as well. I use Trello for some things, not for project management, but I often create on resources for people inside Trello because it’s a really great free platform where you can organize your ideas really well and it’s just like great to use it as a content bank notion is something else that I use for a lot of my content planning that involves a lot of writing and research and photos and pulling everything together.

It’s like it really is my second brain And then some people just love good old pen and paper. But I will say that you need to remove the resistance. So sometimes you’ll find that there are too many steps between you coming up with the idea and you being able to hit Publish.

And that’s what slows you down. So if you’re finding that, yes, you have these great ideas on paper, but then you’ve got to copy them into the computer, and then you’ve got to put them here and then in your scheduler, and it’s just too much, then we need to think about how we can simplify that mean, there are scanning programs with like, text recognition that could you know, if you really want to use pen and paper, you can then just scan them and put it into your computer.

That might be a way around, but you kind of just need to explore this yourself and really have a think about what am I most in flow?

How do I work fastest and most efficiently? What do I enjoy using and what is sustainable? And you know, bringing into consideration if you have anyone else helping you on your team, making sure that you both have access to this thing, that there’s an easy way of understanding who does what Because that’s when things start to get even it sounds like Oh, great, I’ve got someone helping me, it’s all gonna get easy.

No, because the first step is to understand how to delegate and make sure that everyone’s doing the thing that they need to and nothing is, you know, no one’s dropping the ball. So whatever you do once you have this strategy in place, and you’ve mapped out where your audience is going to be starting, where’s the middle? Where’s the end?

Then you need to figure out Yes, all the ideas for the content, but how are you going to make this workflow a thing? How much time? Are you going to block out each month to batch create your content? Or is it one day a week that you focus on marketing, whatever it is, you need to put that in your calendar, and you need to treat that as a sacred appointment with yourself. I know that sounds a lot.

But as I’ve mentioned before, like it’s sometimes it’s really difficult to treat our own schedules and our own appointments the way we do with our clients, like for some reason, we’ll show up early for client appointments. We’ll never miss a deadline. We’re always always ready to go and with ourselves, we’re like, I can do that later. I’ll just bump that, Oh, do it at night, it doesn’t work, we really need to up our game and treat our schedules and our own appointments with ourselves with respect, and that is going to make a big difference.

So please, please, please block out that time in your calendar, make recurring events in your calendar for that content creation for the scheduling. Get realistic about what is actually involved in content creation, don’t just go like Instagram for May and have like three hours blocked out, we know that it’s going to take more than three hours like coming up with the ideas writing the captions, finding the right photos for that doing any design, uploading them to your scheduling program, hitting schedule, doing engagement afterwards,

That takes more than three hours for a month worth of content. So be realistic and make it work for you. But I have hope that if you are realistic and you have a plan, you can make this work you can reduce some of that effort because again, a lot of the effort that’s going into social media and intent in general, for me anyway, comes from me just like last minute slapping something together because I’m like,

Oh crap, I haven’t posted it ages, I need to do something. And then an Instagram post will take, you know, an hour or two, when if I’d planned ahead, it would have been like 15 minutes. And you know, a YouTube video I can create for in the amount of time that I create one when I’m in flow, and I’m in batch creation mode.

So really start to look honestly at your schedule and where things are going awry. And start to figure out how you can reduce the effort, reduce the resistance so that you just find flow and you start seeing more results like better a better return on investment. Because you expect less when you put less effort in, you’re like, oh, anything that comes back is great.

But when you’ve spent an entire week trying to do your social content for the month, you start to get frustrated when you don’t see that return, and fair enough. So I hope this was helpful. I’d love to know I guess what resonated with you and where you feel like you’re you’re lacking where you’re struggling.

The most so that I can go deeper into into that in particular because I’m having to race through because there’s so much to talk about. Please go find me on Instagram @iamKatElizabeth screenshot this episode tag me let me know what what you learned from it and what you want more help with and I’m really happy to create more episodes around that.

And as I said the social storytelling method is available as $27 for all of the story prompts as well as all the training and templates, you need to really reduce that resistance around social media.

And whether or not this it’s open right now while you’re listening to this, but the personal branding collective, which is my monthly membership, and we go into all the training but the difference is you also get accountability and feedback to make sure you stay on track.

So check the links to that and you can always join the waitlist if the doors are closed while you’re listening to this.

But thank you so much for listening. Happy creating and I will speak with you soon.

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