Janet Murray is a content and online business strategist.
We caught up with Janet at #kickstart-dublin and asked her about creating a content strategy, her feelings on duplicating posts across platforms, and how to tell if your content strategy is working (or if it needs more time).
Find Janet on Instagram at @JanMurrayUK.
When it comes to making a content strategy, the very first thing you need to start with is: what do you want to sell? What is your objective?
If you don’t know what you want to sell, if you don’t know how many of whatever it is you want to sell, it’s really difficult to actually start to put a content plan together.
I tend to plan in quarters: in the next 90 days, what am I going to be selling?
If you sell the same product or service all year round, you might be thinking, “I don’t know how I could possibly do this, because I just sell the same thing all year round.” But in that case, you need to create what I call peak points. Create points in that 90 days where you are highlighting something new about your product or service. Maybe you’re doing some kind of special promotion. But really, you cannot promote the same product or service the same way the whole year round.
I look in 90 day cycles: what am I going to be selling? What kind of content do I need to create during that time to make sure that I hit my sales targets?
I think it’s actually okay to post the same content on different platforms as long as you are modifying that content for those different platforms, for those different audiences. Sometimes it’s even fine to do it on the same day or the same week. It’s about changing the format and sometimes changing the language or the style or the tone to suit that particular platform.
So for example, let’s say that you are active on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (whether you should be is another thing entirely). What I would do is say, for example, I was creating a post on how not to be a lazy content creator; I might create that particular post in a video format, I might create it as an Instagram carousel, but also as a written post that I could use on Facebook.
I find that some of the content that I post on Instagram that does really well—like an Instagram Carousel that’s really educational—if I were to post the same kind of content, the same kind of infographics, the same kind of text on my Facebook page, it wouldn’t do that well; if I post that as a long form written post—it could be exactly the same topic, exactly the same themes—but just presenting it in a different way for that audience would get the response that I needed.
So it really is fine to take the same topics, because your audience are likely to be interested in the same things—it’s just perhaps the delivery that you need to change up a little bit.
Most people don’t give their content enough time to see whether it’s actually working.
I think actually there’s four different stages to becoming a good content creator:
Number one is just getting consistent, just showing up and doing it regularly, because that’s how you start to see what works.
The next stage is about getting more creative, about testing out different ideas, maybe getting a little bit more adventurous, getting your confidence.
The next stage is then working on your conversion: how are you going to convert those people that are engaging with your content, and how are you going to turn those people into—it sounds horrible to say “turn,” but how are you going to help those people or encourage them to become your customers or clients?
And then the final stage is sales.
A lot of people imagine that they can get onto social media and post one thing and suddenly be absolutely brilliant at it and making loads of sales and the fact is that just doesn’t happen. You’ve got to go through those those phases—consistency, creativity, working on your conversion to get to sales—and there’s a lot of tweaking and testing.
To be honest I think most people give up too quickly. I think that you often need to give it quite a few months before you can really say, “No, that isn’t working.”
A lot of people give up without getting advice or guidance; they decide something isn’t working when sometimes they just need a little tweak in the way that they’re presenting it, a little tweak in the text, or a little tweak in the pictures that they’re using or the phases that they’re using. So I would say to give it a good few months; you need to do something a lot of times to figure out what’s working and what isn’t.