Creating content is really difficult for some people. When they sit down to write a blog post or record a video, their minds just go blank and they don’t know what to do. They know they need to be active on social media to achieve the goals they have set, but they just don’t feel like they have anything to say.
I have to confess it is a bit frustrating to me when I am coaching someone and they seem to be more interested in social media strategies than they are interested in actually creating content. Being good stewards of our online platforms is not a game. We don’t try to find the cheat code strategies in order to win.
Being good stewards of our online platforms means we care about the content we produce more than the strategies we use to get it out into the world.
Content is what changes people, not social media strategies.
So, I want to do everything I can to help you create content with as few obstacles as possible.
What follows is how I coach people to maximize content creation, leaving nothing to waste.
Here is how you can create lots of content from just one piece of content.
First, start with cornerstone content.
Cornerstone content is, for you, the longest kind of content you create. It could be a sermon. It could be a talk at a conference. It could be a 10-minute YouTube video. It could be a blog post. Whatever your “long form” content is—it will be different for different people—that is your “cornerstone” content.
This is obviously the hardest kind of content to create, but it is the most important. Out of your cornerstone content flows all of your other content. If you routinely have trouble creating this kind of content, you probably need to question if building an online platform is really worth your time.
Sure, plenty of people build online platforms from social media content alone, but most people have cornerstone content of some kind that fuels the content on their social media platforms.
Write a blog post. Record a weekly YouTube video. Capture the audio and/or video of your weekly sermons. Whatever kind of cornerstone content you can create, do it. It will be the fuel for everything else.
Then, consider the various mediums.
I am generally opposed to re-purposing content within the same medium in which it was first produced. For instance, I don’t like re-posting blog posts that have already been posted as a blog post someplace else. I don’t like re-running a video on a site I manage that has already been run someplace else.
But, when it comes to create content across different mediums, I think re-purposing content is wise. What does this look like? Here’s an example:
Let’s say your cornerstone content is made up of two blog posts you write on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You’ve been writing those blog posts for a year or so now, so you have 80-90 blog posts on your website.
You can re-purpose your content across mediums by creating a weekly 5-10 minute Facebook Live video whose content is a blog post from your vast archive of 80-90 posts. When you’re done recording that video, you could download it and upload it to YouTube in case people would rather watch it there (and to host your video on the second-largest search engine in the world).
After all of that, you can even get into the audio medium. You could start a podcast! How? By ripping the audio from the video you created and uploading it through the podcast platform of your choice! Why would you do this? Some people would rather listen to your content on their way to work than watch it over their lunch hour or read it in the mornings.
So now, from just that first piece of cornerstone content, you have three-to-four pieces of cornerstone content: a blog post, a Facebook Live, a YouTube video, and a podcast episode.
From here, we drill down and get super tactical.
Finally, generate micro content for social media.
This is where the magic happens, but it is also where the most work is. This is where you get down into the muck and mire of content creation and really stretch out the value of your cornerstone content.
Your cornerstone content is called what it is because it is the most important. If you think of your online platform as a literal platform, it is the content on which your entire platform depends. But out of the cornerstone content flows another important piece of building an online platform: social media content.
From your 700-word blog post, your 10-minute video, or your 15-minute podcast, you have the ability to create dozens of pieces of social media content.
For instance, within a 700-word blog post, there are easily 12 tweets. All of those tweetable lines could be overlaid on images to make share squares for Instagram. Obviously there are Facebook posts that can be made.
From a 15-minute podcast there are a number of audio clips that can be shared over images on Twitter or otherwise. In a 10-minute YouTube Video or Facebook Live there are almost certainly two or three one-minute clips that could be shared across all platforms.
I could go on and on, as you can imagine.
If you are interested in building an online platform, creating cornerstone content ought to be attractive and interesting to you. If writing blog posts or recording videos does not sound appealing to you, but you want to “build a platform,” I’m not sure I understand what you think it means to build a platform.
Consistency is more important than frequency. So once you can consistently create cornerstone content, develop strategies to re-purpose that content across mediums in hopes of reaching and serving more people, and start breaking down your cornerstone content into micro content to be shared on social media platforms.
Creating content can be very difficult, but with the right strategies in place, you can multiply the effectiveness of your work and time.
Chris Martin is the Co-Creator and Chief Content Officer at LifeWay Social as well as a Content Strategist at LifeWay. He and his wife Susie live outside Nashville, TN.