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Chapter
5

Determine the content formats that work for you

In this step, you will get specific on what content formats each social platform is known for and how this matches up with your personal style. 

Remember, you need to consistently create good content

Getting started on a social channel is one thing, but being consistent over a long period of time is another. If you really dislike creating video content, it’s going to be tough for you to consistently post on YouTube. This is why matching up the content format of a channel to your personal style is so important.‍

Tip: Stick to a posting schedule no matter what channels you opt for. You can opt to create content in bulk or as you go (i.e. whenever you get those cool ideas) and also test the publishing pattern for each network and audience.

Figure out what your content style is 

There are three important questions you need to ask yourself when planning out your content.

1. What is your style?

Think about what content is easy for you to develop, feels authentic to you, and doesn’t require insane investment each time. Maybe you enjoy using Canva to put together fun visuals. This is an extra bonus point for each channel. All social networks rely heavily on imagery. Some (like LinkedIn) are more sensitive to actual written content. Unique points of view and insights are highly appreciated as they allow you to truly position yourself as an expert in your field.

There are a handful of content formats and tones that are helpful to think through.‍

Formats

  • Short-form video

  • Medium-to-long form video

  • Short text

  • Medium text

  • Long text

  • Audio

  • Images 

Tones

  • Professional

  • Conversational

  • Academic/thought leadership

  • Pop culture/current events

  • Lifestyle 

2. What is not your style?

If you hate being on camera, YouTube won’t do it for you. You can get creative though and create videos using only screen sharing though. Keep in mind there’s always a worthwhile alternative to everything you dread doing.

Something most creators hate is the stress about what content they’re going to create next and how they’re going to engage their audience.‍

Remember, you don’t have to be on every platform. You will be more successful by picking a few and creating impactful content for those channels, instead of trying to be everywhere at once.‍

3. What matches the platforms you want to be active on?

In the next section, you will look over each platform and what content types typically work there.

Each platform has its own content format peculiarities

Before you test which content formats your target audience is more responsive to, let’s see what content formats the top platforms are known for.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is all about connecting with other professionals and sharing your expertise. While it’s tempting to share all of your personal content, keep in mind that LinkedIn is for business and professional content only.

LinkedIn articles have been ineffective over the past 2-3 years as the algorithm prioritizes regular posts. The different types of content to consider for a post include listicles, how-tos, in-depth guides, infographics and slides, checklists and templates, videos, etc.‍

On top of this, you can consider creating your own newsletter and hosting it on LinkedIn. Our recommendation would be to use LinkedIn as a way of resharing your latest newsletter edition instead and having a separate tool to create your own email list. 

Content Spotlight: Scott McKinney

Scott McKinney is a great example of a relatively small LinkedIn account who sticks to a regular scheduling pattern for his posts. He uses his posts to share copywriting tips which other writers love. On top of this, his posts also position him as an expert in his field thanks to the vast topics and hands-on insights he shares.‍

Twitter

Content on Twitter is more conversational in nature than most other channels. People post hot takes, thought pieces, or simply what they are observing on that day. Remember, each tweet is 280 characters, so the platform prefers easy-to-digest bites.

But if you're looking for some inspiration, we've got some ideas for your next posts or threads:

  • Tweets with links and images.

  • Tweets with photos or videos. 

  • Quotes and quotes of the day. 

  • Lists of tips or resources.

  • Lists of recent news items or updates from a business. 

  • Polls, contests, and quizzes. 

  • Service announcements. 

  • Announcements about events, promotions, and giveaways (in conjunction with @mentions).

Don’t forget about joining in the conversation by replying to popular posts/threads or joining a Twitter Space.

Content Spotlight: Kaleigh Moore

Kaleigh Moore is one of the most active freelance writers on Twitter and she nails her content by speaking to both other freelance writers and her target market (i.e. business owners and marketers) through a mix of posts on different topics.‍

Facebook

With over 1.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook was one of the best places for brands and individuals to reach new audiences. But that was years ago. Today its influence is going down, especially in the B2B space.

But there’s something that still works: building a community via Facebook groups.‍

Whether you’re running a brand, want your own community for freelance writers, or are a small business owner, Facebook groups provide a good space for people to engage with each other.‍

To ensure your content is relevant and valuable for your target audience, you will want to create a variety of different content types within these groups, including live events, regular posts, videos, polls, AMAs, and Q&A sessions.

Content Spotlight: Gloria Chou

Gloria Chou is a freelance PR pro who uses her Facebook group to organize regular live events and teach others how to run PR for their own businesses.

Instagram

Instagram is a visual platform, so it's no surprise that images are a big part of the Instagram experience. But there's more than one way to tell a story on Instagram. You can use other types of media, like video and audio. Stories are also a great way of getting people to engage with your account, send you a message, and start a discussion.‍

Content Spotlight: Kat Boogard

Kat Boogard dedicates all of her Instagram posts to one audience: freelance writers. Take a good tip from her and re-use your tweets as visual Instagram posts to speed up content creation and maintain consistency.

YouTube

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. It's a social platform, a video content-sharing platform, and a search engine all rolled into one.‍

Because of this, you don't need to create videos that are only meant for YouTube. You can create videos that will be seen on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and still get the same engagement from your audience. 

Tip: Adding a video to one of your blog posts can help you get better SEO rankings, especially in the Videos Google results.

You don't need to be an expert or professional in order to create content for YouTube. All you need is some motivation, creativity, and a camera (or smartphone). You can even do it from your bedroom if you want!‍

Content Spotlight: Jordan Makelle

Jorden Makelle has built an entire business by promoting her services and products via YouTube. All of her videos speak to a single audience: future and current freelance writers who want to earn more.

TikTok

TikTok allows creators to share videos, music, and live streams on the platform. Content on TikTok, similar to Twitter, favors snackable factoids rather than longer-form thought leadership content. Out of all the platforms we have covered, it’s probably the best one to mix fun stuff with business topics.‍

Content Spotlight: Sam Gomez

Sam Gomez is a freelance marketing manager who shares tidbits of her life in San Diego while mixing in content on how she got started freelancing and how she’s currently managing freelancing with a part-time role.

Score channels based on your content preferences

In the spreadsheet in your workbook, add columns and score each channel based on these attributes:

  • Ability to create the content: 1-being not at all (you’ve never created a video, let alone post something on YouTube before) to 5-being an expert (you’re a video editor by trade)

  • Your personal excitement: 1-not excited at all (you’re against everything Facebook stands for) to 5-being very excited (you LOVE short-form videos and are excited by TikTok).

Resources required: 1-being very expensive (you need to invest a lot in a new camera for YouTube) to 5-being not expensive at all (you already have content ready to go for Twitter).‍

Recap

  • How to consistently create content that resonates with your audience + what extra steps are needed to make you truly stand out on social media

  • How to create distinctive content for every single social platform (besides commonly accepted formats)

  • What core writing principles to keep in mind when evaluating your go-to social channels

  • What your current ability to create content, personal excitement, and resources for each channel are

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