I’ve been creating content for 3 years. God told me back in January 2018, “It’s time to tell your story.” It was nerve wrecking at first, but God sent a team to help me get started. In two years I learned how to pose, how to have an on camera presence, and how to write content. In addition, I discovered my voice and my fashion style – modern chic! I didn’t know that my obedience and consistency would lead me to becoming a nano influencer growing a community both on Instagram and TikTok. I’ve had more clients reach out to me this year than in the past two years. People are DM’ing me for coaching sessions on how to create engaging and authentic content. My content is highly shareable across both platforms. However, with great content comes great responsibility. Before I get there though let me backtrack a little.
Back in November 2020, I decided to finally start creating content full time. I’d like to say that this was all my idea, but honestly I’d been feeling a nudge from the Holy Spirit. Earlier in the year God told me to quit my job and 11 months in jobs weren’t lining up to interview me. I recognized that if I poured all my attention into creating content I could use it as my digital resume for when companies do reach out. I posted my first couple of videos on TikTok and it got a couple hundred views. My Instagram was performing better, so I decided to post on TikTok once a week. My posting strategy on IG has been 5 days a week Monday-Friday. It’s been successful, so why change it. In December I posted my, “Issa Delta Christmas” video on both TikTok and IG. The video took off. I got 200 new followers on IG and 2000 on TikTok in one day. I thought at first it was a fluke, but then a couple weeks later I posted my, “Diva” video and it nearly went viral. It had over 463k views on IG and over 50k on TikTok. The video brought in 100 followers a day on both platforms for several weeks. That’s when I realized I needed to keep creating content like that. So I did. However, it felt like I was shooting all the time. I had no time to rest, no time to chill with friends, and no self-care days. I felt like a machine in a factory on its last leg plus I still didn’t have enough content to post. So I kept praying and asking God for a plan. That’s when God dropped in my spirit that I needed a content calendar. This opened me up to a whole new side of content creation.
I had long despised content calendars because I felt like while I was planning I could be shooting. But let me tell you how this calendar changed my life. It immediately organized me. I use Google Sheets for my calendar. Other good options are Excel, Numbers, pretty much anything with a grid. I create tabs for each month i.e. Tab 1 = January, Tab 2 = February all the way to December. I go through each day and fill in content ideas. I use the National Days Calendar for national holidays and fill it onto my content calendar so that I can get an idea of what content to create for that month. From there I Google popular topics for lifestyle blogs. Lifestyle blogging is my niche and it’s really important that when you are creating content you stay on brand or else your audience will get confused. They like to know who they are following and why. Finally I was able to fill in the calendar for the entire month. But it’s best to fill in the calendar with loose content ideas because the world is unpredictable. You want to be flexible just in case a new trend starts or something major happens that becomes breaking news. You always want to be relevant and speaking what the people wants to hear. I fill in my calendar month to month; some people do it quarter to quarter, others annually. Figure out what works for you and do it.
Visual Content Calendar
Now that we have the content calendar let’s talk about the visuals. I create a visual content calendar to mimic my written calendar. It’s photo and videos of the topics and ideas that you came up with for your content calendar. Now, some people place these visuals directly on their calendar, but I’d prefer to use an app for this. There are lots of apps that you can connect to your IG that will show you your feed in real time. It helps you to organize your content in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. The app I like to use is Color Story. I use the free version, but if you pay for it you can create really nice filters for your photos to help give it a consistent look. Other apps that you can use are Planoly, Unum, and Plann. I’ve used all these apps and all are great. It’s key to note that this visual content calendar dictates my written calendar because it’s what’s maintaining the aesthetics for my page. I can move photos and videos around in Color Story to come up with a consistent theme for my page. Then I go back to Google Sheets and arrange the days to match my visual calendar. In order to successfully use the calendar you can pull ideas and inspiration from Pinterest, Google, or other IG pages and arrange it to your liking. This will dictate what and how you need to shoot. Consider this your mood board. For example if you select a bunch of photos of people standing in front of various flower walls then you’ll need find locations with various flower walls and shoot there. Colors, angles, and lighting are key to maintaining the aesthetics for your page. I’m a bit of a rebel, but I like to shoot first and then arrange my photos. This probably isn’t the best way to do this, but I do it because it works for me. However, I am still discovering the aesthetics for my page.
So we have the content calendar, the visual content calendar, the only thing missing is the schedule. After you have your content planned out for the month it’s time to create. It’s easier to set aside shoot days and editing days. For me, I shoot Monday-Wednesday. I try to shoot about 9 videos or 5 videos and 3-4 sets of photos within these days. I separate my video shoot days from my photography sessions. Thursday-Friday I edit, do speaking engagements, write, and/or catch up on emails. It is so important that I have these days because if I’m only shooting then I’ll never be able to post because none of my content will be edited. Saturdays are my pick up days. I shoot whatever I didn’t get to shoot during the week and I use this time to go through my content calendar for the following week to make sure I have everything I need to post. I also leave this day open to hang with family and friends. Sundays are my rest days. If I don’t get my rest then I’ll be useless during the week. I pour so much out so it’s important that I spend this time with God so that He can refill me.
Now that I’m all organized I’m creating content at a faster rate. I no longer feel like I am falling behind and I barely miss a post date. This type of consistency builds a trust in my audience because they know that they can expect a post from me Monday-Friday at 8:05a on IG and 9a on TikTok. So how did I get this posting time? In order for me to be successful on social media I needed a posting strategy. It wasn’t easy mainly because I didn’t know what it was until now. So here are some tips that I follow:
– Check your IG analytics. If you have a business profile then you can check your analytics and IG will let you know when your audience is mostly on. For me, IG kept giving me random times, but my friends kept telling me that each morning they go on social media I’m the first person they see. They told me way before the algorithm switched to its latest version so I decided if I wanted to catch people in the morning I needed to catch them before they got to work. So 8:05a works because people are either traveling to work or eating breakfast. It’s best to post during breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime. During these down times people are on social media. And if you catch them while they’re commuting that’s like hitting the lottery.
– Create your content in these buckets. These four categories will help to diversify your content.
If you are selling a product (which you are even if it’s a lifestyle) people love getting tips. Your tips can range from how to organize your home to best products to purchase to ease foot pain. Of course, you should stay on brand. So if you’re a photographer share information on photography like how to get the best lighting for a selfie. If you’re a chef then you could share recipes to help lose weight. Whatever it is make sure that it is informing your audience. This will help to set you up as an expert in your field.
Everyone loves some encouragement especially since we’re at the one-year mark of the Covid pandemic. Your inspirational content could range from encouraging people not to give up to loving the body you’re in. Of course the inspirational content should be on brand. So if you’re a trainer inspire people to take care of their mind, body, and soul. If you’re a Mom inspire other moms whose kids are driving them insane. This strategy is helpful because you will now become the sounding voice in someone’s hectic day. That can make all the difference in their life and keep them coming back for more.
Here’s where you pull out the big guns. BE AUTHENTIC. Tell your audience about you. Not just tips on what you like, but a personal touching story that will resonate with your audience. I remember the first time I did this I shared something super traumatizing. I was raped when I was a teenager and I’m not really sure why I shared it, but the entire time I was writing it I was holding my breath. When I finally hit post I immediately put my phone away. I went back on IG about an hour later and there were so many people commenting and congratulating me for my bravery to share. It helped other women share too. Now your personal story doesn’t have to be that deep, but mine was. I’m known for my rawness on social media. My main goal and purpose is to help set others free and I do that by sharing my story. For the Bible says, “We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the telling of our testimony” – Revelation 12:11. However, you can share stories on how graduating college changed your life, or your first time baking an apple pie and how terrible it came out (btw that really happened to me and I vowed never to make apple pie again lol), or how your favorite holiday is Easter. Whatever it is be genuine and your audience will love it why… because in our culture we value authenticity.
This is probably my favorite thing to post on IG right now – Reels. Utilize Reels. IG is competing with TikTok and they are pushing reels to larger audiences, SO USE IT. For me, I post a reel a week and I use it strictly for entertainment purposes. I post all of my transition videos on it and my audience loves it! They repost it, share it, comment and save it. It is a lot of fun. Your entertainment should make people laugh, feel joy and really forget about their problems for however long your post is. Don’t hold back either. People use social media as a way of escape and if you can help them do that then they’ll always come back for more. TikTok has lots of trends that you can follow, so I suggest using this app to inspire your reels.
– Strategy for Posting on IG. Social media was designed for you to be social and engage with others. So of course the more you’re on it the more it will feed your content to people. On IG, it’s best to make 5 posts a week. Best days to post are Tuesday-Thursday for some reason the engagements are higher on these days. Post 3-4 stories a day. Talking on a video for 1 minute and then posting it to your stories can easily accomplish this. If you don’t want to do that you can post quotes or share other people’s content. The stories are used to show your audience your authentic self so you can even post your daily routine on it. Host one IG Live a week. I’ll admit this is a bit excessive, but it works for some people. I try to host a Live twice a month. A good rule of thumb is to be on that Live for the full hour because the longer you’re on it the more people IG alerts to watch.
– Strategy for Posting on TikTok. TikTok is evolving every day. It’s replacing reality TV. I’m kidding. Idk if that’s true, but people are on it all the time. The best thing to do on TikTok is post 3-4 times a day. The videos can be a total 10 seconds to catch and keep your audience’s attention. TikTok is highly popularized by its trends. So if you see a trend hop on it. Again, you must stay on brand. Since I’ve branded myself as someone who does transition videos not every trend is for me. I have to use the ones that allow me to still add my own twist to it. Discover your brand and stick to it. I’ll also admit I only post once a day on TikTok mainly because my videos take a little longer to create. I don’t want to cheapen my brand by rushing to meet TikTok’s daily quota. Keep in mind that posting once a day could delay growing your following quickly; but you have to choose what’s more important quality or quantity? Quality is my brand style so I choose that above anything else.
I know that this could be a lot to execute, so start slow. Each step builds on the first, so start with your content calendar and visual content calendar then from there implement your shoot schedule and then everything else. These strategies helped organize me and propelled me into creating authentic and engaging content.
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