This Is My Deal :: How to Create Engaging Blog + Social Media Content
'This Is My Deal' is a post series where I share more behind-the-scenes looks at my business — like how I got to where I am, how I actually do the fucking work, how I make money, and all of that good stuff. This post is the fourth in the series!
A few weeks back I wrote about how I plan, create, and schedule my blog + email content, but this week I wanted to dive in a little more to that first step of HOW I decide what I’m actually gonna write about.
I think it’s one thing to put out shit that you know people want, but I also believe you really have to throw out what you’re passionate about too — because it shows.
Here’s my 4 steps for creating engaging blog and social media content ::
Decide what you want the next 6+ months of your biz to look like
Before you even THINK about what new content you want to create, you gotta know where you want your business to be heading in the next 6 months or so. There's no point doing all of this work and brainstorming loads of posts only to realise that you're gonna totally shift direction in a couple weeks. Take the time to plan this properly, so you're respecting not only your own time but your tribes too.
This might be something you're already clear on, but if you're not, here's some prompts to help ya out ::
- Take a look back at the last 12 months or so. What worked? What didn't work? What do you want to change moving forward?
- What do you need to quit that isn't taking you closer to where you want to be?
- What dreams do you need to let go of that no longer align with what you want?
- What gets you equally as stoked as it does scare the shit out of you?
- What do you wanna create in this world?
Getting ideas for posts :: Survey your people
I can’t stress this enough and I feel as though this year I’m going to be doing a lot more of this, since I’ve come to understand the power of it — and also just how awesome it is to actually TALK to people and ask them what they want. I'm not saying that every single thing we do in our businesses should be what people want (because we gotta do what WE want too), but more on that later.
So here’s how I go about creating surveys ::
Write down a whole bunch of questions that you could to use in the survey.
Don’t filter yourself on this one, just get all of the ideas out. Here’s some example questions I’ve used in the past ::
- Describe yourself in one sentence // This one is awesome for getting a feel for who your peeps really are. I've got some super cool answers from using this one in my recent surveys.
- What's one thing you dig about me + the stuff I create? // This gives people a chance to say what they dig! You might also be surprised what people have to say (in a good way.
- What kind of content are you pining for?
- What kind of content are you sick of?
- What's something you just WISH someone would create?
- What are you struggling with most in your business right now? // This will tell you where they need help… Obvi you’d change out the ‘your business’ part to relate to whatever industry you’re in.
- Anything else you wanna tell me or think I should know? // I always leave this open-ended question on all of my surveys cause it gives people the chance to just say Hey or add any other thoughts! Most people use it just to throw some love my way or add more thoughts they didn’t add to the other q’s.
- Are you cool for me to follow up with you to possibly chat about your answers from this survey? // If you plan on following up with people this simple Yes/No question is worth adding, as not everyone wants to be contacted after the fact.
Then go back and choose a max of FIVE questions (excluding the standard Name/Email/Website/etc) to send out.
You can make your own judgement on this one but when surveys get too long you tend to lose people pretty easily. You just wanna make it quick and easy.
I’d recommend creating a mix between multiple choice and open ended questions so you can get a good range of feedback. The other thing about open ended questions? It gives you exact language that you can use in your posts or sales copy if you decide to create products and services (this can be game-changing).
Setup the survey using something MEGA simple, like Typeform.
These days Typeform is the only platform I use to host my forms because it's way too damn easy (and the most basic account is totally free).
Here's a couple links to surveys I've sent out recently that you can suss out ::
- Here's one I sent to my entire email list, in December (as a general survey to get a feel for where people were at).
- Here's one I'm using at the moment as I craft my new behind-the-scenes business toolkit. This one is a little more targeted and it's goal is to help me create the best product possible, but the feedback also gives me LOADS of ideas for new content in general.
Here's what the back-end of a Typeform looks like ::
Send it out!
Once you've tested it, send that baby out to your mailing list. You can also choose to post it on your social media channels if you want a broader range of feedback, or if you only want to hear from your true tribe, just leave it with your mailing list only.
Keep the email short and sweet and tell them what to expect. Here's an example of the email I'm currently using to send out the survey for my new biz toolkit...
Subject :: So tell me... What do you wanna know?
Thanks so much for letting me know you're keen to steal ma biz secrets!
If you've got a quick second, I'd love your help with something.
I want to make this new offering as useful as possible, so I've set up a quick + dirty little survey to get some thoughts from you on what you need help with, and what I could give you. There's literally only THREE main questions so it should only take a couple minutes.
Come hit up the survey over here, I'd be mad grateful.
Stay cool + see you soon,
Gather up yer feedback
This is the best part for me — I always love seeing what people have to say and what comments or feedback spark something bigger in me.
One thing I do want to mention here is that it's not always about the quantity of feedback you get. Most of the time more generic surveys to my entire list won't get as many submissions as a more targeted survey to a smaller section of that list. For example, that generic survey above that I sent to my entire list only got around 5% conversion, whilst the second one targeted to a specific set of people is converting around 30%.
So my number one recommendation? Go into this with no expectations at all.
After a week or so you can start to really comb through the feedback and see what stands out. You could print out all of the results and go through and highlight what stands out, or just read through it on your computer then just copy and paste certain words, lines, or paragraphs that interest you.
The end goal is to come up with a list of post ideas that you can then brainstorm further.
Other things to consider with surveys
- Be wary of offering examples on questions, as this could skew your answers. You don’t want to put ideas into their heads, you just wanna get an overall picture of where they’re at. I’ve done this in the past and I realised it wasn’t a good idea, so now I’ll just ask a very simple, open ended question and see what I get back.
- Think about whether you want to do a giveaway or offer a freebie for completing it. The thing with giveaways as part of your survey is that you’re not going to just get people who genuinely want to help — you’ll probably get a mix of people… This isn’t good or bad, it just depends what your goal is. If you only want feedback from people who are truly in love with what you do, then don’t offer up a giveaway or freebie (or at least don’t tell them about it right off the bat).
- Consider if you’ll want to use parts of this survey as testimonials. If you do, ask for their permission and a profile photo right in the form to save back + forth and not waste anyones time (if you use Typeform you can add an 'Upload' button so they can upload the photo right in the form).
- Turn on email notifications if you want to get the feedback in your Inbox. Most of the time I love having email notifications on, as it means I can see the submissions as they come through, and it also makes for super easy replying if I want to follow up on anything anyone has said.
Think about what YOU wanna write about
So forget everything you just discovered from ya survey, what the fuck are you passionate about? What gets you fired up? What thoughts do you want to share with the world?
There's something to be said for just pure creation and expression... I feel like we need more of it. And you can totally tell when someone is just in their fucking zone, right? That shit is electric and it rubs off on people. Personally I'm still finding my way in this mash-up between creating what people want and what you want, but I think it's important to mix it up... Sometimes the two cross over and you can find some middle ground, but sometimes they remain separate.
So here's some questions to get you thinking + brainstorming for posts that have nothing to do with what people want ::
- What are you super fucking jazzed on right now?
- What gets you fired up or pissed off?
- What's a story you haven't shared that you feel is an integral part of what got you to where you are now?
- What did you wish you knew when you started your biz?
Go make it happen!
So by the end of this process you should have a whole list of blog post and social media post ideas that you can take forward and jam with more. Check this post to see how to take those ideas and plan out the next 3 months of your content. (Yep, it might sound crazy but it's not that hard... Promise).
I Hope You Dug This Post! Keen To Steal More Of My Biz Secrets?
If you're keen to know more 'behind the scenes' stuff like this from my business, you might be keen for a new offering I'm working on. Think of it like a toolkit that shows you all of the documents + processes that keep my biz running. Enter your deets below and I'll be sure to send you updates and sneak peeks!