The world of content creation can be terrifying sometimes, right? We have all felt the pressures of sharing our heart to the world and hearing crickets on the other end. The worst.
Fortunately with a little help and some basic guidelines you can be on the road to creating quality content that converts to engagement, sales, website traffic and credibility. Whether you are posting something new to your social media channels or brainstorming what to share next run down this list of The Ten Content-Sharing Commandments and see where you sit.
Thou shalt spell check
Simply put - do the work and make sure you are putting your best work forward. Typos and spelling errors happen to all of us (we are human!), but content littered with errors can become hard to read and leave your audience feeling like you're lacking credibility.
Try writing your posts in Word or your email and spellchecking before putting it out there.
Thou shalt not be spammy
You know the accounts. They post dozens of Instagram photos at a time, tagging hundreds of unrelated pages and hashtaging with the intent of finding the most people instead of their people. They send hundreds of direct messages and leave comments on your posts about how you should check out their page for a extra special, just for you, don't wanna miss it! offer. Don't do this.
Sometimes it seems like these accounts have the secret sauce, but don't let it fool you. Their numbers are often high because of paid-for likes and robot-accounts, which makes them look popular, but guess what - their audience is certainly not going to engage with them, lead to new relationships with likeminded creatives, or convert to sales.
Moral of the story: don't be spammy. It doesn't work and it is terribly annoying.
Thou shalt speak authentically
Here's the deal. People want to engage with other people.
Show your personality to your audience to build your connections. Be real with them. This builds trust and creates an environment where your people fall in love with you and the people who aren't your people fall away.
Ultimately, you want social accounts that are full of people who like you as a person, trust your word and enjoy hearing you tell your story. If you don't make it priority to be authentic from the beginning, they'll never see the real you.
Thou shalt always provide beautiful visuals
It is no secret we live in a highly visual world. Whether your drafting an email newsletter or posting to Facebook, provide visuals! Add a fun photo from your office, create a title graphic in Canva or look into purchasing styled stock photography that fits your brand. Humans make decisions with their eyes before anything else, so don't cut yourself short by using sub-par imagery or worse yet: not using any imagery at all!
Always take the time to give them something beautiful to draw them in to your content.
Thou shalt hashtag with purpose
Hashtags can be your very best friend if used correctly. When hashtags first came on the scene everyone went a little crazy tagging their photos with simple, obvious tags like: #cat #naps #on #the #couch
In the beginning this probably worked well for folks. The tags weren't completely saturated with billions of photos of cats and couches. However, today it requires a bit more research to find the tags that will work for you.
I encourage you to find your favorite influencers on social media and see what tags they're using. Dig around and see what you find, keeping a running list of your favorites that you think you can apply to your content. The best tags won't be the ones with millions of photos. These are too active to allow you to stand out in the crowd. Find tags that are active but not bonkers so the audience has an opportunity to see your photos when they go to browse the tag.
Hashtags are also wonderful for curating your own collections of photos and engaging with your audience. You can:
1. Create a unique tag to collect photos and posts about your work. For example, if you're a wedding photographer you could use: #yourbiznameweddings. Now anytime anyone sees this tag in your feed, they can be directed to a whole library of your work.
2. Create a unique tag to see through your audience's eyes. For example, if you're an interior designer and want to see what interiors really fire your audience up, you could create the tag: #interiorcrushin. Encourage your audience to use it, check in, engage with participants and share their content!
Thou shalt engage with audience
This is another simple practice that often gets overlooked because of time constraints. That said, I encourage you to set aside time each day to make it priority. Conversation with your audience is where they get to know you. Just like telling your authentic story is important, responding to questions, showing gratitude and connecting is vital to creating an atmosphere of trust.
A few ideas for engaging with your audience include:
- Ask questions in your posts
- Ask for their opinions or have them vote on something
- Respond to your comments
- Use your audience questions to create blog c0ntent
- Share their photos - especially if they are tagging your product or using your hashtag!
Thou shalt be consistent
I am a firm believer in the idea: “Consistency breeds legitimacy.” Whether in your visuals or your social media content, remaining consistent creates an image of your business or organization that is professional. Your audience will be quick to understand that you know what you are talking about. This keeps you on the edge of their mind when the time comes that they need or want something that you can offer up.
Ways to stay consistent include keeping your logo the same across all social platforms, creating a content schedule that provides value to your audience on a routine basis and knowing your mission and sticking to it in your voice and visual messaging.
With time, your audience will come to know what to expect from you, solidifying your position as an expert and valuable resource in their mind.
Thou shalt not look at thy neighbor's paper
Don't get me wrong, there is value in researching what others in your field are doing in their businesses. I encourage you to explore and find inspiration for your own platform and then take your eyes off their paper and make it your own.
It is incredibly easy to get bogged down by the pressures to fit in online. We become overwhelmed by the content of others and allow the negative self-talk to move its way into our heads. We begin to doubt our abilities thinking someone else is always doing it better, creating more beautiful imagery, speaking more eloquently. This is where you need to stop looking.
You are offering something unique to the world: you. No one else has your story, your voice, your personality, your quirks and your way of leaving a mark on the world. Spending too much time looking at what others are doing is hurting you. Stop looking and start creating. Period.
Thou shalt share value
This commandment is probably someone what redundant, yet so important it's deserving of its own place on the list.
Please, pretty, pretty please...don't share junk. Don't share content just to have something out there. Don't create blog posts that provide zero value to your audience just because you feel like you have to have something out there. If it means sharing less in order to share quality, that's fine.
Valuable content will continue to work for you for years to come. It will create legitimacy, enhance your brand, show your audience your personality, create material that can be tweaked and shared for months ahead.
Remember that you are doing wonderful, unique things. Share content that supports that!
Thou shalt recycle
Never underestimate the power of recycling your content when you feel stuck.
Assuming you've followed all ten commandments in the past, you have valuable, beautiful, personal, powerful content that is good enough that you should share it more than once!
If a question comes up in your feed that you've answered in a blog post before, share it again!
If you have content that is seasonally relevant, share it again!
If you have a post that performs incredibly well, share it again!
If you have a post that you'd like to see more traffic on...yeah, you got it...share it again!