The goal should be MORE content with less!
My intuition plays a huge role in my life and business. As I came to my one-year mark as The Content Doctor in December 2020, it became crystal clear to me that there is a problem we have in the world of content marketing: too much sh*tty content.
Despite the pandemic, many vegan businesses started up or pivoted, and it was a great opportunity for cruelty-free and plant-based biz’s to thrive. My business relies mostly on referrals, and even though that isn’t the case for everyone, most folks do their marketing online, and that could mean a lot of pieces of content on at least a few platforms.
Some companies—who have a content TEAM instead of just ONE person doing all the content—are very good at content marketing, but I’d say most folks (me included!) are just getting by. We could do more, but we don’t want to (mentally or emotionally) burn out because burnout means nothing gets posted.
Which brought me to my 2021 strategy: MORE WITH LESS. At the start of 2021, I restructured my monthly packages to reflect more of the work I wanted to do, but also what most companies SHOULD likely do in terms of content marketing.
1. Long-form video content
Before you roll your eyes, stick with me. Whether it’s on YouTube (still the best platform for video searches), Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, video is king. People are more likely to watch a long-form video than read a 2000-word blog, even though it’d take them less time. Ask any videographer and they’ll tell you there are lots of types of videos you can make, including:
- Promotional/business introduction
- Behind-the-scenes (“BTS”)
- How-to/educational (For example, how to follow a recipe and make a dish)
- Web series or video podcasts
- Confessionals (One person telling a story about either the business or their life)
Have a podcast or been featured in a video interview? That counts!
Maybe you haven’t invested time on the video front, but if you have an audio podcast, I look at that as a valuable piece of long-form content too, and I’ll explain why later. Some podcasts on which I was fortunate to be a guest gave me the raw video or audio file of our interview. I’d pull at least two clips from each of these interviews to post on social again later, because it’s more likely my audience will listen to or watch a 2-minute clip vs. an entire 30 or 60 minute interview.
Montreal-based Mid-Day Squares has quickly become my favourite plant-based content creator because they’re doing a lot of things well, and even though YouTube isn’t their primary medium, they have a presence there.
Below is one of the epic videos they did for Valentine’s Day 2021 to love bomb their team, inspired by DJ Khaled’s “Hold you Down” music video. After the Superbowl, all the vegan companies were talking about Oatly’s commercial featuring their CEO, but sorry, he ain’t got NOTHIN’ on MDS’s Lezlie Karls. MDS’s last horizontal video was posted about a month prior to this one, so they’re a brand that prioritizes shorter-form video content (see #2).
Be aware that most small companies don’t have the budget to do videos like this!
2. Short-form video content
Again, before you say “WTF, Sandra?”, stay with me. Even if you don’t regularly create all the different videos I listed in point 1, long form videos can be EDITED! I think back to all of those YouTube videos I did in my previous business that no one watched. It was training to learn how edit for future cruelty-free clients!
Thanks to Snapchat and TikTok, every other platform has some variation of Stories which favour 60 seconds of video content or less. Instagram now has its 15/30-second Reels function, so if you can come up with at least 15 minutes of video content each month, you can chop that up and use that for other platforms. Can you do 30 minutes? An hour? Even better!
The more long-form video (or audio) content you produce, the more short-form content you can post! And remember, this doesn’t have to all be posted at once. You can spread them out and post on the day, week, or month when it makes sense. I like to have monthly themes that guide the type of content I’m going to post.
If you don’t have a YouTube channel and are pretty good at filming on the fly with your iPhone, portrait-style videos will do better on Stories, Instagram Reels, and TikTok so you can put the fancy cameras away and pretend your business life is a real-time documentary (because it kind of is!).
The thing with audio content is that no one’s going to listen to a black screen even if it is only a minute long, so you’ll have to put a catchy image as an overlay. Look to your favourite podcast’s Instagram profile and you’ll see how they turn their audio content into short video content.
Pro tip for Instagram videos: If they’re longer than a minute (IGTV), prepare a portrait-style cover image for them, otherwise Instagram will zoom in on your video (or image, if it’s an audio-only clip). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, DM me on Instagram and I’ll give you examples of these videos on my feed.
3. Blog content
Are you seeing a pattern here?
A lot of companies don’t care to have blog pages on their websites because they don’t appear to bring in sales. Unlike social media, it seems more logical to post a product or photo on social and get direct sales. Any good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) person will tell you that blogs aren’t necessarily about sales, but keywords. People still use Google as the #1 place to search for things, so the more your website has keywords in the right places, the higher your website will rank. And what’s the best way to put keywords into your site? Blogs!
Instead of sitting at your computer thinking about what to write, use the system you’ve already set up with video, audio, and other social content.
Got a five-minute video? That’s a blog!
A really great clip from a podcast or media interview? That’s a blog!
A post description that’s way too long for social media? You got it—THAT’S WHAT BLOGS ARE FOR!
And if sitting down at your computer transcribing your own voice sounds like hell to you, use a voice-to-text transcription app. It won’t interpret or spell everything correctly, but it’ll save you some time.
I was once told 250 words was the minimum length for copy on any webpage, but my SEO pro client, Your Vegan Marketer, says 1250-1500 words are the most ideal, which is 3-4 pages.
Even if not one person reads your blog, so long as you’ve got a good range of blogs and the right places on your site with your keywords, Google will pull clients or customers in for you and be your best friend. Which means you won’t have to push as hard with all the other types of content. And I find as time passes, your audience starts will ask the same questions, and you can save time by pasting links to your blog posts with the answers in them. Boo-yah!
Below is what The Very Good Butchers‘ monthly blog page looks like (they have a new site for The Very Good Food Co now, so it may transition soon). Under Cook > Recipes they have a separate blog with JUST recipe content, which makes sense since they’re a food company…brilliant!
4. Selfies & stock photos
If long form content is too much to think about right now, selfies (photos of yourself) and stock photos are sometimes the easiest thing to post that can do fairly well in terms of engagement. You can pair a lot of different text content with selfies or stock photos of people without it needing to be personal. My favourite thing about visual media: Text descriptions don’t need to be long. Most folks don’t read past the three lines or so before they have to click to drop down the rest of the text, so be sure to put the most important point up top. The shorter, the better!
The reason why I started this post with the first 3 tips was to say if you take nothing else, remember that you can get all the content you need by repurposing long-form content!
If you’re obsessed with keywords, use them in hashtags. We know that for Instagram, the longer someone stays on a post, the better, so that’s why video or photos in a carousel work better than a single shot. That still means you can keep your text short.
Influencers do multiple photography shoots each year, and if you have a lot of products, this might be the case for your business. As a solopreneur, my last photo shoot was in 2016 and I’ve been trying to stretch out those photos as long as possible (enlarging and cropping photos helps!). My next shoot will be this summer and I’m hoping those photos last me another 5 years! ‘Cause I’d honestly rather be living life rather than taking photos of myself for content marketing.
Photo: Heather Pennell
Here’s an example of a photo that can be posted as is, or cropped to have me standing on the left or right side of the photo, or zoomed in to show only parts of my body.
5. Text in images
As I’ve mentioned before, you don’t have to create social media text from scratch. If there’s a great line you wrote in a blog and you’re having trouble finding a suitable video or photos to pair it with, repurpose that as a quote image! Most small biz folks I know use Canva as their text-in-image tool, and it’s gotten a lot better over the years.
Here are some ideas: one from my account AND what someone else did with negative comments they got from other people. It’s brilliant.
6. Hire a content editor
If you’ve gotten this far and are thinking you need to hire an entire team of content managers, I hear you! If you’re doing ALL the videos, photos, content writing, AND posting, know that you’re doing the job of at least 3 people. Especially if you’re not a skilled writer and need a second eye on your written content to make sure it reads well before it gets published, a content editor can be a huge help.
Earlier this year, I created a monthly package called Cut the Crap that is ALL about editing both written and video content and getting the most out of it.
If you think you could use a vegan content editor to help you refine your content so you can focus on other things in your business, holler at me!