If you plan your goals, you can foresee your success (or failure).
Four years ago, I started blogging without even a clue on how to succeed at it. I was doing it for fun. And I had the naive idea that by continuing blogging this way, I could have reached success.
However, two years later, my expectations weren’t fulfilled.
So I started again with a new random strategy. And even if this time I grew a bigger audience, it was less than I expected.
I gained some money, but not enough to live from it. And I understood that my strategy wasn’t working, so I decided to make my plans more seriously and try something more structured.
Analyze your competitors
The first step of my 5 years of planned content strategy started from analyzing what my competitors were doing and what I could have stolen from them.
They published more than me, but I couldn’t match them because I already used my free time writing.
However, they were also building many audiences at once instead of a single one. And I could find their products on different platforms in different formats.
Most of them were simply duplicating their content. Others recorded audio or video versions of their leading pieces and published them elsewhere. While a small portion was developing completely new derived material. And even if it took some time to understand the purpose of that behavior, in the end, I figured.
A single platform has limited reach, even if it is the largest in the field. So by duplicating or repurposing the content onto other platforms, I could have reached many more people.
However, as I said, I didn’t have time for that. So I needed to assume that, by doing something for a year, the process would fasten. If I could save enough time, I could introduce something new to my routine. And this is how I planned my next 5 years of multi-platform content to boost my success.
1 — Grow a network of interconnected audiences.
The first step of my strategy involved duplicating content and growing different networks, with multiple audiences, by linking them to a single piece of content: my articles.
Marketing studies have discovered how a product can gain fans through two different promotion strategies: sprinkle and waterfall.
With sprinkle strategies, you can interact with different networks to improve your reach and affect more people. On the other hand, the waterfall strategy implies focussing on the same social network consistently. And since my focus in this first step of the plan was to grow my audience, I decided to use the sprinkle strategy and bring my product to the largest audience possible.
For this reason, I started creating content for multiple platforms. And to do this, I divided them into categories:
1 — Visual content: Pinterest and Instagram
On the visual platforms, I started sharing my articles through graphics of all kinds. Sometimes simple ones contain only the headliner. Other times more complex ones, like data infographics or article summaries.
2 — Short-post Content: Facebook and Twitter
On the short-post platforms, I shared my daily thoughts, adding some spice with a little bit of irony. Usually, this content relates to my articles, so I clarify it to my follower to push them into reading the entire piece. But sometimes, I like to wander over different subjects and tones as well.
3 — Long-post Content: Medium and The Cosmopolitan Mindset
And finally, on the long-post platforms, I publish my articles. So thanks to this strategy, I can reach 6 different networks, gaining traction and an audience from each.
2 — Build an audio/video podcast.
The second of my 5 years of planned content involves expanding my sprinkle strategy to other big platforms like Youtube for videos or Spotify for audio. For this reason, I am planning to transform my articles into video and audio podcasts.
This transition may seem complex, but it should require less work than expected.
First, I will record the video version of the podcast, but this should require less work than expected because I already have a guideline in my articles. And once I have the video version, I will edit and extract the audio version from it.
If I follow this process, there will only be two challenges to overcome:
1. Audio transcription.
For each podcast episode, I can use the written version of the article as an outline. However, captivating a reader is different from entertaining and holding the attention of a listener or watcher. So producing content that suits those categories may be more difficult than expected.
2. Talking fluidly.
Since I am not a native English speaker, I am not trained to speak fluidly. I can make myself understood, but I can’t communicate efficiently using words. And there’s no proofreading process here. For this reason, in the beginning, I will lose a lot of time editing until I get better at it.
It seems like a lot of effort, but it should be remunerative.
According to Optinmonster, around 400 million people visit more than 20 billion pages per month, while Youtube has 2 billion active users each month, with a medium consumption time of 18 minutes.
Also, according to Statista.com, Youtube is responsible for 37% of mobile Internet traffic (and 11.5% of the global traffic). So this platform can make a big difference in building a brand name. Same for Spotify, which podcast users grew to 345 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.
In the last few years, audio and video content have grown in popularity, so excluding them from your strategy can prevent you from reaching a broader audience.
3 — Focus on building a mailing list.
After two years of sprinkle strategy, my 5 years of planned content will transit to a waterfall strategy by building a mailing list. So the third year of my plan involves strengthening my audience and transforming it into a fanbase.
At the moment, I am already testing the mailing list strategy with The Challenge — a newsletter confronting my subscribers to improve their lives with simple, monthly tasks. Also, I am examining free content strategies by giving them exclusive printables to track their progress.
However, with this type of frequency, I cannot build a deep bond with my followers.
How do you feel about a friend you hear once a month? Do you consider yourselves to be close? Or just acquaintances?
So my strategy for the third year is to build a closer relationship with my readers, improve the value of my brand, and increase its supporters.
4 — Write a free ebook and a premium one.
In the fourth year of my content plan strategy, I would like to write an ebook on what I discovered throughout my path, what I should have avoided, and what I should have insisted on.
I will use this content as a traction strategy to grow my mailing list and my audience, so I will share it with everyone that will subscribe to the newsletter I started the year before. This strategy should both improve my brand image and increase my mailing list subscribers.
However, I am also planning to write a premium book with arguments I have already decided. This one will contain my entire strategy for content creation, and it will allow me to approach an affiliate marketing strategy.
I previously described the process that I will use to write both my ebooks. And even if the time frame shifted, the theory remains the same. So even if the book is not part of my current plans anymore, I keep taking notes on everything that I do, so I can already have material later when I start writing it.
5 — Create an online course.
The last year of my next 5 years of content has to be an online course, or at least it is now.
If my life goes according to plans, 5 years from now, I see myself creating enough content to fulfill a growing audience. I will have much more information on the topics that I have researched than most people. So what better way of discussing those topics if not through a course?
At the moment, I have not decided yet on the subject of the course. My articles have many, so I plan on choosing the most successful one and discussing it. For this reason, I will use the previous four years to understand what interests people and what they expect from me.
Even here, I will use a waterfall strategy, and I will offer the course for free to the most loyal part of the community — a limited number of people who supported me throughout the years. Then, I will release it for everyone else.
This way, I both increase my branding image and my followers.
Will these 5 years of planned content work?
If everything goes according to plans, in 5 years, I will be recognized in the self-improvement field, and I will have made my part in helping others with the problems that I had when I was younger.
However, we all know that extended plans are also harder to realize. So be careful when reading my words, and interpret them correctly.
I am describing my plan, hoping to give you some ideas on how to grow a content creation business. But I don’t know if it will work or not. From strategy to success, it is all about execution.
Currently, I am past half of the first year of my plan. Everything is going accordingly to what I have expected, but there are still many improvements to be made until March 2022.
I am testing my mailing list, video editing skills, and ability to manage multiple platforms. Meanwhile, I am also taking notes for free ebooks I will be writing in the fourth year.
However, in a couple of months, everything could change. I could decide to prioritize the ebook instead of the podcast. Or maybe focus on my mailing list because my audience grew much more than I expected.
The needs of a content creator change frequently, and our future is one of the less predictive things in the world. A popular platform may become outdated in 2 years, so you cannot focus your entire efforts on it.
It is good to have a long-term plan, but it is also critical to be flexible and follow your audience. In the end, if you follow its needs, you can’t do wrong.
So this is how I planned my next 5 years of content to boost my success. But what I consider success today may change tomorrow.
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Article first published on Start It Up.
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