Staring at a blank screen, racking our brains to come up with the perfect content to post — we've all been there.
It can be unnerving, especially if you're new to the game and trying to build an audience.
I faced similar challenges when I first started growing my social media presence. But after experimenting and learning what works, I've built a fan base of 750K+ followers across various platforms.
In this article, I'll let you in on how I create standout social media content that resonates with my target audience. I'll also discuss different content formats you should create to maximize your impact.
My hope is that these insights will help you elevate your social media content strategy in a fraction of the time it took me.
Let's get into it.
Tell your story
Here's what most people do wrong:
They try to emulate others' success by rehashing their stories and ideas in hopes of going viral overnight.
Don't make this mistake.
Instead, bring a fresh, thought-provoking perspective to the table — one that only you can offer through your lens and personal experiences.
Share your story. Own it.
When people see your authentic self shine through, they'll find it easier to relate to and connect with you.
Using my content matrix to create content for social media
If there's one thing that'll take you from creating good to great social media content, it's systems that streamline the process and spark new ideas along the way.
For me, that's my Content Matrix on Notion.
In short, I combine themes and styles related to my niche to easily generate content ideas:
These are topics related to your niche.
Let's say you're an email marketer. Your topics might be email marketing tools, automation, or subject lines for newsletters.
If you're a writer, your topics might be SEO tips for long-form content or copywriting best practices.
These are the structures of content you can use.
Some of my favorites include:
- Listicle: Share concise, numbered insights (e.g. 3 best ways to…)
- Motivational: Inspire with niche-specific encouragement
- Observation: Offer a thought-provoking perspective
- Actionable: Teach a valuable skill or technique
- X vs. Y: Weigh the pros and cons of 2 options
- Contrarian: Challenge conventional wisdom
Once you decide on a theme and a style, you can use templates to create compelling social media content ideas in minutes.
To learn more about my Content Matrix and how I use it to craft social media content, check out my course, The Content Operating System. You'll get access to all my systems, templates, and social media marketing strategy.
I've taught 6K+ students how to create high-performing content each week.
Social media content formats
In the world of social media, variety is the spice of life.
Mixing up your content formats keeps your audience engaged and coming back for more.
Explore the following formats to create a dynamic and captivating feed:
Share your thoughts, insights, and stories in a concise, written format. These posts do really well on social media platforms like LinkedIn (and Twitter if they're shorter).
Present a series of slides that tell a story or break down complex ideas. Many brilliant content creators share engaging carousels on LinkedIn and repurpose them on Instagram (if under 10 slides).
EXAMPLE: How to write incredibly persuasive copy with the AIDA model
Capture attention with visual storytelling, tutorials, or behind-the-scenes glimpses. Videos are perfect for platforms like TikTok (short-form) and YouTube (long-form).
While not my go-to content type, video can be an awesome way to show your personality and build brand loyalty. There's a time and place for highly curated content, but people enjoy watching videos because they're often raw and relatable.
EXAMPLE: How to Grow & Monetize Your LinkedIn Audience
Dive deeper into topics and give additional value through long-form content.
When writing a blog post, incorporate relevant keywords and phrases where it makes sense to help it rank on search engines.
I recommend publishing blogs on platforms like Medium or LinkedIn. If you have a business website, you can share relevant industry content there as well.
Pro tip: Use a canonical link when cross-posting articles on multiple sites. Canonical links let Google know you own the piece and what the original source is. This is the secret to boosting your post's reach without getting penalized for duplicate content.
EXAMPLE: Branding for Solopreneurs 101
Images and infographics
Visualize data or concepts with eye-catching graphics that drive home your message. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are excellent for showcasing these visuals.
Remember: What works best for one person may not work the same way for you.
So, don't be afraid to experiment with different formats and platforms to find the winning combination that resonates with your unique audience.
Types of social media content to create
There are countless ways to cater to different preferences, spark discussions, and showcase your expertise. If you're starting out and not sure which types your followers will respond best to, I suggest rotating between 5-7 types to discover your sweet spot.
Explore 10 types of content to maintain a fresh presence:
Attention spans are short these days. Captivate your fans quickly with a good listicle.
Listicles break down complex ideas into easily digestible, numbered points. They're fantastic for conveying valuable insights in a concise, organized manner.
I've noticed that listicles grab attention and encourage engagement because they're scannable in seconds.
People on social media want to learn from others who are where they want to be.
Motivate your audience with uplifting content like success stories, inspirational quotes, and personal experiences. These posts resonate with followers, fostering a sense of positivity and community.
I like to share motivational posts every now and then to build a supportive environment where people feel inspired to chase their dreams and overcome challenges.
Bonus: Blend inspiration with your knowledge to fire people up and show them the ropes.
Observational posts highlight interesting patterns, trends, or phenomena you've noticed in your niche. These posts invite your audience to think critically and engage in meaningful conversations.
Use observational posts as an opportunity to show thought leadership and encourage dialogue. This helps you establish a stronger connection with your audience and positions you as an industry expert.
Actionable posts give your audience tangible steps, tips, or strategies they can apply to their lives or businesses.
I'm a fan of these because they deliver immediate value, helping followers solve problems and learn something new.
Similar to observational posts, actionable posts present a stellar opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and generosity. This fosters trust and loyalty among your audience while positioning you as the go-to resource in your niche.
5. X vs. Y
Comparison posts present a side-by-side analysis of two concepts, products, or strategies.
The goal of these is to help your audience understand the differences and make informed decisions. X vs. Y posts simplify complex choices for the reader.
Contrarian content questions widely accepted beliefs or practices.
Offer a fresh perspective that challenges the status quo. By presenting alternative viewpoints, you inspire people to think outside the box and partake in stimulating debates.
This is easily one of my favorite content types because it demonstrates intellectual curiosity and helps you stand out from the crowd. My engagement rate is through the roof every time I share a contrarian take.
Analytical content explores data, trends, or results, offering your audience in-depth insights and valuable takeaways. These posts demonstrate your ability to dissect complex information or processes and make them accessible to your followers.
Now, analytical posts can be boring, so you'll want to present findings in a way that's easily scannable and digestible. A mix of bullet points, numbers, relevant graphics, and/or threads are good for this, depending on where you're publishing.
EXAMPLE: Breaking down how Anthony built a $100K side business in 12 months
We live in an attention economy. If you don't promote yourself, no one will.
As a solopreneur, it's on you to build brand awareness.
This is where promotional content comes in. It highlights your products, services, or accomplishments, inviting your audience to take action and engage with your brand.
While effective in generating leads and sales, too many promotional posts can come off as spammy and overwhelming to your followers. Maintain a balanced, value-driven approach to keep your audience excited about your offerings.
EXAMPLE: Black Friday Sale
9. Social proof
An extension to promotional posts, social proof content showcases testimonials, reviews, or case studies from satisfied clients. These posts are powerful because they allow your audience to see the impact of your offerings through the lens of real-life success stories.
Sprinkling social proof posts once in a while helps build trust and confidence in your brand, making it easier for potential customers to take the leap and invest in you.
10. Partnership (with other creators)
Collaboration is vital for building a tight-knit community — and that's what social media is all about.
Partnership content involves teaming up with other creators, influencers, or industry experts. There are several ways to go about this, but I've been a podcast guest and participated in a few interviews.
Here's how it generally works:
- Take part in the podcast feature or answer interview questions
- The podcast episode or interview goes live
- The host and I share the link on our social channels for fans to check out
Working with other creators in your niche can provide fresh perspectives, expand your reach, and introduce your audience to new ideas. I love that it creates opportunities for mutual growth.
EXAMPLE: Podcast with Dan Koe - Justin Welsh Shows You How To Start & Grow A One-Person Business
Start creating social media content
Social media can be challenging to navigate.
There's a lot to think about. Finding the right content ideas, keeping up with consistency, engagement… the list goes on.
Unfortunately, winging it won't get you far.
You need effective systems and strategies for long-term social media success.
Here are 6 key takeaways to keep in mind as you craft a robust social media plan:
- Implement systems to make the content creation process easier and more efficient
- Establish a social media content calendar and schedule posts accordingly
- Share your expertise through content like actionable tips and analytical posts
- Connect with industry professionals and collaborate with other creators
- Use promotional content and social proof judiciously to build trust and credibility
- Refine your content strategy based on feedback, engagement, and metrics
If you're looking for more guidance on LinkedIn growth, you may find my course, The Operating System, helpful. So far, it's helped 15K+ students get discovered on the social platform.
You may also find other content marketing courses useful. For example, The Content Operating System focuses on producing top-notch social media posts. I recommend this one if you're keen on learning how to create high-quality content in less time.
That’s my overview of ways to craft compelling social media content.
Best of luck with your content marketing strategy.