Build a Sustainable Content Strategy

Build a Sustainable Content Strategy

Most social media strategies are prescriptive. Moreover, they aren’t always designed for the level of resources you have available to you right now.

Sure, it’d be nice to hire a community manager, graphic designer, or have an influencer on the books, but you’re not there yet. You’d be totally fine with that, except… you’re being told you have to move at a pace faster than you have capacity for (or interest in).

Post 3x a day to get results.

Use all the new features of each platform.

Start using NEW platforms to grow your reach.

Go live.

Do all the things — and do them every day.

If you’re here reading this, I’m betting you’re not really interested in spending all your time, money, and energy on social media for your brand.

You just want something that works.

And there’s something that can work for you, regardless of resources. I promise. It all comes down to knowing how to build a content strategy.

Sustainable content strategy step no. 1: GOALS

You don’t want to manage an ever-growing roster of influencers. You don’t really want to go viral. What you WANT is to get high-paying clients and customers through the door, or to drive more people to your cause, right?

Those are great goals, but when it comes to building a sustainable content strategy, it needs to be much more granular than that.

⚫     What percentage of leads do you want or need from social?

⚫     Are you treating social media as a point of sales attribution or as an extension of the brand experience?

⚫     Do you want to grow your follower base or increase the number of clicks to your website or product pages?

⚫     Is your focus on building community or is it a source of traffic?

These are all important questions to help you really hone in on your goals, which means you’ll be less likely to get distracted when Zuckerberg, Mosseri, or Microsoft decide to update their platforms’ features. 

It also makes it easier to track progress. When you have a tangible goal, you won’t be derailed by so many of the vanity metrics present on these platforms.

Want to focus on leads? You don’t need to worry about saves or shares as much as you want to look at reach and clicks. 

Building a following? You’ll want to look at reach, new follows, saves, shares, sends, likes, tags, etc. Anything to show how your content is being received by new people.

Also note that your goals will change by type of post or campaign, but more on that in a minute.

Now… I know that this also goes against the algorithm grain. We’re told we have to show up in these places at these times using these features.

But don’t forget: Users drive the algorithm. You can choose the features and posting schedule that works for you and your team.

Sustainable content strategy step no. 2: PILLARS

Now that you’ve got your goals, it’s important to create a framework to help you reach them. Of course, most social media frameworks seem to change with the wind – especially when you keep track off updates from the creators and CEOs.

But there’s one thing I’ve seen work in social media marketing over the last decade: Content pillars. 

Over five years ago, I created a content pillar framework that has helped our clients see exponential results with their content pillars. So I know it works.

But WTF are these pillars and how can you apply them so you’re not dancing for the algo every week?

They are as follows:

As you can see based on the inverted pyramid, the goal is to connect with people on an emotional level, really get them to understand what’s possible with what you offer.

From there, we move to the analytical, meat-and-potatoes-type content. This is showing people how your products work, how you actually deliver your service, and so on. 

Then, we cycle back to emotional content, but with the goal of really converting people into the bubble of your brand. You want loyalists here, people who share your shit without fail.

And that’s where we cycle back up to your goals (from Point #1).

A Pillar 1 post is going to have different “goals” than a Pillar 2 post. We want more eyes on our Pillar 1 posts, because that’s how we bring more people into our orbit. Likes, comments, shares, follows, reach — all of those are successful signs of a Pillar 1 post.

But don’t want people to “like” our Pillar 2 posts. We want them to click!

This is also how brands get burnt out trying to manage their social media progress — they’re measuring the wrong metrics because they don’t have a framework for the type of content they’re sharing.

So, know your goals but also know that your goals will adapt based on the pillar you’re posting under.

Sustainable content strategy step no. 3: CAPACITY

Can you actually afford to show up three times a day, every single day? Didn’t think so. Most people can’t.

There’s no point in creating a decked-out, three-post-a-day content plan if you aren’t going to follow through with it. That’s just a waste of your time and a mental load you don’t need to carry.

This is why you really need to align your goals with your capacity. Because in a fast-paced environment with nonstop updates and changes, it’s easy to get distracted and feel “behind” when everyone else is go-go-going.

If you feel like you’re “not keeping up,” you’re not alone. A while back, I was reviewing a client's social performance and we started talking about feeling behind — even though her social performance had grown over 100% since the previous year. 

Let me reiterate: This is a long game, not a sprint. You are not behind.

Maybe you can’t post every day like you keep hearing you have to do, but you can do every other day. Maybe you’re not ready to create YouTube videos, but you can create short-form video content like Reels or TikToks.

Whatever your brand’s capacity for social media, really take that into consideration. It’s better to start slow and build from there than to create a too-robust plan that flops in week one because no one has capacity to fulfill it. 

Between you and your team, figure out how much time you realistically have to devote to social media, and it will become much easier to stick to a consistent plan that drives results.

Sustainable content strategy step no. 4: ADS

Ok this is a bonus step, but it’s something so many people ask me about.

“Is social media really ‘pay to play’ now?”

I won’t lie, it sure can be. But I also know that an organic social media strategy can be an incredibly long-lived effort… and sometimes you need results faster. (In general, we expect to see results with a sustainable strategy around the 3-month mark.)

If you want to increase reach and potentially improve conversions or leads, paid social media may be necessary for your brand.

But how do you “do” paid social in a way that doesn’t:

  1. Eat up all your other resources
  2. Silo your social media efforts?

I cover this in-depth in my Paid Social Bootcamp — a course for beginners that shows you how to systematically grow your brand with a simple and straightforward training on high-performance social media advertising.

When you join, you get lifetime access to the industry's most comprehensive training in social advertising strategy, practices, and application. I’ve also included a vault of step-by-step tutorials to help you navigate ad platforms and get it all done at your own pace.

Drive accelerated brand awareness, sales, and loyalty with efficient and powerful social advertising strategies inside Paid Social Bootcamp.

Just don’t forget the other 3 steps I covered. Ads aren’t going to save your organic strategy. Trust me.

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