My Content Creation Strategy for Testing Ideas & Growing an Audience
Content creators: you need to serialize your process!
Or else you're going to waste a lot of time making stuff that nobody wants.
What do I mean by this?
Let me explain.
I've spent several years fine-tuning a sequential content creation strategy that enables me to create in public and repurpose pieces of a single project across multiple outlets and formats, all while receiving real-time feedback.
Here's what that looks like:
1. Share what you're interested in
The first step is to try to figure out if anybody even wants or needs what you want to make.
Nobody is going to notice what you're creating if you don't talk about it.
And if nobody cares after you start talking loudly about it your idea - you probably need to go back to the drawing board.
For me, this step translates to posting on social media about the projects I'm working on or interested in, and gauging what kind of response I get.
2. Share the resources you're using
The research process is a crucial step in creating content, but there's no good reason to go deep into it until AFTER you've concluded that people want this thing you have in mind.
Now that you know people are interested, start serializing your research process.
Found a great article or video that helped you to better understand the topic?
Explain why it's helpful, tell us what you learned, and even better yet - shout out the creator if possible!
Not only are you establishing yourself as an authority/curator of good content on the topic - now you're also building relationships with others in this realm.
Your research IS (part of) the content - for the people who are following along with your process.
3. Expand on your ideas
As you get into the research and see what's resonating with people, you will be able to start fine-tuning the message, the tone, and the specific audience for your content.
You have to meet people where they're at.
But this will always take some trial and error, so it's important not to get married to your initial ideas.
You might find that your intended topic doesn't match what the audience needs. You need to be able to pivot.
For me, this means creating some lower-effort but longer-form content on the subject.
In my case this is usually a tweet thread. Lately I've been exploring the potential for Twitter Spaces to test ideas at this stage.
In the past I've had great success testing ideas by running a free email newsletter series.
This gives me a self-imposed deadline, an audience that's excited to hear from me, and an opportunity to receive direct feedback in real-time.
It's also a great way to continue growing your audience, by incentivizing casual followers to hand over their precious email addresses to you! :)
4. Now make the thing
At this point you should probably be a few weeks - if not months - into this process.
You've connected with the audience for your content and established goodwill as a curator of quality info on that topic.
You've received direct feedback from the people who would be interested in what you're creating, and you know what you need to do to anticipate their needs and meet them where they're at.
Now it's time to create the damn thing!
And honestly, it should be a breeze -
Because you've already done the toughest work upfront, and your ideas have already been vetted.
And you have an audience that's ready and waiting for whatever you are creating.
5. Do it all over again!
This serialized process can become an endless loop, if you want it to.
What is a book, if not a series of articles?
Charles Dickens knew what was up when he serialized the publishing of his novels.
This process is how I tested ideas for my podcast, wrote my first book, and created an online course.
And it's how I write pretty much every article you've ever seen me publish.
I hope this helps you to better plan out your content creation strategy!