In this post I’m sharing my six steps to developing a content creation waterfall. I’ve been producing content in three streams this year, plus doing some bigger events. It adds up to well over one hundred pieces of content I post month. In fact my target is 300 per month.
But then you just sort of get depressed and feel defeated by the overwhelming task it seems to be to actually produce that much valuable content? And Ultimately you rarely post at all since you can’t figure out how to possibly make their vision a reality?
But recently, I learned a couple tips from Pastor John Stange about how he takes his weekly sermon and repurposes it multiple ways.
If you haven’t heard of John, he has written over 20 books, is a full time minister, and runs 3 podcasts, the largest of which has nearly four MILLION downloads as of the time of this post. So if it works for a Man of God, surely it can work for me!
I took John’s framework and added my additional layers to create my “New and Improved” content creation process. And today I’m sharing it with you!
And at the end I’ll add up how many ways I now share one idea and how many total pieces of content that becomes.
Step 1: Start With Your Hero Piece of Content
When I started my personal brand photography business, I chose Instagram as my primary platform. This is where is would focus my content creation efforts. I still recommend the same approach to anyone, which is simply this: Pick a platform and get good at it first. Make this your Hero platform and content.
Build a process that you can be consistent with, and that you can actually enjoy creating content on a daily or regular basis.
As I started getting better with Instagram, my following started to grow. I was also creating a nice library of topics that I could now leverage and repurpose on other platforms.
Like any good process or story, it is really important to start at the beginning. And beginning on The Gram created the foundation for growth.
Step 2: Pick a Secondary Platform to Grow
I chose Instagram as my initial platform because I am a photographer and it just made sense. But honestly, it wasn’t the right platform. And here’s what I want you to take from that: it doesn’t matter!
What really matters is that you start creating content consistently! So pick a platform you enjoy and get to it!
Once you do that, then you start getting an idea on how you can easily do more. For me, my second platform was LinkedIn.
My decision for going to LinkedIn as my second platform was based on two primary things.
- Due to my corporate career my largest following was on LinkedIn.
- Since I was focused on personal brand photography for entrepreneurs, LinkedIn made a lot of sense to me as well.
But here is what I found to be absolutely amazing: Since I had been posting on Instagram consistently for two months, I now had about 50 posts I could simply quickly edit and post on Linkedin!
Bing, bang, boom! Easy-peasy!
And not only that, I had some analytics as to which posts were the best ones on Instagram. I could easily pick the better posts to share on LinkedIn.
Now, repurposing content sometimes makes people feel like that friend who regifts, and everyone knows it. You know what I mean?
But here’s the thing I quickly realized: people on instagram aren’t on LinkedIn. And vice-versa. Only my super-fans see my content in multiple locations (and yes, I have a few!)
Even when they do, there’s a time delay between platforms. So what I share on LinkedIn might have been on Instagram 6 weeks ago! And that starts hitting at the magic of this content waterfall for me.
Think of it as a slow-motion waterfall, where the content is repurposed over a period of weeks!
Sound good? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have your posts live for weeks instead of hours?
They will! Let’s move to the next step.
Step 3: Put together a content creation strategy
After getting some momentum on LinkedIn and Instagram, I started putting together a more comprehensive view of social media. And once again, 6 months later my strategy changed because I had the data to tell me what was working and what wasn’t. The most important part of this step is to come up with a plan and execute it for a while.
So my plan was to do almost daily live videos, repurpose my content on Facebook and YouTube, and start blogging consistently. Which sounds like a lot.
And truthfully my blogging suffered. Because I had really added two new streams into my content creation.
The daily vlog turned into my podcast, which has been amazing. And it has its own workflow to repurpose the podcasts into various social media posts.
All of that content and success led to me creating a virtual summit as well. This is only nine months after I started becoming very intentional in my content creation.
And my photography business had back to back best months ever. But I still wanted to do more. There was one catch: I had no more hours to devote to content creation just for the sake of creation!
Step 4: Create the System
In the movie Ghostbusters, it was very clear that “crossing the streams” was a very bad thing.
Egon: Don’t cross the streams.
Egon: It would be bad.
Peter: I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean “bad”?
Egon: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Raymond: Total protonic reversal.
Peter: That’s bad. Okay. Alright, important safety tip, thanks Egon.
(Spoiler alert from a 1984 film)
But then at the end of the movie, they cross the streams to defeat the giant Stay-Puft marshmallow man!
That’s sort of what my content process felt like. I had 3 independent streams all working on their own. The podcast was doing especially well, being ranked in the Top 100 Marketing podcasts in four countries, including the US and Canada! But the streams never crossed!
I didn’t have time for consistency on all of them, and I really wanted to do better with YouTube (I record my podcast in video form too) and Pinterest. Primarily because they are large search engines and will help my business even more in the long run.
And that’s where Pastor John comes in. We were together at the Total Life Freedom retreat, and he was leading a breakout session on content creation. And he proceeded to blow my mind!
Here’s his content waterfall:
- Create a manuscript for his weekly sermon. 2200-3500 words.
- The Sermon is recorded in video on Sunday
- The audio becomes a podcast, and provides content for another
- The manuscript becomes a blog post.
- Then He posts the blog in 3 different facebook groups.
- He also shares the podcast episodes too
- The into from the sermon/blog post is included in a weekly email newsletter, with a link to the full article
- He collects groups of sermon manuscripts and turns them into an ebook!
So that one piece of content flows into so many different avenues. It’s also how he has written the drafts of most of his books! It didn’t take me long to realize this would work for me too!
Simply replacing “sermon” with “blog post” opened up a whole new world of possibilities!
I’m going to share my new process, but keep in mind if you’re not creating content at all, in encourage you to just take it step by step. But, this plan can work for anyone, I’m sure.
Step 5: Start the content creation engine
So here’s my new content waterfall. I’ll list out each step with how many pieces of content come from each step. I’m sort of excited to see what the total is!
- Write one 1500-3000 word blog post (1)
- Share the blog post on Google My Business, Facebook and LinkedIn (3)
- Copy the blog sections into Instagram posts (6) – one week later
- Record a podcast episode with video based on the blog post (2)
- Send the video to my video editor who creates:
- A YouTube video (1)
- A 60 second teaser video (1)
- An Instagram story (1)
- The YouTube video is scheduled at some point in the future. Currently 3 months out!
- Send the audio to my podcast editor to create the podcast. (1)
- Podcast comes out 3-6 weeks later
- Create an Instagram story about the podcast episode (1)
- Post the transcript from the podcast (1)
- My social media VA creates a quote card from the podcast to be used on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest (3)
- Post on Facebook and LinkedIn about the podcast episode (2)
- Re-use the best Instagram posts on Facebook and LinkedIn – 3 each (6)
- Pin all the IG posts and best performing posts on Pinterest (10+)
- I create a monthly email that highlights my top content. (1)
- Create ads from the best content. Maybe (2) per month?
What’s the total? 42 pieces of content from one blog post! One creative session.
Multiply that by 4 weeks per month, and there’s 168 pieces of content that are stemming from (4) blog posts.
And that doesn’t count my more organic posts and re-shares or when I’m a guest on other channels! I also don’t use twitter (which is filled with possibility for repurposing!). Or the personal branding books that will result in the coming months!
Keep in mind, these 42 pieces are trickling out over a period of weeks if not months, so it isn’t bombarding you with the same piece of information 42 times in one day.
And honestly, they look different enough that it rarely appears to be exactly the same information. For example, when I was interviewed for Kent Sanders’ Smart Business Writing podcast, I mentioned my YouTube vids were mostly just video versions of my podcast. Kent said he never realized they were the same show!
Because they look different and they’re separated by enough time.
Step 6: Build your content creation team
Ok, so maybe that feels a little overwhelming. Maybe you feel like I did when I first heard Gary Vee talk about repurposing content.
And you can choose to make an excuse and say “Yeah, but I don’t have a team to help me do this.”
I didn’t either at first. And neither did Gary Vee. He started his Wine Library TV by himself. The important thing is to start.
And yes, I’ve slowly added a team. But it is so worth it. My job is not to simply create content, it’s to create amazing personal branding images for you! My team creates a large portion of the content for me. But since I create the Hero piece of content, it is almost all entirely in my voice.
Martin is my video editor, who not only edits my podcast video but also does any special video projects for me or clients.
Lezel is my Social Media Assistant. She repurposes the posts everywhere but Instagram (for now), but also edits transcriptions, creates graphics, and does some ads when needed.
Bijoy is my podcast editor. I simply upload my audio and he sends back a fully edited podcast in about a week.
And I’m working on adding a photo editor to help me keep up with the photography editing and be able to serve more clients.
Keep Improving Your System
It truly is a system. And this latest version of my system is the best iteration yet! I’m excited to write my weekly blog posts, and as long as I have it done by Friday every week, the rest of the process goes pretty smoothly!
As a bonus, I find it easy to write the blog whenever I have time during the week on my phone, and do a final edit in WordPress.
As I refine my writing for the blog post, I may be able to hand the Instagram grid over to Lezel as well.
So how long does it really take? I can come up with 6-8 blog post topics in under 30 minutes.
It took about a total of two hours to draft this post. Then MAYBE another hour or so to format and do SEO for the blog post (timed it: 35 minutes for this one).
Everything else is one to two hours of my time per weekday. But it is fast because I know what I’m posting.
And all my team members are part time.
That’s my content creation strategy and system. It didn’t exist a year ago. Now I can say I host a Top 100 Marketing Podcast, I organized and hosted arguably the largest and best Virtual Summit for the personal branding space, and I’m on pace to have my best year in my photography business.
Just take it step by step. I can’t wait to hear how it works for you!
Let me know in the comments how you plan to start applying the content waterfall. Ultimately, I want you to be the Hero of your own personal brand.
As I wrap this up, it occurs to me there could be some benefit in a course that walks you through this step by step with some accountability built in. Let me know if that would help you.