You stare at the blinking cursor in your empty Facebook status box.
“Think, brain! C’mon. What the heck am I going to post today?!”
Occasionally a flash of brilliance will save the day. But more often than not you feel like banging your head against your desk, wishing it wasn’t such a struggle. (I know I’m not alone here because several of you responded to my Facebook post about this very issue!)
So what if I told you there’s a way to banish this I-have-no-idea-what-to-post problem, forever?
Here it is. I developed this framework for my first ever round of Facebook from Scratch and my students loved it. (Hat tip to Natalie Alaimo for the inspiration, this content pillars/buckets approach is all over the web but her post was the one that first got me thinking!)
**Bookmark it: this post is not short — but it does have lots of pictures! (Because I believe you can never have too many examples of businesses that really rock it on their Facebook Page. And I find examples WAY more educational than tons of explanation.) So use the ‘Click to see the examples…' toggles to get the full effect!
The 4 Pillars of Great Facebook Content
Content Pillar #1: Attraction
The goal of this type of content is to attract new fans to your community.
- Ask yourself: “What would my ideal client LOVE to share?” and “What would she/he find inspirational, entertaining or interesting?”
This content is not directly related to your business but stuff you know your ideal client would be interested in. For example, if you are business coach for mompreneurs this might be a funny or inspirational quote on motherhood, a blog post you found about meal planning for busy families or a Facebook Page like Dinovember. (Side note–how cool is that?!)
To know what is going to make great attraction content, you need a clear picture of who your ideal client is because the goal of attraction content is that not only is your ideal client grateful you shared but they feel compelled to share it with their network, giving you the opportunity to get in front of a wider audience of potential clients.
Content Pillar #2: Education
The goal of this type of content is to establish yourself as an expert, the go-to person in your field.
- Ask yourself: “What questions are my clients asking?” and “How can I help solve my customer’s problems?”
This can be your own content (blog posts, helpful videos, tips) but it’s primary goal is to help your client or solve a problem you know your client has–not to promote your business. This content pillar should also include other people’s content (competitors, peers, bigwigs in your industry) you know your client will find useful.
I know you do a ton of reading on the internet so when you come across a super useful article, helpful statistic or a fantastic help video, make a note. If you curate insanely relevant and useful content for your audience, they will keep coming back AND you’ll build your expert status. (Plus I honestly think being of service is absolute most powerful thing you can do on social media.)
Other people’s work:
Your work (new+old blog posts, tips/advice, videos, etc.):
(And take your cue from the brilliant copywriters at The Middle Finger Project and give it a little more love than “Here’s a blog on what to do when someone asks for your rates”–I know it takes a little bit more time & creativity but it will pay off when people ACTUALLY CLICK THROUGH.)
Useful infographics and helpful statistics:
Industry-related news and information:
Content Pillar #3: Engagement
The goal of the content in this pillar is to get your community involved and create conversation.
- Ask yourself: “Does this provide value?”
Yes, this is a broad, subjective question, but this pillar contains a lot of different types of content and is every business owner is going to have their own unique spin on what makes great Engagement content for their audience.
On a food or health-focused Facebook Page sharing what you had for breakfast and asking your audience what they ate, can be of great value as engagement content. This is probably not going to be the case is you’re a business coach.
Entertainment is value. A personal insight that creates connection is value. Genuine discussion is value. Giving of your time is value. Asking for advice and listening is value.
Trust your gut on what does or doesn’t provide value for your audience. Don’t ask a question just because you saw it on another page — ask the question that is RELEVANT to you and your audience. (This is super individual, if you are a business coach who loves to cook sharing a great recipe you just made can still provide value because it helps your audience get to know you.)
This is my very favourite type of content because I love conversation and I personally really dig seeing the lighter and more personal side of businesses/entrepreneurs I follow.
If you’ve had the experience of asking a question and getting zero response, take a look at the question: does it require a lot of serious thought? Can it be answered with one or two words?
People are in general quite lazy and scrolling through their newsfeeds quickly, if it takes a long response or a lot of thought, you’ll get fewer responses. Especially if your audience is on the small side, keep it short and sweet. Fill in the blanks or multiple choice work really well!
Issue a challenge:
Share some day-to-day details about your life or behind-the-scenes stuff from your biz:
And don’t forget, when you are asking for engagement, you need to reward people for taking action! Show them you are present, engage with their responses and thank them for taking the time to reach out.
Content Pillar #4: Advertising
The goal here is conversion. Consider what the ‘next step’ you’d like your fans to take in your business. (Listen to your podcast, join your newsletter list, sign up for a webinar, etc.)
- Ask yourself: “Is this interesting?”
Seriously. I know I’ve called it Advertising content but it shouldn’t feel like an Ad, even though it does need to make a clear ask.
It’s important to put as much (or better yet MORE) thought into your Advertising content as you would for any of the other pillars. Make it INTERESTING, useful, entertaining, of the highest quality and with a clear call to action. You are asking for something but it shouldn’t feel annoying or like it’s interrupting your fans Facebook experience.
While the 3 previous pillars are what Gary Vaynerchuk classifies as Jabs in his brilliant book Jab Jab Jab Right Hook, this pillar is your Right Hook. This is where you make your ask.
“While it’s true that you can’t land a solid right hook if you don't set up the punch with a series of good jabs, it’s also true that no fight has ever been won on jabs alone.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk, Jab Jab Jab Right Hook
Ask for support:
(This is an absolutely brilliant piece of Advertising content from Pat Flynn asking his fans to vote for his podcast. And he did this every single day voting was open. Not at all annoying + very cute peeps into his day-to-day life. Willing to bet this tactic netted him A LOT of votes.)
Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter:
(Not only is this a great way to ask for newsletter sign-ups, these Truthbombs work double duty for Danielle LaPorte because they get shared so much they are also great Attraction content.)
Ask them to sign up for something free (webinar, ebook, etc.):
If spread your content equally across all 4 pillars, only 25% of your posts will be self-promotional. This is perfect because social media is about real relationships not LOOK AT ME, SUBSCRIBE TO MY LIST, BUY MY THING. That will get you nowhere fast.
“Without a proper combination of jabs to guide you customer–I mean, your opponent–right where you want him, your right hook could be perfect and your opponent could still dodge it as easily as a piece of dandelion fluff. Precede that perfectly executed right hook with a combination of targeted, strategic jabs, however and you will rarely miss.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk, Jab Jab Jab Right Hook
(But you also don’t want to skip this pillar altogether, because you are in business. You have to make the ask from time to time!)
Using the 4 Pillars of Content
With 4 distinct content pillars (and lots of examples for inspiration!), brainstorming and writing great content for your Facebook Page is a lot easier.
- You can do a week's worth of content at time by coming up with 2-3 posts in each pillar.
- You can come up with a month's worth of Facebook content by writing 8-12 posts in each pillar.
And I find it's a lot easier to ‘batch' this kind of work. You get on a roll brainstorming and writing and before you know it, you'll have 50 posts written. Much faster & more fun than agonizing each day while you are looking at that blank status box!
I've created a PDF worksheet that summarizes the 4 Pillars with space to input your ideas as you brainstorm. You can grab it here for free, all you have to do is share this post on Twitter or Facebook!Download 4 Pillars Worksheet
Take action now
- Grab your 4 Pillars Worksheet, put on your thinking cap and get brainstorming! (Or at least block off an hour or two in your calender right now)
A bit of time up front to collect post ideas, write them and then get them scheduled on your Facebook Page makes a HUGE difference. Great content+consistency=growth AND you'll have a lot more fun when you aren't always struggling for post ideas.
I'd love to hear from you
Do you struggle to find things to post on your Facebook Page? Does your content draw from all 4 Pillars? Which is your favourite?
A LOT of time and love went into this post. If you found this content strategy at all helpful, I'd love if you shared it with at least one other business owner who could use a Facebook content boost! (Feel free to use the Facebook, Twitter and Google+ buttons right below : )