Joe Gannon x Pragya from Shield
One of the most common mistakes made in content creation is to just post about anything that comes to mind. We can feel a pressure to be posting, whether that’s to meet your own personal content objectives, or to fulfil the KPIs of your marketing team. This results in key planning stages being missed out and subsequently leads to content that doesn’t interest your audience.
Outlining your LinkedIn content themes helps in 2 ways:
By knowing what you are going to be talking about, it becomes a lot easier to come up with ideas under these topics for content. Once you’ve made this decision, you will find that whenever you consume information, your brain will subconsciously be turning new ideas, information and concepts into potential content ideas. Read more about having ideas for content here.
This means you will always be fulfilling the needs of your target audience. This leads to your content receiving engagement, with people regularly checking back to see more content from you. Don’t leave it for your audience to guess what you create content about. Sometimes, explicitly discussing what you want to post more of and asking your audience what they would like to see, can be great practises to gather feedback.
We’ve discussed that content themes can provide clarity and allow for ideas to flow naturally. Another benefit of outlining content themes for LinkedIn is that you can start to build your personal brand.
Your personal brand is what you are known for. It’s what comes to mind when people think of you. We ALL have a personal brand as there are already pre-existing narratives that come to mind when people think about us.
Thankfully, your personal brand is something you can begin to take control of, by strategically telling your audience what it is that you do so that it is easily memorable. This is where your content themes come in, as you can create content around certain topics and be known for this. This allows for people to recommend your content to other people and for you to come to mind when your information and expertise are required.
With content themes, we can freeze from overcomplicating matters. We can choose to not plan out our topics of content because we are not sure how they might look in the future. This is thinking far too many steps down the line. Outline your content themes for now, and then you can review them again down the line to improve them.
When I started creating content I had just finished studying Psychology at university. I was gaining marketing experience from a variety of social media marketing roles. My first two main content themes were A) Social Media and B) Psychology. Having only just started my career, I didn’t have the expertise or an existing audience, so I simply started sharing my thoughts and curating content that I found interesting, under those themes.
My ‘niche’ became Social Media x Psychology, where if the two topics intertwined, I would bring my thoughts and ideas to the conversation. You don’t need a degree to share content around a topic. Many people enjoy productivity, personal development and psychology with best-selling authors writing about these topics because they are interested in them – not because they have any qualifications.
The intersection between Social Media and Psychology naturally became a ‘niche’, this wasn’t pre-planned. By simply brainstorming potential content themes, I was able to see links between different topics. I’ve always been interested in how people behave (psychology) online (social media), so this became the slogan for my personal brand.
From expanding this thought out further, I began to think about who might be interested in this content. Well, businesses and brands need to know how people behave online so that they can advertise and market to their users. This is how – with great hindsight(!) – I bridged my psychology degree into the field of marketing.
When you start creating content nobody knows about you yet. It’s easier to engage with a smaller group of people and to become a regular in a tight community. Create content in your niche and then as you build an engaged audience you will naturally expand out into related groups. Taking my own example, I knew that ‘social media strategy’ would be too competitive for me to focus on at the start. I bolted on Psychology to narrow down my focus, that way, I can come to mind when people think about the interplay of these two themes.
All content falls under 3 main categories: Education, Inspiration and Entertainment
If you want to sell a product or service, what industry are you in and what content could you make to educate your audience about these products and services? For example, a website designer could provide tips and tricks on how to improve your website, they could offer free website audits and make the benefits of an optimised website clear in several ways. Then, when somebody needs a new website, they’ll think about who they know, and this activity will be remembered and front of mind when a prospect is in a position to buy.
In general, you do not need expertise to talk about a topic or to create content around it. It’s mainly imposter syndrome holding us back. If under your content themes you share personal experiences, you document your journey and you talk about what you enjoy. Who can really complain? Nobody. Has somebody ever complained before about your content? The answer is probably no!
Brainstorming potential content themes:
As a rule of thumb, create 80% of your content around your main content themes, with the other 20% of your content testing new topics. The idea here is to have the majority of your content providing value about your main business offerings, allowing room to test and evaluate for future directions that your content could take.
Now, write down your main content themes and underneath them brainstorm as many content ideas that come to mind. This exercise is to outline the many subsets of your LinkedIn content themes that you could branch into and to really get the creative juices flowing for content ideas.
Whilst this exercise might seem basic, how many people actually stop and take the time to do this? Action is everything. Take this time upfront to outline your content themes and you’ll thank yourself later. You’ll have so many ideas for content. Reaching your desired quantity of posts will never be a problem again. Once you have nailed the frequency of posting you can then start to solely focus on improving the quality of the information you share.