Episode #29: Creating Content for Different Channels (Content Creation Mini-Series, Part 1)

DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. Creating Content for Different Channels (Content Creation Mini-Series, Part 1)

In today’s episode, we’re kicking off a new mini series on content creation. Today’s episode is all about what content to create for all the different channels, then we’ll finish the show with a weekly actionable tip.


Cassy Joy: Say; should I wear the brown shoes or the black shoes today? You may already have your mind made up, and you posted it when you already had the shoes on and you were already out the door. But it’s really fun to be able to just engage with your audience and see what would they have chosen? Who knows? It sounds silly, but I think if you make your stories a fun place to be by using tools it’s going to really pay off for other reasons. But yeah, I would say tutorials, behind the scenes, and then really try to focus on a less polished presentation.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Diane Sanfilippo: In today’s episode, we’re kicking off a new miniseries on content creation. Today’s episode is all about what content to create for all of the different channels, then we’ll finish the show with a weekly actionable tip.

Topics:

  1. What’s on my plate [1:20]
  2. Shop Talk: Content Creation [14:59]
  3. Instagram and Instagram stories [25:35]
  4. Email and website [46:00]
  5. Tip of The Week: Choose one platform to start [51:36]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:20]

Cassy Joy: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses and in our lives this week. What’s happening, Diane? I think you have an update that I’m really excited to hear, because I don’t know what it is. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh.

Cassy Joy: There’s a story I haven’t heard yet.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, fine I’ll do that first.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: So the first update; some of you may have seen it on; I think I shared something on my Instagram stories; actually I shared; I eluded to it in my Instagram, a post on my feed that was from Los Angeles, and my friend and I were there just for fun, and getting a facial, and {laughs} eating sushi and just eating our way around Los Angeles. But we went to this restaurant called Gjusta. It’s actually a bakery in Venice. And waiting in line, they have a little counter. And waiting in line to order, and apparently I didn’t notice this dude walking past us several times. Kind of like trying to see my face, I guess. And eventually he was standing off to the side.

Now, mind you, this is not an inconspicuous dude. Very tall; might be close to 7 feet tall, like lean, just really stands out in a crowd. Anyway, he’s waving to me, and I’m looking over; like, I don’t, I don’t know who this is. Why is he waving to me? And he opens his Patagonian vest or something; I don’t know what he was wearing. But to reveal a Core Shots logo on his sweatshirt; and I was like; oh! This is Jordan, the guy who founded Core Shots.

And listen; I meet a lot of people all the time. My friend, Mary Shenouda, who is the founder of Phat Fudge. She was like; how do you not recognize him? I’m like, listen Mary. {laughs} My filter for recognizing men is also just different, I think.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Maybe this is weird, but from being married, I’m like; I don’t know, I’m not like processing who they are and like filing them away in a certain way. I don’t know, you know what I mean? I’m not like; let me save that information for later.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: You know?

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Not that she is, I’m just saying. She was like; I remember who he is. He’s recognizable! I was not expecting to run into him. Anyway, long story short, I ran into him and he’s like; hey! And of course, he would recognize me because I’ve been blowing up their stuff for like the last, I don’t know, two and a half years at least. I think that the week that I started my book tour for the 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide I feel like they had just gotten into Whole Foods, maybe; because, how had I not seen the product before? And I spent a month basically blowing them up almost every single day because every tour stop I went on I was like; I’m not getting sick. It was all of January. I was away from home, and knock on wood, I did not get sick.

So anyway; I run into him, start chatting industry; whatever. Are you going to be at Expo West? I was like, no I don’t think I’m going to go this year. And then; as I’ve learned being a Manifestor, we talk about Human Design a couple times on the show maybe; part of what I’m supposed to do, apparently, in being a Manifestor is to inform people of things. Because it’s like; and this is freaky, because this actually happens. Like when I say things out loud, they actually start to happen. Which is why I don’t say a lot of things out loud, because then it freaking happens.

Cassy Joy: I do that.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So, last year when I was talking to my friend Tony Kasandrinos about; you know, one day maybe I’ll bring Balanced Bites back as like frozen meals. Literally I said that to him not more than two months before I get the phone call or the text about creating frozen meals. And I was like; that’s freaky! Well, I’ve been talking about trying to bring the meals to retail, and I mention it to Jordan. And he was like; well, you know, if you want to chat about some logistics people, I found some great people, a lot of not so great people, but you know. And I was like; yeh, I actually may take you up on that.

Like; ok, how long ago was it that I was in LA and literally ran Miguel Garza of Siete Foods. And interestingly, the conversation he and I had, I did take some of the advice from it and I’m implementing some of that. But it was more of like this universe push thing than it was the specific information. It was just like; what are the chances I’m going to literally run into these people in that moment. And {laughs} some people are like; 100%. The chances are 100%. Like, this is supposed to happen. I think Mary said that to me. But also she’s like; these are the most popular places in the LA area for good food. But still, that I would run into somebody that would not only recognize me and know what I’m all about, but that would also make a generous offer to say; hey if want a contact.

Cassy Joy: Aww.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because that’s not common.

Cassy Joy: No, it’s not.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, people are not always extending that kind of offer. So it was really cool of him. So anyway.

Cassy Joy: What a neat story, I love it!

Diane Sanfilippo: I was like;

Cassy Joy: I’m team 100%.

Diane Sanfilippo: Who is this dude waving from his pocket, like; hey Diane. And I’m like; what? {laughs} Anyway. I’m pretty sure he was holding an electric, scooter, too. {laughs} It was very LA. Anyway. So that was exciting. And the new menu, the new winter 2020 menu for Balanced Bites; we have 10 new meals for anyone who didn’t hear yet.

Cassy Joy: Wohoo!

Diane Sanfilippo: And I kept 5 of sort of the classics; the best sellers, on the menu. We’re going to see how it works out having 15 meals versus just 10. It’s a little bit more difficult for the kitchen logistically to be maintaining, you know, a cooking schedule for that many different meals. But we’ll see how that pans out. But people are loving the new meals already. Business has been really, really strong the first few weeks of the new menu, which is great. That’s a really; I don’t know, just a good boost of confidence for me, with the business. And it’s really nice to see the response. And it’s fun to have people who are like; enjoying the meals, and are consistently surprised by them. Like, listen. It’s frozen food. It’s not; your grandma didn’t make you a tray of lasagna. You know what I mean? There’s always going to be something that like; if you’re expecting it to feel like, you know, a restaurant. There’s always going to be like little nuances that, you know. It is frozen. But I think people are shocked by how delicious it is, and how good the textures can be and the flavors and all of that.

And then, on a not so high note, we’re now actually hiring for three positions, probably by the time this airs I’m guessing we’ll have a customer service person, because we have had a ton of applications on that. We’re still looking for a video editor; just really looking for the right fit there. I’ve had a lot of submissions but it’s hard to find truly the right fit for that position. But our program manager for the 21-Day Sugar Detox, which also extended into the Balanced Bites Master Class, Holy Morello, who has been on my team for I think it’s been close to or over seven years. I mean, I don’t even have the dates. But sometime in 2013 is when she actually joined me to start working with me. And so she has been on the team almost the longest; she and April. They have both been around since that same time.

She sustained a concussion over a year ago, and it’s just been this kind of constant cycle of her getting better, and then feeling great and then a little pulling back. Just healing from that takes a long time, and she’s a very motivated driven and enthusiastic person who wants to be working with the team. But we both had to come to the decision together that the best thing for her; for her health first, is for her to go ahead and take that medical leave to really just get better. So there will always be a place for her on this team, but you know in the meantime we are looking for a program manager. Ideally it would be somebody with very in-depth knowledge of the 21-Day Sugar Detox. And we need someone to manage both that program and the coaches’ program. So we’re looking for someone to fill that role and we’ll have a job description up I’m sure by the time this episode airs.

But, yeah, it’s kind of a heavy-hearted thing. But at the same time, it’s just we had to both get to that place where we realized; like this is the best thing for her. So, yeah. There’s that.

Cassy Joy: I wish her well. I adore Holly.

Diane Sanfilippo: She’s the best. She’s like literally one of the nicest people anybody will ever meet.

Cassy Joy: She really is.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. When I posted; I mean the outpouring of comments of people who have interacted with her in the Facebook group or some of our coaches, or just other NTPs and NTCs, people in the community. I mean, she’s just like; she’s a heart walking around with legs. She’s just a super loving person. And yeah, she’s just been an integral part of this team for a long time. So, yeah. I love her as a person before anything else, so I really just want her to get better. That’s really the priority. So what’s going on over in SA; San Antonio.

Cassy Joy: Yes, San Antonio. I always want to say sunny San Antonio, but it’s gloomy outside right now. Well Grayson, our daughter. She’s two. We put her, at the beginning of this year, in survival swim classes. Are you familiar with these, Diane? Survival swim classes?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I think Nikki on team Balanced Bites I think her daughter is not exactly the same age, but close and I’m pretty sure she was doing that too. Scary.

Cassy Joy: They’re close. Yeah, it is. And I’m not getting into parenting advice, and I definitely don’t want it. But this is a decision that Austin and I made. We’re really close to pools and it just; we’re very convicted that we needed to do this thing. And Grayson, of course; some kids love these classes. I’ve witnessed it, right? The kids before and after Gray; her session, would just be like, “Whee!” in the pool. And she had a really hard time with it.

Well, last Friday was her last class. She learned everything she needed to learn. I’m so proud of her. Essentially what happens is if falls into a pool without anybody around, no adults there to help her, she knows how to float so that she can breathe, and then kick to a wall, and essentially save herself.

Diane Sanfilippo: I feel like that’s a pretty critical skill. I do. Because it’s scary!

Cassy Joy: It’s terrifying. And you know, the alternative is unmentionable, and just nauseating. So, it’s something that we really needed to do. So she learned everything she needed to learn. And then on her last; and I’ll be honest. It’s actually been torture for us as parents. Because it’s hard. It’s a hard thing to learn, and to go from splashing with your mom in the pool, you know, and kicking. And she actually had a somewhat of a head start, because we worked on floating and kicking and things like that during the warmer summer months. My mom and dad have a pool and we’re there a lot. So she was somewhat comfortable. But it was hard to just see her really not enjoy something so much.

And then on her last dang day of this class, her graduation day, she decided she loves it. She had the best time. This 10-minute swim lesson she giggled and squealed the whole time. Doing all of her things. And Austin and I usually tradeoff taking her, and that day both of us were there, so I’m sure that helped. Because she had positive affirmation from both of us. But it was just so great! I’m just so proud of her. It was like the first little gold star. It was just so fun. And then she also got a medal for graduating, and she just oohed and awed the whole way home. It was cute.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s cute.

Cassy Joy: The other thing that’s going on, workwise is I’m just currently in the throes; I have my head deep in the sea of building my work pipeline for my maternity leave. The second baby is going to make her appearance in a couple of months. And then the maternity leave that I’m building; I’m probably, we’re going to build enough content for about 2 to 3 months. Now, I’m backed by three fulltime, very incredible, very capable women who work at Fed and Fit. And if anything happened and I know I needed to go longer, I know that everything would be great and they would keep putting out really quality content. But I want to make sure that I’m doing what I can to maximize the time and the energy that I do have now; because I know I’m going to be a little sleepier and critical thinking skills and the ability to think of new ideas and innovate are the first things that go when I’m personally sleep deprived. Which just might happen, very likely, with a newborn again. It did for very long time with Gray, but that was more on me than it was on the baby.

Anyway. So we’re working really hard to build my work pipeline and make sure that it’s still a very, I guess, what’s the word; when that there’s a great harvests still to be had while I’m gone, versus just keeping the status quo.

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t have the word for you; but yes.

Cassy Joy: You get what I mean? We’re planting lots of seeds. They’re going to be like; oh my gosh, please go! Please go have that baby so we can stop planting more seeds. Because the harvest is going to be a lot of work. So that’s what’s going on!

2.  Shop Talk: Content Creation [14:59]

Cassy Joy: Shop Talk. In this segment, we talk about topics that are on both our minds and yours. We’ll cover all sides of the issue and hopefully land somewhere concise, actionable, and helpful. Today we’re kicking off a brand-new miniseries about content creation. And this is going to be a great miniseries. I can kind of give you an overview of what we’re going to talk about. We’re going to talk about content for different channels, is what we’re going to deep dive on today. Planning versus documenting. And then how to stay inspired and how to branch out in your business. So we’ll cover all of that in this series.

But today, we’re really going to deep dive content for different channels. This is a question that’s come up in different forms, when we’ve done listener Q&As. So we thought it would be a really good opportunity to do a very thorough sweep over all the different, you know, channels that are out there. Think social media; these are all web-based channels that you can deliver content to your audience. And it can be a little overwhelming when you’re looking at the breadth of all of these options to say; well, what do I published where, and what’s a good cadence.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I had somebody ask me recently, just in a DM, you know; how do I know which to kind of pick and focus on. And I think; before we deep dive on the kinds of content that we might share on all these different channels, first and foremost understanding that we operate with teams that work alongside us. So we are not personally responsible for delivering all of the content to all of these channels for our businesses. And so if you are working as a one-woman operation, a one-man operation, you don’t need to be everywhere all the time.

My first just overarching note is pick the one place that you enjoy engaging, that you feel your audience is already living and engaging. And maybe you dabble in one or two others. But I think you’re better off being consistent with the one that you really choose, versus playing this game of; well I have to be everywhere and I don’t even want to be on those, but I feel like I have to do so I; essentially what you end up doing is a half-assed job at all these other things versus just focusing on the one. So keep that in mind as we talk about the kind of content that we’ll share on different platforms. That you are not committed to doing all of these all the time every day. At least pick one and get really consistent with it and go from there.

Cassy Joy: That’s great advice. And you know, if I rewind the clock and think; it really, really was not that long ago that it was just me. The things, the areas that I focused on, it was that exact model. I had one that was my primary one, and then I also, kind of managed two others.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. And not all of these existed when we started. When I started my business; Twitter existed, and I actually did a lot of business through Twitter, and we didn’t even list Twitter here, which is fine. And Facebook. Instagram didn’t even exist when I first started with my business. In fact, when my first book came out, I’m sure I made my first Instagram post sometime that same summer. And it was like, me down the shore in Atlantic City. {laughs} It had nothing to do with anything important or relevant or helping people or any of that. So, anyway. Good to keep in mind.

Cassy Joy: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: So why don’t you kick us off. Let’s talk about wherever you want to start first and we’ll just go from there.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. Ok. We’ll just jump in. {laughs} These are in no particular order, really just what bubbled up in our minds when we were writing these. But, the first channel we can cover is Facebook. So, what kind of content to put on to Facebook? And these are; think these are business pages for Facebook, if you have a business page. If you have a business group; a group of people that you can run for your clients or your readers. You could also think of this in terms of your personal Facebook account. I’ll be honest; on this list of all the things that we’re going to cover, this is where I personally engage the least, myself. My team definitely picks up the slack there, because this is not an interest of mine. It’s not a place that I really thrive. But, it is still a very valuable place to be because there are a lot of folks there. A lot of Fed and Fit readers are there.

So when I think about Facebook, and when my team and I are as trying to understand what kind of content to put there, we try to always make sure that it revolves around some sort of a conversation point. Facebook, I tend to think of as the conversational social media outlet. And these are; so when you create content for Facebook, this is actually, it honestly could probably be the most low-maintenance, next to Instagram stories if you really want to dig into it. I don’t necessarily think that you would need a content calendar. But these are things where you can ask questions of your readers in your audience, and engage in a really rich conversations in comments. Because we don’t necessarily have the same word count restriction, they can tag folks, they can share links, they can post photos in a comment, right? So people can really engage with you, and that is such a valuable place to be.

So try to think that in everything that I post, or the majority of things that I’m sharing on Facebook, it’s not just a, “Hey! Here’s my new blog post recipe.” You can do that, of course. Like Diane said, this is not prescriptive, do all of these things. But if Facebook is the place, and you’re looking to maximize there, try to make sure that your posts, the majority of them have some sort of a conversation point. So it’s a video to watch, and then ask them; what were your thoughts on XYZ. Right? Give them some sort of a prompt to inspire that conversation. A photo that they need to tag a friend and tell them what they think about it. Right? Or just plain text for a conversation. “Hey, what’s your biggest dinner struggle right now?” Or, “Hey, what is the biggest pain point you have for going to the gym on a consistent basis?” Right?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: Whatever your business is, I think this is the place to have conversations and deep dive with your readers.

Diane Sanfilippo: Totally. And I think part of this, too, is understanding; this might feel a little deeper than everyone wants to get, but understanding behavior patterns on different platforms. So, Facebook, you know it grew and became and still is a place where people wat to tell you what they think. Whereas Instagram; it’s so common for people to scroll right by a picture to not even double tap and like it. It’s just much harder to get people to engage in those posts. And I’m not saying it’s easy to get engagement on Facebook, but I’m just saying that the type of folks who are on Facebook and the type of behavior that has happen there most often, to your point, has been conversation-based. Has been; I want to tell you my opinion. I want to tell everyone my opinion. That’s a very Facebook user; I mean, it gets really political on Facebook sometimes, really divisive. Because, partially, I think, to your point Cassy, people can share a link. They can share something. There’s just a lot more options for engagement, I think. So that becomes a little bit different.

And then the one drawback to what’s happening on Facebook, and this would be if, let’s just say you make a post to your Instagram stories or your Instagram feed and it also goes to Facebook; I think there’s something different with the intimacy of the relationship on Facebook. So, for example; and the way that people can respond to stories on Facebook. When you respond to a story on Facebook, it loses context. Like; I don’t even know what somebody responded to, and they say; oh, what was in that? Or whatever it was. I’m like; that user doesn’t understand that this came from Instagram. They don’t understand that I can’t see what they’re responding to. Like, it’s a totally different behavior pattern. And I really think, personally, if you’re going to have a presence on Facebook, I think being more intentional about it is a good way to go. Otherwise, I think it’s a tough place to be. Because it can be a place where people get really argumentative, as well.

I don’t know; there’s good and bad and it really depends on your audience. And to your point, as well, the upside is longer text; a longer conversation. You can really contextualize what you’re saying. If you’re at all nervous that someone is going to take something the wrong way, you can provide more context in a caption. Right? There is so much more you can do. You can put multiple links in that text of what you’re writing. Like, here are three blog posts I’ve written about this. You know, that type of thing. So there’s a lot more conversation that can be had. I think sometimes people are not as deeply connected with the individual behind the content, because of the nature of the platform. Does that make sense? Like, with Instagram we feel a little more intimately, instantly connected to the person. Whereas Facebook, people just don’t behave in that same way.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. An initiative that we’re actually implementing right now at Fed and Fit is {laughs} believe it or not, we’re finally launching a Fed and Fit Facebook group for a community to help foster community. Because there’s a large now group of folks who are like; well, I want to meet the other people who have fallen in love with shredding chicken in stand mixer. Right? So we really want to be able to provide that place. So in addition to being conversation based, I also think that this is probably the one platform where your readership can have true community within themselves. With each other. And what I’ve learned; a group versus a page, a group is the place to do that. And so that’s something else.

And again, this is a bandwidth thing. I’m not saying that everybody has to do this. Like I said, this is the one area that I probably picked up last, and am the weakest in. But I think that there’s a whole heck of a lot of value here if you really want to strengthen the community of your readers.

It’s something that I talk about a lot; is the Fed and Fit community. I mean; we brag that we have the nicest readers in the entire world. They are very thoughtful. They’re very intelligent. They give very generous assumptions the majority of the time. Of course there are randos that come in. But they’re just the most wonderful humans in the world, and I just want to be able to provide a place where all of them can meet each other.

3. Instagram and Instagram stories [25:35]

Cassy Joy: OK, the next one is Instagram. Diane and I; I would say, I don’t mean to put words in your mouth. But this is probably one of our strongest platforms where we focus a lot of our attention. Instagram, we’re going to talk about Instagram stories next. But, Instagram we’re thinking about your feed. So this is the content that goes on your page, on your feed.

What kind content do we share on Instagram? These are things that we share. I have why’s here; so this is your why. Why are you doing this business? Why is it important for you to do; gosh. To transition your cleaning products over. Why are you going to the gym? People want a peek behind the curtain when it comes to Instagram. And I think that on your feed is a great place to take a selfie and to share a little bit of why you do certain things. This is a great place to point back to your curated content. Your curated content which will likely live somewhere else; probably on a website. Maybe you have curated content there directly on Instagram, but this is a place where both can live. You can either point away, outside, or you can have it live there.

And I think this is also, your Instagram feed is a place to share what has you inspired right now. I think that Instagram is a place where people go to look for inspiration. They go to look to connect with a real human, which is the why piece. And they go to kind of get an idea of your portfolio of work, right? Whether it lives there on Instagram, or it lives somewhere else. At least that’s how we approach Instagram, the Fed and Fit Instagram page is a mixture of those kinds of things. The majority of the time it’s content, but that’s how we approach it. What are your thoughts?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. We have several different Instagram accounts, depending on the business or whether it’s my personal account. So for my personal account, you know I’ve gone through different evolutions with what I want to share there, with what I feel like I need to share there. With what I feel like works there. You know? And, of course, I try not to share things that I’m pretty sure won’t work, although sometimes it’s just, I want this to be there as a reference point. Like you were saying; kind of the why, or kind of anchoring content.

I think the Instagram feed is kind of a snapshot of all the things that you’re about. And I think for people to get a feel for what they’re going to learn from you, what type of content they’re going to get from you, I think that’s what we lean on there. And it gives people, again, just, you know, a quick overview. Just; what does this person talk about? What am I going to learn about? What will I be inspired by? And I personally love the idea of mixing in some more real life, you know, it doesn’t mean they can’t be beautifully lit, but these real-life moments with “Instagramable” beautiful photos.

So I’m definitely a little bit of a purist, where I love the Insta of Instagram. I love that it’s in the moment, it’s something I’m holding in my hand. It’s not a photo from a cookbook or something that’s really professionally done. And I have nothing against that, right? I think it looks beautiful. I love seeing it. But I really do love the instant nature of it. And that doesn’t mean that some things aren’t edited and then put on there or like the text shareable or what have you. But I do find that content that is done more in the moment, not planned, even if it’s going into my feed versus stories, it does tend to have the best engagement, have the best conversations. Because it’s what I’m thinking and feeling right then. And there are pretty good chances that people who follow along are thinking and feeling similar things. Even if it’s not; you know, we’re not going through the same things in our lives.

So, here is like a really basic, also a little bit silly, but real example. Right? I’ll post a new product from Trader Joes. So here’s where it kind of hits all the marks. First of all, people love seeing a single product in your hand. Also, people love my manicures. I don’t blame them. {laughs} Top notch.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} They’re very lovable.

Diane Sanfilippo: Top five skills, finding a good manicurist. No. So let’s combine all these things that people love. People love Trader Joe’s. People love great prices on great products. People love when we tell them what’s great, right, at a store, whether it’s Trader Joe’s or anywhere else. When we focus on and feature one single product. Because who can really focus on the 10 products in a photo; unless it’s a cart photo. People love a grocery cart photo.

But this is universal. I love seeing somebody holding product in their hand. And even if we are not our own followers or readers or customers for everything that we do, we have to recognize these behavior patterns. So behavior pattern on Instagram is very much; I see a person holding a product; chances are it’s a pretty branded photo. Right; Cassy when you post a photo and the rug in Grayson’s room is like in the background and you’re holding something; I can probably recognize your hands, because we’re close friends and I know your hands. {laughs} But the lighting is going to be a certain way; you know, what’s there. And that’s a branded photo. So like when I’m holding a product, it’s pretty branded. People might be scrolling quickly. They know it’s me. And they’re interested in seeing that. And guess what? I’m interested, too, in knowing what’s new at Trader Joe’s. So if I’m interested, you’re going to be interested. And if I love something, you’re probably going to love something. So all of those things feed into it. I’m actually really interested in the behavior side of how and why and what we do. Less so interested in the metrics of everything. I think the metrics follow the behavior patterns, and understanding that psychology, and understanding how we engage and what’s interesting to us.

But, anyway. I’ll share things that range from something very specific to my business; maybe it’s even promotional. I’m talking about new meals or something like that. But I’m also going to share, to your point, a little; we’ll get into this with Instagram stories. But even some behind the scenes in the feed, sharing a new spice blend that’s in development, right? And it’s a photo and it’s a well-lit photo. Or I’m sharing, you now, just a photo of me baking. And the OGs know I don’t really bake. {laughs} So it’s like this fun, engaging moment where I’m like; hey you guys. I baked something. You know? And maybe the new people are just like; ooh, baked goods! And they’re excited about that. But the folks who have been around can have a little giggle and we can just talk about the fact that I baked something. You know?

So I think there’s all different ways to approach it. I think one place that people get really hung up is perfectionism or feeling like they need to stick to a pattern. Gary Vaynerchuk, who you guys know, I love what he talks about because it’s so behavior based. But he was even talking recently about, and this will hurt some people’s feelings; not worrying so much about what the feed looks like. And he actually meant it more like a pattern, not, you know, I think there is something to the look and feel of the work that we share, right? But when people cut up a certain photo so it play’s across three squares, or having a pattern, or whatever it is. Like, everyone just chill out with the pattern, because that’s not what people are engaging with. And that’s not how you’re really building a following. And if the holistic psychologist teaches us anything besides about psychology, she can definitely teach us about the behaviors that people have on Instagram that will grow a following. And it’s not about having the most beautiful posts.

You know? It’s about creating content that’s engaging in the moment. And if you go back to the feed, you go back to the feed, cool. Yeah, people are going to follow from there. But that piece of content in the moment is much more important than whenever is curated. So I think it’s important for people to hear that, because I want people to be liberated from, “But this doesn’t look good in the feed,” or it doesn’t fit the pattern. Because if you’re serving people in the moment the way that Instagram is trying to have you do, then the pattern is less relevant. I got on a tangent.

Cassy Joy:  No, I like it. And the Fed and Fit page is at a weird, weird hybrid, and I really hope to have some clarity looking back on it a year from now, because this is a blend between a business account and a personal account.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. It’s hard.

Cassy Joy: And it’s actually a massive conversation I had with my team on Monday; we deep dove on a plan of what I’m going to do to really bolster the team’s presence in the eyes of the community and how we’re going to make that happen. But even with all of that; even though Fed and Fit is going to transition to being more of a purist brand, if I have the hours and the time, I’ll start posting privately elsewhere. Or my private life on another public page, I guess. Even in that scenario, to Diane’s point, a pattern is not a priority in the least in my business. And we have a really engaged Instagram community right now; but to your point, it’s because the content that we’re providing is incredibly relevant. So for example; we had this healing chicken soup in the queue; in the content queue. And we were like; holy moley; everyone is coming down with something. It just feels like everyone is coming down with something; knock on wood it stays out of our house. But we were like; now’s the time to get this up.

So even though, for those of you who are like; yes, but the photos that I do have are not of the moment, that doesn’t mean that the caption cannot be of the moment. And so the captions that I’m writing that are going up on the Instagram Fed and Fit page are based in real time, for the most part. And I’ll share more about that when we talk about planning versus documenting. We can deep dive even further. But I think that’s a great point. Don’t get too caught up in the details. I did see Gary talk about that and I got a good chuckle. Because I’ve definitely suffered from that. From wanting this; it’s very tempting to think that, maybe this will solve things, if I have a color scheme, or if I have this perfect grid or this perfect pattern. But at the end of the day that doesn’t matter. What matters is the quality the content.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right. And so the flip side of that, I’ll just touch on it. For our brand account, on Balanced Bites, we have had a very preplanned strategy for the way that the content is appearing and being shared on that account. And there’s a couple of reasons for that. One is that we have 12 different flavors of spices, and how do we give them all equal airtime, right? How do we help you know how to use them all? So we did create a plan that includes a pattern.

So if you go over to the Balanced Bites podcast Instagram and you scroll through it, you’ll notice there’s always some sort of loosely rainbow pattern of how our spices are actually shared about. If you’re looking for how to use TexMex, you kind of know you can scroll through and get to a place where; ok, between Italian and Taco and Fajita, you will find TexMex and you’ll find more ideas for it and all of that. And we have more plans for ways to make that type of content and information and tips and education more discoverable. Because it may or may not be apparent to everyone that it’s there in that way.

But part of the reason we did that was to create freedom and ease for Nikki, who runs that account. It wasn’t because we think that’s the best way for everyone to see our brand. It was like; we need to put structure here so that this becomes easier to execute. So, if you’re somebody who does really well with that kind of structure, I do recommend coming up with whether it’s visibly a pattern or content wise; like, ok, I posted about fitness yesterday, I’m going to post about household products today. If it’s that type of content pattern, where you just tell yourself; here’s the plan of the type of information I want to share to make sure that I’m balancing it out.

Or, you know, the hybrid of what we’ve been doing lately is having a way to have preplanned content with spots in between to allow for flexibility. And I think I talked about this on the show maybe a few weeks ago, like when the whole Dolly Parton challenge came up, and it was obviously we had not planned that graphic. Right? But in the moment, that day, it came up and I was like; we’re putting this in the feed. So if you want to maintain the pattern that we’ve had, we can adjust a little bit, or just go with it. Because that’s what’s in the moment. That’s what people are laughing at; having fun with, excited about. So I think that there’s a balance there and I think it can depend on what you’re doing, what the brand is, etc.

I do think that when you’re a person, having less of that structure is a good thing. And I think with a brand, you might have a little more flexibility to follow it, and it’s OK.

Cassy Joy: To curate.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, people don’t feel; oh, it’s so curated. Well, it’s a brand. Like, it’s different than a person, you know what I mean, trying to appear curated. It’s a brand; I actually want it to be somewhat polished. I don’t want it to look like, you know, someone just took their phone out in the dark in their kitchen and took a photo if this is like a real brand that I’m supposed to trust. So I think that’s a little bit different. So I just wanted to differentiate there, because we have both going on. And I want for people to understand that distinction.

Cassy Joy: And we’ll deep dive again, a little further on, again going forward on planned; wait, nope. Yes, curated versus documenting, and just really how to delineate and make those decisions between all the different things that you possibly have; the different pots you have your hand in.

Diane Sanfilippo: So what about stories; Instagram stories?

Cassy Joy: Instagram stories. So this is where I really think that the best kind of content to live in Instagram stories are things like tutorials, whether this is a; you filmed, you’re doing your nightly skin care routine. Right? It doesn’t have to be an educational tutorial. You don’t have to talk through it all, but you show what you’re doing. Show how you’re making dinner. Show; oh, goodness, how you’re packing your gym bag. Because you have the ability to do these very, very short video clips. It’s just a very easy way to consume that kind of information. And it doesn’t have to be highly edited or polished. In fact, I think it’s better if it’s not.

And then in addition, I think the behind the scenes are very important. Even if you are a brand, and a very polished brand at that. I think that the behind the scenes being slightly unpolished in Instagram stories is a really cool place to live. Because it humanizes a brand outside of a curated content. So; here’s what the team is working on today. Here’s the test kitchen. Maybe it’s me; you are the test kitchen and it’s your kitchen, right? Show those kinds of things. Show the failures, maybe, that you’ve had. You dropped the eggs. Like, these are great things to have on Instagram stories. Make jokes. Share some of your real life. Share some of your highs; all the things you’re struggling with. I think that the Instagram story widgets; all the little polls and questions and all those other fun features that are available to us in Instagram stories are worth using. Because they’re fun to engage with.

If you find that your story viewership is relatively low; and to give you a number, let’s say 10% of your audience. If you find yourself hovering at 5% or less of your audience is watching your stories through, then it might be worth figuring out a way that you can make it a more exciting place to be. And you do that by sharing more real life, maybe by being a little more humble and not as polished, if you find yourself really tempted to create really polished graphics or videos and only share those; make it a little bit more real life. And then also use some of those fun tools, even if it doesn’t make sense.

Just because you post a poll and you say; should I wear the brown shoes or the black shoes today. You may already have your mind made up, and you posted it when you already had the shoes on and you were already out the door. But it’s really fun to be able to just engage with your audience and see what would they have chosen? Who knows? It sounds silly, but I think if you make your stories a fun place to be by using tools it’s going to really pay off for other reasons.

But yeah, I would say tutorials, behind the scenes, and then really try to focus on a less polished presentation.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. I also see Instagram stories; I think the people who are watching that, especially if they’re watching with the sound on, for those of us who talk to our cameras. I think that those are some of your most intimately connected people. So I think potentially sharing things that are a little more, you know, a little more personal or a little more sensitive; that’s kind of the place to do it. Right? Like, just sharing that in your Instagram feed or over on Facebook might not be the best place for it.

But something, for example, that I end up talking about a lot on Instagram stories and then I save it back to the highlight there. Which, there’s probably; hmm, I don’t think there’s another series from this week that I’ll save there. But I have a series talking about boundaries, and it’s a topic that essentially came up through DMs that people would send, and I feel like they’re crossing boundaries or having expectations of me in a certain way. And I have that conversation in Instagram stories because I can have tone, and inflection, and energy, and mood; all of that coming through. Right? As opposed to a static image with some text below it.

So I do think that if you’ve got stuff that a little more in-depth, or if you have something that you really want to verbally talk through and give tone to and make sure that people are kind of hearing it the way that you intend; I mean, obviously it can always land in a way that you didn’t intend, but at least you can control the tone and tenor with which they’re going to hear it. So that, for me, has been a great place to talk about something like boundaries. Which is obviously like; like tertiary level content to what I tend to share the most. I share about food and all of that, and it’s just kind of there, like this peripheral content.

But it actually ends up being the content that people connect with me most on and come back and tell me; because you talked about this, I was more empowered in my life. And yeah, somebody might go buy that coconut water at Trader Joes, and I’m like; OK cool, glad you loved it. But when someone’s like; I finally stood up to my boss and got this promotion, or whatever it is. That’s the meaningful stuff for me. So for me, and if you’re listening and you’re somebody who really thrives on more of that connection, and you feel like you’re missing connection; focusing on Instagram stories I think is really beneficial.

And I would not worry too much about how many people are watching. Of course, if it’s a lower number; because to your point, Cassy, I’ve had times where it has been a great percentage, and times where it really drops. And I don’t really feel like I’m always in control of that. I feel like sometimes the content is great, and it’s just, I don’t know what’s going on. Or maybe it’s a holiday, or a weekend, and more people are watching stories that day and suddenly there’s a huge surge, and it really ebbs and flows. But I try to remember that whoever is there, that attention is the most valuable thing. So I’m trying to deliver and value them. So if you have 10 people watching your stories, that is 10 people; that’s their attention. Don’t undervalue that attention.

4. Email and website [46:00]

Cassy Joy: Amen. Ok, next up is e-mail as a place to create content. So email is a great place to provide; we have recaps and roundups. So Fed and Fit, how we treat e-mail newsletters are; we have two different approaches. Number one; included in the same newsletter, is we say; here’s essentially what you missed on www.FedandFit.com. Because www.FedandFit.com, the website, which is going to be our very last category that we’ll cover today. That’s home base. That’s where the best, best stuff lives. That where all of our links live. You can find essentially the full body of work on our website. And so because we’re publishing every single week, we do provide roundups via e-mail for the folks who aren’t checking the website every week. And we can see from web traffic a tremendous spite at 9:00 AM central, when that e-mail is delivered in people’s e-mail inboxes. Because they wait for that Friday email to be like; oh, these are the four new articles on www.FedandFit.com.

So I think that’s a great place for that to live. Offer codes if you do have them; if you have coupon codes, or anything recurring, whether it’s evergreen or a temporary coupon code, that is absolutely where those things tend to live. If we have an affiliate or a favorite partnership, we always try to include a little roundup so folks know what’s fresh and current.

And then the last thing that we do with our emails is, we want to make email to be a special place; not just a content roundup. And again this is not a; don’t feel like I’m telling you you have to do this in order to do e-mail well. But because it’s a priority for us, we really want to get folks who are looking forward to our emails. Because when we do have a special offer, I want them to be used to opening them, used to reading them, and looking for those golden nuggets. And so because of that, I want to consistently give them golden nuggets in e-mail. And so that is usually content or insights or behind the scenes that I don’t put anywhere else. Or I do put there first. Or it is some sort of a conversation that maybe got started or triggered maybe on social media that I get to expand on in e-mail. It becomes a proving ground before it goes onto the website. And so that’s an option for how you can treat e-mail; is almost a, it’s not necessarily as polished or professional as something that’s going to go onto the website, but it’s kind of a middle ground between what goes onto social media and what goes onto a website.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. And I think it’s a great place for the roundups, as you had said; the in case you missed it, for the people who have social media exhaustion.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So if you’re somebody listening, and you’re like; yeah, I really want to know what Diane and Cassy are up to each week but like I can’t keep track of it there. You know, we usually pull the most important elements into an e-mail. Whether it’s a week or two behind, sometimes what will go into my emails will be like a Diane Direct topic that maybe we talked about or I talked about a week or two ago on Instagram, but giving it a little more time and space in an e-mail; maybe a blog post, etc.

So because you covered what I think is pretty relevant for my personal email; so we have a Diane Direct e-mail list. We also have the Balanced Bites Insider list. And what we tend to do there; of course because it’s more of a brand focus, things like sales, promotions, meal of the week, spice of the week. Just trying to give people little tips or insides of; again, how to use different spice blends, different recipes. There’s always at least one recipe in those e-mails, sometimes more than one. It’s content that is not always on social media. Sometimes it is, but again we know people miss it there.

And then we also; you know we’re going to be getting much better at this, where we’ll have more targeted and transaction/behavior-based emails. And again, that’s maybe a little bit more in depth, But for those of you who do have a product or a service or a business where you’re trying to email people based on behaviors; did they buy something from in the past? Are they on your list of customers? Are they a Beautycounter customer of yours? How are you going to communicate with these people differently than someone who’s never purchased from you before? And this is something that hopefully this new e-mail system that were on that works really well with Shopify. Which is where the Balanced Bites websites are; the meals and our spices/anything else that will come there. We will be able to know; you know, how many times has this person purchased? Can we send you an e-mail that’s like; oh my gosh, you’re one of our most loyal customers. And how cool would it be, right? Like wouldn’t you love to get an e-mail that’s on your birthday or your half-birthday or whatever where we just say; thanks for being a customer, and the more specific we can get the better.

I think that that’s something that, if you’re going to take a nugget from that; many of you might have; let’s just say you have an email list of 100 people and you know 10 of them have been in your coaching group before, whatever it is. You can email those 100 people something, but you can also e-mail the 10 people separately; hey, here’s an extra discount on the next thing I’m offering just for you as somebody who has been in my program before. I’m just giving a loose example of something that you might be able to offer. And I think that there are such great ways to do that with email, where you’re treating people a little bit better for having been a loyal fan, follower, customer, etc.

Cassy Joy: I love it. I think that’s a great overview.

5. Tip of The Week: Choose one platform to start [51:36]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So last but not least; website.

Cassy Joy: {singsong} Website!

Diane Sanfilippo: We touched on what’s living there already. But, dive in.

Cassy Joy: Yeah and I think this one is probably the most obvious out of all of them. But this is where your best ideas expanded into really useful content. Your website, whether it’s a blog or a website that; I don’t know, of another sort. An editorial. This is not a place for you to have 400 sales pages that say; if you want more click here. This is a place to provide complete solutions.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, this is the end of the click here.

Cassy Joy: This is the end of the click here; exactly. Now, you can say; if you loved that, here is also an eBook; I need your e-mail address in order for you to download that eBook. But this is where your best work lives. And this is the place where I would take the most time with it. As far as a cadence of how much should you be posting onto your website; it really depends on your time available and what your business is.

Personally we aim during heavier seasons; heavy traffic seasons, which are between; it starts, it picks up in September and goes through the very beginning of February. We tend to post between four and five times a week on www.FedandFit.com. Especially during the holiday season and January, because we’re a wellness website so our traffic remains very high through January. And then during the summer slumps, I mean, we just enjoy; we ride that slump all the way down, and we’ll post maybe two articles a week. We just try to match, again, reader behavior. And so that’s the cadence. But even in those slower seasons, we’re still trying to make sure they we’re answering our readers’ most burning questions as best we can.

Diane Sanfilippo: Helpful. We are not the same type of editorial website on either of our sites; on DianeSanfilippo.com or www.balancedbites.com. So we don’t have a cadence that’s like that at all. I think I generally have one post a week going up on the Diane Sanfilippo site; it’s usually just a snippet of the Diane Direct blog post, just kind of maintaining a level of communication there. Sometimes there’s a skincare email that I send out or a blog post that’s related to that. And that all lives there so that I can have that separate held from what we’re doing with Balance Bites. Because I do feel like what we’re building with Balanced Bites is something totally independent, and I really want to keep that separate. And currently having content that’s more just recipe based, of course, going out through Balanced Bites and through the website and going from there.

4. Tip of The Week: [54:19]

Diane Sanfilippo: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward. Cassy, why don’t you give us a tip?

Cassy Joy: Ok so we just covered a lot in this episode, and I don’t want you to walk away feeling really overwhelmed and like you’re underdoing it in all of these avenues. So pick one of the categories, one of the channels that we talked about today, whether it was Facebook, Instagram, Instagram stories, e-mail, or your website. Pick one of those that you think; ok this is the lowest hanging fruit. This is going to be the easiest adjustment and improvement I can make and go ahead and make that this week.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. Cassy is @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo.

Tune in next week for the second in our miniseries on content creation, when we’ll be talking about planning versus documenting your content and how to balance it. See you next week.