While both serve their purpose, there is near-constant debate as to which content creators should focus on -- long or short-form content. Earlier this month, at #BlogHer16 in Los Angeles, Susan Kaplow, chief content officer at SheKnows Media, sat down with three women who are taking their body of work and breaking it down into more "digestible" segments.
When Lain Ehmann was laid off from an editor position years ago, she began a blog around her passion for scrapbooking and event production. It turned out that she was talented on the business side, and others soon sought her entrepreneurial expertise. She's now focused on helping people plan their content strategy through webinars.
That's a lot to focus on, but Ehmann said it's all about prioritizing based on your goals. She suggests not focusing on monetization right off the bat. It's important to figure out who your audience is, and who they will be. Building your platform requires knowing all about who you're trying to reach, including where they are gathering and how you can stand out without saturating the market.
Jadah Sellner, co-founder of SimpleGreenSmoothies.com, works to get people to fall in love with vegetables like kale and spinach, as well as helps entrepreneurs by fueling their passion. In order to stand out, her brand is focused on consistency. Its 30-day free challenge isn't exactly innovative, but it is consistent and reliable, which builds brand equity. Her team depends on word-of-mouth marketing, and works to nurture a relationship of engagement and connection with their audience. After they build that connection, users are invited to take the next step, and that's where products are for sale.
In addition to this community vibe, Sellner said that she follows a philosophy of love over metrics. They don't stress about stats -- instead, they reply to all user comments, and focus on building their presence on Instagram, a platform where they shine. This attitude is also reflected behind-the-scenes, through a practice of sharing Friday love notes in order to end the week on a happy note and remind themselves why they do what they do.
Keeping it real is a part of Rachel Hollis' endeavors as well. As founder of Chic Events and The Chic Site, a food and lifestyle brand that helps to create content for other brands, Rachel has recently taken on the biggest project of her life: She and her husband have adopted twins. While many might separate this from their business, Hollis said that she built her platform on transparency, and she intends to keep it that way. Her brand embraces the idea that no one is perfect, including moms. After all, she's most famous for publishing a photo of herself in a bikini, highlighting her stretch marks.
Because her brand is so personal, she insists on this honesty in all that she does. Even though she finds it awkward to build a brand around herself, it's a great tradeoff -- because she's doing what she loves, and what she's good at. After being asked to speak on the subjects of social media and personal branding, she turned those talks into short online courses. She's made a profit off them, and they didn't require much promotion at all.
All three women agree that creating content comes from building a brand that you care about, and turning that into something real. Sellner's product is profitable because it's simple and evergreen: They focus on one thing that you want to change, and they do this four times a year, reusing the same steps and content. Ehmann's business makes money because she works with people one-on-one in the way that they feel most comfortable, and because she has a clear vision. And Hollis is succeeding because she's fired up -- when the well runs dry, it's because she has been trying to do too much. By publishing small amounts of high-quality content on the platform it is best suited for, she reaches her audience.