This post is a prescription.
Rather than ramble about content, marketing, and social media philosophies, I’ll cut to the chase and give you a specific content strategy you can use to grow your audience.
It’s called The 100 in 100 Plan.
The name is a reference to what the plan will show you how to do: Publish 100 pieces of content that provide value to your target audience in 100 days.
But don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds.
A 10-Day Cycle You’re Going To Repeat 10 Times
I’ll break down exactly what types of content to create in a moment, but first I thought it would be helpful to share an overview of how and when you’re going to publish it.
I recommend using a 10-day content rollout cycle that you’ll repeat 10 times which will result in you publishing 100 pieces of content over the course of 100 days.
Each 10-day cycle will follow the same publishing schedule, but feature whatever new content you’ve created for that cycle.
Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of exactly what to post in a typical 10-day cycle (I’ll elaborate on each type of content after you see the overview):
Publish a piece of Signature Content and share on social media with a link to it.
Publish Test Idea #1 on social media.
Publish Signature Content Excerpt #1 on social media.
Publish Curated Content Idea #1 on social media.
Publish Test Idea #2 on social media.
Publish Signature Content Excerpt #2 on social media.
Publish Curated Content Idea #2 on social media.
Publish Test Idea #3 on social media.
Publish Curated Content Idea #3 on social media.
Send Weekly Newsletter to subscribers and share on social media with a link to it.
On Day 11, start the process over again with new content and repeat 10 times in a row until you hit the 100 day mark.
The Building Blocks of The 100 in 100 Plan
The 100 pieces of content you’ll create will fall into three categories:
1. Signature Content (10 blog posts, videos, or podcast episodes)
This is long-form content.
Long-form is a relative term — it doesn’t matter whether it takes people five or 50 minutes to consume — but it should be content that delivers depth and value to an audience.
You can mix and match formats, but it’s best to focus on one main Signature Content format (written, video, audio, etc.) and stick with it for the entirety of this 100 day plan.
You can always expand into other formats later.
Your Signature Content should be unique, representative of your expertise, and address the interests or problems of your target audience.
If you had one chance to convert someone who’s never heard of you into a fan, this is the content you’d show them to do so.
PRO TIP: Design EVERY piece of content to provide clear value to a specific audience.
The more focused you are with your content, who it’s intended to serve, and the value it’s designed to provide to them, the more successful you’ll be.
If your goal is to teach entrepreneurs how to become better at selling, then sharing photos of what you had for lunch or talking about your favorite new song doesn’t count as content.
At least it doesn’t count as valuable content.
This key to this strategy isn’t publishing 100 posts— it’s sharing 100 pieces of VALUE.
It will only work if what you create aligns with your intended audience and what they care about.
PRO TIP: Always promote your newsletter within your Signature Content.
An audience isn’t the number of people who consume your creations — it’s the number of people you can reach with your NEXT creation.
The best way to reach people is through email, which is why I incorporate a weekly newsletter into this plan.
But in order to have an effective newsletter, you need people to subscribe to it. Here’s how to get newsletter subscribers.
(Side Note: Never send people a newsletter who didn’t specifically sign up to get it.)
One of the best ways to promote your newsletter is to include references to it and a call to action inviting people to subscribe to it within each piece of your Signature Content.
If someone enjoys your creation, make sure they know how to connect to you in order to see your next one.
2. Short-Form Content (80 social media posts)
These are individual social media posts.
They may be text, video, audio, images, links or some combination of those formats, but they’ll all fall into two categories:
- Test Ideas: These are small bits of value you share with your audience that are also designed to be a bit experimental and test how people respond to them. When a Test Idea resonates, you can later expand it into a bigger piece of Signature Content and it’s likely to perform well.
- Signature Content Excerpts: These are excerpts from your larger Signature Content pieces you can repurpose as standalone social posts. For example, it might be a couple sentences from a blog post or 30 seconds from a larger video. When possible, choose excerpts that resonated most with people who consumed the original bigger piece of content — for example, a line that readers quoted or shared on social media or a snippet of video that viewers referenced in the comments on the original video.
- Curated Content:These are links or excerpts from great content created by other people that you share on social media to provide value to your audience. Always credit the person who created the content when you share it.
PRO TIP: You don’t need to use multiple social media platforms.
Don’t spread yourself too thin.
You’re more likely to experience greater audience growth if you focus on one or two platforms than if you try to be everywhere.
Pick the platforms you like to use and where your target audience is most likely to be found.
Audiences are built one relationship at a time, so use the platforms to connect with people — not just to broadcast at them.
PRO TIP: You can bank content in advance (or not).
The 100 in 100 Plan requires you to create a lot of content and that can seem a bit overwhelming.
But there are ways to make it more manageable.
You don’t have to create content on a daily basis — you just have to publish content on a daily basis.
You can create all (or some) of your content in advance and get most of it done before you even start to roll it out.
If you take this approach, you can spend as much time as you want creating the content in advance so that you don’t have to feel any pressure when it comes time to share.
That said, there is an advantage to creating some content during the 100 days because you will learn a lot that can inform the creation of your content as you go.
3. Email Newsletter (10 weekly newsletters featuring links to Signature and Curated Content)
This will be a simple email newsletter.
You can structure it however you want, but my recommended approach is to include a few quick summaries and links to content that’s relevant to your audience.
For example, each edition of your newsletter can include headlines and one-sentence summaries of four items: Your new piece of Signature Content for the week followed by three pieces of Curated Content you’ve previously shared on social media that week.
If you’re not familiar with the term, Curated Content refers to sharing links to content other people have created.
If you follow the daily format laid out in the 100 in 100 Plan overview above, you’ll already have created/shared all of the content you need for the newsletter so you’ll only need to compile it and hit send each week.
PRO TIP: How to find other people’s content to curate.
To execute this plan, you’re going to need to figure out how to find content other people created that’s worth sharing in both your social posts and newsletter.
Here are a few easy ways to do so:
- Subscribe to newsletters related to your niche.
- Follow influencers or media publications related to your niche on social media.
- Read my post on how to find the best information on any topic that interests you.
What To Do Once You Start Publishing Your 100 Posts
Pay attention to the reactions your content gets as you roll it out — even if those reactions are small.
You don’t need a post to get shared 1,000 times to realize it resonates with your audience.
If your typical posts get no comments, but then you publish one that gets two comments, that’s a sign there’s something there worth exploring further.
Lean into the concepts that resonate in your future content.
If you follow this plan, create content that aligns with your desired audience, and publish the 100 posts outlined above in 100 days, your audience will grow.
I guarantee it.
But I also guarantee it’s not going to happen overnight.
A 100-day time frame is a lot and it’s a true commitment, but that’s the point: Meaningful audience growth is hard work and not the result of some get-big-quick scheme.
You may want to give up when it feels like a lot of work or if you don’t get the initial response you had hoped.
But remember this:
The content you create in Week 10 will be infinitely better than the content you created in Week 1…and so will the results you get from it.
Don’t give up too soon. Finish what you start. See what happens.
I bet you’ll be pleased with the results.