Knowing what and how to post to social media or blog about can be really hard! Over the years, I’ve learned some useful things to help me have a steady stream of ideas. Maybe some of them will help you!
Take in a lot of information – Follow other people on social media. Read articles, books and information from a variety of sources. Listen to podcasts. Watch documentaries. Talk to a variety of people. Don’t limit yourself to the birth world, either! Look for connections. If you read an article on replacing your refrigerator filter and it reminds you of something that has to do with birth…there’s an idea there! I’ve gotten inspiration for articles and social media posts from a post in a photography business forum, from sitting on the beach watching surfers, and from shopping for Halloween decorations! Sometimes you get inspiration from your own life, like the day I was talking my teenage daughter through a difficult social situation and I realized I was using a lot of my doula skills to do it! That realization sat and marinated on my ideas list for a long time, and eventually became an article on 5 Ways Parenting Teens is Like Doula Work
Save the ideas that come when you’re NOT writing – I have two main ways I do this. I have a secret Pinterest board where I pin articles that inspire me to write. They may be articles I want to adapt to make relevant to the birth realm, like this one on relationships that I turned into a two part series on confirmation bias in research, or they might be articles that I wanted to counter with a different angle. I’ve been inspired by viral events, by things in the local news, and by people sharing stuff that’s just plain wrong. I also have a running list on my phone for ideas that come to me on the fly. I will often save ideas from past years. I am *really* good at thinking of holiday content ideas the day AFTER a holiday.
Set aside time to create – I do most of my social media a month at a time. As I write this, it’s mid-November and the article will be scheduled for late December. The hours for writing and creating have been on my calendar since the first week of November, and the idea for the article was probably recorded on my phone sometime in September. Ideally when I sit down to write and create visual content, I have a bunch of ideas to choose from. Sometimes that’s plenty to inspire me. Sometimes I still feel blocked. If I feel blocked, I don’t’ give up! I will instead browse online for visual ideas, or start draft blog posts to convert ideas into outlines, etc. One time just looking at stock photos got me all riled up and I ended up writing this. There may be a part two someday. Sometimes I just start playing in Photoshop and end up with things like this. Do something small. Then something else small. After 15 minutes or so of small things, I usually get going enough to finish something.
Use scheduling tools – A scheduling tool can be a great way to keep a bare minimum of posting going so you don’t have those moments of “oh crap I haven’t posted in weeks, what am I going to post?” I use Later.com to schedule my Instagram and Facebook posts, aiming for 3 posts/week. One of those I like to be a longer post from my blog promoted to my social media. I can (and often do!) post more in between, on the fly, but I know I have a baseline minimum even if I don’t get around to spontaneous posting. I think consistency is easier to maintain when I use a scheduling tool, and that consistency is better than feast or famine with content.
It’s okay to reuse your own content! – I don’t do it often, but there are some things I update and reuse every year. One is my article on holiday inductions. It’s newly relevant every year and there’s no sense recreating the wheel when I’ve already written about it. I have some holiday images my daughter created for me that incorporate my logo, and I post those most years on the holiday.
Share other people’s content – With credit and with permission! Be especially careful about the work of birth photographers and respect that the families who allow birth photographers to share on their own page may not be okay with wider sharing. It doesn’t hurt to ask for permission, and it can lay the groundwork for some excellent networking with other local professionals. It’s always best to use the sharing tools on social media rather than downloading and posting as if it were your own. Another way to do this on your web site is curating content. You could do something like 5 articles to read if you’re past your due date or just a generic roundup of interesting links.
Spotlight other birth professionals – Speaking of networking, if you have a midwife, massage therapist, birth photographer or other related professional you have worked with multiple times and think is great, ask if you can spotlight them on social media!
Create a series – If you have 5 things you recommend everyone do to prepare for birth, make that 5 social media posts. Post them one a day! This can encourage people to follow you to see the whole series. I once did an alphabet series, and posted twice a week in the series, and it lasted 13 weeks.
Share YOU – this is one area where I really need to do better! I’m trying – I have shared all my embarrassing doula moments. I have shared my messy desk. But I still feel like I need to be better about sharing myself personally through my social media and through blogging.
Keep your ideal client in mind – Remember who you are writing for. Think about the problems they have, and write helpful things for them. Think about the kinds of questions you are asked most often by prospective clients, and answer them on social media. On my site dedicated to parents, I write articles of interest to parents. On this site, for doulas, I write articles of use to doulas. On rare occasions, I’ll write things on the same topic but with different audiences in mind. For example, I’ve written about the decline of placental function in an article for doulas, and also in an article for parents. You don’t want to give away all your knowledge for free, but you DO want to be helpful. People who view you as helpful are more likely to hire you!