The book is now 50% written. Hoorah!
This is chapter four, where we dig into the serious guts of Steemit - how to build a steady content schedule that will earn you increasing followers and rewards over time.
For more info on this project, see the original post here.
By the way, I am really really close to securing the funding for this project. I’m hoping that within the week, I will be posting a LOT of Steem Gigs for a variety of jobs on this book: Artwork (cover art and within the chapters), Book Design, an Editor, some help with the Logistics, and other stuff.
If you want to participate, and to earn a pretty good wage in the process - stay tuned in to my Steem blog. This has been a journey for me to organize the project lol, and it’s so exciting that we really might have a few thousand dollars at our disposal for this thing.
Here’s chapter four. It’s the first draft - feedback is welcomed, but be warned that this is a 2.7k word behemoth.
Chapter Four: Creating Content & How to Build a Steem Posting Schedule
If you have followed this guide so far, you are now prepared to start posting original content on Steemit and earning bigger rewards.
Most users start by doing this. They join the site and the first thing they do is make a post. We’ve learned that it makes a lot more sense to slow down and start by reading other users’ content and meeting people.
The plan from Chapter 3 was simple: To leave between 10 and 25 comments per day on other content, always reading the posts first and writing relevant responses.
If you did both of those things, you now have a foundation of support on Steemit. This is really really important. Before discussing how to make content for Steemit, let’s take a look at how this support will manifest as rewards and attention.
Misconceptions About Post Popularity
Many new users have a misconception about what makes a post popular.
They hear that Steemit is a fairer way to earn money - which it is - and wrongly assume that this means that it will be easy. They think that if they make a few posts, their effort automatically will translate into rewards.
The unfortunate truth is that effort by itself does not guarantee you anything on Steemit. Users have to build up a foundation of support from other users first.
When a post goes up from an unknown user, it never gains any traction. Without any initial followers to upvote the content, it doesn’t go onto the “hot” tab for its category and fails to draw any attention.
If the post has less than $1 after its first 6 hours, it’s hard to recover from that. Many people will overlook the post now, figuring that it did not earn enough and must not be good. This is a catch-22 - you need the votes to get the attention to get the votes!
By commenting on other users’ content and participating in a Steem community, you’ve created an engine of vote support for your own content. The followers you have accrued through your community outreach will see all your posts in their feed. Because they know and hopefully like you, they’ll be inclined to give you some votes.
Even if you only earn $1 in votes from your early friends, that little boost is everything. It’ll make your posts look more legitimate and help them trend at the low levels of the hot tab every now and then.
Your effort will lead to rewards when you have a good plan. But if it’s not working out yet, that doesn’t mean that “steemit is unfair” - it means that you need to adjust your plan and keep trying.
I know it’s never fun to hear one of these “only you can help yourself” kinda talks, but this is a pretty mild one. Steemit is full of ways to earn rewards and a lot of them are accessible to new people. It’s just, you might need to experiment to find the right ones for you.
The only reason I’m telling you this is that it’s tragic when a user gets mad at the system and leaves. I’ve been on the fringes of the music industry for close to a decade now and let me tell you - Steemit is a much better opportunity than the average thing that comes along. Trust me on that and avoid the temptation to rage-quit if your first few weeks are slow.
Hopefully, thanks to our community engagement strategy, even your first few weeks will be exciting. Regardless, now is the time to think about the different kinds of content that can succeed on Steemit.
The Four Different Kinds of Steemit Content
There is no one way to succeed with creating great content on Steemit. Your content will reflect your personality and skills. Here are some examples of posts that Power Users on steem make:
(1) Written Essays / Blog Posts
The simplest form of blogging is to stick to text. Most of the early blogs were like this back in the early days, since those internet connections couldn’t keep up with photos.
Others stick to longform posts once every day or even less frequently, and these posts can be 1,000 words or even multiple thousands of words in the biggest cases. The craziest amongst these users, like the ultra-popular @papa-pepper, do many megaposts per day.
These posts can be about anything - from record reviews, to philosophy of music, to songs, to life blogging about your music career, to even non-music related life blogging which can add a personal side to your digital presence.
(2) Video Blogs
Vlogs are one of the most common forms of video content on Steemit, probably because they’re so easy to do and many Steemians are new to content creation. There are some highly successful vloggers on Steemit - both “home grown” vloggers and popular users from elsewhere in the world.
Notably for musicians, music reviewer Anthony Fantano recently joined Steemit @theneedledrop.
In some cases (such as @exyle) the vlogger will also include some text below the video talking about the topic of the vlog. This is a nice bonus for users who may not be able to watch a video right at that moment.
(3) Music Posts
Of course this is the main form of content for musicians! Some users exclusively post music content - in fact, that’s what I did early on before I branched out - and this is a great way to use Steemit.
You can do a lot with music content. The simplest option is to post new content as audio to the “DSound” steem service, or as video to “DTube”. This is a lot like using Soundcloud or YouTube, but it earns rewards on the Steem blockchain like your other Steemit posts.
Alternately you can link YouTube videos and include text with them - or even craft entire posts that blend your musical content with text content. That’s a great format for music tutorials, as just one example.
A few examples of prominent musicians on steem: @jaybird is a long-standing Steem musician and a member of the popular Steem-themed novelty band “The Steembirds”, and @isaria is a member of the Minnow Support Project’s 24/7 radio station as well as posting original music on the regular.
(4) Collaborative Content
The most ambitious posts are collaborative. These are hard to pull off and you may want to wait a few months before diving into this side of Steemit… but it’s worth mentioning because collaboration is one of the coolest parts of Steem.
Being a part of a community will give you easy access to collaborative opportunities. Minnow Support Project is particularly excellent for this.
(5 - bonus) Live Streaming
This is a new area of Steemit and I don’t know of any success stories yet, but DLive recently launched and we may soon see more live streamers on Steemit. Worth keeping an eye on.
General Content Guidelines
Your exact content style will come down to your own personality and creative methods. What matters is that you start on the right foot with high quality content.
Aim for all of your content to meet the following criteria:
Not too short. For written words, aim for 300+ words with one or two images. For quick videos (cell phone quality, etc), include extra text to pad it out. High quality videos can stand alone with a few sentences of text.
Good formatting. Look at lots of other posts and think about what separates the “pro” looking ones from the amateurs. Break up your posts into small paragraphs, use header tags, and include some photos. Also pay attention to grammar and spelling, or for videos use good lighting and clear audio. Basically ask yourself: If you saw your own content for the first time, would you take it seriously?
Honest: Be yourself. If you are an up-and-coming musician, perhaps even a struggling one, that’s OK. Don’t pretend to be a big shot. Its much more interesting and relatable for people to read about your journey from the bottom to the top, than to watch you try and flex about how awesome you are.
Seriously - be honest and talk about what you really care about.
Building a Content Schedule
When I first joined Steemit, I would write one new post every day.
This was not too hard because I was poor, unemployed, and living in my dad’s basement. At age 25, with no car and hidden away in the suburbs of Connecticut, I was more than happy to push aside my life and spend each morning writing for Steemit.
But then life moved on, my Steem blog took off, and I found myself moving to Raleigh, North Carolina. In the heart of one of America’s fastest growing cities, the day-to-day Steem grind got more frustrating.
If I forgot to have material ready ahead of time, it was easy to find myself grinding out a post at 8pm on Friday when I meant to go out with my friends. Not fun - but the blog needs to be fed.
It turns out that there’s a much better way than this frantic day-to-day approach. Using an organized content schedule, and writing posts well ahead of time, is the key to posting fresh Steemit content on a regular basis.
For the sake of this chapter, we’re going to assume that you want to make at least three high quality posts per week. This is a lowball - we’ll increase the frequency later on if need be - but it’s a good start and will give you a feeling for how much work it takes to do Steemit at a semi-professional level.
We’ll walk through this process as a simple series of steps. Here we go:
Step 1: Decide Your Content Type
Refer back to the “Four Different Kinds of Content” section and think about what you want to make. You can write, VLOG, focus on audio, or whatever.
If your main vocation is to perform on an instrument (or voice) - as a guitarist or rapper or anything else - a common method is to post progress videos as you work on new ideas. You can share riffs you are developing, do a weekly freestyle, share beats-in-progress, jams with your band, pretty much anything.
Focus less on what the perfect content would be - and more on what seems doable. What can you post about 3 times per week?
For a band that loves to jam, high quality jam videos would be easy. A singer-songwriter might know hundreds of covers, lending to some VLOGs with performances in them. Producers will share beats, educators will share lessons (perhaps a blend of written and VLOG style).. see what I mean? Find the thing that will work for you.
Step 2: Create One Piece of Content
After you decide on your content style, try to write a post (don’t post it yet). If you can’t do it once, you won’t be able to do it three times a week, so it’s common sense to test yourself and see how it feels to actually do this thing.
If you are feeling uncertain, list 3-5 different content ideas and try all of them. Then you’ll know what is best - or even could pick 2-3 of those ideas and rotate between them.
If you get stuck, you can do a few things:
(2a) Seek help from your Steem friends. This is best if you can share something, even a terrible alpha verison of your post, just so they can offer more specific feedback.
(2b) Look at content on Steemit similar to what you want to make to find inspiration.
(2c) Make something bad. Go for it, lol. Then trash it and try again. Sometimes you gotta finish a bad one before you can find the good stuff.
Once you have one piece of content you are reasonably happy with, it’s time to set up your schedule.
Step 3: Set Up Your Schedule
Use a simple word document - whether in your computer app or Google Drive or whatever - and make it look like this (but with the right dates for whatever time it currently is):
MONDAY JAN 8: [POST NAME]
WEDNESDAY JAN 10:
FRIDAY JAN 12:
MONDAY JAN 15:
WEDNESDAY JAN 17:
FRIDAY JAN 19:
Then add the title of your finished post to the first slot - in this case, “MONDAY JAN 8.”
IMPORTANT: Don’t set your schedule to start today. Set it up for 2-3 weeks from now. You want to get two weeks ahead of your schedule and stay there. That’s why we list two weeks’ worth of dates.
(4) Fill Up The Schedule
Create enough content so that you can put six posts into your future schedule. Now you have a two week buffer of content and are already one of the most organized/prepared creators on Steemit… congratulations!
From now on, whenever you make a post, you can erase it from the schedule and add a new empty slot to the end. Your goal is to always have at least six pieces of finished content in the queue. Doing this avoids short-term emergencies, and makes it way easier if you get busy and can’t make content for a few days.
You’ll be more consistent and have an easier time by using a schedule. I use this system and I couldn’t do what I do without it.
Congratulations - Now You Are a Content Creator
If you have ever wondered what it meant to have a “social media strategy” as a musician - congratulations! Now you have one.
You can use this technique on any site. For example, if you wanted to build a badass Facebook page for some reason, you could similarly look for content there, then schedule and create your own posts to stand out from the crowd.
But for now I recommend focusing on Steem. It has the biggest rewards for new users and it will probably be a large effort to excel here even without other social media to worry about.
You can always add other platforms later. For now, your goal should be to use this “two weeks ahead of schedule” system and run it smoothly for two months.
As you do, you will earn more followers. In fact, you should be able to get above 100 followers within the first two months just by following this method - and you’ll never have to beg for a vote or a follow. Just create great content and continue to comment on other users’ posts like you did in Chapter 3.
In the next chapter, we will explore advanced strategies that you can use to build upon the lessons from this chapter. It’ll teach you how to go from 100 to 1,000 followers on Steem and develop a real part-time income from your blog here.
I’d recommend holding off on the next chapter until you reach 100 followers. Get used to these strategies first. Master them. Then, turn the page and head to Chapter 5 - I will see you there.
END OF CHAPTER 4 // Final Notes
This one was a doozy. I think this is my longest Steemit post ever - nearly 3,000 words, just craziness.
Like I said before, I am startlingly close to securing funding for this project - thousands of dollars to use to recruit and pay Steemians to help with all kinds of work, from images to book design to editing and more. STAY TUNED!!
Until then, this is a first draft, but anybody who reads it will probably learn some new stuff. The info is good, it’ll just get cleaned up from here.
Thanks for reading and any feedback is welcome in the comments.