“Musician’s Guide to Steemit” Chapter FOUR: Creating Content - How to Build a Steem Post Schedule

in steemit •  2 years ago 

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.

On top of that, by now you should have spent at least a week in one of Steemit’s communities - whether it’s MSP, Open Mic, Steem Chat, or anything else.

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.

Some people do frequent short form posts, usually 300-400 words with a few images for flavor. A few examples of this are @dragosroua and @whatsup.

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.

Other examples of longform writers on Steemit include @kevinwong and @acidyo.

(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.

Two of the other most popular vloggers on Steemit, both home grown as far as I know, are @exyle and @nanzo-scoop.

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.

For example, the Steem musician @buckydurddle has been known to re-interpret other Steemians’ works. Here’s an example of him and burgeoning Steem math drummer @dimitrij collaborating via 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):

WEEK ONE

MONDAY JAN 8: [POST NAME]

WEDNESDAY JAN 10:

FRIDAY JAN 12:

WEEK TWO

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.

(- - this is a sndbox project - -)

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Happy to help out with any forking that happens. Got a few things that have been helpful in my short time here that might be useful.

One thing on this is possibly mentioning appropriate tagging. One thing that has really helped me is finding an appropriate niche. The big tags get so much spam that you can be invisible, however slightly more specialist ones help with discovery.

Yeah, it's nice to have dreams to sit at the top of Music Trending, but it might be better for networking that you're mixing it up in MathRock, visible for days, weeks. Because I've been carving out ElectronicMusic, it has started to attract like minded people and a little web has been developing.

Awesome idea. I'll make a note to add a section that includes that information. The public repo for this project is TBH two chapters behind my Steemit blog right now, I'll get the whole thing updated by the time I do my next project post.

Ha! I always wanted to be a burgeoning Steem math drummer :D. lol
thanks man for the mention ;)

I'm an all-around renaissance sort of guy. I always do a bunch of different stuff, so I'm always struggling to find and master just one topic or find my own niche. BUT, after years of functioning like that, I realized that there are lots of advantages in doing multiple projects, as long as you're keeping track and organizing yourself so they don't turn into a mess.
It's a trial and error sort of thing, but after some time I noticed a pattern in my content creation.
I can post a jam everyday, since I play and jam and record everyday. That sort of music would be classified in "improvisation" niche. The thing I would like to do is to post additional content after editing and mixing those jams into original songs. And that way I'm sketching down the whole process. (Which is a thing I really love) -- currently we're in a process of recording and collecting audio.

But since joining Sndbox I decided to try and focus on making at least 2 great project posts per week. And that actually makes me work more for it. Yes, the formatting and everything takes time, but it pays off in the end - since you can use it as a form of documentation afterwards.

I really believe that people should post a lot of content and make their sketches and project fragments public, because you never know who can be of help.

Anyways, awesome advice my friend, it's really motivating.
And thank you for helping everybody like you helped me a bunch here.

Yeah man you are not the only one who has struggled to find the right niche. That is a really hard thing to do, some people make it look easy with super defined aesthetics and stuff but that is one of the more challenging aspects of a music career.

I like one thing I heard about personal brands which is - "The people with the best personal brand usually just do cool stuff as opposed to worrying about marketing themselves all the time" - and that's true I think. If the music is great and falls within one or two main genre umbrellas, I think the rest can work out with time.

Yeah man :).

Hi Matt will you need a proof reader when you secure your funding? I am an excellent proof reader!

Initially I'll be looking for an editor which is a bit more intense - I need somebody with professional experience editing, or at the very least writing.

Maybe towards the end though we could use a few proofreaders to find any lingering typos... I'll put you on my list @doggo for if that happens.

Excellent thank you. I actually really enjoy it!

Glad you managed to get ahead of schedule with a few posts in the queue, man. I remember we were both struggling with that last Fall and it's nice to know one of us took care of it!

LOL well the holidays knocked my queue all the way down to one post. But thankfully now I'm getting back to my usual 1+ week buffer again :-D

@heymattsokol I’m glad you found me because this is the post I’ve been searching for all day! I’ve been trying to grow in this area! Also I am a graphic designer so I would love to help you get this book looking good!

Great! Keep an eye out for some STEEM GIG posts coming in a week or two about the graphic design jobs.

@heymattsokol, damn man, I can't keep up haha, this series of posts is really helpful! bookmarked this and can't wait to read over my evening tea haha

Thanks for your post Matt, the four different kinds of content section gave me some ideas. Looking forward to the upcoming chapters!

Great advise and points! I usually stick to around four types of things, but never thought of the schedule system! That's genius! ;)

I'm a singer songwriter and new to the Steemit community. I just want to thank you for this stunning informative article. Great stuff!

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Great guide. As musician, I found this very helpful :) God bless

very cool

Wahh ......
Sangat membantu terimakasih atas infonya, jujur saya pengikut setia anda

Cool! Do you or others use any automated scheduling service? I'm not always at my computer so would be great to have that option...

Yeah there are some automated services out there such as steemauto.com