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Treat Your Social Media Like A Magazine: Mastering Content Creation

Writing for magazines and creating content for social media may seem like different beasts, but they share a ton of things in common. Both require a keen understanding of your audience, a knack for storytelling, and the ability to convey information in a compelling way. So, let’s break down the different types of magazine articles and see how you can apply these principles to your social media content.


FIRST-PERSON ARTICLE

Magazines: First-person articles are about personal experience and are traditionally written from the "I" perspective. Depending on their length and newsworthiness, they're sold as feature articles or essays. They're rich in sensory details and focus on a realization or change undergone by the author.


Social Media: Personal stories thrive on social media. Storytelling is the heart of human connection, and relating lived experiences back to your business is a great way to forge a connection between your business and your audience.


Examples:

  • A ton of influencers use this tactic in brand posts. They'll do their makeup while telling a personal story, and the comments are full of people asking what products they're using.

  • @badkittyphotography uses skits to tell stories that paint a picture of what it's like to work with her. As a boudoir photographer, her content could easily get too racy for the community guidelines, but she keeps the focus on customer service and empowerment.

  • @thekoreanvegan creates beautiful cooking videos while telling emotionally impactful, introspective stories about her life that have built her a platform of 3 Million followers.



OPINION PIECE

Magazines: Opinion pieces are less personal but require a tight focus. They narrow down to a specific subcategory, state their qualifications to establish credibility and address why their opinion should matter to the reader.


Social Media: Opinion pieces THRIVE on social media. Any polarizing content will have people flooding the comments with their opinions - which makes your engagement rates skyrocket.


The rules behind them are more flexible on socials, too. If you're making a scientific argument, make sure to back up your arguments with solid reasoning and establish your authority on the subject. If you're stating a personal opinion, yes, backing your argument up with reasoning is awesome, but if the goal is engagement and relatability, a commentary on vibes and nothing else also works.


Examples:

  • Nutritionists talking about the negative impact of diet culture.

  • Clothing brands talking about the trend cycle.

  • "I think (opinion about topic), and my qualifications are ___" (This could simply be, "I think the lack of third spaces is why kids don't play outside anymore and my qualifications are that I am a former child who used to play outside."

  • The Kendrick Lamar diss track trend where people share their dislikes while lip synching to "I hate the way that you walk, I hate the way that you talk, I hate the way that you dress..."

  • "What your (sock choice, zodiac sign, favourite element - whatever it may be) says about you."

  • "Is it just me or does ____ have ____ vibes?"



INFORMATION OR SERVICE PIECE

Magazines: These articles build the reader’s knowledge on a specific subject. They’re fact-driven and educational, often featuring expert quotes and comparisons.


Social Media: Create informative posts, carousels or videos that educate your audience. Infographics, step-by-step guides, and how-to videos. The tone you use is what will set your content apart. Some of your education content can be truly educational - and some of it can be edutainment.


Examples: 

  • Cooking videos that show a step-by-step of how a dish is made.

  • Hank Green's TikTok is another great example. He provides expert information in an informal, accessible way.

  • Show some humour. If you're a furniture brand, do "How to Sit Down." The video should have the title as a caption. You walk into the frame, sit on an aesthetic chair you'd like to sell, and say, "I hope that helps." Make it into a series where you sit on increasingly unlikely furniture. This taps into the deadpan, absurdist humour favoured by Millenials and Gen Z.

  • @nikitadumptruck on Tiktok is a FANTASTIC example of doing this well. She posts content about heavier topics such as news, history, economics, and culture and presents the information in an accessible, upbeat way that is rife with slang and pop culture references. It's current events ✨for the girls✨



PERSONALITY PROFILE

Magazines: These profiles balance facts with personal interviews to explore the subject’s character and achievements and focus on what makes the person interesting or notable.


Social Media: Street interviews, staff interviews, the "I'm passing the phone to" trend - all of these could be considered personality profiles. 72 Questions with Vogue certainly could. Whether it's a personality snapshot like the "This is who they think they're emailing vs. Who they're actually emailing" trend, or an in-depth analysis, people are fascinated by other people, making this content perfect for socials.


Example: 

  • Interview a local business owner on Instagram Live, focusing on their journey and what drives their passion for their business.

  • Check out @ramenonthestreet on TikTok. Their tagline is "ramen that makes you feel good," and their social content is raw, candid street interviews with uplifting messages (and a cup of ramen)

  • Street interviews about style, hot takes, the state of the world, etc.

  • @hunterprosper is great example. With 6.4 million followers, he conducts street interviews asking questions like "Who was your first love," and "What's the most painful thing you've ever been told?" His content is raw, and resonates on a deep emotional level.



THINK PIECE

Magazines: Think pieces dig deeper into the why behind a topic, offering investigative and analytical perspectives.


Social Media: The goal here is to make people think and to spark conversation. Write in-depth carousels or create longer-form videos backed up by blog posts that explore complex topics.


Example: 

  • Talk about the long-term ramifications of something going on in your industry or niche. Talk about how it's impacted people, you, or your children. Talk about how it'll impact society as a whole. What about on a global scale?


Go Create Some Content

By understanding the types of articles and how they translate to social media content, you can create engaging, informative, and compelling posts that resonate with your audience. Whether you’re sharing a personal story on Instagram or writing an opinion piece on LinkedIn, the principles of good storytelling and clear communication remain the same.


When you're planning your content, use a mix of these different content types and adapt them to different formats. Start with an in-depth carousel, then make a talking video about the same topic, then pare it down to bare bones and adapt it to a trend. Lastly, talk about it in your stories and link it to your offer. By using different formats, you can create content on the same topic that works for each step of your social media sales funnel. The trend is your top-of-funnel attraction content, the talking video and carousel are mid-funnel nurturing content, and linking the topic to your offer in your stories is your bottom-of-funnel converting content.


So go ahead, channel your inner magazine writer, and create content that stands out in the digital world.


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