Minimalist Content Strategy
In today’s fast-paced digital world, it can be challenging to stay on top of content creation and management. The sheer volume of content being produced and published every day is enough to make your head spin and the standard advice from marketing experts is to churn out content day after day, week after week, forever and ever amen. Most of our clients come to us overwhelmed, confused and feeling like they can’t possibly keep up with the demands of content creation. However, I’ve got your ticket to maximize the impact of your content and get off the content hampster wheel with a simple, strategic, minimalist content strategy.
What is a minimalist content strategy?
Building a minimalist content strategy works just like building a capsule wardrobe and starts with a capsule content collection. It’s a collection of 12 carefully curated pieces of content that work together to move your prospects through your marketing experience. When set up correctly, your capsule content collection creates a seamless customer journey that ends with your product or service being the only and best choice for your ideal customer.
As a minimalist, I transitioned to a capsule wardrobe over 6 years ago and never looked back. Once I realized how much more enjoyable and less overwhelming and frustrating my new capsule wardrobe was, I was all in. I started looking at other areas of my life and business and applying that same strategy. When something causes overwhelm, I ask – can I apply the capsule collection framework to this? And the answer is usually, yes.
How the capsule collection works:
You’ll produce (or revive) 12 core pieces of capsule content based on specific phases of the marketing experience and customer awareness journey. Your 12-post capsule collection will include:
- Common challenges or problems your ideal customer has
- Shared goals or aspirations of your target audience
- Your unique approach or methodology for delivering results or an experience
- Offer features and benefits
- Common questions of your ideal customers
- A context post that illustrates how your product or service fits into your ideal customers’ lifestyle
It’s important to remember, your capsule content collection is based on a single offer type. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner but you also offer the space as a wedding venue, you’d create two capsule collections:
- One collection for restaurant guests, based on the food, atmosphere, experience & service
- One collection around the space as a wedding venue that’s specific to engaged couples and wedding planners.
If you own a product-based business but also have a wholesale branch of your business. You would create two collections. One for B2B and another for B2C.
If you’re a retailer with an outdoor store, you could create a single capsule collection for the store or you could choose to create a capsule collection for outdoor apparel and another for gear. Another option would be to create capsule collections around the types of customers you service. For example:
- One collection for day hikers
- One collection for campers and backpackers
- One collection for paddlers and watersports
It’s also important to note that this process isn’t limited to written blog posts. You could choose another style of long-form content like YouTube videos or Podcasting. In some cases, email newsletters could also be considered long-form content. Regardless of what you choose, there are only two rules for your capsule content:
- There must be a written component that lives on your website. If you’re a podcaster or video creator, you should embed the video or podcasts on the blog section of your website and include show notes, transcript or accompanying blog post.
- They must be long from. These 12 core posts should be at least 2000 words and provide incredible value to your ideal customer. As you’re creating your capsule content, ask yourself these questions:
Creating customer-first content?
Before you start creating content, make sure you have a clear understanding of why this topic is relevant to your audience. What problem are you solving? What information are you going to provide? Knowing the outcome will help you stay focused and ensure your core content is valuable and informative. Researching your ideal customer and understanding what they struggling with will immediately position you as a valuable resource. Here are a few ways to gain a deeper understanding of your ICA (ideal customer avatar).
What are 3-5 questions my ideal customer has about this topic?
Understanding who you’re writing for is critical to your minimalist content strategy. What are their pain points, questions, and concerns relating to this topic? Answering the questions they’re already asking will quickly position your capsule content as an industry leader.
There are several places you can go to find out what people are asking about your industry or topic. Here are a few:
Google Autocomplete: When you type a search query into Google, a list of suggested searches will appear below the search bar. These are suggestions based on what other people have searched for.
Pinterest Autocomplete/Search: Similarly, when you type a query into Pinterest, you’ll see a list of suggested searches that are based on what other people have searched. Additionally, you can use the search bar to find keywords and see what types of pins and boards are being created around that topic.
Google Trends: Allows you to explore search terms based on popularity. You can see what topics are trending in real-time, as well as analyze historical data to identify long-term trends.
Social Media: Paying attention to what your existing customers and community members are talking about online is a valuable social listening tool. For example, if you’re active on Instagram stories, using the poll or question sticker is a great way to gather insights directly from your audience.
Quora: Quora is a question-and-answer platform where people can ask and answer questions on any topic. You can search Quora for questions related to your topic and see what people are talking about.
AnswerThePublic: This tool generates a list of questions being asked about a specific topic. You can enter your keywords and quickly find out what people are asking.
Reddit: Reddit is a community-driven forum where people discuss a wide range of topics. Again, you can search by topic, industry or keyword and find what people are saying and discussing about your topic.
By using these platforms, you can gain valuable insights into what your ideal customers are asking online and use that information to create content that meets their needs, answers their questions, and addresses their concerns.
What are the common problems, frustrations and pain points my ideal customer has?
If you take the time to gain a deep understanding of your ideal customer, creating valuable content becomes simple. Identifying and speaking to your ideal customer’s pain points and using the words that they are using to describe those pain points will give you an instant advantage.
Why the Minimalist Content Strategy Works
- Creating a capsule content collection streamlines, refines and focuses your content. Rather than creating random posts with no clear goal, AKA the “throw spaghetti at the wall approach”, your capsule content has a strategic purpose.
- It creates a more profitable marketing system for your business by following the customer awareness cycles. A capsule content collection creates a marketing experience that positions your offer as the best and only choice. Rather than icky, salesy, “Hey! Buy my thing!” marketing tactics (which is what too many are still using), this capsule content collection includes soft-touch points, addresses pain points, handles objections and inspires your ideal customer without you ever having to do a hard sell. I call this the “all roads lead to you as the best choice” strategy!
- It makes outsourcing, automation and repurposing possible. I’m a systems junkie, obsessed with helping you create a strategic, profitable marketing system so you can grow your business and still have a life. And SYTEMS are how we do that. By creating a capsule content collection of 12 amazing blog posts, and following a content creation system to do that, you’re giving yourself some serious advantages. You’ll be able to:
- Outsource and/or train someone to create content bundles based on the capsule content
- Repurpose & repackage content with a simple workflow
- Create a suite of profit-driven marketing materials that could include:
- Social media posts
- Guest posts/interviews
- Email list-building opt-ins
- Meta ads that are based on proven content that converts
- Sales funnels
How to Create Your Capsule Collection
The process of implementing the minimalist content strategy framework and creating a capsule content collection involves three main phases: planning, producing, and promoting.
Planning involves fleshing out a strategy for your new capsule content collection. This includes deciding on:
- The primary offer around which you’ll build your capsule collection
- The 12 topics that will be covered in your capsule content posts (or videos or podcasts)
- The content creation process you’ll use to tackle these posts and share them
Producing refers to the actual creation of the content. This includes:
- Writing, filming or recording your 12 capsule content posts
- Ensuring your content aligns with your planned strategy, offer and messaging
- Using the “all roads lead to _____” framework
Promoting involves publishing and sharing your content with your target audience. This phase will get the most attention and should include:
- Distributing your capsule content in its original form (blog post, video or podcast)
- Repurposing your content into other formats and types to reach a wider audience and reinforce your messaging.
- Using promotional strategies (like paid ads) to increase visibility, build and refine new audiences and drive engagement with your content.
By strategically planning, producing and promoting your capsule content collection, you can create a cohesive, profitable marketing system that resonates with your target audience and drives results.
Planning Your Capsule Content
Start with a high-level, 50,000-foot view of how your capsule content collection will integrate. The objective is to build and refine an audience of ideal customers for your business who are excited about what you offer and believe that your product or service is the best and only choice. That means, creating strategic content that integrates together and supports your business objectives.
STEP 1: Choose Your Offer
If you have multiple product suites or services or you service very different ideal customers you’ll want to build out capsule content collections for each.
For example, if you’re an outdoor retail shop owner you might decide to create a capsule collection for apparel (shoes, clothing & outerwear) and another for gear and accessories.
If you own a retreat, you might create one capsule for vacationing guests and another for your corporate retreat offer.
In our agency, we have 3 main offers:
- Agency services where we manage clients’ content marketing and ads
- The Marketing Minimalist Academy where we teach small business owners how to set up and run their own marketing machines
- Consulting, teaching & training where we offer workshops, keynotes, and consulting services
Yes, there is lots of overlap within those three offers but they each serve a very different client:
- Agency: clients with the revenue to afford full-service agency work and want to be completely hands-off
- Academy: small business owners who want or need to learn marketing themselves OR who need to train someone on their team to run a profitable marketing system
- Consulting: clients looking for one-off teaching, training or high-level consulting
So I would build 3 separate capsule content collections, over time. If you are in a similar situation and not sure which offer to choose first, my advice is to choose one of the following.
The Entry Point Offer
If there’s an important starting place that your ideal customers should take before moving on to your other products or services, this is a great place to start.
The Breadwinner Offer
The vast majority of people should start with the offer that currently produces the most revenue in their business. This can be counterintuitive but putting efforts behind something that is already selling well will create a positive return on investment more quickly and create great momentum in your marketing.
STEP 2: Map Your Capsule Content
Your capsule collection will consist of 12 posts that cover specific topics related to your business. Think of these posts as a customer journey roadmap. These 12 posts take your ideal customer through a marketing experience. The first nine posts are divided into three groups of three.
The first 3 posts should address a problem or frustration your ideal customer has related to your offer.
The second group should focus on the goals or aspirations of your ideal customer, again related to your offer.
The third group of posts should address objections or hesitations your ideal customer might have and aim to preemptively resolve them.
The next three posts are individual posts that cover different aspects of your business. While the first nine posts are what we call adjacent content, these next three are the direct promotion of your product or service. These are much more “on the nose” than your problem, goal and objection posts.
Adjacent content is related to or connected to your product or service, but it’s not the primary focus. Adjacent content provides additional context or information that is useful or interesting to the reader. For example, if the main topic is DSLR cameras, adjacent content might include photography tips, how to create a lightbox, landscape photography tutorials, or other related gear. The purpose of adjacent content is to keep your readers engaged and provide them with a more comprehensive understanding of the topic overall.
OK, back to your final three posts.
The first post will be an origin post that explores how your product or service works. This might include your origin story, how you got started and why.
The second post will be a feature post that demonstrates the benefits and features of your product or service. This post can also show how your product or service has produced a result for your ideal clients or customers.
The final post will be a lifestyle post that examines how your product or service fits into a bigger picture and what its role is in relation to the other parts of that system.
Let’s say you have a floral shop, your problem posts might be, how to keep flowers fresh for longer, how to choose the right type of flowers for a special occasion, or how to arrange flowers in a vase.
The goals posts could be, creating a beautiful centrepiece for a wedding, finding the perfect bouquet for Valentine’s day, or selecting the right plants to improve air quality.
For the objections posts, you could address common concerns, like the cost of flowers, allergies or concerns about the environmental impact of cut flowers.
The origin post could explain your process for creating a custom floral arrangement, highlighting the steps you take to select and arrange each element to create unique and beautiful results.
The feature post could be a look-book style post that shows the best examples of your work with a client testimonial about how you made their wedding day beautiful.
And finally, the lifestyle post could explore the role that flowers play in different cultures and celebrations or the ways cut flowers can be used to enhance home decor or boost mood and well-being.
If you’re a restaurant owner, the 12 posts could be broken down like this:
The first three posts (problem posts) could be things like, how to prepare a restaurant-quality meal at home, how to choose the right wine to complement their food, or how to accommodate dietary restrictions when dining out.
The goals posts could be, discovering new and unique flavours, enjoying a special night out with loved ones, or trying a new cuisine for the first time.
For the objections posts, you could address concerns about the cost of dining out, the environmental impact of certain ingredients, food waste, or hesitations around trying new foods.
When it comes to the final 3 posts, the origin post could showcase your restaurant’s signature dish or highlight the steps you take to create an exceptional dining experience.
The feature post could include a round-up of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, as well as testimonials from satisfied guests who rave about the quality of the food and service.
In the lifestyle post, you could explore the role that food plays in different cultures and celebrations, or the ways in which dining out can be a form of self-care or a way to connect with others.
Let’s say you own a boutique accommodation, here’s how the posts could take shape:
For the problem posts, you could address common issues like how to pack efficiently for a trip, how to avoid jet leg, or how to manage travelling with kids. You could also get more specific by offering packing guides based on your accommodation. For example, if you’re an off-grid island resort, everything you need to pack for a perfect off-grid vacation.
The goals posts could include, how to plan a solo getaway, how to find the best local food, or how to experience the local culture.
When it comes to objections, you could address concerns about room cleanliness, cost associated with travel, or whether a location is safe.
The final three context posts could be:
- A behind-the-scenes virtual tour to show how they prepare for guests, how they clean and maintain the property, or how they handle customer service issues [Origin Post].
- Highlighting a particular part of the property or an on-site activity that sets them apart from others [Feature].
- A post that explores the local area, such as the history of the region, popular local attractions, or recommendations of nearby restaurants and activities [Lifestyle].
STEP 3: Create Your First 4 Posts
Eventually, you’ll create all 12 or even multiple capsule collections but trying to tackle them all at once will overwhelm the hell out of you. Start with 4 and get your feet wet with this style of content production. If you’ve only been producing one-off, short-form content for social media like posts and reels, this will feel like a departure.
We’ve already covered how these posts should be created but here’s a quick checklist again, for easy reference. Content capsule posts should be:
- Long-form (at least 2,000 words)
- Comprehensive and complete information (think “ultimate guide” style)
- Easy to read and digest (edit, read, edit again)
- Include visuals that enhance the readers understanding
- Answer the primary questions readers are asking about the topic
Ultimate guide-style content is a comprehensive and in-depth article (or video or podcast) that provides your reader with a complete understanding of the topic. This kind of post aims to be the “ultimate” resource for the reader, so they don’t have to look any further.
Now you’ve got the “what” and “why”, it’s time to actually create those first 4 posts. I strongly recommend starting with:
- 1 problem post
- 1 goal/aspiration post
- 1 objection post
- Your origin post
This will give you a great starting point to launch your new content strategy and will also help you identify and optimize a content creation workflow that works best for you. You’ll be able to refine your content creation process which will make creating future posts that much easier.
>>> MUST-READ: My exact content creation process, step-by-step
STEP 4: Build a Content Bundle
This is where the magic happens inside the minimalist content strategy. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating a body of work (your capsule content collection). Each post, video or podcast has been thought out, planned, and curated to create incredible value to your ideal customer. It’s time to publish it, of course, but the marketing doesn’t stop there.
Now it’s time to build out a marketing system and social media campaign around each piece of your capsule collection. This is where so many business owners go wrong – they create something amazing, post it, and forget it.
You’re going to spend as much time promoting your content as you did creating it by building a collection of supporting content. There are three main objectives:
- Build an evergreen content bank
Evergreen content is simply content that remains relevant and valuable to your audience over an extended period of time, typically because it addresses timeless topics and provides information that’s useful regardless of changing trends or current events.
- Drive traffic to your capsule content
A well-executed capsule content collection works as a sales funnel. The goal is to fill that funnel with as many ideal customers as possible so that you can lead them through a marketing experience and add them to your warm audience so that you can retarget them later.
- Cement your key messaging
On average, organic reach is less than 2% on social media. That means, when you post something, only a fraction of your audience sees it. Repurposing content creates more awareness and addresses different comprehension styles. According to some recent studies, it can take more than 40 micro-touch points to create a new customer. Creating content that reiterates your key messaging in different ways, addresses the different comprehension styles and keeps you top of mind and visible to your ideal customer is an important component of the minimalist content strategy.
Here’s an example of I create content bundles for my capsule collection. Let’s use this blog post as an example:
BLOG [Minimalist Content Strategy]
Next, I take the blog post “Minimalists Content Strategy” and I create a content bundle that looks like this:
Social Media Posts. Since I’ve already created a really robust piece of content (this blog) that’s full of actionable steps, I’ll generally create at least 12 social media posts from it simply by pulling chunks of the existing content. Currently, social media is heavily weighted towards short-form video so that’s where the bulk of my focus will be until that changes! Here’s how that breaks down:
- Talking Head Videos: These are simply you, talking to the camera and are one of the BEST ways to connect with your audience. Examples could be “Marketing mistake I bet you didn’t know, PART 13. Not promoting your capsule content” or “7 Tools You Can Use to Ethically Spy on Your Ideal Customer”
- Tutorial Videos: Typically in the form of screen share, I’ll teach something like “My Content Creation Workflow” or “Sneak Peak of my Content Bank”
- Lip Sync Videos: These will generally address myths, mistakes and solutions based on the capsule content. I’ve linked a few examples so you can see exactly what I mean.
- Carousel Posts: These are literally just copied and pasted chunks of my capsule content, spread out over 5-10 cards. In this case, I could create these two carousels: “5 reasons you should be creating content bundles” and “6 Types of Content You Need to Produce” or “7 Ways to Outsmart Your Competitors (and how to know exactly what your ideal customer wants)”
- Quote Posts: I generally pull direct quotes from my blog posts and turn them into reels like this.
- Promotional Posts: Static posts (or any other format) that link my content back to a product or service I offer. For example, we offer strategy audits (low-ticket offer) and custom strategy builds (high-ticket offer). Those are both perfect tie-ins for this particular piece of capsule content.
- Pinterest Pins. I use the same formula for every piece of long-form content I create. 5x Static Pins, 2x Video Pins, 1x Idea Pins.
Pinterest is technically a search engine, not a social media platform, and it’s a major traffic source for our websites.
Email Series. I’ll turn this single blog post into a series of email newsletters to send my list. Since the blog post if full of solutions to common mistakes business owners make with their content strategy, that might be the email series “5 mistakes you’re making with your content strategy and how to fix them”. Voila, I have a 5-part mini training that provides a ton of value to my ideal customer.
Other Formats. Next, I’ll turn this blog post into a YouTube video (at some point) and a Podcast episode. This allows me to produce content in different formats and reach a wider audience because some people love to read while others prefer to listen or consume through video.
It’s not necessary to create this content in other long-form formats right away, but consider this. Once you’ve created an entire capsule content collection, you can go back and recycle that same content by turning them into YouTube videos or Podcast episodes. You’ve already got your show notes written and your script outlined. Can you see how simple it becomes to start leveraging other platforms with this method?
Finally, I’ll create a suite of products and services. This won’t necessarily apply to every business model but, if you look closely, I bet you’ll see some opportunity in your own business as well.
Opt-Ins. I try and create a freebie, opt-in or content upgrade for every piece of capsule content I create. This could be in the form of a checklist, template, or workflow. Any time you can create an entry point into your sales funnel and get your ideal customer on your email list, you should.
Workshops. If speaking engagements or teaching and training is something you’re interested in, capsule blog posts are a great framework to build out your slide deck. I teach or host 2 workshops every month and the content comes directly from these blog posts.
Products. This is actually how I created my signature program, The Marketing Minimalist Academy. My capsule collection is based on common problems and challenges, goals and aspirations, and objections that my ideal customer has. These blog posts were the framework for the Academy. Do you think anyone complained that I’d written about some of the content before? Nope. That’s how they found me and that’s why they registered!
You can also take individual capsule blogs and turn them into mini-courses or low-ticket offers. For example, “The Minimalist Content Strategy Method” is about to be available as a product and it will sell for $37 (or more). People pay for simplicity, organization and results – not information.
Consider some of my favourite podcasters, Amy Porterfield and Marie Forleo. They literally took podcast episodes (that they released as content, for free) and turned them into books (Two Weeks Notice and Everything is Figureoutable, respectively). As someone who’s listened to ALL of their podcast episodes, do you think that made me any less likely to buy their books? Nope, they’re both on my bookshelf.
STEP 5: Your Posting Schedule
The final step in your minimalist content strategy is crafting a posting schedule. The capsule content method gives you a lot of flexibility with your content calendar. Regardless of how you choose to set this up, I recommend a minimum ratio of 3:1 (value: promotional content).
Meaning, you should share at least 3 pieces of valuable content with no sales objective before you share anything that reads promotional. In my case, I prefer to double that ratio. Let’s break down what’s considered promotional and value-based.
Promotional content is anything that talks directly about your product or service. This includes talking about benefits, features, your process, etc.
Value-based content is the rest of it! This includes addressing common struggles, frustrations, and concerns, dispelling myths, answering common questions, providing tutorials, entertainment, etc.
Here’s a sample content calendar from my own capsule collection. As you can see, there are only 3 promotional posts all month and the first one isn’t posted until 7 other pieces of value-based content have been released.
The example above is just a single piece of your capsule collection and assumes that you don’t have the capacity or resources to create your entire capsule upfront. I’m a business owner too and we’ve worked with hundreds of small business owners just like you so we know that your time is precious.
In the case that you only have the capacity to create one piece of capsule content a month, the example above is perfect for you.
If, however, you’re able to create multiple pieces of your capsule collection within your minimalist content strategy in one month, you’d simply layer or stack them into your content calendar. You can do this in a couple of ways.
- Extend your editorial calendar to 60 or 90 days and simply spread things out to make room for more than one content bundle.
- Expand your platforms by sharing content to multiple platforms on a cycle. Since the content is already made (the most time-intensive part of digital marketing), it’s simple to add new platforms to your marketing mix. If you are going to use multiple platforms, I recommend you stagger your content. That simply means not sharing the same content on all platforms on the same day. This is really simple to do if you’re working with more than one bundle.
- Increase your posting frequency to reach more people. Every social media platform likes volume and since organic reach is at an all-time low (and will continue to decline), you’re not at risk of “bothering” people if you post multiple times a day. The reality is, unless you’re using a paid visibility strategy, most of your audience doesn’t see what you post. High volume also increases your odds of organic growth because you’re serving up high-value content often.
After You’ve Created Your Complete Capsule
Once you’ve created one complete capsule collection and a supporting content bundle to accompany each piece, you’ll have a full year’s worth of evergreen content. You can sit back, relax and exhale.
Just kidding, I know that’s now how business owners operate! Seriously though, you can choose to be done creating content or you can opt to create additional capsule collections. There are a few scenarios where you may want to create another capsule collection.
- If you have two distinct audiences with very different goals, problems and objectives. For example, if you sell a physical food product to customers from your website (B2B) but you also sell wholesale to retailers (B2C).
- If you have multiple, unrelated offers, in your business. For example, you own an accounting firm and you offer general accounting to small business owners but you also handle insolvencies and bankruptcies. Those are two very different offers that serve different clients. In that case, you should create a capsule collection for each and cycle through promoting them.
- If you simply love creating content. The minimalist content strategy is designed to create an evergreen content bank and free up time and resources. If you love creating content, you can still allocate time and resources to content creation.
It’s important to note that once you’ve completed your capsule content collection, you’re not done creating content. There will still be a need to create ephemeral content (short-term content) for most (but not all) small businesses. The goal of a minimalist content strategy is to be able to follow the 80/20 content rule. Here’s how it works:
80% of the content in your editorial calendar will come from your capsule collections, whereas just 20% is new, ephemeral content you’re creating. Here are some examples of why you would need ephemeral content:
- You’re a restaurant and you’ve got specials, new menu items, new cocktails, etc.
- To promote events, sales, and other types of promotions
- To promote holidays and special events
- You have new products arriving regularly (example: retailers)
- To share new testimonials, reviews and UGC (user-generated content)
Creating Your Custom Minimalist Marketing Strategy
Now you’ve got everything you need to create a minimalist content strategy and capsule content collection. It’s time to get to work. I’ve created a free planner that walks you through the process. This will help you map out your custom content collection.