Josh Spector

A 20-Day Content Plan For Comedians

I’ll keep this brief.

If you spend the next 20 days creating content based on the prompts I spell out below, I GUARANTEE you will get you more engagement with your existing fans, attract new ones, and learn a ton of valuable things that will serve you way longer than the 20 days you put into it.

While these ideas will work great as blog posts on your website, the topics can also be adapted and work as videos, a podcast, Facebook posts, or even tweets potentially. Choose whatever format you prefer and just put them out into the world.

Trust me, it will work.

Here are the topics…

Day 1: Introduce Yourself

To kick things off write an intro post that explains who you are and what you’re about to do. Tell people up front that you’re going to be putting out a new piece of content each day for the next 20 days and (this is important) give them an easy way to follow along with the journey.

Offer them the chance to sign up to an email list to get each day’s post or to connect with you on a social channel where you’ll be posting the content each day.

Day 2: Why I Became A Comic

Write a post that tells more of your story – explain why you chose to become a comic in the first place. Be open and honest about your background and how you got to where you are – even if you just started out. You might not think it will be interesting to people, but trust me, if you’re honest about how and why you became a comic it will be more interesting than you think.

Day 3: Share A Controversial Or Strong Opinion

It doesn’t matter what it’s about – just pick something you feel very passionately about and write up an explanation of your opinion on that matter and why you feel that way. It doesn’t have to be controversial, but it will work better and get more noticed if it’s something that not everybody will agree with.

Day 4: Admit Something You’ve Never Admitted Before

Dig into your personal life or background and share a story about something you’ve never publicly shared before. It can be something that happened to you, it can be something you’ve learned, something you believe, or something that people would be surprised to know about you.

When you write it up, don’t forget to tell people that this is something you’ve never shared before – it will instantly make it more compelling in their eyes.

Day 5: Interview Somebody Interesting

Find somebody interesting – it doesn’t have to be somebody famous or somebody you know – to interview and share that interview with your audience. Ideally, you will interview a person who is relevant to your niche or the type of subjects you cover in your comedy and in a perfect world that person would also have some social following of their own who they could promote your finished interview to in order to get you more attention for it.

You also want to really think about the questions you plan to ask and try to make them as unique and interesting as possible – don’t just ask the basic who are you and what do you do stuff.

Day 6: Explain How To Do Something

I’m sure there’s something you’re an expert on – figure out what that is and write something up teaching other people how to do it. This is a way to ensure that you provide value to people in your content and it can be the kind of content that builds value over time.

Day 7: Live Blog Something

Pick a TV show, sports event, or some other thing that lots of people are interested in and live blog it while you watch it. If you don’t want to do that, you can also live blog an experience – maybe it’s a live blog of a Spotify playlist, or a live blog detailing a trip to a museum.

The point is to document in real-time (or close to it) an experience that other people can relate to.

Day 8: Share Your Best/Worst/Craziest Comedy Experience

If you’ve spent any time in comedy, I’m sure you’ve got some interesting stories. Pick one of them and share it with people – but write it as if you’re talking to people who don’t have any idea how the comedy world works. Remember, you want your content to resonate with potential fans, not just other comics so don’t make your post too inside-baseballish.

Day 9: Share Five Amazing Videos On An Obscure/Random Subject

YouTube is your friend. Go on a deep dive about some random subject you find interesting, collect five incredible videos around that theme, and then share them with an amusing writeup of your thoughts about each one.

Day 10: Tell A Story From Your Childhood

Speaking of stories that everybody has to tell, think about your best childhood story and share it with the world.

Day 11: Rank/Review Some Local Establishments

Assuming you perform locally often (or want to), pick some of your local establishments and review them. You can play this straight – The 5 Best Date Night Restaurants In Your Town – or you can have more fun with it and do something like The 5 Worst Places In Town To Be Drunk.

The idea is to come up with something that will resonate with people who live in your area and that they’ll be likely to be interested in and share with others.

Day 12: Do A Late Night Monologue

This is a writing exercise, but also may interest your audience. Pretend you were on the writing staff for a late night TV show and write a series of monologue jokes based on that day’s news. As an added bonus, you can probably repurpose those jokes as individual tweets as well.

Day 13: Create A List Of The Best People To Follow On Twitter

If you don’t use Twitter, you can do this on another social platform, but the basic idea is to write something with recommendations of a lot of people that others should follow and explain why.

Once you’ve posted this, you want to tag the people you featured and make sure they know you did so – most likely, some of them will share the post with their own followers and get you more exposure.

Day 14 – Let Friends/Followers Interview You

Source questions from people you know like your friends or followers and answer those questions in a post. Another way to do this is to choose one person and let them ask you the questions – for example, you could let your Mom interview you. Or, you could do something like let your first ex-girlfriend interview you.

There’s a lot of different ways to do this and make it compelling – plus, it’s easy because all you have to do is answer their questions.

Day 15: Write An Onion-Type Parody Article

This is also kind of like a writing exercise, but it’s worth trying to see how you like it. Create an Onion-inspired parody article about something relating to your niche or interests.

Just be sure to explain in the intro to the post or the title what you’re doing. For example, you could title it something like “If I Wrote For The Onion, This Is What I’d Do.”

Day 16: Share The Weird News Of The Week

This is similar to the post you did where you shared a series of interesting YouTube videos, but instead of that this time base it around weird news stories. There are lots of ways to find this stuff – check out Fark.com for starters – but the point is to pick a few crazy stories and write up your observations about them.

Ideally, these stories would be connected in some way – for example, The 5 Worst Criminals Of The Week – but they don’t have to be. It could also be something like “5 News Stories That Made Me Lose Faith In Humanity This Week.”

Day 17: Share Your Inspiration

Write up a tribute to a person or people who inspire your comedy or yourself. Think about who that person is and what it is about them that you find inspiring and share that with your audience.

And if the person you choose is alive and uses social media, tag them in your post on social media and let them know about what you wrote. You can even frame the post in a way that thanks them. For example, if you’re writing about Steve Martin you could title it, “Thanks, Steve Martin” or “How Steve Martin Inspired Me To Become A Comedian.”

You never know what could come of it.

Day 18: Write An “Open Letter”

Have you ever seen how sometimes publications will feature an “open letter” from somebody written to a particular person or brand? Do that yourself. Pick a public entity that you have a strong feeling about and write them an open letter explaining your position or asking them to take a particular action.

Ideally, this would be something that other people might agree with you about and they could potentially rally behind your expression of the idea or request for the company. For example, Time Warner Cable sucks and lots of people think so – “An Open Letter To Time Warner Cable” might get some interesting support.

Day 19: Talk About Something Nostalgic

The Internet LOVES nostalgia. Figure out something or a series of things that you used to love and write up something interesting about them. It could be a remembrance of them, or even some thoughts about why you miss them.

For example, “I Feel Bad That Today’s Students Won’t Know What It Was Like To Go To High School Without The Internet” or “10 Things Only 80’s Babies Can Truly Understand.”

Day 20: Write A “What I’ve Learned” Post

You can borrow the Esquire magazine What I’ve Learned column format and share a list of things you’ve learned in your life. Or, as an alternate, you can share a list of things you’ve learned from posting content for the past 20 days as part of this plan.

If you stuck with it and made it to this point, you’ve likely learned a lot and I know I’d love to hear about it and share it with others. Good luck!

8 Misconceptions You Might Have About Social Media

It’s one thing to use social media, it’s another to understand it.

Comics spend a LOT of time using social platforms, but I’ve found most have some basic misconceptions about how social platforms actually work.

Here’s a few things you might incorrectly assume and what to do about it to get more out of your social media efforts.

1. You think your followers see your posts.

I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you.

The good news is that just because you don’t see a lot of interaction on your Facebook and Twitter posts, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s because they’re not good. The bad news is that not nearly as many people are seeing your posts as you think.

Most Facebook and Twitter posts only get seen by 10% or less of the people that are theoretically following you due to Facebook’s news feed algorithms and Twitter’s lack of an algorithm. As a result, you don’t have nearly the exposure you think you do.

This means your follower count is an overrated metric and you shouldn’t be so concerned about it – more on that in a minute.

2. You think your followers are the only ones who can see your posts.

There are a lot of ways to get people who don’t follow you to see your posts including using hashtags and tagging other pages on Facebook. This is another reason why your obsession with your follower count is unnecessary – you’re not limited to only being seen by those who follow you.

It’s also why it’s important to use hashtags and tag other accounts in order to expose your posts to the most possible people.

3. You think social platforms have made websites and email lists pointless.

Despite all the hype you hear about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, the best way to ensure your audience actually sees what you want them to see is to get them to subscribe to your email list. Only a small percentage of your social followers will actually see your updates, while a decent email list will have an open rate of closer to 50% or higher.

And having a website is crucial as well because it gives you a platform where you can control how you present yourself and gives you a way to be found in Google searches. Also, depending solely on social platforms is risky because you never know when they’re going to change the way they work or collapse completely (see: MySpace). Having a website ensures your content won’t disappear some day.

4. You think people share content because it’s good.

There are a lot of reasons why people share things on social media and the content being “good” tends to be pretty low on that list. Just take a look at the things your friends are sharing, and I’m sure you’ll find that to be true.

While it’s important to put good stuff out into the world, it’s also worth recognizing that’s not the only reason things get shared. People share things that surprise them, things that make a statement about something they believe in (or disagree with), things that provide value, and things that emotionally connect with them.

Most importantly, they share things that say something about them – what somebody shares is an expression of themselves as much as it’s a reflection of the content itself.

5. You think you shouldn’t repeat posts.

This ties back into the first item on this list – most people don’t see your posts. So, as a result, it’s fine to repeat those posts at different times and it’s actually a good strategy to do so.

Repeating posts will get your work seen by more people and it’s unlikely to annoy your followers since most of them won’t see the repeats in their feed anyway. Repurposing quality social posts is a key strategy that can impact the success you have on social platforms without requiring much more effort on your part.

This can also be done with old social media posts and you can read exactly how to do that here.

6. You think Facebook ads are a waste of money.

They’re not. Trust me. They actually might be the single most valuable feature Facebook offers and one of the least used by comics.

Here’s an example of what’s possible with even a small Facebook ads budget.

7. You think the goal is to go “viral.”

Forget about going viral – it’s probably not going to happen. And even if it did, it’s not going to get you anywhere near the benefits you think it will.

You should focus your social efforts on the long term as opposed to worrying about short term success. Use social platforms to find the specific audience you want to connect with (your target should never be “everybody”) and focus your efforts on them.

If your work happens to go viral, that just means that you’re reaching a lot of people that likely aren’t going to fit what you’re trying to do anyway, so all those views/listens/visits are ultimately meaningless. Building a relationship with the right 1,000 people will serve you better than getting something seen by the wrong 100,000 people.

8. You think social platforms are broadcast platforms.

Most people use social platforms to distribute their content to other people. But social media’s real strength is the ability it gives you to connect with other people.

The “social” part is more important than the “media” part.

It’s easy to get caught up in your follower count and desire to promote your creations, but don’t forget that social media also enables you to follow and interact with just about anybody in the world. That’s an incredible opportunity and one you should take advantage of.

Use social media to interact with people, to engage with potential fans, to develop relationships with people you admire, to network, and to connect. You’ll get way more value out of that approach than you do by using social media as a megaphone to scream about your own stuff.

READ THIS NEXT: Ranking The 9 Most Valuable Social Platforms For Comedians

It All Starts With Building Trust (Podcast Ep. 63)

On the “we jinxed ourselves” episode of the podcast, Jordan Cooper and Josh Spector talk about the importance of building trust when it comes to getting booked and growing a fanbase.

Kicking off with a discussion about a corporate comedian’s website and how you can benefit from putting yourself in the mindset of your audience, we go on to talk about everything from Twitter bios to how best to sell your show or abilities to venues and bookers. Josh also breaks down what he’s learning from his newest project – A Person You Should Know – and explains how you can benefit from creating content that can be accessed by different audiences in different ways.

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If you enjoy the podcast, please rate and review it on iTunes.

5 New Facebook Tricks I Discovered Work Really Well

Facebook constantly changes.

As a result, the best ways to get the most out of the platform are also constantly in flux. But the good news is that means there’s always new opportunities being created for you to benefit from Facebook’s evolution.

Here’s a few tricks I’ve recently discovered that will help your Facebook posts reach more people and help you get more out of the time you spend on the platform.

1. Get Involved In Groups

As you’ve hopefully realized by now, most people that follow you on Facebook or like your fan page don’t actually see the stuff you post.

Because of Facebook’s news feed algorithm, only about 10% of the people who are connected to you will actually see your posts in their news feed.

That leads to a lot of frustration, but there’s another way to increase the percentage of people you can reach on the platform.

Facebook Groups are becoming an increasingly powerful resource you can use to connect with your own fans as well as to discover and engage with new potential fans.

Unlike Facebook profiles and fan pages, Groups essentially treat everybody equal – they allow anybody to post (though there are typically group moderators) and they function much more like communities than the broadcast mechanism of fan pages and profiles.

However, Facebook still pushes relevant posts from within a group into group members’ news feeds and gives them notifications when a new post has been made (depending on a user’s settings). As a result, I’ve found that often times I can get a lot more interaction and engagement with posts made within groups (such as those I make in our Connected Comedians group) than posts made from pages.

But the real benefit of groups isn’t starting your own (unless you already have a huge fanbase), but rather finding existing groups relevant to your niche and becoming an active community member in them. There are existing groups on just about every subject you can imagine within Facebook, and while the quality of them may vary, many are excellent.

You can learn how to search for groups here, but I’d highly recommend finding some that are relevant to what you do and getting involved in them – not just to promote your own stuff, but rather to build relationships with people who have shared interests.

2. Post More Often

The conventional wisdom used to be you shouldn’t post on Facebook more than a couple times a day at most because the platform’s news feed algorithm would penalize you for doing so. Well, things have changed.

Now, it seems like you’re rewarded for posting more often and using the platform much more like Twitter in terms of volume of posts. Of course, you still need to maintain a high quality of posts and get engagement on them – don’t just post crap for the sake of posting – but the more good stuff you post, the more success you’ll see.

If you look at the volume of posts being made by some of the biggest pages on Facebook, you’ll be surprised to see how frequently they post. For example, sites like Buzzfeed and Funny or Die post almost 200 times each week!

Of course, they’ve got a lot more content to share than you probably do, but the point is if you double your current amount of posts, you’ll probably see an increase in the number of people your content reaches – again, as long as what you post is good.

3. Write Longer Descriptions On Your Posts

Facebook recently tweaked its algorithms to take into account how much time people spend reading/engaging with your individual posts. The longer somebody looks at your post before scrolling down their feed, the more Facebook theoretically believes that people enjoyed your post.

It’s worth keeping this in mind as you construct your posts. For example, rather than just post an image with no description, add a clever caption that’s a couple sentences long so people will read it and increase their time spent with the post.

The other hidden advantage of using lengthier descriptions is that Facebook only includes an initial excerpt of the longer description in people’s news feed. If the person is intrigued by what you wrote, they will click the “Read More” button to expand the post.

This counts as a click on the post and shows Facebook engagement on your post, which in turn suggests it’s a good post, which in turn leads to Facebook to show it to more people.

Essentially, getting people to click that Read More button in your description is similar to getting them to Like, Share or Comment on your post – it helps it get seen by more people.

There are lots of easy ways to include long descriptions. For example, if you share a link to an article you can just cut and paste a sample paragraph or two from the article into your description. This is also effective because if it’s an interesting excerpt, it increases the chances somebody will click the link as well.

4. Set Up Pages To Watch

If you have a Fan Page on Facebook (and you should), then go to your Insights tab and scroll down to the bottom of the page to select other Pages To Watch. This is a cool feature that allows you to track the activity of other Facebook fan pages – it lets you see how often they post each week, how many new fans they’re getting, and even lets you see their most successful posts of the week.

This can be a valuable learning tool as you can see what other people are doing and what’s working (or not) for them. You can use it to track other comics whose Facebook success you admire, or the activity of comedy club pages or sites like Funny or Die who you may want to emulate.

Here’s a look at how to set up pages to watch.

5. Use A Call To Action On Your Page

Here’s a simple thing that will take you two seconds to set up and help you out. If you haven’t noticed yet, Facebook has a feature on your fan page called a Call to Action button that lives on your fan page cover photo.

Essentially, it’s a button that allows you to plug a link to some action you’d like people to take when they visit your page. You can set it up to drive to anything you want people to do – sign up for your email list, watch one of your videos, visit your website, etc.

Here’s a breakdown of how to set it up – it’s not going to get you a million new fans overnight, but it will help drive more people to take whatever action you want them to take on your page.

READ THIS NEXT: How I Got More Facebook Fans And Website Traffic For A Comedian

5 Hashtag Strategies For Comedians

There’s a lot more to hashtags than just the @Midnight game.

While just about every comic at this point has at least occasionally participated in the popular Comedy Central show’s hashtag wars game, the reality is there are a lot of other ways you can use hashtags on various social media platforms to further your career.

Here’s a breakdown of five simple things you should keep in mind when you use hashtags that will hopefully help you see some new opportunities for how you can use them to attract new fans, better promote your creations, and get more from your social media efforts.

1. Use Hashtags You Think People Will Search For Or Follow

The most common mistake people make when it comes to hashtags is they don’t necessarily understand how a hashtag can actually get their post in front of more people.

While everybody understands that posting about trending topics will get your tweets in front of a larger audience, that’s not the only way to leverage a hashtag to get in front of an audience.

When you’re going to use a hashtag on a post, you want to think about what kinds of hashtags other people are likely to search for and use those. That’s the key to getting additional exposure for your tweets beyond your usual followers.

Typically, the types of hashtags that people will search for revolve around broad topics tied to specific niche interests, professions, or specific things like sports teams, TV shows, etc. So those will also be the best ones for you to use.

For example, let’s say you tweet a joke about parenting. Using #parenting will likely serve you better than something like #funny because it’s more likely that people are following the parenting hashtag than the funny one – and also because somebody who does search the parenting hashtag is more likely to enjoy your post than somebody who searches for funny because that’s a much broader interest.

It’s worth experimenting with different hashtags to see which ones work best for you on different types of posts, but the key is to try to use hashtags that people search for because those will get you the most value.

If you want some help finding hashtags that are frequently used, here’s a tool you may want to check out.

2. Don’t Just Use Comedy-Related Hashtags

Just because you’re posting something funny, that doesn’t mean your hashtag has to be comedy-related. In fact, in most cases you’ll be better served to focus your hashtags on the topics your comedy is about as opposed to the fact that it’s comedy.

This ties back to my first point in that if you think about who is searching for comedy-related hashtags, it’s most likely other comedians. By comparison, the people searching for non-comedy hashtags are more likely to be potential fans who are interested in whatever topics you’re talking about.

3. More Hashtags = More Attention On Instagram

As a general rule, the more hashtags you use on an Instagram post, the more attention it will get. Using hashtags on Instagram is one of the best ways to get discovered on the platform so don’t be afraid to use a lot of them.

Also, since Instagram has no character limit the way Twitter does, you can really load up on the hashtags. It might seem a little obnoxious, but it works – as long as you use relevant hashtags.

Another tip is that you can post your Instagram hashtags as a comment on your post as opposed to in the original post caption. This can be a little cleaner because your comment will essentially be hidden once you get a few other comments on the post and you’ll still get the value of using the hashtags because hashtags register in Instagram’s search function whether they’re in a comment or caption.

4. Create A Unique Hashtag For Your Content

In addition to using hashtags that people search for, you can also create your own unique hashtag as a way to connect some of your content together over time. Specifically, by creating a hashtag that’s unique to your stuff, it gives people who discover one piece of your content and easy way to click the hashtag and see other related content.

For example, let’s say you do a series of YouTube videos that feature you ranting about your latest dating experience. Whenever you share an episode or anything related to the series on social media you could use a custom hashtag such as #MyCrazyDates.

This way, when somebody comes across one of your episodes for the first time and likes it, they can click that hashtag and easily see the rest of the series without having to switch platforms, Google it, or track it down elsewhere.

Creating a unique hashtag for your content is a great way to tie things together and make it easy for people who like what they see to quickly discover more of it.

This is something I’m currently doing for my Person You Should Know site with the hashtag #APersonYouShouldKnow.

5. Use Hashtags To Find New Fans

Here’s a spin on the advice I’ve given you up to this point. As opposed to using hashtags to help people to discover you and your work, you can use them to help you find new potential fans.

Specifically, you can use Twitter or Instagram’s search functionality to search hashtags relevant to the content you create and find other people who are posting using those hashtags. It’s an easy way to identify people who are interested in what you’re interested in and a great way to find communities that you can become a part of.

That doesn’t mean you should immediately tweet links promoting your stuff to those people, but rather look for conversations around those hashtags that you can jump in to and add value. Use hashtag searches as a way to find people you can have genuine interactions with that can start to build a relationship.

For example, if you’re blogging then you may want to search for #blogchat where you’ll find a community of other bloggers who are discussing their challenges and suggestions. It’s easy to become a part of that community by joining that conversation in an authentic way.

More Social Media Advice…

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Case Study: How To Optimize A Corporate Comedian’s Website

The following is part of my Case Study series of articles in which I offer specific advice to a Connected Comedy VIP member based on their personal goals. If you’re interested in being the subject of a Case Study article, email me.

Connected Comedy VIP member Rick March is a corporate comedian who recently reached out and asked what advice I’d have for him to improve his website. Following are my suggestions to Rick, which in most cases are applicable to any comic interested in getting corporate bookings and also is relevant to non-corporate comedians hoping to improve their websites as well.

Clarify Your Branding

The first thing that jumps out at me on your site is that it’s confusing what exactly the site represents. Is it a company site or your personal site?

There’s a lot of mixed messaging going on and that’s a big issue – especially when you’re trying to get companies to trust you enough to book you.

Clarity and transparency builds trust, confusion creates doubt.

The domain and header say Best Corporate Comedy which makes it sound like a company site, but surfing around the site makes it feel like the “company” is really just you – and that occasionally you bring in other comics as needed for particular gigs.

I could be wrong, but I assume your core business is not a booking agency, but rather this site is about getting yourself booked and occasionally including other comics as needed.

I think it’s important to think through whether you want your site to convey that you’re a booking company or revolve around getting yourself booked. Whichever you choose, focus the messaging consistently around that concept.

Assuming this is more about getting bookings for yourself than others, then the site should represent that. You want people to know Rick March, you want them to book you, and then secondary would be references to your ability to do group shows, etc.

Keep in mind that people like to know who they’re getting into business with – they want to know the person, not the company. The more they feel like they know who you are, the more likely they are to trust you, and as a result the more likely they are to book you – or hire you to book others for them.

The other thing that happens when a person tries to make their “company” seem like it’s bigger than just them is it can come off as a little sketchy. People pick up on when an individual is trying to make it seem like their company is more than it is and it leads them to question the transaction.

On the flipside, complete transparency will increase their trust in who they’re dealing with and that you’ll deliver on what you promise.

I’m going to make one other assumption here. I’m guessing some of this (the domain name for example) is being driven by an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy – you assume that certain keywords will help you get found in Google search by potential clients.

That’s ok, though in general SEO is a little overrated and likely won’t help you as much as you think it might in this case, but it’s still important to understand that even if you get somebody to the site via search, you are then going to have to build enough trust for them to convert to a potential customer.

So even if you keep the generic domain name as opposed to something like RickMarch.com, I’d still recommend having the site emphasize who you are as opposed to it feeling like a company site.

Every Word Counts

Little things make big differences when it comes to websites. In your case, there are several words used for different sections of the site that are a little misleading, confusing, or could be improved.

For example, your navigation menu has a page titled “Custom Comedy,” but it’s not clear what that actually is. In looking at the page, I think what you mean is that you have different kinds of shows you can do and/or that you can customize material to match the type of company that hires you. But I’m not sure people will get that from the Custom Comedy name.

Instead, you might want to call that page something like “Show Options,” “Choose Your Show,” or even “How It Works.” Try to think about it from the perspective of somebody who knows nothing about how the comedy business works and use the kinds of phrases they would have in their head.

I’d also recommend you have a paragraph at the top of that page that introduces the broader idea that clients can choose from several types of shows and get a custom performance to fit their needs. Then, you could lay out the various options.

You also might want to add a breakdown of the different benefits of each type of show and what makes each a good fit for different clients needs.

It’s also a little strange that you have a separate Roasts page in the navigation menu, but also on the Custom Comedy page. I’d recommend either putting all of the various shows you offer in your navigation and having a separate page for each, or moving all the Roast stuff to the page with the other shows.

Another example of word choice is on your Media page where you have a “Highlights” section. That section basically consists of just photos, which aren’t really highlights. If somebody wants to see highlights, they expect to see videos – photos don’t really tell them anything of value about your service other than maybe you’ve performed in front of crowds.

Anticipate (And Answer) People’s Questions

One page that isn’t on your site but would probably be a good addition is a Frequently Asked Questions page.

Again, keep in mind that the visitors to your website are (hopefully) there because they’re considering booking a comic for their corporate event. You want to use your site to provide as much relevant information to them as possible, and a great way to do that is create a simple page that answers all the common questions you anticipate they might have.

Everything from how much does it cost to book a comic, to what kind of material can they expect, to how long a typical show lasts, to a bunch of other common questions you get could easily be answered by you and put on the site. All of that information will build trust and move visitors closer to actually contacting you about a potential booking.

As far as cost goes, you don’t have to list the price you charge specifically, but you can list the factors that go into your rate – length of performance, location, number of comics booked, etc. – and encourage people to contact you for a specific price quote.

Make It Easier For People To Contact You

The number one goal of your site is to get somebody to contact you about a booking, so you want to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

But if you look at your current site, there’s no email address, no phone number, and the only way people can contact you is by filling out a form on your Contact page.

I’d recommend posting your email and phone number on the site on the home page, About page, and contact page at a minimum. You might want to put it at the bottom of every page for good measure. Again, remember the goal of what you want people to do and make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

You Need To Tell People Where You Work

Here’s a basic thing that’s super important and missing from your site. It doesn’t mention anywhere where you are based or (more importantly) where you are available to work.

If people come to your site, one of the first things they’re going to want to know is if you even work in their city/state, so it’s very important to make that information clear.

It’s fine to say you’ll take on gigs anywhere, but it’s worth pointing out where the core of your business is based. Somebody looking to book a show in Pennsylvania is going to be a lot more likely to contact somebody whose site says they regularly perform in Pennsylvania than somebody whose site doesn’t say where they perform.

On a separate note, I noticed your Twitter account also doesn’t say where you’re based so you should update that as well. You might want to improve your Twitter bio at the same time.

A More Targted Content Strategy

It’s great that you’ve got a blog section of your site and that you occasionally write posts for it, but there’s a simple way you can turn it into a much stronger asset for you.

Again, every decision you make on the site should be geared toward the audience you hope to attract. In this case your audience is people who are potentially interested in booking corporate comedy shows so you want to create content designed to appeal to them or catch their attention.

For example, here’s some ideas of posts that would speak directly to your desired audience and possibly even draw more of them to your site.

• Why Every HR Executive Should Book A Comedy Show To Help Employee Morale

• How A Comedy Show Can Help Drive More Sales

• 5 Ways A Comedy Show Can Change A Company’s Culture

• 10 Things I’ve Learned About Non-Profit Organization From Performing Benefits For Them

• How To Triple Your Fundraising This Year By Booking A Comedian

There’s a million different directions to go, but the idea is to focus the content directly at the audience you want to reach. You can also extend this same content strategy to your email newsletter and give people a reason to subscribe to it because you’re providing valuable insights to them beyond just promotional material.

READ THIS NEXT: The Best Audience For An Unknown Comedian To Connect With

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When You Start Something New

You better get used to starting things.

If you’re going to have a long and (hopefully) successful comedy career, you will start all kinds of projects over the years. From the first time you step on an open mic stage, to the development of new material, to launching a website/podcast/web series, to writing a script, to any of another million things you may be inspired to create.

But no matter what your specific project is, there are a few questions to consider when you get started that can help you succeed.

I recently started a new project of my own – a website called A Person You Should Know where I profile one creative and inspiring person each day who I think you should know (thus the name). So, I thought I’d share with you not only five questions to ask yourself about your next project, but also how I answered these questions for my own.

1. How Much Time And Effort Will You Commit To The Project?

I assume if you start a new project you at least have some idea of your goal for the project (if not, you’ve got a bigger problem), so I’ll jump right to this question.

When you start something new, it’s important to consider how much time you are able to commit to developing the project and, equally important, how much you can realistically get done with the time you have available.

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question and you can (and likely will) spend more time than the minimum commitment you make to your project up front, but it’s important to think through what it will take to get the project going and to shape it in a way that fits your available time frame.

For example, it takes a lot of time to write a screenplay so if you only have an hour a week to commit to working on it,  your goal of completing a script in a month is probably not going to happen. It doesn’t mean you have to abandon your screenplay project, it just means you should reassess your time frame. If you can commit to work on it an hour a week, then maybe your goal should be to complete the screenplay in a year for example.

Being honest with yourself about your realistic time commitment is also important when you create a project that makes a promise to your audience. If you can’t commit the time to do a weekly web series, then don’t launch one – make it monthly instead.

Nothing will sink your project quicker than making promises you can’t fulfill – and it’s also a recipe for driving you to quit the project before it has a real chance to succeed.

How I Answered This Question:

In launching my site, I decided I was able to find time to feature a new person once a day, Monday through Friday. This would give me enough time to work ahead and schedule posts and give me the weekends to get most of the following week’s posts done.

It seemed feasible, while at the same time ensuring a steady stream of content and making a promise that the site’s audience could connect with. It’s simple, and people know exactly what they’re going to get – one new person every day.

2. What Is Your Key Success Metric?

No matter what kind of project you launch, you’ll have a lot of different metrics that seem important to you – everything from laughs, to likes, to shares, to subscriptions.

But it’s worth choosing a single most important metric to use as a gauge of the project’s progress. Which metric you choose depends on what you’re doing and what your goals are, but figuring out which metric is most important to you will help you succeed because it allows you to let that metric guide the various decisions you make as you develop your project.

For example, if you decide the key success metric for your blog is to get readers to share your posts, then you’ll want to structure your blog and your blog’s content in a way that leads to more sharing.

If your podcast’s key success metric is your number of subscribers, then you might want to focus on strategies to get more people to subscribe once they listen as opposed to just driving downloads of individual episodes.

How I Answered This Question:

My key success metric for A Person You Should Know is the number of email subscribers I get to the site’s email list, which sends a daily email with each day’s post.

I chose this because it reflects my goal – a direct connection to people who are interested in the content I post on the site.

If somebody signs up to get a daily email from me with that day’s post (and they stick around and don’t unsubscribe), then that speaks volumes about the “success” of the content I post. It also establishes a connection I have to them which can be useful down the road if I ever decide to monetize the site in some way.

While I care about the amount of raw traffic I get to the site, that’s not as important to me as the number of people that subscribe to the email list. That traffic will fluctuate as some posts get passed around, but those email subscribers will be constant – they are the “true fans” of the site and the core audience I’m building and care most about.

Using email subscribers as a key metric is also helpful because it allows me to judge the progress of the site. If lots of people visit the site but don’t subscribe, then I’ve got a problem with the site content.

If they subscribe but then unsubscribe, it tells me I’m not delivering enough to meet their expectations.

A good success metric not only helps you judge progress, but it also helps you identify what’s NOT working. And that can be even more valuable.

3. What Do You Want People To Do When They Discover Your Project?

This question directly relates to your answer to the previous question. You want to optimize your project to give you the best possible chance to achieve your key success metric.

For example, if the key success metric for your podcast is to gain subscribers, then why are you promoting your Twitter account in the podcast more than you ask people to subscribe?

If your key metric is merchandise sales at your show, then what are you doing to make it as likely as possible that people will buy your merch?

Every time a new person discoverers your project, an opportunity is created. You want to do everything possible to capitalize on that opportunity – specifically as relates to your key success metric.

Again, you may have multiple metrics of success, but you will do much better if you focus your promotional efforts around the ONE THING you most want people to do. For more on how best to do that, check out my one-action strategy.

How I Answered This Question:

Because the one thing I want people to do when they discover A Person You Should Know is to subscribe to my email list, you’ll notice the list is prominently featured throughout the site.

A plug to join the list is at the bottom of every post, there’s a subscribe button in the navigation menu, and I recently added a full page welcome screen to first-time visitors that encourages them to join the list to get inspired. [Side Note: I’m using the SumoMe Welcome Mat app to power that feature and it’s been amazing in the first couple days I’ve used it.]

I monitor all of these things and track what percentage of people who visit the site join the email list, how many subscribers are opening the emails, and how many people unsubscribe from the list because they don’t like what they’re getting (I’m happy to say that number is very low at this point).

To give you a sense of how the numbers break down, here’s where I’m at with that email list two weeks after launching the site: 2,288 people have visited the site, 153 people have subscribed to the email list, and only two people have unsubscribed.

I’m happy with the numbers at the moment, but could they better? Maybe. I’ll find out because I have a clear key success metric that I’m tracking and can measure what happens as the site evolves and I test out new techniques to improve the results.

4. What Value Will Your Project Provide And To Who?

No matter what your project is, it won’t succeed unless it provides value to people.

So, it’s important to think about what value your project intends to provide and to whom.

Unlike focusing in on a single key success metric, it’s good to think a little broader for this question. For example, if your project is a standup show, there are a lot of different people it could potentially provide value to including the audience, the booker, the venue, and even the other comedians if you create an opportunity for them to perform as well.

If you launch a web series, that could provide value to viewers, advertisers, actors, filmmakers, your representatives, and even TV development executives at some point. A podcast could provide value to all of those as well as the guests you interview.

Understanding all the potential value your project can provide and to who helps you sort through how to present it to those various constituencies and helps you find and build an audience.

The “value” of your show will be different to the audience than it is to the venue for example, so you’ll want to present your show to those entities in different ways that speak to the value it provides to each of them.

Too often, people start projects and are so focused on the value it will provide to themselves that they miss opportunities to attract others to support the project.

An audience doesn’t care what value something provides to you – they care what value it provides to them. That should be the focus of your pitch to get them to check out what you’ve created.

How I Answered This Question:

I see a lot of audiences that can get value from A Person You Should Know including people who want to be inspired, who want to learn, and who want to become part of a creative community.

The site also provides a service in finding these interesting people and boiling their key ideas down to a very quick, skimmable read each day. If you want to learn from these people, but don’t know how to find them or have time to track them down, this site gives you an easy snapshot to learn from them without a huge commitment.

But, by also providing the links to deeper articles and speeches from each person, the site also provides value to people who want to be able to take a deeper dive with any of these people that catch their eye.

And the site provides value to the people I feature on it by exposing them to new people who may be interested in supporting their efforts.

Essentially, I’ve crafted my project in a way to appeal to multiple audiences with different value propositions. Knowing this influences everything from how I construct the site, to how I promote it, to who I target with that promotion.

5. What Can You Learn From The Initial Feedback

Your project is not going to be perfect when you launch it – far from it. But don’t worry, that’s actually a good thing.

Rather than waiting to figure out every little detail of your project before you unleash it on the world, get the bare minimum you need to launch and put it out into the world.

But the key here is to pay attention to the feedback you get on the project because you will be able to learn a lot from those first few people who experience your new creation.

Don’t overreact to a single compliment or criticism, but actively seek out and pay attention to whatever feedback you get about what you’re doing. Just like a comic will pay attention to what gets laughs on stage, you should examine things like at what point in a video your audience abandons it, or which blog posts are being shared more than others.

Also, look for opportunities to engage with your audience.

Don’t be afraid to message somebody who likes your Facebook page, thank them, and ask them why they joined and what they’re hoping to see. Don’t be afraid to tweet at people and ask them what they’d like to see incorporated into your project, or to thank them for sharing it.

You’ll be surprised what you can learn from the feedback of even just a handful of people and it can have a huge impact on your new project which is ALWAYS a work in progress.

How I Answered The Question:

I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve learned in just the first two weeks of A Person You Should Know. Things that seem obvious now, were not really part of my initial plans.

For example, I was surprised early on when a couple people who discovered the site sent me suggestions of people to feature.

I was initially so focused on my own curation of the people featured, that I didn’t realize how compelling it would be for other people to offer to suggestions. I also realized the suggestions could help form a real sense of community around the site as well as introduce me to other talented people who I might not have otherwise known.

I also hadn’t initially considered the advantages of featuring people who in addition to being talented, often had followings of their own.

Several of the people I have featured already wound up discovering my site as a result and sharing it with their audiences. There’s essentially a built-in promotional loop to the structure of the site, which I hadn’t considered in the initial concept, but seems like an obvious strength of the concept now.

Again, I learned from that and started emailing people I feature to make sure they at least are aware that they were featured – I don’t just rely on them seeing themselves tagged in a tweet.

I don’t actually ask them to share the site with their followers, but I do ask them for suggestions of other people to feature and I’ve gotten some great tips as a result. And, several of the people I’ve featured have become subscribers and helped spread the word as well.

The point is that if you keep your eyes and ears open when you launch a project, you’ll be surprised what you can learn and how that can help the project ultimately succeed.

READ THIS NEXT: Case Study: How To Launch A Short Video Series

 

Case Study: How To Launch A Short Video Series

The following is part of my Case Study series of articles in which I offer specific advice to a Connected Comedy VIP member based on their personal goals. If you’re interested in being the subject of a Case Study article, email me.

Connected Comedy VIP member Justin Matson is a Los Angeles-based comedian who recently started a video web series with his sketch group Casual Mondays and reached out for some advice about how to make it successful.

Here’s how he described it:

“I just launched a daily Vine and Instagram series called Easier Movies and I’m trying to develop a marketing strategy/define my niche.

Every day we post a six-second video on both Vine and Instagram to our @EasierMovies account. We chose those platforms because we felt they worked well with our short, punchy comedic videos that work well as a loop.

We share the videos to our dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as our affiliated accounts (our sketch group’s Facebook page and all of our individual pages). We also embed the videos on our website.”

After checking out Justin’s series, I think he’s got a shot at something that could be very successful on his hands. There’s a lot about it that he’s doing right – they’re creating content that fits the platforms they’re using to distribute it, they have a clear audience who is likely to enjoy it (movie fans, and more specifically fans of the movie featured in each individual episode), and they seem committed to producing a large volume of content (daily new episodes) with a level of production (short videos) that make that kind of schedule feasible and not overly expensive.

But there are still a few things that are worth considering to help take the series – or any video series for that matter – to the next level. So, here’s my advice for Justin…

Set Your Goals

As with any project, the first thing to do is have a clear sense of what you hope to accomplish with it. Think about what you want to happen if you’re successful – what do you hope it leads to?

In your email to me, you referenced several goals including building a “huge Vine/Instagram following,” strengthening the acting of group members and giving them a large follower count that might help attract the attention of casting directors on other projects, and using it as a launching pad for your own personal standup and TV projects down the road.

Those are valid goals, but here’s how I would define the goals of this project if I were you. I’d have three main goals – these incorporate your stated goals and expand on them a bit.

Goal #1: Create a video series that functions as a calling card to the industry.

Note that this isn’t just tied to a large follower count – it includes the idea that this series can be a showcase for your writing/acting/producing abilities. Just because you don’t have a million followers doesn’t mean the work isn’t good, and it doesn’t mean there’s not value in doing something.

It only takes one follower who happens to have the power to give you a TV series or cast you in a project to make something a success. And a million followers doesn’t guarantee that any new opportunities will come from it.

In some ways you can think of this series like writing a spec script – the time you put into it gives you something to show to a wide variety of people in the industry that demonstrates your abilities.

It’s great to get a big following for something, but you shouldn’t deem something a success or failure solely on your follower/view count. Setting your goal in this way helps you avoid getting discouraged and giving up too soon.

Goal #2: Build something that has intellectual property value.

What you create may have value in a variety of ways that extend way beyond the initial videos themselves. You should keep that in mind as you develop it – just because something starts as a web series, doesn’t mean that’s all it can be.

Your goal should be to create something that becomes an asset – it’s almost as if you’re investing in real estate. Having more followers increases the value of that real estate, but it doesn’t define the only value of that real estate.

For example, as you do more of these episodes you might find other opportunities to expand the series in other ways – maybe they become a TV series pitch (or part of a bigger TV series pitch), or greeting cards, or t-shirts, or a book. Your goal should be to develop Easier Movies as a piece of intellectual property that can provide value in a number of ways.

Even if it’s just a video series to begin with (which it should be), just keep in mind that ultimately you’re building something that could become much more.

Goal #3: Build something that can be monetized.

This is a distant third goal, but it’s worth having as a goal nonetheless. While I don’t recommend trying to monetize anything when you’re first getting started, you want to keep in mind you can find success with a project like this without necessarily having somebody come pay you to do something with it.

You’re building an audience you can one day monetize directly in a variety of ways – advertising, sponsored content, merchandise, etc. You don’t need to figure out how now, but you should keep in mind that potentially monetizing what you’re creating is a goal for the future because that may influence some of your strategy as you grow your audience.

Choose One Brand To Build

Once you’ve got your goals in place, I’d take a moment  to think through exactly what brand you’re trying to build with this series. It sounds like you’ve thought about it some, but it may be a little convoluted because you have several different brands you’re trying to help with this project.

The way I see it, there are a few different potential brands in play here – Easier Movies, your Casual Mondays sketch group, and each of the personal brands of people in the group.

It doesn’t matter which you choose, but I’d strongly recommend choosing ONE brand to primarily associate with this series. The others will benefit regardless, but whatever brand you choose to emphasize should be the one your social accounts are titled and should be the hub for all your activities.

Personally, I’d strongly recommend focusing on the Easier Movies brand – it’s the name of the project and the name that most obviously conveys what this series is about. Because of that, it will be the easiest one to build up (no pun intended).

Obviously, you’d still have the Casual Mondays account and your personal accounts sharing and discussing the series and new videos (you don’t need to hide from it), but all promotion should be to reinforce the Easier Movies brand and social accounts.

It’s tough enough to get people to remember one thing (like “Easier Movies”) without confusing them by referencing other stuff in the posts about the videos. For example, “Check out the new Easier Movies video” is simpler than “Check out the new Easier Movies video by Casual Mondays.”

You want to make it as simple as possible for people to understand what they’re looking at, connect with it, and remember it.

It’s tough to build brands and you only make it tougher on yourself when you try to build multiple brands simultaneously. Pick one and emphasize it consistently.

Choose The Right Platforms

You’re off to a good start in terms of platforms – I think it makes sense to post these videos on Vine, Instagram and Facebook because those platforms should be a great fit for the kind of short videos you’re doing.

But I would recommend adding a couple additional platforms.

First, you should set up an Easier Movies YouTube channel (assuming that’s the brand you go with). Even if you don’t post every video to YouTube individually, it will be helpful for you to have a YouTube presence and you can also upload compilation videos featuring several of your episodes.

Even though you’re making very short videos, YouTube is still the place where most people go to watch video and you should be on there. I’d probably upload each episode there because you also can benefit from YouTube’s search results – especially when you’re making videos about movies that lots of other people are searching for on YouTube.

It’s a little extra effort, but it’s worth the time.

The other platform I’d recommend is buying a web domain specifically for Easier Movies and setting up a website for the series. Again, you don’t have to regularly post a ton of content to it (maybe just embed your YouTube playlist?), but it will help you to have a hub with basic information and an overview of what you’re doing.

You need someplace to send people you meet – especially industry and new fans – that makes it easy for them to get an overview of what Easier Movies is all about.

Plus, it gives you another thing that can be found in search engines and makes you look more professional. It also gives you a place to host an Easier Movies email list signup and you can drive people from all your social platforms there to sign up.

Optimize Your Content

Your content is good and you’ve got a clever concept that’s going to appeal to a specific audience. But there’s a couple things you might want to consider to optimize that content a bit.

I’d recommend focusing on specific movies as opposed to the episodes you’ve posted that have more generic themes. The generic themes confuse the concept a bit – they may be entertaining, but when you’re starting out it’s important to convey a consistent message in what your series is about and I think the generic ones skew that a bit.

Also, the movie-specific ones will be much easier to promote (more on that later) because it’s easy to target those specific audiences as opposed to targeting broader movie fans with the generic episodes.

My other recommendation is to consider doing episodes tied to some new movie releases because you know those movies are going to get a lot of attention each week when they’re released. For example, maybe every Friday or every Monday you do an episode based on a movie that just opened. This would be a way for you to tap into all the conversation online about those movies and get some extra attention for your work.

Promote Your Content

While each episode will be different, here’s four specific strategies I’d recommend for promoting your videos.

Hashtags

I see you’re using hashtags in your posts, but you probably could use them a little better. You want to make sure you use the right relevant hashtags to get your stuff seen.

For example, your Jurassic Park episode should have included Jurassic Park-related hashtags, but also more general film hashtags such as #Movies or #Film and comedy-related hashtags like #Funny #Sketch #Comedy or something like that. You can experiment with them, but you want to use hashtags that people are search for when they’re looking for a specific type of content. Even something like #Dinosaurs or #Trailers might have been worth trying.

Meanwhile, on Facebook you want to use @ tags when referencing movies as opposed to hashtags. When you do that, it will show your post to fans of that movie’s page and dramatically increase your targeted reach as opposed to the hashtag which doesn’t do that.

So rather than using #CitizenKane in your post, you should have tagged the @CitizenKane page to reach those fans.

Facebook Ads

I’m a huge fan of Facebook ads and they will work REALLY WELL for a project like this one. Because what you’re doing has such a specific niche for each episode (fans of the movie referenced in the episode), you’ll be able to target just those people and you’ll get a great reaction.

For example, most Jurassic Park fans will enjoy your episode about Jurassic Park so it will be cheap for you to reach them (because Facebook rewards well-targeted content in ads) and you know the people you reach will likely enjoy your videos.

Plus, video is huge on Facebook right now and pops out in people’s feeds. I’d strongly recommend experimenting with some ads and think you’ll be amazed at how successful they are for you. You never know, but I bet you could get targeted views at around 5 cents per view or less.

But the key is to run the ads only targeting fans of the movie in the episode – go specific and narrow, not broad.

Reach Out To Movie Blogs

Another benefit of the specific niche of your content is it should be easy to find blogs who might share your stuff. There’s a ton of movie blogs out there and you should reach out to them and tell them about what you’re doing.

Besides pitching them your content, you could offer to create some episodes specifically for them – maybe they would agree to post a series of episodes as a list where they could get a big content hit and you would get attention and views for the videos.

For example, you could pitch them the idea of creating a series of episodes about Steven Spielberg films that they could compile into a post titled “5 Spielberg Films In 5 Seconds Each” or something like that.

You can also reach out to popular movie podcasts and see if you can get booked as a guest or start interacting with them online. There are lots of possibilities, but you definitely want to start building relationships with the online movie fan community because they can help you reach a bigger audience.

Build Your Community

As you’re introducing more people to your content and growing your audience, you’ll also want to explore ways to turn that audience into a more active community. Again, you’ve got a great opportunity here since your concept lends itself to lots of interesting ways people could participate and it’s based around something that people naturally love to discuss.

For example, here’s a few things you might want to try:

Ask fans to suggest movies for you to feature in episodes.

Let fans create their own versions of Easier Movies which you feature on your site/channel.

Ask fans to send you Easier Movies scripts that you can then bring to life.

Create a contest where some of your Easier Movies crew create two different episodes based on the same movie and let the viewers vote to determine which one is their favorite – you could then build ongoing rivalry storylines around some of these amongst the people making them.

Offer local fans the chance to appear in one of your episodes.

On Twitter or Facebook, create text-based prompts that allow people to play along, similar to what happens with Hashtag Wars. Maybe something like #EasierMovieTitles?

There are tons of ways you can create opportunities for fans to interact with your series and feel a part of it so you should keep that in mind as you move forward and experiment with some of them.

One other note about this kind of community involvement – the added benefit of doing this is that any time you do an episode that a fan has some involvement with, it’s a safe bet that they’ll share it with their friends and spread the word.

More fan involvement equals more exposure for your series.

One More Important (But Slightly Less Fun) Thing To Consider

Whenever you start a project with a group of people, it’s worth having a quick conversation up front about who exactly owns what it is that you’re building.

You don’t need to formally get lawyers involved, but it’s worth talking it through and putting something in writing amongst yourselves, before things start to (hopefully) take off.

No matter how good your relationship is with the people you work with, issues may come up down the road and you never know what’s going to happen as your project gets more successful and more complicated.

Also, if you’re lucky enough to get industry attention and somebody wants to do something with what you’ve created, the first thing they’re going to want to know is who owns Easier Movies and who makes the decisions on its future.

For example, what happens if somebody wants to turn it into a TV series but only wants to use two of the group members on air? Or, what happens if somebody wants to buy the concept but not use any of the group members on air?

I have no idea if you guys have had a conversation about this or not at this point, but my strong recommendation would be that you get on the same page with everybody involved so it’s clear who “owns” Easier Movies and whatever everybody’s participation entitles them to in it.

It may seem like an unnecessary conversation to have at this point, but making sure you’re on the same page when you start something will make it infinitely easier to succeed later on down the road.

And I know this because I’ve seen first hand what can happen when a bunch of talented people start working on a project and then suddenly the whole world gets interested in them – it can get real complicated, real fast.

Good luck with the series – I’ll be watching and can’t wait to see where it goes!

READ THIS NEXT: How To Decide Where To Post Your Comedy Videos

How To Turn Your Old Social Media Posts Into Your Best Website Content

I’ll let you in on a secret: The most popular article on this website over the last three months was nothing but a bunch of old tweets.

My article on 40 Ideas For Comedians To Think About was one of the most successful (and easiest) posts I’ve ever written and it simply featured a bunch of repurposed tweets I had posted over the past few years on my Connected Comedy Twitter account.

This wasn’t just a bit of luck – it was the result of a simple process you can use to turn your old social media posts into great content for your website.

Here’s how I did it and how you can do it too.

Step 1: Study Your Old Social Media Posts

The first thing you need to do is a little research.

Go back through your old social media posts on whichever platforms you use frequently – Twitter and Facebook of course, but you could do the same with old YouTube videos, Instagram posts, or anywhere else you spend time sharing content.

Twitter makes this easy to do because you can download an archive of all of your tweets (which is a good idea regardless of whether or not you decided to do something with them – it’s worth having a copy of your “work” that you can access in case the platform disappears some day).

It’s a little trickier with Facebook because you have to scroll back through your timeline manually, but it can still be done relatively easily.

As you review your old social media posts, pay special attention to the ones that were the most successful and start a list of what they were so you can easily find them again. Most likely, you’ll start to see some similarities and connections between the posts that clicked with your followers.

That leads me to the next step…

Step 2: Figure Out A Connection Between Your Best Posts

As you start to see what your most successful posts have in common, think about how you can create a single thruline that connects them all.

This connection will become the core concept of the new post you’re going to create for your website, utilizing your old social posts.

Sure, you could just gather them up into a post titled something like “My 20 Best Tweets,” but ultimately this will work better if you drill down more into something specific they have in common.

It’s ok if not every great post you have fits into the category – you don’t have to include it then.

In my case, I share a lot of links to interesting articles on my Twitter account, but I decided to focus my website article only on tweets that included advice I’ve given to comedians. Specifically, I focused on some of the “big ideas” I’ve tweeted about over the years and chose that as my framework.

There are countless ways to connect your old social posts to a single theme that appeals to a specific audience. It depends on what kinds of stuff you post obviously, but here’s a few ideas to get you thinking about how to frame your own post:

• 20 Crazy Experiences I’ve Had In New York Restaurants

• 20 Times The Chicago Cubs Made Me Say Something I Regret

• The 20 Worst Responses I’ve Gotten To @Midnight Hashtag Wars Tweets

• 20 Things That Seemed Like A Huge Deal In 2009 That Don’t Matter Any More

• 20 Photos That Prove Hipsters Need To Be Stopped

• 20 Ways To Handle Awkward Dating Situations

The connection between the social posts you choose to repurpose will ultimately lead to the headline of your post and have a huge impact on how successful it becomes, so give it some thought.

Step 3: Write The Post

Once you’ve got some of your best old social posts pulled together and you’ve figured out a good thread to connect them all, it’s time to write the post.

You can showcase them as a blog post like I did which is probably the ideal scenario, but if you don’t have a blog or don’t want to do that then you can try a different approach. You could upload them as images in a photo gallery for example or potentially even turn them into a slideshow video and upload it to YouTube.

But personally, I’d recommend using them as a blog post like I did.

The title of your post should reflect the connection between the posts you’re repurposing, but also should suggest an audience that will most likely be interested in them and hint at the value that audience will get from reading the post.

In my case, I titled my post 40 Ideas For Comedians To Think About because it reflects what the tweets have in common, speaks to the audience I thought would be interested in it (comedians), and hints at the value in reading the post (essentially saying, if you’re a comedian you should think about these things).

You’ll also notice I chose to include a large number of posts in the article – you don’t need to include 40 things for this to work and I didn’t have a specific number in mind when I set out to do this, but there definitely is benefit to including a large number of items.

It suggests there’s more value to the post than your typical Top 10 list, and increases the likelihood people will find something that resonates. There’s no magic number – I actually have about 35 more tweets I considered for the post, but will likely use those in a later post – but I’d recommend you incorporate at least 10 posts into your new article.

As far as the actual writing of the post goes, you’ll notice I chose to transcribe the tweets and make it seem as if it was new content, written specifically for this post. Rather than post screenshots of the original tweets or embed them in the post, I wanted this to come across as fresh content. It’s more impressive (and easier) to read it as a regular article than it would be to show I was just repurposing tweets.

You want your content to feel new, even if it’s not. There are some exceptions to that (for example if you’re doing something that’s purposefully nostalgic), but in general it’s a good rule to follow.

And for what it’s worth, I don’t think any of my readers realized I had previously tweeted what was in that article – even if they had read much of it before while following me on Twitter over the years. And even if they did realize it, it’s still helpful to give it to them all in one place for easy reference.

While I didn’t make it clear the post’s content was repurposed tweets, I did reference several of my social accounts in the introduction to my post. That’s because I want people to be aware of my social accounts since this content is the kind of thing that I post.

If they stumbled across the article and liked what they saw, I wanted them to be aware of my social accounts because they’d probably like what I post there as well.

Step 4: Promote Your New Post

Once you’ve published your post, the next step is to get it seen.

In addition to the usual promotional channels – your social media accounts, email list (hopefully!), and telling every friend and family member you have to check it out, you should look for ways to expand your reach.

Because you will have created a piece of content that has a built-in niche (that connection that you found between all the social posts you chose is essentially a niche), you can look to promote it in places where people interested in that niche hang out.

Using the examples of post titles I listed above, here’s some examples of where else you could promote that content.

• 20 Crazy Experiences I’ve Had In New York Restaurants – Send the link to New York food blogs.

• 20 Times The Chicago Cubs Made Me Say Something I Regret – Use Cubs hashtags on Twitter or send it to Cubs blogs and fan sites.

• The 20 Worst Responses I’ve Gotten To @Midnight Hashtag Wars Tweets – Tweet a link to the @Midnight account and see if they’ll share it.

• 20 Things That Seemed Like A Huge Deal In 2009 That Don’t Matter Any More – Find retro/nostalgia blogs and send it to them.

• 20 Photos That Prove Hipsters Need To Be Stopped – Promote it with an image and use relevant hashtags on Instagram and Tumblr.

• 20 Ways To Handle Awkward Dating Situations – Offer to contribute the column as a guest post on a relationship/dating blog.

And all of these could be easily promoted using Facebook ads, which would be incredibly effective and inexpensive with this kind of content. Here’s an example of how I’ve done that in the past.

Step 5: Repeat

While creating your repurposed content article and promoting it will take a little time and effort, it’s really not that difficult.

Again, most of the hard work (creating the material in the first place) has already been done by you on your social accounts!

This is just a way to take some of the work you’ve put in over the years and get a LOT more benefit from it. Plus, ideally you’re using old social posts you already know people enjoyed because you’re choosing some of your best stuff which means there’s a high likelihood people will enjoy this post even more.

And the real beauty of this strategy is that after you’ve created the article, promoted it, and reaped the rewards from it – you can do it all again!

This is a repeatable strategy you can use as often as you’d like, assuming you’re posting enough good content to your social platforms to pull from. Once you get this first repurposed post out of the way, go back into your archive and find some more stuff that can be repurposed and find other connections you can make.

Will this automatically reach millions of people? No. But, it definitely will work and it will get you a lot more attention for content that is otherwise just lost in the ether.

And if nothing else, it justifies all that time you’re spending tweeting away when you should be writing.

Good luck and if you give this a shot, send me a link to your post and I’ll be happy to share it with my Connected Comedy followers.

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10 Smart Ways To Use A Pinned Tweet

When it comes to Twitter, little things make a big difference.

Just like a good Twitter bio, a pinned tweet can be a great way to get more out of your activity on the platform.

A pinned tweet is simple to set up and allows you to take any tweet you’ve posted and “pin it” to the top of your Twitter profile page so it will be the first thing people see when they check out your profile. Unfortunately, pinned tweets only apply to people viewing your profile on a desktop computer (as opposed to on mobile), but they still present great opportunities – if you know what to do with them.

I’ve got some suggestions for you, but first here’s a quick video that shows how to set up a pinned tweet in case you don’t know.

Now, on to 10 ways you can get value out of using a pinned tweet. You can change your pinned tweet as often as you like, so feel free to try out several of these techniques and change it up as you have different things you want accomplish.

1. Plug Your Email List

I’m a huge believer in email lists and a pinned tweet is the perfect way to ensure everybody who checks out your Twitter profile is aware of your list. This is what I’ve chosen to do with the pinned tweet on my Twitter account at the moment and it’s worked well.

Here’s what my pinned tweet looks like:

2. Link To A Piece Of Content

Do you have a specific piece of content you want to drive attention to? Maybe something you just put out, or something you created a while ago that you’re proud of? You can use your pinned tweet to ensure that anybody who checks out your profile knows it exists.

3. Extend Your Bio

You might only have 140 characters to work with in your Twitter bio, but a pinned tweet essentially gives you another 140 characters to work with if you want to use it to tell people more about yourself. The mindset of people who check out your profile is similar to when people look at your bio – they are considering whether or not to follow you, so it makes sense to use your pinned tweet in a way that will give them a reason to do so.

4. Retweet Somebody Else’s Tweet About You

Another thing you can do with a pinned tweet is think about it as an opportunity to share a testimonial from somebody else about you. Did a notable comic tweet something about how funny you are? Did a booker or venue tweet about an amazing performance of yours? Did a popular website share a link to your video or write a story about you? You can retweet their tweet with a comment and use that as your pinned tweet to make sure more people see it and give yourself additional credibility to people who check out your profile.

5. Post A Question

Interaction is important on Twitter so you may want to use a pinned tweet that’s designed to get people to interact with you. That could take the form of a question that encourages people to reply to the tweet – thus creating an opportunity for you to engage with them and/or learn more about who is looking at your profile.

6. Prompt People To Tag A Friend

This is an offshoot of the question approach – you could ask a question that’s designed to get people to reply and reference a friend in their reply. For example, your pinned tweet could be a question like, “Which of your friends should I follow on Twitter?” which would encourage people to tag their friends’ accounts in their reply.

In doing this, they’re introducing you to other people you might want to connect with on Twitter and those people will see they were mentioned and check out your profile as well. You’re essentially building virality into your tweet.

7. Promote Your Other Social Accounts

If you have other social accounts that are more important to you than Twitter, you can use your pinned tweet to promote them. For example, if your priority is a YouTube web series or a podcast, it makes sense to use your pinned tweet to ensure people know about it or drive them to check it out.

8. Post A Video Welcome

You might be limited to 140 characters in a pinned tweet, but you can do a lot more with an uploaded video. One great way to introduce people to your Twitter account and explain to them why they should follow you is to do it in video form. Just record a clever welcome video, upload it to YouTube or Twitter’s native player, and drop a link to it in your pinned tweet. It’s a great way to be unique and create a compelling first impression.

9. Plug Your Next Show

If you’ve got an upcoming show you want to promote, why not do so in a pinned tweet? You could also offer free tickets or some kind of incentive as well. Again, your pinned tweet is an easy opportunity to get additional exposure for something you want people to see, and in most cases your show promotion could probably use every little bit of help you can get.

10. Recommend Other Comics To Follow

Here’s an interesting idea – reach out to a few other comic friends and collaborate to use all of your pinned tweets to promote each other. For example, your pinned tweet could say something like, “If you like my tweets, you should check out @THISCOMIC @THATCOMIC and @THATOTHERCOMIC.”

Then have each of those comics do something similar with their pinned tweets to promote you. As a result, you all will (hopefully) benefit from whatever attention any of you get to your profiles.

READ THIS NEXT: How To Share and Tag Your Way To More Influential Twitter Followers