I’ve been writing online since 2015. Since February 2020, I’ve been writing and publishing an article every Sunday. For some strange reason, I only realized I could share my articles on social too around July. Here’s my guide on how to turn articles into social media posts for writers, artists, and ethical creative founders.
If you’re more interested in my deep dives into human nature, I would kindly suggest closing this tab (maybe visiting raptitude.com) and joining me next Sunday.
If you’re interested in the BTS, the technical side of things, and/or growing your business through social media in an ethical way, this is for you.
How to turn articles into social media posts
A client I worked with back in July invited me to Airtable. They used it to assign tasks and track editing changes. At first, I was so confused, but quickly got the hang of it.
I’m obsessed with knowing the Behind The Scenes of successful endeavors so I really enjoyed From plate to screen: how PBS show “Secrets of a Chef” uses Airtable for post-production.
Again, if you’re interested in BTS and the editorial creative process, keep reading. If not, no hard feelings, I’ll see you next Sunday 🙂
Before talking about how to social media, let’s talk about why.
Why do you need an editorial calendar and to repurpose articles?
I hate the word repurpose because it seems so greedy, very growth hacker-y, as if one purpose wasn’t enough. Sustainability matters to me. While I love repurposing clothes or products, using the word referring to my brain and the things it comes up with, in this case, with my writing, feels a bit wrong. You might be saying, well, why did you use it then? I wanted to explain how I felt about it just in case 1 person feels the same way they’ll be like: “Me too!!”.
An article can turn into social media posts, podcast episodes, landing pages, IGTV, part of a bigger guide, etc. I turned a part of my article How Hard Conversations Help You Grow & Why You Should Have Them as Often as Needed into a Reel which has received 3K+ views. It’s great to turn long-form articles into other forms of content for a few important reasons.
#1 People are different
We learn in various ways- visual learners, auditory learners, etc. A lot of people prefer articles, others prefer videos or podcasts.
If you’re creating entertaining, valuable, moving content, you’re doing a disservice to your audience by not making it more accessible for them.
Reading a long article takes a bit of planning and commitment. A lot of people struggle with time management and short attention spans. Similarly, if you’d like to share your work with this group of people as well, turning your articles into social bits is the way.
#3 You can reach more people
Plenty of my IG followers don’t read long-form articles. Plenty of my site readers have no idea about my social media, or simply don’t use it. You can use hashtags in social media posts to reach people who wouldn’t otherwise know about you, create a niche and make it easier for your audience to know what you’re about and if they’re interested in seeing your stuff.
#4 Increases share-ability
It’s easy to share links on Twitter or Facebook, but it’s not possible on Instagram. Since Instagram is my hero platform (a hero platform is your most important social platform, usually the one with the biggest audience), turning my articles into shareable posts makes it easy for people who like what they see to share it with their friends and followers. Plus, a lot of young people don’t use Facebook. A lot of people who aren’t celebrities don’t use Twitter. I’d like to reach those people as well.
Content marketers list the following among their top challenges: • Creating enough content on a regular basis • Finding sources to create amazing content • Promoting content • Measuring the impact of contentState of the Industry Report on Copywriter Rates and Top Performing Marketing Methods, American Writers & Artists Institute
That’s obviously good news for me as a writer.
Plenty of clients hire people because they like how they write on social media. Especially for service-based businesses, creative founders, and digital entrepreneurs, a strong voice and brand identity are key. They’re willing to pay if you’re not scared to speak your mind and have a solid, unmistakable voice.
If you can show you are consistent, creative, strategic, and able to make an impact, you’re so much closer to your goal.
How to turn articles into social media posts- Step by step process
I’ve made a promise to myself that I’ll never write with social media, SEO, or shareability in mind, no matter how lucrative they may be.
My writing needs to remain pure for me to be able to do it. So if the way my brain expresses itself or makes associations isn’t search engine-friendly, I don’t lose sleep over it.
When my Yoast SEO plugin tells me I need to work on readability because I’ve used passive voice when telling a story (like in Cookie’s case), I do not give a fuck.
I cherish my writing too much to ever let it be taken over by technicalities.
Yes, it takes way longer because I’m not willing to compromise on quality for a higher reach or more opportunities. As Mahdi Woodard said: “It might take me a little longer cuz I care more about maintaining my reputation than I do about maximizing my revenue.” Fine by me.
2. Create graphics
This guide by Readymag tackles everything from the evolution of layouts and typesetting on the web to fonts that address special issues, to creating readable web text.
- Use a color-contrast checker like WebAIM
- Choose the right font and spacing
Best font size for Instagram posts- How to Turn Articles Into Social Media Posts
32 for paragraph, 36 for main point, 88 for headline/first carousel photo with a 1.4 line height
I struggled a lot to find the best font size for written content on social media. There’s literally no article or guide online. I made it work by finding something I liked and trying to replicate that. For me, that was The Atlantic’s Instagram page. I screenshotted their posts, added them to Canva, and found what font size they used.
Anything from 45 to 75 characters is widely regarded as a satisfactory length of line for a single-column page set in a serifed text face in a text size. The 66-character line (counting both letters and spaces) is widely regarded as ideal. For multiple column work, a better average is 40 to 50 characters.”The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web
The number of characters in a single line of text shouldn’t surpass 75 characters. If it does, the eyes of the reader will have a hard time keeping up. If it’s too short, the eyes will have to move back and forth a lot. That’s also unpreferable.
Maybe I prefer using justified alignment in my social media graphics because of my academic upbringing, or because I love the clean look.
Fonts I use – How to Turn Articles Into Social Media Posts
Playfair Display and Anton. It’s all trial and error. I used Public Sans and Free Serif for a while, still love them, but I realized 4 fonts is too much to use regularly if I want my social media readers to associate them with The Inner Dolphin.
Colors I use for my social media posts
This creamy beige #ECDFC9, this dark green #008037, and this smooth burgundy #801F26. Again, I also used this navy blue #184472 and this olive green #828946, but I soon realized I “couldn’t” use 5 different colors. I’m super happy with the chosen colors and the fact that I came up with them, well, moved the cursor around until I got the perfect color!
I’ve been trying to add my logo and a tiny The Inner Dolphin text to each of them. However, adding custom illustrations got a bit much. I’m happier and more creative when I focus on my craft, writing, so I don’t stress much over illustrations.
Often, one 1000+ words article can turn into 3-4 posts. Of course, some details and stories are meant for the site and they don’t ever make it to social.
Below is a current view of my feed. You’ll see that my article Why We Sabotage Our Own Success was turned into 4 social media posts, all carousels with 5-10 slides. I try to use less than 10 slides, preferably 5-6, but I’m not too fussy about it.
My hashtags strategy
A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag.The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags in 2020
Instagram allows for 30 hashtags. Posts with 10-11 hashtags usually do better. If you’re gonna use all 30, you should use ten of each category: large use, medium use, and niche audience.
I recently learned that the algorithm can tell what the image is about and will penalize you if you use misleading hashtags not related to the image. I use one or two writing hashtags, #theinnerdolphin, and a few others related to the topic I’ve written about.
Don’t use the same hashtags on every post, and make sure you’re not using banned hashtags. Banned hashtags include words like alone, beautyblogger, desk, hardworkpaysoff, italiano, workflow.
Instagram recently stopped hashtags use in the US before the election to stop the spread of misinformation. Also, yes, I’m very happy Trump lost. I feel quite hopeful now for the future of democracy and humanity.
CTA Captions that inspire action
If you’ve seen captions calling for “send this to your friends who needs it” or “saves and shares are appreciated,” that’s a CTA- call to action, inspiring you to take action.
Truly, saves and shares are seen favorably by IG’s algorithm. If you want to support an online creator, that’s a great way how to. Unless they have a donations page or a friend of yours mentioned needing a service similar to the one they offer, of course.
Asking a question or suggesting an action increases engagement and the chances of said action being completed.
Hmm, what else? Ah yes!
Reviving old articles
On the Instagram grid I included previously, you might’ve seen that the first 3 pics aren’t from articles I published recently. One of them is from 3 years ago!
- Friday – Condescending People
- Favorite Songs Lately (& Sex Appeal Because Why Not)
- Wine Review UFO Edition
Below is my Airtable view of my process. The previous “process” was a messy Evernote table, which was more time consuming than helpful. Don’t get me wrong, I love Evernote. I use it for writing, saving articles I’ve read and funny videos I’ve seen (the latter file is called “tears,” referring to the times I’ve cried laughing watching them), and for making unusual associations. When it comes to tables and automation, though, Airtable won me over.
I can sort by my field of choice, in this case, article publish date, and know which articles haven’t been shared.
Content scheduling platforms
A lot of people use scheduling platforms- I like Later and Buffer. However, I kind of like posting manually.
My process has a concrete result, why would I not want to hit Publish myself?
Also, the fact of the matter is that most people use Stories than scroll through their feed. That’s why you might’ve seen those “New post” stories that include someone’s most recent posted photo. At first, I also wondered what in the self-absorbed vanity hell is this?
However, it’s true, most of your followers will never be shown your post in their feed. It makes sense to try to meet them where they’re at.
Closing thoughts on social media and how you can help small creators
Interestingly, as I was writing this, I opened Instagram, and while watching stories, a Dua Lipa ad showed up… again. Let’s preface by saying I love Dua Lipa, and I’m proud of her success, especially as an Albanian immigrant.
I’ve seen her ads a lot recently, in different ad sets (various formats and photo/copy), and just wanted to mention this.
If Dua Lipa, who has 55 million followers, feels the need to run 15 paid ads, can you imagine what that implies for smaller creators?
Full disclosure– I’m not running ads on my account, but I have ran ad campaigns for other businesses in the past. Unfortunately, Facebook Ads remains #1 for reaching and finding your people, sometimes even they’ve already found you. I have no problem with ads per se.
Our relationship with social media is often complicated. I wrote about it in Introducing Social Media in a New Light— How We’ve Been Fighting the Wrong Addiction All Along and What to Do Instead.
Huge social media platforms don’t allow Dua Lipa or others to reach their audiences without paying the platform. Organic reach is low. It’s why creators are often told to “own their platform”, by having their own site or focusing more on growing their email list rather than their number of followers.
You can help by engaging with their content, donating, and just sharing the word if their story resonates.
As Austin Kleon says in his beautifully curated newsletter: “It’s free, but not cheap.” He follows with ways to help, by buying a book or sharing with a friend.
Personally, my livelihood depends on my writing, but of course, my audience isn’t my client. What I aspire to, though, is that when a friend or client of theirs casually mentions needing a writer or some copy done for their new website, they feel confident in saying, “I know just the right person.”
I hope this was helpful for any of you trying to start or grow your passion into a community or business. For questions or suggestions, please comment below.