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EPISODE 16: Easy Content Creation Using the STAR Method

by Jan 12, 2021Content Strategy, Podcast

In this episode we will cover:

  • How to create content that shares stories
  • How to create content that teaches
  • How to create content that asks questions
  • How to create content that responds to your industry and audience

Ever feel like you don’t know what to post about?

We’ve all been there. That’s why we developed the STAR method: a four-part acronym to give you a simple, go-to list of ways to create content.


In this episode, you’ll learn the four parts of the STAR method:

  • Share a story, anecdote, or experience with your audience
  • Teach your audience something new {or re-teach something old, in a new way!}
  • Ask your audience questions
  • Respond to beliefs/practices in your industry, or those of your audience

What’s great about the STAR method is it doesn’t just give you ideas for WHAT to post. It can also easily be adapted into your content calendar. You can plan to post Teaching content once a week. Tired of creating new content all week long? Make Friday an Ask or Respond day, and just chat with your audience instead!

After you listen to the episode, tag us on Instagram @northstarmessaging to tell us how you’re using this method as your star-ting point!



Welcome to the Brand Your Voice Podcast, where we’re digging into how you can create personality-driven content that connects and converts. I’m Jessi…

…and I’m Marie. We’re the co-founders of North Star Messaging + Strategy, where we support business owners in outsourcing content without sacrificing authenticity.

Every brand has a unique voice that sets it apart. We're digging into how to capture the way your brand communicates from the words you use to the stories you tell. So you can create more compelling content that strategically helps you meet your business goals.

And if you choose to outsource that content, you'll be able to do so with confidence, knowing your brand voice is in good hands and you can reclaim your time. We're so glad you're here and hope you enjoy this episode.

All right, welcome to episode 16, easy content creation using the star method. And I'm really excited to talk about this topic because it is something that comes up a lot with our clients who really want to be engaged in their own content creation. They may hire us for support, but they still want to be in there creating content when ideas come to them and making sure that they're building relationships with their clients, because they know that relationships are important. But every once in a while they hit a wall, they don't know what to share, they can't think of new ideas. They feel like the way that they've been sharing is getting a little tired or they might personally just be tired. And so we want to create a method for content creation that makes it a little easier.

Exactly. So obviously the choice that probably comes straight to your mind is repurposing your content. And we've talked about that a little bit on this show, I'm sure we'll return to it and definitely start there. That's a tried and true method that is absolutely a huge help for those who are creating content for businesses and brands. But sometimes you really do want to create some new content, maybe there's something you want to talk about that you haven't spoken about it before. You just don't know how to approach it, or maybe there's something going on in the world and you're thinking about how can I create content to address that? I don't have anything that addresses that, but I need just a little bit of orientation and a starting place.

Yeah, absolutely. So we have a method that we've developed for this called the Star Method. Do you want to talk about what that stands for on a high level, and then we'll dive into each one?

I do and of course I love that Jessi created this and it's a North Star star methods. So it's easy for us to remember with our brand, but hopefully that'll be easy for you all too.
So the Star method is really just four different ways to approach a topic. So it's an acronym S stands for Share T stands for Teach A stands for Ask and R stands for Respond.
So we're going to get into what each of those means and I'll go ahead and dive into S for sure, since I'm already sharing with you. So share would be, if you can think of some kind of story or anecdote or experience that's related to the topic, share that story.
We as humans are hardwired to love stories. It's why we love them as children. It's why we love them as adults. It's why we go to the movies. It's why we play video games. It's why we sit around at the pub and I mean, sorry, lived in England for a while at the bar and I don't know this is post Corona period, so that doesn't happen anymore but anyway, hang out and share stories, swap stories, right?
It's just really a great way to humanize yourself and to make a point that sticks with somebody a bit more. I think all of us can probably think about stories that have been impactful for us. So just an example, out of my personal content creation lately, this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the business, but at the day we are recording this it's voting day for the big 2020 national election in the U.S and I have been posting content encouraging my friends and anybody I knew on social media to vote just leading up to the election.
And one of the stories that I shared is a story about a gentleman who had in the forties, it was his first year to be eligible, to vote as a black man. And he encountered a lot of just endless, really voter suppression. He went to one poll and his polling place and they told him, "No, you're at the wrong place. You need to go over here." This happened to him three times. So by the time it wrapped up, it was too late and the polls were closed and he never got a chance to vote that year and in fact, he never got a chance to vote his entire life because he passed away before the next election.
And that story is obviously heart-wrenching, but it also helped me get across my point that, this is... We need to be voting for ourselves and our families, but also people who never got a chance to. That we can do this in honor, in memory of those who did not have this privilege and this right.
And so leveraging that story, it didn't have to be my story. It didn't have to be a story that I personally experienced or heard firsthand. It certainly can be those things when you're sharing a story or an anecdote or experience, but feel free to think big. It can be a story about really anything so long as it relates. And the great thing about stories is they convey a lot of emotion oftentimes and so really you can lean into that and use it as a strength.

Absolutely and I think as we're looking at this as a way to create content for your business, when you're looking at the Star Method as a whole, really taking one topic, like Marie's example, the voting and seeing how each letter applies to it is really helpful. So what stories around voting can you share or around the topic that you want to address in your business? What stories are there? Which ones exist? Which ones have you shared before that really resonated that maybe you could share a different piece of or in a new way?
So looking first at sharing, what can you share to create that dialogue, to create that conversation, to build more of a relationship with your audience?
The next letter, the T is for Teaching something related to your topic. So again, whatever your big topic is that you want to talk about, what can you teach your audience that either they may not know, or they may know but hearing it again, or hearing it in a new way would really help cement the idea in their heads. We've said this before, and we will say it again because we embrace our own philosophy that it's okay to be a broken record.
It's okay to teach the same thing over and over again. There's always going to be someone new in your audience who hasn't heard it before and there's always going to be someone in your audience who may have been there before, but either didn't see it or it didn't stick for whatever reason, because you know, our brains are in a million places at once on any given day. And sometimes it just takes more than once, maybe it wasn't relevant to them then and it is now.
So one example from our own business is that we often talk about pillar topics, pillar content. And there's a previous episode on the idea of finding your content pillars in your business. This is something that we take all of our clients through personally. And we also talk about often on the various platforms that we are present on. And we've had conversations with people where they have told us how groundbreaking that concept has been for them often when they have that groundbreaking experience, though, they've been exposed to the topic a few times before they really get to the point where they're able to take full ownership of it.
And that's because they have other things going on in their business. And it takes time to fully not only understand the topic, but to understand it, integrate it, execute on it, get the help you need, if you need support in understanding it and just apply it to your business, it has to be the right time. It has to be the right pathway to understanding it.
So whatever concept you're trying to help your audience understand, don't be afraid to teach or to reteach it, even if it's something that you've covered before.

Absolutely. So the next one is, may turn into an opportunity to share a story or to teach, but asking. So don't feel like you have to get really complex with this. You don't need to post a long giant post to start a conversation. This is just a chance for you to ask some questions of your audience, to really get them thinking about a topic and invite them to respond.
When you are able to develop a dialogue and encourage that who knows what's going to come out of that, right? I would suggest doing this on a day when you are able to actually respond. You want to encourage dialogue, and that's not really going to happen if people sort of speak back to you, but there's no opportunity for you to hop in there on your calendar and get back to them and continue the conversation.
This can be super simple, right? In social media, this can literally just be like a poll or something like that. It could be a quick email out to your list. Although I think when it comes to email, you do have a little bit more time to respond than you do on social so that could be something where you decide to respond to them later in the week or the next day.
There's many, many ways to do this with your content. You can even do it in an evergreen fashion. You can create blog posts that ask questions. That's what the comment section is for. Or you could even have a choose your own adventure process where, if this is the answer over here, then they click to this, or if that's the answer there, they click to that.
So there's a lot of ways to do that. It doesn't necessarily have to be a dialogue in terms of somebody's inbox or comments or a social feed, but just inviting the conversation to start and oftentimes that one of the best ways to do that and really get someone thinking is to ask them a question.

Yeah, absolutely. And the thing that I love about the Star Method as a whole is that it really gives you as a content creator and as a business owner permission, to not feel like you have to create a whole ton of stuff in order to create content. You can ask a question and it's a sentence long, and that can start a really great conversation.
And the same holds true for the last letter, which is R. R is for Respond and there are sort of two things that go under this letter. The first is really considering what other people are saying about your industry. Either people who are actively within your industry, there are other businesses in your industry or people outside of the industry, what they perceive it to be. And how could you respond to those insights? How could you respond to what people think it's like to work in your industry? This is a great opportunity for some myth-busting, maybe people think that all graphic designers are one thing, but they're actually something else. And it's actually something more going on than just picking out a color palette. I'm sure any designers out there can relate to that. So that's one that you can respond, listen to what is happening around you about your industry, and just respond to it, have an opinion, share that opinion.
The other way is actually requires even less active creation. So this is great for if you're feeling really burnt out on content creation or burnt out on creativity, is look at what people are saying on other people's accounts. Look at where the conversations are happening. You don't need to create anything new. You just need to join the conversations that are already happening.
So find out what your audience is saying about the topic and start joining the conversation, offer up your own opinion, your own insight, your own experiences and do this in responses. Content doesn't always have to be the content that you post on your social media feed, or send out an email or post on a blog. It doesn't have to be this brand new, amazing, perfect thing that you've created based off of this brilliant idea that you got while you were in the shower.
It's actually much more about the continuation of conversations in the places where the conversations are coming or taking place. You can start the conversations through your own platforms, but you can also participate in them on other people's platforms as well.

Absolutely. I mean, I think everybody who has a brand who has built content knows that, that whole idea of if they build it, they will come is BS. And they're not necessarily coming just because you're creating content. Unless you may already have had a giant audience or something like that in which case that wasn't built in a day either. And you know that, you know there's this thing that people and authors will talk about this sort of like overnight success, but it's actually like a 10 year overnight success where you like have already been writing and publishing quietly and doing your best for a decade.
And then all of a sudden you have a breakout book and people are like, "Whoa, where did they come from out of nowhere?" And you're like, "Yeah, sure. This just got invented yesterday." Right? Like we know that that's not typically the case. There's pretty much always work that goes on the front end. And so, instead of thinking, if I build it, they will come think, where are they already? What has already been built? Where is the conversation already happening? And that can be a great place there to have those really interesting conversations.
And then once you have already developed those relationships, you're actually more likely to be able to build a strong following because now people know you, they trust you. They are intrigued by your comments. They want to hear what you have to say. I don't know, maybe you post funny GIFs or maybe you have witty come backs or maybe you have really insightful feedback. It doesn't really matter what it is. You can become known for that literally by leveraging other people's content.

Absolutely. So just as a quick recap, STAR stands for Sharing a story, Teaching something related to your topic, Asking questions and Responding, whether it's on your own platforms or elsewhere. And one of the great things about this is you can pull this out anytime. And if you're the type of person who really needs structure around how you're putting content out there, you can actually use this as a calendar tool.
You can say, "Okay, well, once a week, I'm going to share a story. Once a week, I'm going to dedicate some time to asking questions or to teaching something and then maybe at the end of the week, when I know I'm going to be a little more tired, I'm just going to focus on responding in other places, instead of creating something new." Even if you're working ahead and batching content ahead, this can work for you.
This is also great for those times when you sort of spontaneously feel energized by the idea of participating. You have some great ideas that you want to share, you already have a content plan in place, and you want to insert yourself into it without destroying what's already been created. And so this allows you to have that flexibility and step in and have these conversations in a way that's still intentional and still works to actively build your audience and build relationships while also still making use of any of the plans that you've already put in place.

Exactly. I have seen this with clients and friends who have, for instance, Instagram feeds, where they have like a really beautiful grid and they don't want the aesthetic of that to be messed up. Like maybe every other post is a photo and what they really want to post is a quote.
And it's just not going to work for them, right? And so this is a way to get that out there without necessarily disrupting those other plans.
So we always have homework for you. And so today's homework is to choose a topic that's rolling around in your mind, something that's weighing on you, something that you want to either dive into more deeply, approach from a different angle or maybe address for the first time, and then brainstorm four different posts or pieces of content that you can create through the Star method. So what's one way you can share a story or anecdote around it? What's one way that you can teach around this topic? What's a question you can ask that will help your audience think more deeply about it? And what's a way that you can respond either to what others in your industry are saying about it or what your audience is already saying in regards to it?

We're really excited to have you guys dive into this. I think it's a really great exercise in spontaneous content creation because it's great to have things planned out, but every once in a while, nice to add that spontaneity back into. So enjoy happy writing and we'll see you next time.

Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast. Make sure to visit our website North star messaging.com, where you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify and more.

If you found value in this episode, we'd love for you to leave us a review on iTunes and share it with your friends. Thank you and happy content creating.

For additional content strategy and branding tips, check out northstarmessaging.com/blog. Also, please tag us on Instagram and let us know you’re out there! @northstarmessaging 

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