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November 17, 2020

095 | How to Create Engaging Content [Results are in]

how to create engaging content by Annie Miller

This podcast episode came directly from an Instagram poll that I did a week or two ago.

In preparation for something coming in 2021, I gave four options for my IG audiences biggest struggle in biz:

  • Content creation
  • Overall messaging
  • Mindset
  • Offer development

In order the results were content creation, offer development, messaging and then mindset. Which I actually found interesting, because I think mindset plays a FAR LARGER role than y’all give credit to…But that’s another convo.

So, with content creation being the highest vote, I asked in a question box, for my audience to elaborate – what part of content creation is currently holding you back?

These were the answers. This somewhat condensed, but you’ll hear repeats for sure.

Batching posts


How to get started…

Niching down

Regurgitating the same content. Not being unique

It just takes SO MUCH TIME

Where to start

IDK where to start So many things to say

Planning + developing (tech of design, overlays etc)

Feeling like I have nothing to offer

Professional Photo creation 

Creating valuable content on a consistent basis

Some days I know what to say, other days I have nothing

Mental energy to create valuable content

Feeling deflated when no engagement

Seeing others post similar content

Systems. I feel totally overwhelmed by all that needs to get done

Creating something interesting and engaging

Don’t know what to post


Coming up with ideas

Being consistent

Organizing everything

Headlines that attract + convert

Know what picture to post

Knowing what to post

Creating quality photo/video

Enough photo, planning out captions, time to do it all

Creating engaging captions

Brain is mush. (overwhelm)

Getting people to comment (ENGAGEMENT)

Speaking to ICA

Creating sharable/save-able content (ENGAGEMENT)

What to post about

Educational posts that still drive ENGAGEMENT

Knowing what my audience wants to hear about (TOPIC CHOICES)

How much detail to include

Feeling repetitive – needing to talk about what others talk about

Speaking with authority but not ego/superior

Pictures, timing, batching

Doing it ahead of time (BATCHING)

Knowing what ICA needs from me how to connect

Creating enough content for consistent posting

Super stressed, no creative juices (would benefit from templates)

Honestly, I had to take a deep breath after reading through hundreds of these responses.

I was torn. On one hand, I literally teach ALL OF THIS inside my IG 101 course. Like HELLO – THIS IS WHY I CREATED THIS COURSE!!! BUY IT.

On the other hand, clearly my audience is having very common issues and experiences in attempting to establish their brand on the gram. And I feel that to my core.

It was a both/and situation. Irritated and empathetic in the same breath.

People are overwhelmed, stressed, feeling defeated, and overall ungrounded in their brand on the insta.

And that straight up sucks. It’s not fun.

So, imma say a few things – big surprise…

You’ll probably have a little “both/and” situation of your own in hearing what I have to say. You may like some of it and be offended at the same time…

My main goal is to challenge you + give you tangible ways to drive up engagement and build the audience you want on instagram.

Before the tactics comes the TRUTH.

I had several DM conversations on this topic with my audience, and it was clear to me that mindset was playing a GARGANTUOUS role here.

What I heard was a mindset that was rooted in selfishness and victimhood. 

I SAID WHAT I SAID. BE OFFENDED. You want the truth, well here it is. You feel triggered? Well, I challenged you to lean into that.

Listen – this app, Instagram, the algorithm. They aren’t who you’re here to serve. I swear people are more focused on growing their numbers, or beating the algorithm than they are with ACTUALLY SERVING AND INTERACTING WITH THEIR AUDIENCE. Like REALLY being dedicated to molding their audience. To building culture and relationship.

Fact is, if you’re not willing to roll with the punches, you’re functioning from a fixed mindset rather than growth mindset. And often you’re taking it personally.

I see false and skewed expectations which lead to a cycle of bitterness and disappointment. Neither of which help build your engaged audience.

So zoom out. Step back, away from the app. And let’s review the bigger mission.

Why are you on Instagram? Truly – why?

Likely because you either have or want to have a business and use instagram as your main social media platform for audience building.

Why build an audience?

The most obvious reason is needing an audience to sell to in order to create income.

What do we need in order for people to buy from us?

KNOW, LIKE, & TRUST. You need an audience that knows, likes, and trusts you.

How to do you create know, like and trust?

We build authenticity and authority – these are the pillars on which I built my business and teach others to build theirs.

We cultivate authenticity and authority through our content. Now this becomes the focus. Suddenly we’re centered on the people in our current following, being fully ourselves, and establishing authority.

Essentially the mindset shift here is a lot of grit, mixed with a human centered approach.

Your focus is not beating the algorithm, it’s becoming a better leader to your people.

So you want your audience to engage, I get it. But you will need a few things from yourself.

Let’s dive into building that audience who does engage with your content across the entire platform.

And we must broaden our perspective of engagement. It is my understanding that most people are referring to just Instagram posts, but within posts we have IG TV, reels, And your traditional posts.

But then from Stories people can react, vote, and DM you. I find that this can be the ticket in teaching your audience to engage with you. And yes we need to teach our audience to engage if they are not currently.

So just keep in mind that engagement can happen in many different ways on Instagram. And some engagement is more valuable than others.

For instance people saving and sharing and commenting on your post is far better than them liking it, and someone physically DM-ing you is a stronger reaction than just reacting to your post with a heart eye emoji or whatever.

Now, don’t turn off this episode when I tell you my first tip. Because it’s going to be very vague and highly obvious. But some of you are not leveraging this like you could be.

Step one: BE YOURSELF.

Like, really really yourself. This is best communicated through stories. I want to feel like we’re friends, having coffee when you’re in your stories. Like you’re behaving just how you would if we met in real life.

This should also be the voice that comes across in your messaging. I’ve said this before, but if you struggle with writing captions, then use voice texting to draft your caption. Then go back through and edit it so it’s formatted correctly. That is a great way to capture your stream of consciousness without writing if you struggle with that.

Now, in the way of actual content that people engage with, there are some common factors.


Remember this refers to how you show up daily in your stories as well as posts that you create. Simply being human in your every day life creates relatability. So often I’ve heard “but my life is so boring“ to which I say, if you drink coffee every day that’s relatable, if you have a dog, that’s relatable. If you don’t want to wash your hair, that’s relatable.

My suggestion for stories is to just let people into your daily life and be consistent in doing so.

Also keep in mind this is in regards to someone who is building a personal brand.

Engaging POST content IS relatable (shareable – this can be literally ANY EMOTIONAL BASE, but many people feel the same about this)

What do you believe or can say that many people are thinking or have experienced but aren’t saying out loud. I’ve mentioned this before, but this does not have to be dramatic.

Talking about your least favorite lift and why is relatable. Everyone has a lift that they hate doing. Lifting with or without shoes is very relatable people have preferences on these things and it’s easy to talk about.

This can also go as deep and dramatic as the over sexualization of the fitness industry which we all know I speak out strongly against.

It’s all relatable, shareable, and sendable.

OR It is of high value or easy to respond to (free coaching in the comments or asking people to vote on something in the comments or in stories)

Again often these high engaging posts are something everyone is thinking but no one is saying (polarizing topics).

As I’m drafting this, one of my favorite psychology professionals, Topsie, has been talking about the lack of regulation in the coaching industry overall. That people claim to be coaches with no certification, backing or continuing education. And it’s a problem.

That’s huge, it’s some thing that we as professionals have seen, and think, and relate to. But she’s bringing it to life by opening the discussion.

These are just to give you some examples and get your wheels turning. Not that you need to use these topics or agree with them.

So for a tangible tip as far as posts go – ask simple questions in the comments. I have a post live that says what is your weakest lift and why is it overhead press? And then the call to action is going to be what is your weakest lift?

People love to complain and jump on bandwagons. It’s just how we humans are.

You can leverage that with your content and call to actions.

Note that if your actual post doesn’t stop their scroll, or your hook doesn’t get them to continue reading, no one is going to see your call to action at the end of your caption. Often times people think it’s their call to action that is failing, but it might actually be the post image or the hook.

For your call to action:

Two choices. Ask their struggle or opinion OR ask if they’ve experienced something similar.

Now, don’t stop there. If you don’t have an engaged audience, people are less likely to engage. When your audience starts to see that people are engaging, it encourages them to do the same.

So get in your stories and encourage people to answer the question or comment. And then if people do comment or share your post, then share that to your story to encourage your other followers to do the same.

This is where leading your audience comes in to play.

You’re not manipulating people, what you are doing is letting them know that engaging with your content is encouraged and welcomed and safe.

That you desire to actually build relationships and learn from these people versus just spewing information at them.

So this week, focus on relatable content. Think about content that you share and or have seen go viral. Although the goal here is not to go viral necessarily, viral post go viral because of higher than normal engagement. So we can learn from this content.

On this note – check out my episode on how to be polarizing and prepare for the hate.

In your stories, literally ask people to DM you or make a fun poll having people vote on like, mountains versus beaches and waffles versus pancakes and things like that. This is fun for your audience to do and it’s fun for you to come up with and it automatically increases engagement.

You can also of course poll them on a more serious note with topics of content that they want or struggles that they’re having and things of that sort.

Remember that you are in control of the culture and relationships that you build in your little corner of Instagram. That should be empowering and encouraging.

After focusing on creating relatable and shareable content, then focus in on creating simple to respond to calls to action.

Again, pay attention to what you respond to and why are you are responding to it. Be a student of the gram.

Then get in your stories in further encourage engagements whether that is to comment on the post or to vote on some thing, or to DM you further.

That’s it. Don’t give up. Creating an engaged audience takes time and consistency. I cannot drive home consistency enough. People engage with what is consistent and dependable. And that creates trust with your audience.

So have at it.

Review of the week comes from 1998babyM and says,

“I’ve followed Annie for a bit on Instagram, she’s literally so informative. Her podcast is no exception – GET OUT YOUR PEN AND PAPER.”

Remember you need to check the show notes (here) to see if you were review-er of the week, and then keep an eye out to see if you were listener of the month as well. That will be in the show notes and Annie’s Weekly Wrap. You can subscribe to Annie’s Weekly Wrap here!

how to create engaging content by Annie Miller

If you find value here, on The FitsPRO Podcast, then pretty please head over to iTunes, subscribe, rate and review the show. It means the world to me when you spread my message to more humans.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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