How Content Creation Uses the Iceberg Theory

If you’ve ever sat through a professional development session in basically any industry, chances are you’ve heard the iceberg analogy. This illustration was from Freud’s theories on conscious/unconscious thinking and has several different applications:

Freud likened the three levels of mind to an iceberg. The top of the iceberg that you can see above the water represents the conscious mind. The part of the iceberg that is submerged below the water, but is still visible, is the preconscious. The bulk of the iceberg that lies unseen beneath the waterline represents the unconscious. (via

Think of this blog post as another professional development session, but don’t worry about silencing your cell phone or even changing out of your sweatpants. 🙂

As a social media content creator, it can get increasingly difficult to create fresh and meaningful content over and over again. Throw in there a healthy dose of imposter syndrome (another post for another day!) and creating good quality content on someone else’s behalf can become a daunting task.

Here’s where the iceberg comes in. When your average person is scrolling social media, they’re seeing the tip of the iceberg- the post itself, the image and the caption. They might not see the other elements of the social media post and are probably not looking for them. As a content creator when I am creating the social media content, I am looking to add the below the surface information. It is my job to include what’s beneath the surface in the post – the image with the caption while keeping in mind the brand, vision and goals of the social media campaign. When leveraging the bottom portion of the iceberg, we avoid burning out as we continue to produce quality content. We also ensure that the tip of the iceberg is perfectly positioned for maximum impact on our audience.

Here are three beneath-the-surface points to ponder:

  • Different platforms have different audiences: If you’re posting the same content across all platforms without making even minor tweaks, you might be missing a segment of your audience. Customizing your message requires knowing who’s interacting with your content on each platform. Knowing to whom you’re speaking is a great launching point for drafting content.
  • Algorithm changes: Keeping up with algorithms can almost become a full-time job in itself. As best you can, stay up to date on all algorithm changes and switch up your posting schedule, your call to action and your content media accordingly.
  • Reinforcing the brand: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve created a month of content for a client and thought to myself- I feel like I just said this x weeks ago. That may be true, but chances are your audience is not keeping track of your posting schedule as diligently as you are! And if you did just say that thing, GOOD. You’re staying on brand for that client and reinforcing what they value most. As long as you’re not repeating yourself verbatim, it will come off as authentic and consistent.

You’re now dismissed from your session. Enjoy the rest of your day and drop your comment cards in the box below 😉



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