Perhaps my favorite douchey social media catch phrase is “Content is King.”
Not because social marketing done well is about so much more than just content (it’s also about strategic channel selection, alignment to business objectives, the appropriate measurement plan, etc.)… And not because I take fundamental issue with the notion of “content marketing” (that’s another blog post for another day, my friends)…
I loathe that phrase because of this:
A business may accept that content is king. But said business has no strategic approach to creating, curating and disseminating relevant content across the digital landscape. Its content-related efforts are fragmented, unorganized and weak at best.
When I suggest maintaining a content calendar, I am often met with one of two responses: “What’s that/what good will that do?” -OR- “I don’t have time for that.”
News flash: social media marketing involves a serious amount of work and a substantial time investment. It’s not enough to stick an intern or your college-age nephew on your social marketing efforts and expect miraculous results.
Based on my experience in content-based social marketing, I can tell you several things with absolute certainty:
- You need a framework to capture all planned content. I don’t care if this is a bulleted list in Word, to start. You must record your plans and stick to a schedule. This is the only way to keep yourself on track and avoid the “chasing shiny objects” syndrome of randomized, knee-jerk social messaging. Now this is not to say that you can’t accommodate last-minute additions/changes for breaking news or other pertinent industry updates. But you need a foundational content roadmap.
- You will spend just as much time planning for content as you will actually executing and measuring said content. There’s no way around this. It’s a shitload of work. Accept it and embrace it instead of whining about it and avoiding it.
- You will likely update & tweak your planned content cadence on a daily basis. Hell, there are days when I make hourly updates, depending on changes in the business and our cross-functional messaging strategy. Accept that this is just the nature of the beast.
- You cannot talk about the same things in the same way across every social channel in which you are active. Your Facebook audience will be vastly different from those that follow you on Instagram, for example. Work toward a thorough understanding of the nuances in channels and deliver content that is appropriate to each medium.
- There will be times when you are at a complete loss for what to talk about. Good news: there are some sweet-ass tools out there to help you when you’re in a pinch. For example, ChatterJet provides you with daily content ideas, articles, and conversation starters customized to your business to get your fans and followers chatting with you online. Also, people like Amy over at Savvy Sexy Social have some awesome insights to share, such as “353+ Blog Post Ideas to Inspire You.” So be sure to take advantage of the resources at your digital fingertips!
However, the most important point I’d like to make is this:
If content is king, then give it a proper throne!
(Slash, get yourself a good working content calendar)
Here’s the “throne” that I use at work. It’s a basic Excel spreadsheet that tracks our content plan on a 90-day rolling schedule. It is shared with senior leadership weekly so that they can get a view into our key messages across channels and feel all warm and fuzzy that we are talking about the right priorities in the right places at the right times.
Yes, populating and managing this content calendar mandates a tremendous amount of effort and attention to detail. But I could not perform some of my job’s essential functions without this bad boy.
Give it a try. It’ll grow on you. I promise.
Anyone have other content calendar formats that work well?