To those of you who have been following my blog series, Developing a Social Media Program if this is your first visit to my blog then you may wish to go back to the beginning before starting this post but as each article is designed to be standalone, feel free to stay here! (The earlier posts will still be out there!)
In this post, I’ll define the fifth component of developing a social media program, Content Creation. This is the fifth of the eight components I’ll be blogging about separately.
By now, you have decided on goals and objectives, which social media applications to use (including a blog), and how to use them to achieve these goals and objectives. The social media identity has been normalized and the building of a community to interact with has been addressed. Integrating across all social media apps was addressed in the last post.
The first task is to decide what to write about. Sounds simple, right?
Don’t be so quick!
While you can theoretically write about anything we want to write about, the object is to write about what your potential readers are interested in. In other words, in the modern world where their attention span is bombarded non-stop with demands for their time, how do you add value in such a way that readers want to read you or at least feel guilty that they haven’t.
I recommend drilling down into whatever topic you’re presenting yourself as a subject matter expert (SME) in. What are the issues, trends, or new ideas that are important to your community? Do you have original, as in controversial, views that you could share?
This is where good content starts.
Google’s Keyword Planner can help in identifying keywords that are trending and lead you to topical story ideas.
I also recommend reading blogs, forums, and whatever other materials that may give you ideas. Constructive listening of other people’s threads is always a good idea. A tool like Evernote is invaluable for clipping story ideas as you go.
Before you go any further, decide what topics you’ll write about and the frequency with which you’ll write about them.
The next task is to find a dependable source of ideas for content. Some call these content wells.
One good way to start is to acquire a reader. Once Google Reader was the go-to standard. However, Google in its unfathomable wisdom has discontinued that as of late. I use and recommend Feedly .
Another good idea to source material is to use Google Alerts prompt you whenever news comes out on certain topics.
Both methods will help to keep you current within your field.
The third task is to create templates for the different types of content that you will write. The social media app being used will dictate the syntax. For example, how you write for a blog will be different from how you tweet. But, you can have a unique style for each of these (and which shouldn’t be too different across the social apps being used) which will identify and define you. Set limits for how long your posts will be. Twitter limits us to 140 characters. Blogs don’t, so don’t be beguiled by the seemingly unlimited potential length of blog post. Keep it short. I strive to keep mine under 1,000 words.
Finally, the last task is to prepare an editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar lists all content that you will post going out into the future. This can be for 30, 60, or 90 days. However short or long a period that you’re comfortable committing to. I recommend no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days.
A good editorial calendar includes time necessary to research, write, edit, and post for your social media apps. The topic or title is included as well. Also, allow for some spontaneous time wherein you sit down for a few minutes during each and interact with your community. Plan on blocking out at least two hours per week to prepare, post, and reply to your social media apps.
We now have added the means to generate content for our social media program.
This joins the approach to integrate our social media app’s to a plan of action to grow a community of interest around our social media program which I discussed in the fourth and third components respectively.
At the end of the second component, this social media program has incorporated a personal brand onto the apps and developed a common profile and enhanced for keyword searches.
With the first step, I discussed how goals and objectives influence the social media app choices available. Then the importance of having a blog and the options available for setting one up were reviewed.
We now know what we want to do and how we’re going to do it.
But, a social media program is not a static event, a fire and forget activity.
In the next article, Publishing, I will discuss how to push out your content.
There are eight steps summarizing for me how to initiate, maintain, and improve a social media program. Each of these represents tasks and interim deliverables. Third party tools are available to assist with these and enhance the social media app’s themselves. This ongoing series in my blog will discuss these.
In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!
I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.
I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me. Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.
I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.