How to (literally) spell out your content plan ideas

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One of the biggest challenges facing contemporary communications consultants is working out which level of advice is most appropriate to your audience.

In the last few months, I’ve learnt that being as literal as possible needs to be my default setting (even though that can be a challenge)

Why? It is the best (and only) way to help people really get it.

So, I have been continually refining the way I bring content plans to life, because I sometimes fear that while the end product is valued, it is also often misunderstood when it comes to execution.

Let’s break content planning down and then I’ll take you through the new technique I am using to assist in that education process.

An overview of classic content calendars

>There are numerous views and opinions about how to create and manage content calendars for owned social media channels (especially on Facebook).

I’ve always liked creating them in single week blocks, scheduling about 75% of posts and leaving about 25% to be posted in real-time.

The classic content plan is hosted in an excel spreadsheet with references made to the copy and accompanying asset (link / image / video).

Or, you can use something like a DivvyHQ.com to create and share your content plans.

The problem with classic content calendars

The issue I’ve realised with classic content calendars is that if you are asking someone who is still learning their social media trade to implement them, they will take your advice literally.

This can lead to several problems, which may seem minor, but significantly impact on engagement.

Examples include linking to an image on your Facebook page as opposed to posting it as an actual image which is much more likely to be interacted with.

A new approach

So, instead of starting with content calendars, take one step back and literally outline how to find, optimise and post content relevant to the page in question.

Here are some example using a fictional brand called Hoopin’ (a basketball shoe company).

Hoopin’ – conversation map

So, we want to talk AROUND our brand not ABOUT it to engage as many relevant people as possible.

Consequently, our conversation map may include:

As an authority on basketball shoes, it makes sense that we are an authority and unmatched resource about the sport we produce our products for, basketball.

Hoopin’ – conversation sources

Now that you have your conversations topics and keywords, where will you find content that feeds the passion of your community?

I’ve illustrated an example of some content sources related to Hoopin’ below:

Once you’ve identified these, you might want to set up an Individurls.com account that pulls all of these feeds into the one dashboard.

Hoopin’ – content posting template

Now, let’s literally bring an example post to life.

This might seem an overly laborious process, and for many experienced social media professionals it might even seem blatantly obvious, but giving less experienced people the skills and tools to carry out this activity is terribly important.

Most significantly, it helps establish the right habits from the start and also helps improve content discovery.

And, it makes the end result (the content calendar), a more useful resource.

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