I know, I know. You get daily reminders from every industry expert, newsletter, and your 14-year-old that a key component of business success these days is a killer social media presence. There’s an enormous opportunity to give your expertise legs by developing relevant content and sharing it strategically.
It’s not that you aren’t aware right? It’s that the starting point resembles the gate to Hades.
Here’s the thing, I promise that if you take the time to develop a content plan, that includes a calendar, you’ll remove some daily work from your plate, and some pressure. It can prompt soon-to-be new clients and customers to find you instead of you always hunting for them. It will provide insight into your customers that can make you the best virtual friend ever–which will often develop into a great customer/provider relationship IRL. It will highlight you as the engaged and resource-rich industry aficionado you are–while you’re busy doing what makes that true. Follow these 5 steps to get you started:
1. Set your intentions
Namaste. Kidding! Well, not about setting intentions. I mean goals Y’all. Decide your desired outcomes. Sales? Thought-leadership? Brand awareness? Leads? Set S.M.A.R.T social goals that align with your business objectives. These will inform your strategy, provide a way to measure outcomes, and allow you to adjust as needed for success.
2. Do the research
Do an audit any employee of the CRA would be proud of on your social platforms. Explore each place you live online. Focus on the platforms that make sense for your business. Do they need an update or makeover? Perhaps you’re not on a platform you should be or another has run its course. You’ll be sharing and cross-promoting your content through these channels so you want to make sure they represent you well. Your identity and personality should be consistent and clear across the lot. While you’re at it, spend time on competitor properties to see what they do well and what needs work, and some accounts you plain admire for inspiration. Then, get to know your audience. Check out the analytics to determine where most your followers are, when they interact with you most, and what type of content resonates.
3. Develop your content strategy
This step takes time and contemplation so give yourself the space to do so. Think of the content strategy as your map. It will outline how to get your useful and relevant content out to your audience. Look beyond your obvious core offerings. You’ll get traffic from folks looking for what you offer but creating a community where you are a useful resource every day, will mean you’ll stay top of mind for when that time comes. You may also stand-out as the obvious choice. For instance, if you offer accounting services, your content could span anything from tips on doing your own taxes, to how to build a budget, how to teach kids about money, or what the newest dip in the stock market means in layman’s terms. Think of your owned social and digital properties as the middle of a wheel and the spokes are how you get that info out to the world. Find some templates in the style you prefer to start.
4. Carve out your editorial plan
Take those core subjects/areas of expertise and marry them with relevant calendar dates such as holidays, seasons and key dates in your industry and decide ahead of time what you’ll talk and write about when. Plug these into a weekly editorial calendar. Keep in mind to leave room for real life happenings. Using the accounting example again, if a surprise announcement is made that affects finances and that week you planned to talk about teen spending, be ready to make a shift. Remember relevancy and usefulness is the core of every activity, and each should serve your goals. These are overarching themes that you’ll share in various ways across your networks – and all roads lead back to you.
5. Build the calendar
Now it’s plug-in time. You’ll outline per platform, the what and when for each day and week. This includes links and visuals. Doing these a year in advance is the holy grail, but if you can master 2 or 3 months at a time to start – you’re doing great. HootSuite and CoSchedule provide user-friendly and free calendar templates. The calendar should be detailed enough, that you can post quickly, in bulk if available, or just hand to someone else (lucky you!) and they understand exactly what to do.
How do you tackle the massive web that is content planning? Share your tips and struggles!