Tips For A Successful Digital Content Planning
It is often said that “perfect planning prevents poor performance” and when it comes to marketing and more specifically social media planning, this adage couldn’t be more correct.
I have been a marketing professional since in the early days of digital and social media, I have witnessed people in a wide range of industries struggling with content creation and planning. It’s not always easy to pull a constant stream of ideas, blogs, memes and competitions out of thin air especially if this is not your only role within a company, something more important always seems to come up.
Over the years I have become almost evangelical about the importance of marketing content planning, a doctrine that all my colleagues at Outsource to Us share. I have mentored many people in social media and digital content planning and seen it work in the real world, raising customer engagement, boosting website traffic and most importantly creating sales leads and revenue. Given this, I’d like to share my experience and my top tips for successful digital content planning.
Content IS all Around You
You know your business, your product or service and probably spend at least 40 hours per week living and breathing it. Once you get in the habit of looking and listening out for content you’ll be surprised how much is about. Find a way of making your content plan or just an ideas page available when you are away from your desk. If you come across an interesting article in an industry magazine or over-hear a conversation about the benefits of a new product don’t rely on your memory, it might not be relevant for this month’s social content but it might be just the thing you need to inspire a relevant post later in the year.
Use the Expertise Around You
It might be your responsibility to plan and create content but you are not an island. The people you work with are experts in their field. Whether it’s over a coffee, at the water cooler or a two-minute chat at the end of a meeting, find out what makes people tick, ask what they would like to see on social media and find out what is new or interesting in their field. Think about how to tap into the knowledge bank around you. If it’s appropriate why not try Top Tips from your team or the director’s favourite products.
Put the Social Into Social Media
Depending on your industry, customers usually like to see the people behind the business and put a face to a name or a voice at the end of a phone. Consider doing staff profiles, showcasing their talent and product knowledge. Humanising your business and making a personal connection with your audience is essential, this can be achieved by social listening and reacting to their comments and messages and publicly showing appreciation for any feedback. It is also important for small businesses to acknowledge and connect with your local community by sharing posts for charities or local events.
Be Conscious of your Platform Choice
Consider what content is relevant for which platform; a cheeky product based meme might get good engagement on Facebook or Instagram but wouldn’t send the right message on LinkedIn. Be mindful of the demographics for each channel and tailor your content to match.
Formalise Your Plan
Create a yearly or 6 monthly content plan containing seasonal or purchasing cycle appropriate blogs, ideas for social content and promotions. By the second or third week of each month you need to start work on the next month’s calendar. Use a program that anyone in your office can use and create a structure showing all your social channels and what you are going to post on each day.
Never Start with a Blank Sheet
Looking at a calendar with 31 empty days stretching out in front of you can be daunting, but never fear, because you have your yearly or 6 monthly content plan, you can map in your long term planned content like blogs, product launch information, competitions, staff profiles etc… straight away. Once you have a few things mapped in cross channel you’ll be surprised how quickly it will start filling up. Of course most business’s social media has to be a balance between planned proactive content and reactive posts, by having a plan you ensure that you have a good balance of the two without spamming your customers.
Links, Links, Links
Try to avoid creating content that has no links, depending on your audience the occasional Happy Friday meme on Facebook with no link is fine but 99% of your posts should have a purpose or a call to action, moving your customer traffic to your blog, website, product pages or e-commerce environment.
Use a Scheduling Tool
Once your calendar is complete, it is recommended that you schedule your posts across all channels using an online tool such as Hootsuite. This will free up time to spend on other aspects of your role.
In Sickness and in Health
The best thing about having a social media calendar, created in a user-friendly program, and using a scheduling tool is that if you are absent from work there doesn’t need to be a break in service and you won’t be trying to schedule social posts from the beach or your sick bed. It can be easily handed over to a colleague to keep an eye on and you can relax in the knowledge that your planning has paid off.