There is so much information right now floating around about content strategy.  Today I am going to back up and take a top-level look at some things you should have straight to keep your blogs, tweets, and posts strategic and organized.  Before you get too crazy in your content creation, ask yourself these 10 important questions:

  1. Who are you writing for?  Yes, such a basic question but it’s easy to forget to keep your reader in mind when you create content. I suggest writing up a general reader profile that you can review before you start each blog post.
  2. What is the tone of your writing?  Are you upscale and elegant, or down-to-earth and painfully honest? It’s important to stop and think about tone before you start writing, and it relates directly to #1 above.
  3. How often can you realistically be active on a consistent basis?  This is a tough one, because everyone and their dog is telling you that you NEED to tweet x times per day, and blog x times per week, etc. But take a realistic look at your communications team and resources and decide how often you can consistently produce content.  Only calendar what you know you can do consistently.
  4. Is there anything you are trying to lead into?  In other words, are there certain events in your calendar that should be planning your communications around? If so, do that. Organize content information around upcoming events by putting it on what I like to call your “pre-party” list and “after party” list.
  5. What are your main content “buckets” going to be?  I loved it in the late 90s when we all encouraged each other to put ideas into “buckets.” (Anyone else remember that?)  But really, it makes sense. You are not (or should not) be covering ever topic under the sun. Figure out the top 3 to 5 buckets of content you will be sharing, and stay focused on those topics.
  6. What are the pain points of your core audience?  Many people are going to stay tuned and “like” and follow you because they find your content useful.  Make a list of some of the things your audience may be struggling with and need to know so that you continue to answer their questions and meet their particular needs.
  7. Who in your company is responsible for posting/writing according to schedule?  That’s right, let’s put a name next to those ideas, folks. Maybe its one name for the content creation and another for the posting. However it works, make sure you have owners for your plans.
  8. Who is responsible for monitoring success?  Maybe it is the same people you named in response to #7, or maybe not.. Just like any other marketing tactic, someone needs to analyze what kind of content, media style and messages are most successful so that good marketing can be repeated.
  9. How are you measuring success?  This links with #8 above. What does your company consider successful social media?  Likes? Retweets? People signing up for your email from your social media page?
  10. What tools are you going to use?  Many people are turning to some of the more popular tools to measure, track and manage their social media.  In most cases they can lead to efficiency, but you need to take the time to learn and use them. The ones I hear about over and over are HootSuite and Social Mention.

So there you go. Lots to think about, but all vital questions that you will be facing sooner rather than later. The earlier you answer them, the more organized and comprehensive your social media plan will be.


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