Social media: the pros and cons of a content calendar

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – Content is King. It seems like you can’t find a blog or advice column that doesn’t highlight the importance of content in your social media strategy. Although it has become a cliché, the underlying truth is undeniable.

So how do you generate, create and publish this royal content?

One technique that has done the trick is the content calendar. The concept is quite simple – pick a theme for each day and focus your content around that idea. As I wrote here, it’s a great way to organize your thought process. It also takes some of the pressure off your content creation team (oh wait – that’s you!).

One of the other benefits of using a content calendar is that it forces you to think about the What is that of your content. What ideas do you want to promote? What interests your followers about you? What parts of your social personality do you want to highlight?

This is a great exercise for any organization, small business or non-profit. It forces you and your team to do some serious soul-searching on exactly what you stand for. The process also immerses your staff in the whole social media experience/process. It forces them (and you) to take a step back and better understand who you are.

I would say the key to this process is getting an outside perspective on your organization. We all know who we are and what we stand for, right? However, do you also know how you are perceived? As another famous cliché says, perception is reality. The foundation of content development is understanding how your audience sees you. What they expect from you. What they think you represent.

In social media, it’s not about you, it’s about me (or them).

OK. So you have done a thorough analysis of your organization. You’ve identified the main content areas, identified the contributors, and – perhaps – decided on your “voice”. Even better, you have everything organized in a nice and neat content calendar. Very nice. You’ll never have to fight over what to post on Tuesday again. Even better, with all the tools available like Tweetdeck, you can actually plan ahead – a real luxury in the content consumption industry.

It’s a thing of beauty. Your team is overflowing with content. Tweets fly. The messages roll. You’ve got this thing nailed…for now.

We are all creatures of habit. systems are created to help us organize our time and create consistency. We rely on them.

They can also become a mind-numbing routine. In the early stages of your social media process, the appearance of a content calendar is an exciting event (go with me here). Its novelty inspires creativity and emotion. Your team is excited because they now have direction. Inevitably, it becomes just another part of their daily routine. Another task to complete, another box to fill.

This is one of the curses of a content calendar. It is very easy for the system to become the message. Social media takes a lot of time and effort. Even with the emphasis on a content calendar, it becomes easy to set up any content – ​​as long as it matches the theme. Quality becomes less important than quantity. As long as you’ve met the deadline – filled in the blank, so to speak – your job is done and you can move on to the next day.

The other curse of the content calendar is that it can create a false sense of security, especially if the example above occurs. Content calendar security can cause your team to search only for items that match the list. Remember that a content calendar is a guideline. It’s a tool. It’s not the strategy. Don’t let calendar demands blind you to “breaking news” possibilities. Thought of another way, the calendar is a content safety net when you have nothing else to post or tweet.

Ultimately, maintaining a fresh approach to your content generation will keep your social platforms fresh and viable.

Your thoughts?

Steve Allan, Social Media Specialist SMThree


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