The social media strategy series: The content plan

As Seen In...

[tweetmeme] Next up in our social media strategy series is content planning. So far we’ve:

Now you understand which social media activities you’re using (and why), a quality content plan can supercharge these activities and help you understand and organise how to publish relevant content across the web. When thinking about content creation, never forget the goals and objectives from your social media strategy, which should guide your thinking around suitable topics. For example, if you need to raise awareness or become a thought leader in a particular service area, industry or product type, that should become a key topic area for which you will need to create a range of content demonstrating your knowledge or expertise in that area.

Break your goals and objectives into a range of core topics that drive the content. Once you’ve done this, hold a creative brainstorm with your team, or you can do this alone, and develop a range of subject areas for each topic. Always keep your audiences in mind when doing this, think about what they will genuinely be interested in and don’t fall into the trap of writing for yourself or your peers.

Once you’ve generated ideas for content topics, you can start thinking about the various channels you will use this content on:

  • Blog: develop an editorial calendar, assigning topics to blog posts and setting deadlines to ensure regular publication.
  • Linked In: create conversation around your key topics in the Group areas and add links to your blog posts
  • Guest posts: approach other relevant blogs or sites and offer your content as a one off or a regular contributor
  • Newsletter: not everyone will read your blog, so repurpose blog content here
  • Twitter and Facebook: share blog posts and start discussions around your topics there
  • Ebooks: if you generate a lot of content on a particular topic, create an ebook that you can offer on the website or blog

Curating your content across multiple channels ensures the best results, so ensure you make the most of all digital channels. But do more than simply cut and paste, each channel should have a tailored version to fit.
To ensure you keep your content plan fresh, stay up to date with the latest buzz around your topics by:

  • Subscribing to relevant blogs through RSS Readers (Google Reader is still my favourite)
  • Subscribe to newsletters
  • If you’re using Twitter, set up searches around your core topics or create a list of thought leaders and keep an eye on what they share and discuss
  • Find where your audiences are hanging out in places like Linked In groups or forums and listen to what they’re interested in.
  • Use Google Alerts.
  • Before you start to write, agree the style and tone of voice you want to use that either fits with your personality or your business. And if you have a search engine optimisation strategy, become familiar with your keywords and include them (naturally) in all content (and if you don’t have an SEO strategy, you need one).

Content creation is an ongoing process and it’s easy to run out of steam. So if you lose inspiration along the way, try a few of these ideas:

  • Make the most of other media: share a slideshare presentation, a great video you uncover, infographics and other interesting gems you find
  • Add your own presentations to slideshare and share
  • Develop regular features, such as monthly or weekly roundups and reviews etc
  • Publish interviews with interesting and relevant people
  • Invite guest bloggers to add a fresh perspective to your content
  • Invite customers or clients to ask questions, either on the blog, Facebook, Twitter or Linked In and answer them on your blog
  • If you attend an industry event, write a post event review
  • Create ‘how to’ lists

Finally, you need to ensure your content makes people ‘want’ to read it. Here are a few tips:

  • Create attention grabbing headlines
  • Make sure all content passes the ‘so what’ test
  • Keep it relevant and ‘on topic’
  • Make it conversational rather than broadcast (ask questions, invite comments)
  • Don’t agonise over spelling and grammar, tone of voice is far more important
  • Keep it short and punchy, people consume a great deal of content online and have less time for longer pieces
  • Embrace controversy, people love a good debate

I hope that was useful. Are you already using a content plan? If so, hows it working for you? What have you learned?

The final posts in this series will cover:

  • Defining resources
  • Guidelines and training
  • Ongoing management and beyond

** Update: This social media strategy series has since been pulled together and published. Download the social media strategy ebook here.




For those conscious souls ready to step up and serve. Suitable for established or new coaches.

  1. malcolm12boxes says:

    I am so looking forward to this e-book Gemma. Love the clarity with which you set everything out.

  2. Gemma Went says:

    Thanks for your kind words Malcolm. I made a start with the ebook this weekend actually, the design is done and all existing posts are in, so now I just need the last 3 posts and a final edit and she’s good to go. Watch this space.

  3. I find that a lot of people ask: but what do I write about?

    My response: Take the questions that you get from your clients on a daily basis (record your sales calls and/or make a mental note of what they’re asking) and instead of answering each time individually, write a blog post about it! This way, you’re answering it once and sharing it often. No better way to create content right out of the gate 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *