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Our intern, Roslyn Fordyce, explores content planning for social media, covering everything from planning, development and management.

Posted on Thu 27th Jul, 2017 in: Advice, Copywriting, Influence, Social Media by Chloe Matthbury

What is content planning?

As it says on the tin, content planning is the planning, development and management of content. This content could be in many different mediums, from video content to written content. But let’s talk about social media content.

Social media content planning takes into account things like audience, social media analytics and your objectives. But why might you want to use content planning? As someone at Aberfield once said:

“Any monkey with internet access, a camera and laptop can create content.

But the crucial bit is making the content truly valuable, and entertaining.

Strong content can attract and engage a targeted audience with the objective of creating a social community.”                                                                            

While you can easily create content without prior planning it decreases your chances of having meaningful content. Spontaneity may work in some cases, but more often than not planning ahead and forward thinking is the key to success.  

The first step is to define your objectives. Write down what exactly it is you want to achieve, whether it is an increase in followers, more engagement, such as comments, or to direct more people to your website.

You then want to ensure you understand your audience: who they are, what platforms they like to use, and how they might engage.

When content planning it is also crucial that you have a way to measure your success and see whether or not you are meeting your objectives. This will also help you create future content plans as you can see what does and doesn’t work.

Getting started

To familiarise yourself with your audience you can use social media analytics tools to gain an understanding of things like demographics and interests. Some of the important things to find out are: topics of conversation, locations, similar accounts they follow/engage with and the time in which your audience is most active.

A good place to start can be a content workshop. This is a chance to gather together key stakeholders and answer some important questions about content creation goals, recourses and processes. There are a few questions you might want to ask to get the ball rolling:

  • What are our audience’s content needs?
  • What do we want our content to focus on?
  • What do we have the right to talk about?
  • What is our tone of voice?
  • What are our messaging priorities? 
  • Where can we source content?
  • What content creation resources do we have internally?
  • Who will manage the channels?
  • Who are our subject experts?
  • How much of our content creation needs to be outsourced?

Strategy and content plan

Following this you can set your strategy. Your strategy is how you plan to go about achieving your objectives and should be the backbone of your content plan and calendar you go onto create.

Once you understand your audience, know what you can talk about and resources available you can start planning. This is when you need to get organised and set up a spreadsheet to track your plan. Every post in your plan should be there for a reason and clearly fit in with your strategy and what you want to achieve.

The content calendar should include all the information needed, such as:

  • List of posts for each social media platform
  • Highlight the strategy
  • Times and dates of posting
  • Include links where relevant
  • Include post copy and image/video description
  • Use eight pieces of entertaining content to one promotional
  • Plan one to two weeks before the start of the calendar month

Measure success

Finally, measure your content against the objectives you set up at the start. Focus on engagement rather than just likes and retweets. Identify popular posts and why they were successful, as well as doing the same for unpopular posts.

Learn from these insights, tweak and start all over again.

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