The platforms are secured, the company logo's in place and the stars have finally aligned. You're ready to start tweeting, posting and sharing to drive engagement and interaction with you consumers, but you won't get far without a content calendar.
Often overlooked and underestimated, the content calendar is the tangible piece that lays out a strategy month-by-month, week-by-week and day-by day. It can make or break a brand's success when it comes to social media as it plays several essential roles:
- The Worker
- The Soulmate
- The Taskmaster
The content calendar's primary role and focus should be to work for the business. No matter what, the biggest reason a business should be using social media is to achieve business objectives, and the content calendar should speak to it.
All of the content, whether it's text, audio or video, should tie back to the brand. This doesn't mean the focus should be pushing a circular, sharing deals or dispensing coupons. It's deeper than that, but those pieces can still play a role when they tie back to the brand. It also doesn't mean asking meaningless questions that do nothing for the brand like "What's your favorite color?"
Define the experience a consumer can expect to have when interacting with the brand and use that as a filter for what and how content is shared. That experience must tie back to the brand and must be consistent no matter the type of content or platform.
While the content calendar needs to tie back to the brand, the pieces in the content calendar need to be relevant to the consumer because if the consumer doesn't care, the company is talking to no one and is wasting time and money.
The audience needs to be at the center of the calendar. The intersection of what the brand has to offer in terms of expertise and emotion needs to intersect with the interest of the consumer.
Once defined, that intersection can be leveraged to encourage participation, solicit feedback and drive engagement. Brands have the opportunity to connect with consumers emotionally in the social space. That emotional connection will keep them coming back for more.
Plain and simple, the content calendar keeps a brand on track. It outlines a plan of action for what's going to be shared, when and how. It also allows a company to think ahead, prepare, obtain internal buy-in and make sure all parties are on the same page. Knowing what to share and when keeps things moving forward without getting stuck and becoming stagnant.
Don't Set It and Forget It.
The content calendar doesn't replace interaction. If it's done its job, people will respond to what is posted, and they expect brands to be there to respond. It's important to remember to be prepared to respond and interact.
A Best Friend.
The content calendar when done with business objectives in mind and crafted to tap into consumer interests and emotions has the potential to be a brand's best friend. It has to be thought through and scrutinized because, when done right, it can take pushing out content further by driving consistent engagement.