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planning content in advance

The final piece of your social media strategy is planning content in advance. This is the road less traveled. But, developing relevant, interesting and optimized content is the foundation for a successful social media marketing strategy.

Laying the Foundation

To begin your content strategy, pull a few great minds into one room and define your key messages.  What are your key messages?  The bedrock of your brand.  Your differentiators.  Your business drivers.  Choose three to five key messages to stand as the pillars of your content.  Remember you are the answer to someone’s question, the fix to someone’s problem, the clarity to someone’s confusion.  Keep your focus on the end user – who is it that you hope is reading your content?  What do they need to know?  How can you help them?

Next pull together a great calendar.  One for your industry and another for world at large.

Now lay your key messages down on top of that calendar.  Can you see it coming together yet?  Now you have drivers for your content and a calendar to guide you through dates relevant to your audience, so what’s next?

Developing the Content

Next comes the big hairy audacious job of developing great content.  Ideas anyone?  This infographic provides you a matrix of the types of content you could deliver: blogs, white papers, images, videos, press releases and more.  And this article from Copyblogger, the King of Content, gives you 49 unique ways to put your ideas into action.  Just remember to keep it focused on your end-user and how you can help them.  Educate.  Inform.  But stay interesting.

Planning Your Posts

There are great tools available, like Hootsuite and Sprout Social to name a few, which give you the opportunity to plan your posts in advance.  Now your relevant, interesting and optimized content is loaded and scheduled to fire at just the right time.  Now, you can spend the rest of your time being present and posting in real time.