Wednesday, May 05, 2010

 

The three types of content you need to be successful with social media

Social media is nothing without content.   The content – what you say, how you say it, where you say it – is at the heart of a great community engagement strategy.

And there really are just three types of content you need to focus on to be successful:

Planned/Proactive Content:  You need an editorial calendar, something that plans out for the next several weeks (even months) what you want to say.  You won’t stick to this calendar exactly – you may skip a week, flip stuff around, add ideas, etc.  But if you don’t plan what you want to say, there’s no way you can string together a narrative that tells the story you want to tell.  Without planning and executing content based on a predetermined strategy, there’s no way you’ll be able to consistently stand for something that engages the right audiences, the right prospects, the right customers with your business or brand.

Start with your customers.  What do they want to hear, what are they interested in, what are they seeking.  You’ll write about that.  Then think about how that content manifests itself into a handful of themes, or common threads of content.  As you build your editorial calendar, plan for different angles or approaches to helping your customers solve or address issues related to those themes.  With this approach, you’ll quickly become an expert and go-to resource for value-added information that draws prospective and current customers closer to you.

Impromptu/Reactive Content:  There’s no amount of planning in the world that can prepare you for the story that will show up tomorrow.  The issue in your industry that will dominate your headlines.  The customer problems that didn’t exist yesterday.  These are immediate opportunities, often where little to no other content exists, that becomes an instant and highly-valuable opportunity for you to address, write about and own a topic that is at its peak of interest among your customer and prospect community.

You need to have your ear to the ground daily to know when and where these opportunities come up.  You need to be ready to quickly create and publish content (written, video, audio, etc.) that quickly becomes part of what everyone’s reading, how they’re addressing the latest news, and what they’re sharing with others on how to deal with it. 

Participatory Content:  You’re not the only one creating content intended for your target audience.  Plenty of others are doing it too.  In these cases, they’ve created an anchor of content that will drive a mini-conversation.  In these cases, it’s your job to lend your voice to the fray.  Become an active part of the conversation.  Not as a seller, not as a vendor.  As a peer.

No matter how much proactive content you create, the majority of your online community-building will be participatory, even reactive.  But the more you participate, the more people see you out there creating value, the more they see you’re helping them succeed independent of what you’re selling, the more they’ll gravitate toward you to learn more.

 


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