A Social Media “Publication Calendar” by Dave Nelson

Fabulous! You’ve tasked someone with being your “social media manager”. They’ve setup your new social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and a blog (hopefully using WordPress with a hosting provider such as GoDaddy).

Now what? How about a lightweight planning process called a “publication calendar”? It’s helpful whether or not you have a written social media plan. It’s a tactical approach to moving forward strategically.

To get started, open up Excel or create a 6-column Microsoft Word table. At the top of the first column, put “Posting Date”. Label the next column “Social Channel” (meaning Facebook, blog, LinkedIn, etc.). Next column: “Topic”. Next column: “Content Source”. For extra credit (yes optional, but I think incredibly valuable) include two final columns: “Keyword Focus” and “Hours Estimate”.

With this tool in hand, begin by building out your publication calendar for, say, the first two to three months. This requires you to decide on the frequency of posting to your various social channels (think “Goldilocks” – too little and you’re missing an opportunity; too much and you’re overwhelming your audience and struggling to keep your content value high). This also requires to think about where you can find content and who is needed to contribute. You’ll want to get the whole world (as relevant to you) involved. By this, I mean your customer support team, who knows exactly what issues perplex your customers. I mean your sales people, who are aware of countless customer success stories. I mean your partners, who have tremendous business experience and product perspective. I mean industry bloggers, who have their own audiences and would be complimented (and validated) by “guesting” for you.

In this process, you’ll identify the necessary contributors and their associated deadlines, well ahead of time when it’s easy for them to say ‘yes’. After that, just hold them to their commitments (in a friendly way of course) and you’ll have great content!

You’ll also be thinking about how your content relates to keywords (column 5). Half of all Internet traffic starts with a search. The only way to get found by the 77% of searchers who click on organic (AKA free) results is by providing consistent, high-value content related to the keywords you’re targeting.

And finally, you’ll be able to see how much time your social media manager and supporters are investing in content creation. If your measuring what you’re getting out of your social media campaign (Step 11), you can compare to your cost and calculate your ROI. You’ll have the data (and the confidence) to guide your future investments.

 

Dave Nelson

President, Dialog Consulting Group

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