Questions Everyone Should Ask About Their Digital Content Plan
Building a digital content plan can seem overwhelming. The good news is it’s a lot simpler than people make it. With just a few questions, you can be confident and methodical as you get your ducks in a row and in the right pond.
Don’t give in to the pressure to jump on everything all at once, all the time. If you see all platforms as broadcast channels, you’re going to be overwhelmed.
Digital strategies are successful when they help people connect, not when they create more promotional noise.
How to Improve Your Digital Content Plan
Work through these questions to re-evaluate where you’re at and revisit them regularly.
Where are my people?(Audience)
Don’t start an account on Snapchat or TikTok or whatever’s next just because you read it’s the fastest growing social media app today. That doesn’t mean it’s the biggest crowd or the right crowd. Find out where the majority of your audience hangs out. Join them there. Pay attention to how they’re using it, responding to other accounts, commenting and sharing (or not). When you see what resonates with your intended audience, you can refine and focus your message. A big part of defining a content strategy is social listening.
Monitoring social media channels and feeds for mentions to hear what people are saying about you and what’s important to your surrounding community.
Adapted from the article ‘What is Social Listening, Why It Matters, and 10 Tools to Make it Easier’ by Tony Tran
What am I doing here? (Purpose)
Once you’ve found your people, figure out what need you’re going to meet or problem you’re going solve for them. Your content strategy shouldn’t be driven by what you want to say, but what your people are looking for. The goal is not frequency. Post only when you have some value to offer your audience.
Do I know where I’m going? (Plan)
After you find your people and identify your purpose, you can make a plan. Just don’t overdo it. Think uncomplicated framework instead of a hefty plan. A simple approach can give you the basic compass to build a team around and stay on track. Take a look at this sample super simple social media framework.
What’s on my playlist? (Calendar)
Draft a thematic content calendar when you’re ready. It’s just a schedule with the themes and rhythms to make sure you’re talking about the right stuff at the right time in the right place. The idea is to make sure your communication is varied, strategic, and fresh. Again, there are some fancy formats and templates out there if you look for them. But don’t over-engineer this thing. A simple, one-page chart will do. You could do it on a sticky note.
Who else needs to know about this? (Team)
Many times, the biggest threat to a successful digital content plan has nothing to do with the technology and everything to do with people using the technology. Give your staff and stakeholders a heads up about the new plan. Tell them what to expect, how it will or won’t affect them, how they can participate, and where to go with questions. Remind everyone digital content plans are not concrete, but an evolving ecosystem that changes with the culture.
Am I on track? (Evaluate)
Look at your stats and numbers and evaluate how things are going. Celebrate and nurture what’s working—course correct or eliminate what’s not. Spend less time on the things that don’t fit your brand personality and more time on the things that do. Experiment and see what you learn. Have fun with it. Make adjustments. Keep going.
The immediate gratification of Vanity Metrics
Vanity metrics look great on paper and make us feel good about ourselves. “The sheen on these numbers start to fade when you see they contribute little substance to measurable business outcomes or lasting customer engagement. They are hollow digits that do nothing to prove your marketing” is actually working. – Adapted from ‘The Right and Wrong Ways to Use Vanity Metrics” by Daniel Hochuli
What are the “experts” saying?(Research)
Don’t look at articles and professional advice as a rule book, but as cues and context to apply to your situation. Despite what some people say, there is no fail-safe scientific formula. We’re all just figuring this out as we go along. Pay attention to best practices, but remember all expert advice has a shelf life. Check in on occasion to see what industry insiders are saying. Here are few expert resources to get an educated orientation: