140 characters

social media nut

In the days of communicating in 140 characters or less does content really matter?

We all can remember that first awkward day on Twitter.  When we only had the few default followers Twitter recommends.  As we tweeted out to virtual twitter land we wonder if anyone is twistening??  And if they are do they tweally tware?

We convince ourselves  it doesn't really matter what we say.

Hmmm…. bad decision.  Truth is it does matter.  Even if you are new to social media, or it's your first day on Twitter, take the time to plan your content.

Don't be fooled by the fact it's only 140 characters.  Look at it the opposite… it's only 140 characters so it better be good!!

Content that MATTERS:

1. Know thy customer and thy business! Content should be based on your objectives.  Get out your marketing and biz plan.  If you don't have one, create one.  Remember, perfection is the enemy of good.  Start somewhere.  If you wait for it to be perfect chances are it will never get done!

2.  Embrace the motto “Create Once, Use Many”. This is your uber goal!  You want to build an infrastructure and processes that support the development of content that is consistent, relevant and can be used over and over again.

3.  Focus on INSPIRING and CONNECTING with your customers. Do not write your first blog post about a promotion, a sale or something that you want to sell.  Instead focus on how you can help your customers have a better life or grow their business.

4.  Identify experts who you can partner with. What other experts in your industry might be interested in guest blogging with you?  You can also offer to guest blog on their site as well.  I am a lover of co-marketing.  Keep your focus on the customer and partner with folks who by you partnering with will add value to your viewers and customers.

5. Develop an editorial calendar. This should include all content that is being published anywhere.  Use the below tactics and roll everything up to your editorial calendar.  It may seem like a pain but the time invested in this activity will increase the consistency, relevancy and value of your content exponentially.  Create once, use many should be your motto!

6.  Grab a 3 ring binder and organize your content. Include tabs for inspiration, competitors, partners, draft, ready to publish, published etc.

7. Develop themes for your marketing. Break them down into timeframes that sense for your market, business, customers and budget.  At minimum they should be monthly, quarterly and annual.

8. Develop a campaign schedule that includes both online and offline activities.

9. Define objectives. Develop objectives, themes and content calendar for each communication medium including social network platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Blog).

10. Create an inspiration list. Grab a cup of java, a comfy chair, your favorite pen and start brainstorming.  The focus should be on how you can inspire your customers and viewers.  What makes you different? Why do your viewers care what you have to offer them?  Create a list based on these questions.  Whenever you are feeling a bit “creative” add to the list.  It will come in very useful when you hit a writers block and don't know what to blog or tweet about!

11. Within your editorial calendar choose 2-3 days per week to blog. As you define the campaign and content themes, begin selecting potential blog topics.

12. Start populating your editorial calendar. Content time! Leverage the inputs from your objectives, campaign calendars, themes and inspiration list. Populate the calendar with tweets, facebook posts, blog topics and video stories you can share.

13. Set aside 15-30 minutes per day to work on content. Once you get at least a good week of content, start sharing it with the world. Try to stay at least a week to a few days ahead of where you are if possible.

14.  Leverage other people's content in social media. Identify expert blogs from your industry.  Engage with the authors, follow them.  Retweet and share their content.  Leverage Google Alerts, Google Reader to organize your top interests.  Each day during content development time grab a couple article or blog posts that inspire you and share with your audience.

15. Be consistent. Consistency is key in social media.  Ensure you are engaging daily with your core audience.

16.  Be patient. It won't all happen over night.  The world will not end if you don't blog for a day.

17.  Have fun! Content development should be fun, inspiring and something that helps you share all the great things about your business and yourself with your readers.