Here at ECHO, we create a lot of stories. Books, magazines, blogs, videos, and of course, social media. (With a title like Community Engagement Manager, you can probably guess which of those things I focus on most.) The nature of storytelling is the same across mediums – but the publication schedule is obviously different. Usually a book project runs for two or three years; and while a digital storytelling contract may run that long (or longer!), a social media production schedule is definitely more demanding on a day-to-day basis. Another major difference between our print projects and digital projects is the concept of completion. When a book goes to print, we celebrate with snacks and champagne. But unfortunately, budget constraints prevent us from celebrating every tweet sent on behalf of a client, so on the digital projects, we pick milestones instead. The end of the year, a particularly successful blog post, or a major hit on Facebook – these are all great opportunities for celebration. However, sometimes it gets hard to keep filling the calendar. The content beast never rests. And therefore, neither do you.
It can be tough! You’re crumbling under a pile of editorial and content calendars. A never-ending stream of client requests. Listless fingers type half-hearted tweets.
Don’t get jaded. Social media is fun, remember? Facebook provides us with endless cute dog videos. Instagram offers inspiration and aspiration – and some relatable posts too. DJ Khaled’s Snapchat gave a whole new meaning to 🔑. So don’t get bogged down by the endless content calendar. Follow our foolproof tips – and take that content beast for a walk. (And then go for a real walk – eye strain is real, guys.)
Reduce, reuse, recycle!
We’ve written about this before, but I’ll say it again. Rather than always writing new content, try repurposing your existing blog posts, articles, and interviews. You spent the time creating these pieces – why not make sure to get maximum bang for your buck? There are several ways you can repurpose content.
You can start by re-promoting archived content. That blog post you wrote last year about your core business model? It’s probably still pretty useful and relevant. We recommend promoting content for a minimum 60 days after publication, but there’s no reason you can’t bring it back. You can promote it as is, perhaps as a #tbt to a content calendar from years past, or you can update the article, change the date, and promote it as an entirely new piece. Archives are also excellent for chiming in on trending topics. For example, when Beyonce slayed the MTV VMAs, we re-promoted our Brand like Beyonce piece. Another great option is to repurpose content into a new format. Maybe that hit blog post of yours would be even better as a infographic. Or maybe a few quick graphics or images could give it new life on social media. Got a creative intern? Empower them to choose one post to re-design on a weekly basis – it’ll make a big difference in the consumption of the piece.
If you do need some original content (or have contractual obligations to create a certain amount of new content in a given timeframe), it’s great to have a few bloggers on speed dial. (It’s especially useful to have one or two that are good on tight timelines.) If you don’t have budget, then try to find blogs and publications to partner with – if it’s a mutually beneficial partnership, many will be willing to trade “guest posts.” (If you’d like to trade guest posts with ECHO, please get in touch!) I also like to keep three pieces of evergreen blog content in my back pocket (or my WordPress drafts folder) for content-related emergencies too. That way, if your entire content team falls victim to a particularly vicious cold or flu, they can be deployed to fill content gaps.
We strongly believe in the value of sharing third-party content on social media. Giving credit to other authors, businesses, and publications that have great thoughts is a community-building tactic – and it lightens the load for your content production schedule. So make sure to double up! Next time you find a great article to share on your social networks, don’t just tweet it once. Share it twice – or three times! – throughout your upcoming weeks, with different commentary. No one will notice the duplication and it’ll have a greater chance of reaching people – plus, it will give you a chance to conduct some A/B copy tests on the fly.
Believe it or not, being a social media manager is more than just crafting tweets and Facebook posts. Between meetings, strategic planning, analytics, reporting, research, updates, and community engagement, it sometimes feels like there isn’t much time to create social content. That’s why I like to block out time. One hyper-focused hour per day (without distractions!) is enough for me on a good day, but it takes vigilance. I like to book it into my calendar, close ALL of my apps (Bye Slack! Bye Gmail! Bye Asana!), tuck my iPhone into my bag, pull out my headphones, get a killer playlist going on Spotify, and dig into my CoSchedule accounts. Pomodoros help too – 25 minutes of work, followed by a 5 minute break. Two rounds of Pomodoros and you’re done for the day!
Notice how the content beast doesn’t seem so scary now? These are my favourite social media content creation tricks, but I want to learn yours! Tweet me at @tarynalexandra or ECHO at @echostories or share in the comments below – and don’t forget to go take that walk we talked about.