The challenge of consistent content delivery

What’s the challenge?


Not enough businesses plan ahead.

What topic do you want to discuss today? How about tomorrow? Next week? Next month? How do these topics help you achieve your overall business goals? Did you write them down?

Many business owners feel they have to sit down for X amount of time per day and “do” social media. While I think setting a dedicated time to check in is a good thing, it’s not necessarily the best time for you to scramble to put a blog post together, promote it on Facebook, Twitter et al and then try to squeeze in some actual social interactions. 

Instead, why not block off a half day once or twice a month to bulk schedule your foundation content? Does that sound overwhelming? Here are three steps to make it painless.

1) Create and use an editorial calendar.

Your editorial calendar is where you can decide whether you want to have themes to focus on - monthly, weekly, and/or daily. Here’s a sample of our editorial calendar:

See how organized it can make your process? Sign up for our newsletter and I’ll send you the Excel file!By taking an hour to plan out about 6 months of themes, you will create a plan that guides your work.

2) Write the content.

Set aside a fixed time when you can sit and write uninterrupted. Use this time to write blog and other social media posts that fit your themes. Don’t forget to update the editorial calendar as you do the writing. 

3) Schedule the content.

Since you’ve already put everything in your editorial calendar, scheduling it all out is a pretty quick process. I recommend scheduling no more than 1-4 weeks in advance so you can easily make adjustments. Sometimes things happen that can change the focus you want to take. That doesn’t mean that content isn’t still good - it just means that it may be put off for a bit.

Bonus tip: Be present.

Scheduling your content is okay, even though some have differing opinions. However, scheduling content does not mean that you set it and forget it. I’ve met with clients who do this and they’re very unsatisfied with the results of their efforts. Get on social media and be social. You don’t have to tell your life story, but don’t push out content you want people to read without being there to talk to them about that and other things as well.

What other tips do you have for organizing and minimizing the time you spend on social media?

How to schedule posts on your Facebook Page

Facebook recently made some updates to Pages that are really exciting. I think I could feel the excitement of every page admin I know when we all read about admin roles and scheduled posts.

But how do you schedule them?

It’s not super obvious, so here’s the rundown:

1) Set up the content that you want to schedule - status, link, picture or video. Add any text you want to include.

2) At the bottom left of your post you’ll see a little clock. Click on it and select the year, month, day, hour and minute (you only get the 10s as an option) you want your post to be published.

3) Press the submit button and Facebook will confirm that you’re scheduling the post for the date and time you specified and you can close out or go to your Page’s activity log to see the post. 


BUT, what if that post you scheduled needs to be changed or cancelled later?

Good question! Because this part is even less obvious. First, apparently you have to be using Facebook as yourself - not as your Page.

Go to your page (still logged in as you).

At the top of your page, you’ll see an Edit Page button. If you click on it, there is a list of options. Select Use Activity Log.

The top section of your activity log has all your scheduled posts. You can change the scheduled time or delete the content but editing isn’t available…yet (I’m betting a future update will clear up this little issue).

Now, isnt this handy!? And if you go to our Facebook page today, you’ll see that post was published last night as planned. (Feel free to like our page while you’re there if you’re so inclined. ;)

Have you scheduled any posts to Facebook yet? What do you think do far?

Automation kills engagement

Or does it?

I first heard this notion of never posting anything on social media sites via tools that let you schedule posts when a friend mentioned Scott Stratten's take on it. Then I read that this is actually one of the 7 Deadly Sins on Twitter - apparently, it's lazy.

Confession time: I schedule tweets. I think it's a perfectly acceptable practice. And I'm not going to stop. Here's why:

  1. I want to ensure that I get my content out into the world and I want to do this at certain times spaced out throughout the day. I have some idea of when I want to share based on trial and error of scheduling posts and watching my analytics over time.

  2. Logistically, I can't easily post my content to Facebook just any old time I want. Well, I can, but I like the ease of linking my RSS feeds to syndication tools within Facebook.

  3. I feel awkward posting my content throughout the day multiple times - it doesn't always feel natural. Instead, I schedule and forget it and then I get to focus on what I really want to do - engaging my audience.

I respect the intention behind the assertion that automated content feeds are a bad idea. The last thing you want to do is become a broadcast account that does nothing but tweet links to stuff all day. But when you're sharing content that you would share anyway, but doing so in a strategic manner, I see only benefits - as long as you're engaging your audience otherwise.

The give and take of social media doesn't have to be hampered by scheduling tools. I also don't think it's lazy and I wonder if those who do have ever scheduled tweets before.

For me, automating posts frees up my mind to be more fully engaged, so the automation process helps spur my ability to engage. What's more, I'm not a big fan of blanket rules like this for social media use. Techniques that work for me may not work for you. Social media strategy needs to be customized to a system that works, but that's a discussion for another day.

Do you schedule posts for your social networks? Do you think engagement is negatively impacted by automated posts?

Making good SEO doable - Zemanta

SEO is important - as a wise friend once said when questioned about the value of SEO - popularity gets people to your current blog posts,  SEO is what gets people into your archives.

Search Engine Optimization isn’t a new concept but I’ve always had a hard time remembering to do it. I often am writing my posts at the last minute, or I just want to get them online, and I forget to add all the tags that describe the post.

Then, thanks to Sherrilynne, I discovered Zemanta and it automates the process.  Making the process easier is always a plus in my opinion!

Once you’ve installed Zemanta it works as you write.  It analyzes the words in your post and it finds photos that might be a good fit, it comes up with links to definitions and web sites about the words in your post, it suggests news related links and it suggests tags.  Nothing is automatically added, you get to then quickly click on all of the things you’d like to add to your post and it’s done.

It’s made me someone who always has tags and more links - something I definitely didn’t have before. I highly recommend it to anyone who blogs!  Has it made a difference in the traffic to my sites? I’m not sure - but at least it’s easier for me to do the work I know I’m supposed to be doing in my posts!

Are you good at tagging and making sure your posts are written for search engine optimization? Do you use something different than Zemanta? I would love to hear about it!