Checklist for Content on Social Media Sites

Photo Credit - Jayel Aheram

Photo Credit - Jayel Aheram

Making sure your customers are interested in your site’s content is one of the toughest challenges of content strategy.  Most companies trying to engage their customers through Social Media are not in the media industry and struggle with developing good content.  The employees producing content at these companies are often so focused on the brand that they can’t separate themselves enough to produce something interesting.

In Getting Things Done, David Allen talks about the use of checklists for reoccurring tasks to reduce the stress of thinking about how to get something done.  Here’s a checklist to help make your content interesting and relevant for your customers:

Is the content addressing “Tension”?

Burger King’s widely successful recent ad campaigns all have the same thing in common, tension.  Marketing Chief Russ Klein explains here:

“…My personal philosophy is effective advertising stems from tension, and when it’s provocative it’s more ingrained in the culture…I think viewers today appreciate clever and provocative advertising.”

Addressing tension is also a cornerstone of good content.  Tension comes from an issue or question with reasonable arguments on all sides, banning trans-fats for example.  Content that adds perspective to tension works well because people keep thinking about it as they wrestle with the issue.

Would your audience Recommend this content to their friends?

Companies have a habit of producing content that is of interest to the company, not their customers.  But a content strategist should think of her content as a tool.  Ideally, customers will use this tool to help their friends and colleagues.

A good way to think of this is comparing it to the Net Promoter Score which measures the likelihood that a customer would recommend a company to their friend.  Is it any wonder that Apple’s ability to make satisfying products and services a major contributor to their high Net Promoter scores?

Does this relate to a customer Problem or need?

Sounds simple, but this is the main thing most companies miss.  The funny thing is, they miss this because the people running the content strategy often do not leverage the consumer research done by the marketing department.  Studying the details of existing research gives content strategists a way to evaluate their existing content AND it also provides plenty of stimuli for new content.

Can the main point be described Succinctly?

This is an easy test to perform – Can you make an compelling tweet of the idea? Many companies who aren’t familiar with producing content (read:  all of us not in the media industry) try to cram too many ideas into one piece of content.  This dilutes the idea and makes it harder to understand.

You want to leave consumers of your content with an idea that sticks in their head long after they’ve read the content.  The best way to accomplish this is to have a clear point of your article that you can describe quickly.

Have you Proofread the content?

This should go without saying, but I’m including it because it’s one I always leave out!  There are really no excuses for sloppy content (I’m guilty), and it leaves a negative impression on your audience.

Don’t believe me that it’s a problem?  Well, it’s such an issue that companies are developing services to address this for content providers!

Posted by Ben Foster

Posted on May 10, 2009 at 9:27 pm by Ben Foster · Permalink
In: Content, Strategy

5 Responses

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  1. Written by Krysten Gibson
    on May 11, 2009 at 1:38 pm
    Permalink

    Sorry if you get this twice, it didn’t seem to show up before. First, I think that your blog is great. It brings up a lot of great points and issues. Second, I couldn’t agree more with your recent blog post. It there is one of two things going on regarding new media. One, companies are horrified of it and just ignore it or two they try really hard to embrace it, yet they have no idea how to successful communicate online, which means companies aren’t getting the results they expect. Your list brings up a lot of good points that can be very helpful for those struggling to entice the online community. The question that this also brings up though is what it means internally. Are younger employees going to gain more leverage and responsibility as companies begin to move into the 2.0 world? Will companies begin to look to hire new media gurus? Honestly, I would be more than happy with that decision. 🙂

  2. Written by Krysten Gibson
    on May 11, 2009 at 7:38 am
    Permalink

    Sorry if you get this twice, it didn’t seem to show up before. First, I think that your blog is great. It brings up a lot of great points and issues. Second, I couldn’t agree more with your recent blog post. It there is one of two things going on regarding new media. One, companies are horrified of it and just ignore it or two they try really hard to embrace it, yet they have no idea how to successful communicate online, which means companies aren’t getting the results they expect. Your list brings up a lot of good points that can be very helpful for those struggling to entice the online community. The question that this also brings up though is what it means internally. Are younger employees going to gain more leverage and responsibility as companies begin to move into the 2.0 world? Will companies begin to look to hire new media gurus? Honestly, I would be more than happy with that decision. 🙂

  3. Written by Alex Kemmler
    on May 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm
    Permalink

    I think #2 is the one point that every marketer and content creator needs to take to heart. If the content doesn’t have legs… it won’t go anywhere.

    In SEO they call it “linkbait”, but the principle applies to any medium. Great job calling this out in an accessible way.

  4. Written by Alex Kemmler
    on May 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm
    Permalink

    I think #2 is the one point that every marketer and content creator needs to take to heart. If the content doesn’t have legs… it won’t go anywhere.

    In SEO they call it “linkbait”, but the principle applies to any medium. Great job calling this out in an accessible way.

  5. Written by Social Media Strategy Class Reading List - by Ben Foster
    on September 26, 2011 at 3:49 pm
    Permalink

    […] Checklist for Content Strategy – Ben Foster […]

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