As dedicated community managers we all love (and hate) it. Sometimes we’re so psyched about a post we can’t contain ourselves. Then, it only gets 10 likes. One comment. No shares. What went wrong? Or there’s that post that you wrote at 2am trying to think of one last thing to say to your fans, and bam — 300 comments.
We’ve narrowed down the challenges of writing content consistently to five that come up every time you play the writing game: writers block, channeling the brand, brand interest vs. fan interest, lack of resources, and the inevitable time crunch. We’re going to tackle them head on with a few tips and tricks. Content creation is a world of wonder. It takes your personality, wit, patience, and planning to get through it. But, that’s why we love it right?
1) Writer’s Block — We all go through it. Staring at the screen or update status box — For HOURS. Here’s what we do when we’re out of juice:
- Look to others (competitors, industry, brands) for inspiration
- Work with a team? Swap calendars for a fresh topic
- Ask friends, family, colleagues, and even fans for topic ideas
- Look for inspiration offline
- Still in doubt? Have a cocktail! Or start in the morning.
- Studies show when tired/slightly tipsy, creative juices flow
2) Channeling the Brand (Appropriately) –- Fans don’t like to feel as if they are being marketed to (even when they know) so give it flavor!
- Humanize your brand with a voice and personality
- Share fun facts, stories, photos, events, etc. to tell the story
- Ask fans for their thoughts & memories about the brand
- Use conversational language
- Find a complimentary brand’s style you like for inspiration
3) Brand Interest vs. Fan Interest — Fans want to know you care and want to learn about them, not just share about your brand.
- Ask their opinions, call-out comments, and reply to them
- Demographics: remember Who they are and What they like to do
4) Lack of Resources — What to do when your received brand assets consist of little/content fodder, PR and/or marketing papers, and a brand ready to shout their name across the rooftops. To get what you need:
- Ask for it!
- What’s the history, personal stories, employee stories, & why is your client proud to be part of the brand
- Get a Marketing and Events Calendar
- Get & take photos, videos, polls, etc.
- Make content compelling
- KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid/ Keep It Sharable Silly
- Relevant Research
- Sign up for newsletters, bookmark reliable online publications, and take a deep dive into industry news to share in-the-know news with your fans
5) Time-Crunch – Working on a deadline is all about one thing- find your system and work it!
- Brainstorm & keep lists relating to: Subject matters of interest, brands doing it right/wrong, content types, and resources
- Organize and Plan
- Map a monthly “ideal” calendar & determine content mix
- Remember: 80(Non-Brand)/20(Brand) Rule
- Create bi-weekly content calendar outline
- Establish and work a content review process
- Analyze/reflect on content to determine what to write next!
Whether its your first day or your 1000’s, content creation is no walk in the park, but as long as you stick to what works for you, and get inspired, you will always think of the right thing to say.