Here’s a dead-simple way to plan content with Trello.
Caveat: this post will not teach you how to be a social media “ninja”, “guru”, or “rockstar”. If you aspire to use one of those terms to describe yourself, or already do, seek professional help. Or just quit the internet.
Ok. On to the post…
Managing your company’s social media presence can be a mess if you’re not intentional about it. It’s like that guy who’s sat on the couch all year and decides that on January 1, he’s going to go to the gym “like all the time.” Week one, he’s there every day. Week two… well, you know what happens. Without a solid plan that you can stick to, your social media content won’t be consistent or effective.
That’s why I’m going to show you how to plan a full month’s worth of content in 30 minutes or less.
For the sake of simplicity, this post will focus just on Facebook. However, the methodology can be used for any content calendar, and even for multiple social networks if you’re creative. Here’s how it works:
1. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Why do you even have a social media presence in the first place? Do you want to keep customers talking about your brand? Announce new products? Set the tone for your brand’s voice? Make a list of key objectives. Keep it short, not more than three or four. Just like the guy planning to hit Gold’s Gym every day, not knowing why you’re doing something is a sure path to quitting. Here’s an example:
- Keep customers informed of new product features
- Foster engagement by highlighting outstanding customers
- Reinforce our values through human-interest and humorous content
- Improve company image vignettes of employees
2. Identify the type of content that will best serve each of those objectives. Example:
- Keep customers informed… via events announcements and company news (Update)
- Foster engagement… by highlighting outstanding customers (Community)
- Reinforce our values… through human-interest and humorous content (Voice)
- Improve company image… by featuring profiles of employees (Personality)
3. Prioritize your categories. Don’t just say, “they’re all important!”; prioritizing will help you decide how much content is devoted to each. Try this: give yourself 10 “points” to hand out. Give more points to the most important objectives, and fewer to secondary ones. So much math!!
- Update: 3
- Community: 3
- Voice: 2
- Image: 2
4. Calculate your output capacity. How many posts per month can you consistently commit to? Don’t bite off more than you can chew and burn out after a month. At our company, we are planning to ramp up our volume to about 20 posts a month. That’s on the aggressive side, but we generate a lot of growth through Facebook and our followers have been very engaged with our content. Having videos with lots of gratuitous explosions always helps.
5. Do some math. With you ideal volume in hand, it’s time to match that against the priorities you outlined earlier. Apply the formula below to
Number of posts/month = (points assigned to category / total points) x total posts/month
For our first category, Updates, the formula would look like this:
(3 points / 10 total points) x 20 posts/month = 6 Update posts per month
Easy! You didn’t even need a calculator. Right? Right????….. Don’t worry I won’t tell your 4th grade math teacher. Just repeat for the remaining categories and you’ll have a baseline plan for how many posts of each type to publish each month. Here’s what you’d end up with for all four categories:
- Update – 6 posts/month
- Community – 6 posts/month
- Voice - 4 posts/month
- Personality – 4 posts/month
6. Take things over to Trello. We use a 4-step workflow to manage content throughout the month. Every piece of content starts out in a Planned list, and moves through the following steps:
- Being worked on
- Pending approval
You may need fewer or more depending on the structure of your team. We have multiple content contributors, but only a couple content approvers, so this process helps us hand off content to the right people.
Now… create a Trello card in the Planned for each post you outlined above. The result will look something like this. Look at all those beautiful posts just waiting to be written. So many Likes and Shares lie ahead:
7. Assign owners. Whether you have one person or a team of ten managing content, make sure that every single card has an owner. This is the person who will make sure that a piece of content is drafted, edited, and published on time, and by the right people. Give your team the gift of clear ownership and it will greatly streamline your process. Don’t assign owners and watch you best intentions disintegrate into pure and unrelenting madness. Your Facebook fans deserver better, don’t they?
8. Set due dates. With you content list established, it’s time to figure out what to post when. Trello gives you a great calendar view, which makes it super-simple to get a bird’s eye view of the month. We use also labels to designate content categories, making it easy to see what type of content will go out when. Here’s a possible result that will satisfy any obsessive compulsive disorder sufferer, with it’s neatly-spaced scheduling.
9. Get writing. You have all your work cut out for you for the month. No more planning, go write!
At the end of the month, sit down with your content team and examine the results. Which types of posts performed the best? Were there days of the week when you saw better results? Was your team able to handle the load?
You’ll want to make some tweaks to make next month even more effective. Now you’ve established a baseline, though, your process will be much more effective and well-informed.
Bonus round: You can download a free content planning template in Trello here. Enjoy!