Most companies and organizations already lots and lots of content. There are likely some real social content gems in those archives of Powerpoint presentations, pdf files, binders and Web pages that have built up over the years. In mining your existing content archives, the challenge becomes finding the time, energy and motivation to unearth those “gems”.

Here is a quick and cheerful set of five steps, to undertake the task:

Step 1: Go through a “back of the envelope” upfront analysis of your goals for social content creation. Some questions to get you started include:

• What social networks do are important to post content to?
• Who is the target audience?
• What action will the user take they’ve consumed your content? Visit your website? Share it to their social networks? Determine your main Calls to Action.
• Consider time and budget. What format and quantity of assets can you afford to create?

social media groupCreative Commons License

Step 2: Conduct a content audit to determine what do you already have? If you’re like most organizations, you’re going to be looking for…

• PowerPoint presentations (they may contain some graphs and diagrams)
• PDF’s, Case studies, sell sheets…
• Webinars, tutorials
• Your own Web site – is there could be some great material that could be refreshed in a new format?
• Expertise from employees – think interviews, profiles, quotes… lots of possibility!

Step 3: Pick your content themes, and create a short list of content ideas. Some hints:

• Where does it make the most sense to focus time and money? The area of focus should be strategic.
• Creating content takes time, so start by picking 3 or 4 key areas that are popular with the target audience to highlight via social networks.
• Determine what “success” looks like. What metrics will make the most sense for your business? Do you want to build your brand awareness? Generate new leads? Create the appropriate metric for your social content project, and make sure your content can support it.

Step 4: Brainstorm some content formats for each identified idea, and create a brief for the person or team who will be producing the content.

• Keep your mind open, and don’t be shy about exploring new and different formats. Consider slide shows, info-graphics, animations, video… there are lots of options!
• Determine the budget available for each format. Costs will increase as you consider new graphics, copy, animation, video, interactivity etc.
• Talk to the team who currently manages the organization’s social channels about any input they may have into this process. They will be able to provide some valuable insights into what resonates with your audience.
• Write the brief, which should include some basic information such as:

  • Objective of content asset
  • Target audience
  • Content format
  • Call to action
  • Brand guidelines
  • Your timeline
  • Requirements- e.g. do you need copy developed? Graphics? Animation? Be specific about what you envision for the asset, and what you need!
  • Budget range

Step 5: Once you have your brief, you have to figure out who is going to produce your content, and do a reality check on budget, feasibility etc. Some pointers:

• Determine if you have the skill set to produce the content asset internally. You can likely handle a blog post, but many organizations do not have in house graphic designers or video production crews.
• Determine if your agencies are familiar with creating content for the social Web – you may be pleasantly surprised, or not…
• Do consider talking to an agency with a strong track record in the social media marketing space.

I’ll write next time on what to do with all that content once you produce it. Content marketing has the potential to generate results, but it is tricky to do, without great content!

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