In a great opinion piece on Ad Week by Seen CEO Brian Zuercher, he says that ‘social media influencers have taken on the roles of both producer and publisher to deliver their own custom content to their own expanding audiences’.
In other words, content creators these days are stepping more and more into the world of traditional publishers, like magazines.
And there are incredibly valuable strategies any social media content creator can take from these magazines, to help make managing your channels more efficient – and make you a far more compelling proposition for brands.
As we all know, being a content creator isn’t simply about sticking a few pictures up on Instagram whenever we can be bothered.
In fact, what should be happening is pretty much the same model you’ll find in most magazine editorial meetings – developing a strategy.
From thinking about which channels you want to appear on, to using data to understand the best times to post, to establishing how often you should post to keep your followers satisfied (but still eager), a little bit of time planning out your strategy will help your content work so much harder.
Even if you hate maths and the word ‘statistics’ makes your creative toes curl, there’s no reason why a content creator shouldn’t be greedily gobbling up all the data they can get their hands on.
Blog and social media platforms will generally contain some level of analytical tools, and if properly recorded and reviewed this can give you incredible insights to your audience.
But, as well as mining the data, you can always just go straight to your followers and ask them what they like – whether it’s having conversations on Instagram or emailing a few of your super-followers to get their input.
And, as well as dramatically improving your own engagement, an expert understanding of your performance data will make you a much more enticing proposition for brands too.
As Brandwatch say in an excellent blog article, smart content creators are able to ‘close’ a new relationship with a brand simply by knowing their data and presenting it in a compelling way. (Trust us, brand managers love that stuff.)
So, if like the big magazines, you’ve developed a clear content strategy, and are actively using data to constantly improve your output, all you need to do is create your content.
But rather than reaching for the selfie stick, you first need to think way beyond what you plan to post today.
Magazines create content calendars (like this from Cosmopolitan) to establish a clear plan for the stories they will be telling, when they’ll share them and through which channels. And it makes perfect sense for you to do the same.
Now, there are plenty of resources out there to help you develop a good editorial calendar (this quick guide by Scripted is especially worth a look). And there are lots of options for choosing the right tool as well, from simply using Google or Outlook calendars to developing your own bespoke spreadsheet.
But, however you do it, just remember that your content calendar not only helps make your stories more consistent and timely, it’s also going to help when you talk to brands and are able to tell them exactly where you plan to be, and what you plan to talk about, for the next month.
And, by being a bit more ‘magazine’ in these areas, you’ll find that your time, resources and creativity are being channelled in a more productive way. Better still, you’ll also be able to show the strategic, analytic and planning skills that a lot of smart brands are going to value just as much as your creativity.