The more companies that step to the plate to take a swing at social media, the more scratch their heads at this concept of content. Whether it’s their Twitter feed, which makes content short and simple, to Facebook posts (a bit longer, still simple) or blog posts (more involved and complex but not rocket surgery), content confuses them. This is bad since content and a strategy around it drives a lot of social media success.

Understanding content is confusing, too, since content can be anything. A tweet, a video, a picture … content. A white paper, a graphic, a blog post … content. An audio recording, an interactive instruction video, a sketch on a napkin … content. Even how you respond to a customer’s question is content in the social era. Frank Eliason is awesome at content, even though most of his is limited to 140 characters of response to someone whining about Comcast.

Jay Baer developed a nice questionnaire about content he shared last week over at Convince and Convert. He presented a Content Rationale Worksheet as sort of a creative brief, to borrow an advertising agency term, for the social media activators in an organization. His report is a great first step to defining the type of content you want to create and giving you a nice direction for that content once you know the answers.

Baer’s worksheet is mighty handy if you’re the content producer and you’re trying to construct a single piece of content. It’s a little closer to the ground than what you would need to start an overall content strategy. (Of course, that wasn’t what Jay was shooting for with the piece.)

When you’re developing a more broad content strategy for an organization, you have to ask yourself a lot more questions. Here are just a few I have on my list when working with clients. What more would you add?

Organizational Questions

  1. What do you think social media can do for your organization?
  2. What do you want social media to do for your organization?
  3. In terms of providing content on social platforms, what are you afraid of? What confuses you?
  4. Who approves the content before it’s published?
  5. How many departments or divisions will be contributing content?
  6. How many departments or divisions will you provide content for?
  7. How do you engage and communicate with the various departments?
  8. Does a distinctive goal for the content exist?
  9. How will you prioritize content from one department or division over the next?
  10. Who will be responsible for providing content and on how many platforms?

Audience Questions

  1. How do you currently communicate with your audiences?
  2. How often do you communicate with them?
  3. Who provides the content for those communications?
  4. What kind of content is provided for the audiences?
  5. What do you ask your audiences to do? Do they do it?
  6. How does your audience prefer to communicate with you? Others?
  7. Have your audiences ever asked for specific content?
  8. What kind of content do you think your audience needs? Wants?
  9. How comfortable with technology, the web and social media is your audience?
  10. What is our audience interested in besides our product?

Content Questions

  1. What general area of knowledge to we have that we can share?
  2. What kind of expertise or even products can we give away?
  3. What can we explain?
  4. What type of content from others can we share with our audience?
  5. Who can we interview that would interest our audience?
  6. What can we have fun with that isn’t a disconnect from our brand or industry?
  7. What sensitive topics may we take advantage of to engage discussion?
  8. What topics are off-limits?
  9. Who in our company connects with customers most naturally?
  10. What is our capacity to produce content? Our audience’s threshold to consume it?
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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.thecommscorner.com Adam Vincenzini

    Jason – I have been searching everywhere for the questions you have posed here – so useful, thanks!

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  • http://www.andremoves.com man and van

    this was usefull thanks

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  • http://weboutsourcing-gateway.com/ wog

    No questions Jason, this is a good post. This somewhat serves as a  blueprint of content strategy. But may I also add “Media or channel” Questions. What types of social media they will use?-we craft content based on the type of social media. How many social media tools that an organization is planning to utilize?–no matter how many or how less the social media tools we will have, the messages of the content should be integrated.  

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