When we kicked off the WeAreMedia, A Social Media Starter Kit for Nonprofits 18 months ago, we included two areas about content creation. There was a strategy module that shared best practices in storytelling and a tactical module called "Tell Your Story Social Media Style." The later focused on how nonprofit could become social content creators, that is how to effectively communicate the organization's story through social media channels like blogs, video, podcasts, and photos. We also touched on user-generated content, inspiring others to tell your organization's story in their own words.Are we moving towards a "Social Content Strategy." It includes three components:
(1) Web Site Content: This is your homebase. Your organization has a degree control over the creation of this content, most obviously what you publish on your organization's web site. It's branded, it is edited, and scheduled and part of a formal web content strategy.
Let's back up a second and think about what the heck a web site content strategy is. Kristina Halvorson has a good definition: Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content. She goes on to describe it's components:
- Editorial strategy
- Web writing
- Search engine optimization
- Content management strategy
- Content channel distribution strategy
Now, we know or at least we hope, that more and more organization's web site content is becoming more social. That their web site may be or incorporate a blog as well as integrate, videos, podcasts, and photos. Many web sites are also integrating social features or social networks.
(2) Social Outposts: This is your organization's presence on social networking or social media outposts like Twitter, Facebook, or other places. It is a combination of content you create or that has been re-purposed from your organization's web site, but should also include what people remix or share. This content is a organic, always growing and changing. It is mostly community created.
(3) Engagement: I'm calling this "co-created content" because I don't have any better way to describe it. We know that ongoing deep engagement and building relationships is the heart and soul of social media success. Having a conversation with your supporters is part of the work. It is also content created by your supporters that they share through social outposts and that you re-purpose and remix back through other channels including your web site.
Dana Boyd has a talk called "Streams of Content, Limited Attention - The Flow of Information Through Social Media." where she talks about social content from the consumer end and make some recommendations.
To be relevant today requires understanding context, popularity, and reputation. In a broadcast era, we assume that the disseminator organized information because they were a destination. In a networked era, there will be no destination, but rather a network of content and people. Topic won't be a given. We're already seeing this in streams-based media consumption. When consuming information through social media tools, people consume social gossip alongside productive content, news alongside status updates. Right now, it's one big mess. But the key is not going to be to create distinct destinations organized around topics, but to find ways in which content can be surfaced in context, regardless of where it resides.
Making content work in a networked era is going to be about living in the streams, consuming and producing alongside "customers." Consuming to understand, producing to be relevant. Content creators are not going to get to dictate the cultural norms just because they can make their content available; they are still accountable to those who are trafficking content.
I've been thinking about this intersection of content that the organization creates and content that is created by the audience. There is a balancing act of how you facilitate that without controlling it. It's how you use the conversation to generate, aggregate, and facilitate social content.
- How do you plan your engagement and content strategy so they work together in perfect harmony?
- What are the specific content co-creation tasks that you need to do? Have a checklist? List of tasks?
- Do you need a specific campaign or is this an ongoing activity?
- Is your organization thinking about a social content strategy?
Share your ideas on the WeAreMedia Wiki.
Content Creation Strategy for Nonprofits by Kivi Leroux Miller
Content Creates Engagement by Duct Tape Marketing
Social Media Engagement by John Cass
A Simple Presence Framework by Chris Brogan
Taking Content Strategy Personally by Web Worker Daily
The Discipline of Content Strategy by Kristina Halvorson