Posts by Rose Regier

How to Build a Monthly Content Strategy for Retail Businesses

- by Rose Regier

This post was written by our Account Manager Rose Regier.

It’s no secret that we love a good spreadsheet. Let’s just say they spark joy, so we use them a lot. And the monthly content calendar spreadsheet we use with our retail clients might be our favourite.

If you’re not a retail business, don’t go just yet! What we’re about to share can apply to any type of business.

Before we dive in, let’s talk about why we should plan our content. Why go to all the effort of planning content a month in advance? Wouldn’t it be easier and less time consuming to post on the fly? 

Read on, because we’re about to show you how planning content frees up time to spend on essential marketing activities that have a big impact on the success of your brand. 

Here are the benefits of a monthly content strategy:

1. Strategy in action

Planning posts in monthly blocks allows you to see at a glance how your content aligns with your digital marketing strategy. It also allows you to identify any gaps in content and make sure no product category is left behind.

2. Consistency is key

Building and maintaining a relationship with your audience takes consistent effort over time. Posting a flurry of content one week and then disappearing for a month can leave your followers feeling annoyed or disinterested. Using a content calendar allows you to spread out content so that your audience hears from you regularly and stays engaged. Plus, it’s great for the algorithms.

3. Tracking for the win

Although the monthly content calendar is mainly a planning tool, it also keeps a record of what you’ve done in the past. 

This allows you to keep track of what you’ve posted so a) you can avoid duplicating content and b) you can measure the effectiveness of each category of product posts.

4. Stay one step ahead 

Identifying key events — like holidays, sales, and product launches — and plugging them into the content calendar ahead of time means you never have to worry about those important posts slipping your mind.

Let’s move on to the “how.” How does the monthly content strategy work exactly?

How does our monthly content strategy work?

Our cloud-based monthly content planning spreadsheet allows multiple people to contribute in real-time. This gives our clients and account managers the ability to collaborate on the content planning process.

We work together to choose specific products to highlight based on the following criteria:

  • New arrivals
  • Most loved items
  • Products we need to move
  • Holidays or seasons
  • Sales or promos

Each month gets a tab in the spreadsheet, and serves as a record of the content we’ve shared. Product categories are colour coded for a quick visual way to see the variety in planned content (e.g. clothing, accessories, jewellery) and identify any gaps in the schedule.

Here’s an example of how the calendar might look like before the product details have been added:

Of course, we also leave room for posting user-generated content. Customer reviews are 12 times more trustworthy than messaging from a business, so we make sure to work content created by customers who know and love our clients into the mix.

In a perfect world, all content would be planned in advance, and we could wrap it in a bow and send it out into the world. 

The reality is that planned posts sometimes need to change, and some posts are time-sensitive and need to be created in real-time. Staying on top of upcoming posts to ensure the content is still accurate/relevant is crucial, so we bake this into our process.

Posting on the fly might seem faster and easier, but our brains work better when we dedicate ourselves to one task for a few hours as opposed to rapidly switching from one task to another. 

Creating content in "blocks" of time instead of posting on the fly ensures higher-quality, on-brand content because we're not scrambling to come up with something new every day.

Even better: having the foundation of a monthly content plan frees us up to spend time on the behind-the-scenes activities that get results for our clients: 

  • Monitoring and responding to customer comments/messages
  • Researching and adjusting hashtags
  • Staying on top of social media trends and social platform updates
  • Engaging with customers and vendors by commenting on their posts and stories
  • Reviewing and sharing user-generated content
  • Analyzing data across all platforms and adjusting the marketing strategy

Want to know more about working with us and how we can help your business succeed? Get in touch and let’s chat!

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What to Say on Social Media During the Pandemic (+3 Bonus Tips!)

- by Rose Regier

Now that the initial shock of the magnitude of COVID-19 has worn off and it is decidedly not business as usual, it's time to revisit your social content. 

You've communicated how your business offerings have changed—whether it's temporary closure, moving your store online, or curbside pick-up—so what now? What kind of content do your people want to see?

The uncertainty of not knowing when things will return to normal, or even what the new normal will look like, is making people crave familiarity, comfort, and connection. Tapping into those feelings in a way that’s appropriate for your brand is key when creating online content during this time. Here are five content ideas to help you get started.

1. User-generated content

Show your followers some love when they tag you by sharing their content with your audience.

Share other local businesses‘ content to show your support, while taking a bit of pressure off you to come up with fresh content if you're feeling overwhelmed at the moment.

Contribute to the greater good and help combat the spread of misinformation by sharing content from credible sources about navigating the pandemic.

2. Interact with your followers in new ways

People are engaging on social platforms more than ever. Two out of every three consumers who responded to an IZEA survey felt like their usage of social media was definitely going to end up increasing over the course of the next few weeks and months.

If your team hasn't gotten personal on social before, now might be the time to introduce yourselves via video. Take people on a tour of your website, your home office, or show them your curbside pick-up station.

If you're not sure what your followers want to see, ask them! Use questions and polls on Instagram stories to get insights into what your customers want from you, and then give it to them.

3. Start sprinkling in regular content

We're a month into this era of staying at home, and at this point, people don't want all COVID all the time. Take a look at some of the posts you were planning before this all happened and start sharing them intermittently. 

Be mindful of your photo choices - if they show someone doing something that is currently not possible, make sure your copy recognizes this by using language like “dreaming of..” or “can’t wait to...”

If you’re feeling awkward about asking people to buy from you, acknowledge it, and let people know you’re doing what you do to keep your team employed.

4. How-tos and tutorials

Since people aren’t able to try on or touch your product, have someone on your team do a product demo. Unboxing videos are hugely popular on YouTube, so show people what they can expect when their package arrives.

If you’re service-based, think of ways to show your service through video, whether it’s sample sessions or tutorials. Don’t be afraid they’ll get too good at doing it for themselves, just take a look at all the unfortunate haircuts happening right now.

Consider sharing a video of you doing something unrelated to what your business offers - making your favourite recipe (just let’s not pretend people will have all the ingredients in their pantry), or showcasing your hidden talent. It’s ok if some of your content is just for entertainment, especially if your business is closed at the moment.

5. Feel-good content

What does your business offer that could be useful to people right now? Think about donating to local charities or supporting frontline workers in some way. Is someone in your community or on your team really stepping it up right now? Recognize them with a small act of kindness, and share it with your followers.

You could also share some of the funny moments that have happened while you're working from home. Have a dress-up challenge with your team for your next video conference and share a photo.

3 BONUS TIPS:

1. Since things are changing so quickly, it's crucial to revisit your planned posts almost daily, or if you are swamped and don't have someone managing your social media, pause your queue for now. A big news day can change people's mindsets and render your posts irrelevant or tone-deaf.

2. Keep in mind that although this pandemic is affecting everyone, not everyone is having the same experience. Framing this as an opportunity to watch Netflix and eat chips is insensitive to the real struggles people are having.

3. Humanity and connection are what people want right now - as long as it makes sense for your brand. Nobody wants to hear Burger King say "We’re all in this together."

Still stuck on what to say? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Drop us a line and let us know how we can help you grow your business and keep connecting with your customers.