Content Planning in Real-Time vs. Planning Content in Advance

If you haven’t yet checked out the newly published Spredfast Social Planning Campaign Checklist, stop reading this now and download it, read it, and share it across your teams. It is one of the best and most easily digestible planning documents that I’ve seen for professionals working on social campaigns. Planning your campaigns in advance allows you to keep all stakeholders informed and involved as you set SMART goals. Yet in today’s social cycles, trends move fast. The relevant content that you’ve planned for your campaigns can quickly be overtaken by a more timely conversation with your audience.

What’s the solution? It is a matter of establishing balance between planned content and remaining agile enough to adapt to real time trends and conversations. Lean too far into the planning and you will not have the resources or courage to let go of your carefully planned campaigns. Dive too far into the real-time blitz and you’ll lose sight of important beacons that guide your brand’s voice and goals. News Media organizations like BBC are doing this by balancing longer form reporting with Trending News that they feature on their site and social accounts but consumer brands can use some of the same strategies.

Consider these three tips while determining the right balance for your organization:

Build Whitespace into Your Content Calendar

When planning your campaign content, think about related themes that can be worked into the campaign. What are related topics that may have relationships with the themes you are talking about? You can do this by researching the key topics that have been mentioned by your audience in the past across all social conversations. Establish a category or labeling strategy in your content catalog that allows you to quickly swap in the best content based on current relevance.

In the example above, we at Spredfast can get a better understanding of the related topics that our followers are discussing about Facebook. We could then use this information to consider additional conversations that we may want to anticipate bubbling up in the future.

Listen to Your Audience

Most brands already have social personas for their audiences. Rely on these personas to build a catalog of topics that are likely to trend with your audiences and plan your content calendar around those conversations.

Using solutions like Spredfast Intelligence, you can easily track these topics. Dig into these terms as well as some of the topics that continuously float below the top terms. These may be the ones that quickly bubble up when a conversation starts to trend. Spredfast has customers using Intelligence in this way for everything from high end fashion shows to monitoring niche technology and pharmaceutical industries.

Numbers Don’t Lie

If you are planning your goals in advance then you’ll have a good idea of what performs historically versus what is noise in the social space. Chris Kerns has covered this extensively in previous posts on this blog. Benchmark prior social content from your brand and incorporate the tactics or themes that over-performed into the campaign that you are planning. This will help you draw connections to the content that you are planning with historical successes.

Careful planning can include planning for the unexpected. These are just three tips to keep in mind as you are planning for a campaign while expecting the unexpected. Pulling these discussions into your campaign planning will allow you to be better prepared for the conversations that happen in the moment while staying on course with your content marketing strategy.'s picture

Corey Pudhorodsky

Corey Pudhorodsky manages one of the Customer Partner teams at Spredfast who responsible for the success of our strategic customers. He has a deep and diverse career working with organizations from multiple industries and verticals focusing on constituent engagement, social networking, and multichannel direct marketing. Outside of social strategy and celebrating customer success he enjoys tweeting for his kids, flying kites, backyard chicken farming, playing the banjo, and music festivals.