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Digital Engagement Strategy Series: Determine a Content Plan (2)

By John Simpson, Engagement Consultant

If you missed our earlier post, check out part one of our digital engagement blog series. This blog series will go into each of these basics reviewed in our webinar  on Stakeholder Engagement in Federal Government to provide some next steps you can take  to improve your agency’s digital engagement strategy.

In this second post, I’ll be exploring the second basic component that can be leveraged when developing the framework for your organization’s digital engagement strategy or if you’re evaluating an existing strategy.

Time to PlanCraft a holistic and intentional content plan

Every organization’s digital engagement strategy requires a holistic and guided plan for its content. Creating a thoughtful and effective content plan is no easy task and often requires patience and experimentation. However, the first steps in creating a strategy for your content are simple and nearly universal:

  1. Conduct an inventory of all of your content and evaluate any gaps
    Keep in mind that there many different types of content and each has its own use. Knowing what you have, what you can leverage, and what you may need to create to fill the gaps provides you a critical foundation. The expertise of your residential subject matter experts and partners should also be explored as sources for content.
  2. Determine specific goals and audiences for each piece of content
    What we often see is a disconnection between communications and mission driven activities. To bridge this, clarity on what success means for each piece of content is critical. Do certain pieces need to be popular with a broad or mass audience? Or would certain pieces be useful only to a particular professional audience? How do you measure this? And what does that mean for the tone and content of each piece? Answering these questions will also help clarify what practical steps you are taking to serve the public and how you can tie communications success to the overall success of your organization.
  3. Analyze current communication channels so you can assign the right tool for the job to each piece of content
    “Create Once, Publish Everywhere” is a popular concept, but sending everything everywhere without a plan on how to best meet your goals or target a specific audience wastes both your time and energy. Just as you don’t need a sledge hammer to fix a leaky faucet, not every tool is the right choice for every piece of content you have. Social media channels, like Twitter and Facebook, are just the means, not the ends themselves. Oftentimes, when you need communicate a more complex subject or a story to stakeholders, channels like email that allow for more information to be delivered are critical.

Keep in mind that these steps are just the basics to get your digital engagement strategy off the ground. A complete look at building a content plan is worth a blog post all on its own. Subjects such as restructuring your existing content strategy, experimenting with results, incorporating your internal partners into an approval process, and syncing a communication schedule across your organization are more complicated tasks and can vary based upon your business objectives, your audience, and your organization’s capacity.

These first steps will help you evaluate where you are today with your content strategy and help you plan where you want to go in the future to best meet your business goals. Don’t forget to track your plan in a content plan or editorial calendar to ensure all of your team members are on the same page and have the same expectations for results.

What channels and content do you include in your content plan? Do you have other best practices to suggest? Let us know in the comments below.