On Content Calendars

4 Comments 25 January 2013

Communications strategy develoment timeline

Content calendars are incredibly useful tools for organizing. But that’s what they are: a tool to create order out of ideas, and a commitment to publishing content. The calendar is the culmination of the content development process, one that begins with defining your “unique value,” and ends with “what content supports your conversation?” as diagrammed above. It’s been 10 days since my last blog post asking for input and ideas about the value that this blog offers. I’ve spent much of the time talking to people about this, gathering my own thoughts, and putting it all together.

Thank you to everyone who offered their ideas for content, as well as suggestions for execution. Your suggestions included more guest posts, interviews, monthly content themes, regular features, and central themes. Readers and colleagues suggested that they’d like to read more of this type of content on the blog:

  • Case studies of social media use from organizations, both deep dives and brief case studies
  • Case studies of social media campaigns
  • Measurement: impact, ROI, ROE, and “how do we do we/should we” measure social media activities and engagement
  • Learning from failure
  • Community
  • The importance of social media tests and experiments, whether they fail or succeed
  • Interpreting data and studies for this audience, distilling relevant practical takeaways
  • Exploring intersections: mission/outcome, theory/practice, etc.

According to Google Analytics, the most popular content over the past two years revolves around engagement, strategy, case studies and creating community. The more popular posts included creating community on a Facebook Page, creating a social media strategy and Infographics for nonprofit storytelling. I definitely see overlapping content and conversation areas with the suggestions from collegues and readers, and search keywords (see below).

Google Analytics also reveals the top keywords and search phrases people use to find my blog. Interestingly, they mirror some of the suggested content items above, including community, social media campaigns, and social media strategies.

Top keyword queries for C2O for 2011 - 2012

What I keep coming back to is what my colleague Bonnie Koenig commented upon in the previous blog post: “I think one of your particular strengths from this breadth of interests and experiences (and as an analytical and process thinkers) is where intersections lie.” The intersections are so very interesting to me, and they are a wonderful starting point for intriguing conversation. Bringing together your suggestions, keyword search, top blog content, and this idea of intersections, I’m proposing to explore the following intersections and conversation themes in 2013:

  • Technology/community: the theory, role, and application of technology in online community development and engagement
  • Measurement/social media: measuring the ROI of online community, community engagement, community action, social media
  • Personal/professional social media: exploring where personal & professional uses of social media meet in order to achieve mission
  • Theory/application: how data points and studies apply to nonprofit technology use, where strategy meets the real world
  • Online/offline community: how online affects offline community and action, and vice-versa

For me, this blog has always been about opening up conversation and dialogue about nonprofits and technology use, and now I’m opening it a bit wider. Rob Wu mentioned in his comment that “relationships and community building are fundamentals that a lot of nonprofits don’t get nor have the patience to invest in.” Community has always been a primary interest and passion of mine, and I don’t lose sight of that. Each of these proposed themes implies community-building: how social media and technology can be used to build community, and move communities to action.

I intend to support the conversation themes with the specific types of content, including case studies, information-rich first person pieces, curated articles, interviews, and guest posts. In the coming week, I’ll add a page to this website with a guest post submission form and guidelines on the specific type of credible content that I would consider publishing.

As for a calendar, I’m so glad I began this exercise. The truth is that every week for the past four years, I’ve thought to myself “what shall I write about in the coming week?” Often I have ideas at hand, and just as often I do not. As part of this process, I’m also developing a content calendar with regular “features,” that will include: case studies, interviews with organizations and organizational leaders that are using social media personally to meet organizational goals, a focus on learning from failure, and a roundup of articles on a specific topic related to a conversation theme.

What do you think about the four primary intersections as conversation themes? Do they hit the mark? Did I miss an obvious one?





Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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