Planning content for social media should be a priority, but it is often left at the bottom of a to-do list. I think many arts managers would agree that having a focused plan unveiling their organization or artist’s content is the preferred method, but with the many pressures of office work it does not get done. One remedy that I have found helpful is a seasonal and weekly editorial calendar.
The seasonal calendar plots out the overall trajectory of your social channels during a defined period of time, while the weekly editorial calendar is very specific and states each and every post throughout any given week.
Social media content can be overwhelming, so I have found it easiest to break things down into two categories: primary and secondary content. When designing the overall seasonal calendar, it makes sense to focus exclusively on primary content—the tent poles that will keep the various channels afloat. Then, there will be many tidbits of information that might not be “necessary,” (secondary content), but still should be posted to retain fans’ interest.
A good way to organize your thoughts for a seasonal calendar is by coming up with a series of blog posts. The blog posts should cover all the different aspects of your concert season and associated programming. This should generally be thought of as your primary content. Taking this blog content and disbursing it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram is optimal. Not only will you be methodically introducing and highlighting certain points of your organization/artist, but you will help drive traffic back to your website via links that should be attached to social content. In other words, blog content placed on social channels should always have links directing fans back to the blog. For more on this, please read my previous post on driving more traffic to your website.
In addition to a seasonal editorial calendar, a weekly editorial calendar is necessary to ensure content is disbursed strategically. As I mentioned earlier, primary content will be central, but there is not always something to announce or market. There will be gaps between one primary content piece and the next one. This is where secondary content is vital to keep fans interested in your organization or artist. Remember, branding is often about having a consistent message frequently communicated. If content ceases for a period of time (e.g. two or three weeks), momentum is lost.
Secondary content can be anything peripheral, yet relevant to your brand messaging. For example, you might find a gap between publicizing a concert in January and the next one in March. What type of content should fill this gap?
Secondary content could take the form of socially sharing articles that support your brand values. If you represent an artist that is interested in technology and want others to associate you with that field (to some degree), you might tweet interesting links from mashable.com, for example. An emerging pianist might want to post YouTube links of Martha Argerich and add a comment that explains why this performance is meaningful. Obviously these ideas are not directly related to promoting a concert/event, but you can link similar ideas to promote your organization/artist at-large.
Arts commentator Greg Sandow just wrote a very good piece on “What orchestras could do for David Bowie.” He explains that orchestras should care about the greater world of music and culture—not be isolated in a special world where anything outside of the microcosm is unimportant.
Posts and tweets about David Bowie from an artist or organization could be very powerful brand messaging. It might not be expected that a classical musician was inspired by Bowie, but a blog post elaborating on that topic could be very stimulating for fans to read.
Secondary content can take many forms, but this core idea demonstrates that you do not always market concerts, events, or accomplishments. It is OK to take part in the greater world by talking about it on social media.
Moving forward, how do you compile a weekly editorial calendar? It might be “easy” to do a general seasonal calendar with primary content, but the weekly calendar needs to be very specific, incorporating both primary and secondary content. Here are three steps to making a better one!
Collect photos, text, and links one week before publication. The number of content pieces can fluctuate, but generally this is a safe minimum.
- Blog: 1 post
- YouTube: 1 video
- Facebook: 4 posts
- Twitter: 14 tweets (2 per day)
- Instagram: 4 posts
Plan how the content on each channel is rolled out. It is easy to have a Word document and list the days/dates within any given week. Insert your content so you know exactly what is being posted each day. I like to use multiple Word documents—one per social channel. It is also helpful to create these documents particularly if multiple people need to review content before it is posted.
Use Hootsuite to schedule social media content. It will post content automatically at your desired scheduled time. There are other tools out there, but this is the platform I like to use. I find it particularly helpful for scheduling tweets and Instagram posts. However, I still use Facebook’s scheduling tool within the website (instead of posting from Hootsuite).
I realize there are different guidelines for when to post social media content depending on where you live and what market you are targeting. Because I work for clients building global brands, time zones are rarely helpful. I use an easy and effective alternative especially for global markets.
New York and London are two major hubs for classical music and most of the major classical media come from these cities. I recommend scheduling content to be released during lunch time (EST) and happy hour (EST).
Scheduling content released at 12:30 or 1 PM in New York means that London will be going to the pub very shortly (five hours ahead). Likewise, when New Yorkers are going to happy hour, Londoners are about ready for bed and might do some bedtime reading.
I hope this guide to creating seasonal and weekly editorial calendars will be helpful for your organization or artist you represent. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email, or comment below!