Agri[Culture] Insights: Building a Social Content Calendar
Developing Content Categories and Scheduling Social Posts
As agriculture promotion groups (APGs) and checkoffs strive to provide educational information for farmers to keep them informed about investment activities and new opportunities, building a social community with your target audience can be a positive, engaging way to support key communication goals.
However, starting a social program can be a daunting task and may seem overwhelming to a communication team already strapped for time and resources. The idea of developing enough content of value and relevance to your audience to “post” every day can seem unrealistic at first. However, with some planning and a few ideas to get you started, you may be surprised at how efficiently you can add social media to your communication plan.
One simple way to gather content for your calendar is to review the key articles and most requested, educational content on your website. Do you have a great article about combating sugarcane aphids or informational field guides that are a popular download from your website? Pulling highlights from these types of articles to develop social posts and linking to the full article or webpage is a great way to reach your farmer audience with highly relevant content.
As you add new content to your website, be sure to post to your social platforms to keep farmers informed about new resources and information. Every event, program update or research finding that you add to your website should be promoted on social media in a timely manner.
Social media is a great way to communicate program updates to your farmer audience. Updates about research conducted and supported by the checkoff, new uses the checkoff is pursuing for its members, or meetings staff is attending to advance program efforts are all great content of interest to farmers and stakeholders. Layer in a quarterly update around specific program areas or campaigns to build your calendar.
Events are a perfect topic for social calendars. For example, if you have a quarterly board meeting and you publish a board report each quarter on your website, add in a series of social posts each quarter around the meeting. Your social posts could include a premeeting post with the agenda, a couple of image posts during the meeting that highlight the key topics discussed, and a post linking to the board report notes following the meeting.
You can add to your content calendar by mapping out the primary topics you know will be of interest each year, including tips at planting season and topics such as keeping kids safe on the farm. You can develop these topics in advance and integrate them into a yearly calendar. Some topics will be time sensitive, while others can be developed with no specific timing in mind. Having key topics prepared in advance and worked into the schedule throughout the year can help with resourcing and provide a balance of timely relevant content and thought leadership.
Building Your Content Calendar
Once you have content categories identified, start the development of your content calendar with the idea of identifying at least one primary topic each month (12 topics), four supporting pieces of content (one a week) and three to five posts per week highlighting the content pieces. As your audience engages, you can determine the types of information of most interest and benefit to your audience and work to optimize your efforts.
You can start to pull together your calendar with a mix of content by preparing a few articles that can be scheduled anytime, reviewing the content you have available on your website and planning for program updates and events. For example, you know you have a great production guide available for farmers, and it’s a popular download from your website. Your primary topic for March may be “planting” with four subtopics found in your production guide, such as seeding rate guidelines, hybrid selections, final planting dates and row spacing. Your posts can highlight the types of information available for each topic through your regionally specific production guides, demonstrative videos and various available charts and graphs. Also, you know you will be writing a press release about your annual meeting so put in a placeholder for that content. Taking time to think through your year in this way, you may be surprised at how much content you already have to be promoted in your social channels.
Having an established social media content calendar helps the team provide a mix of relevant content appropriate for any time of year while allowing for more flexibility throughout the year to change topics and add topics that are relevant and timely or “in the moment.”
Social Content Approvals
A content calendar developed and updated each month with timely information also provides a great document for approvals. For checkoffs requiring USDA approval for content, submitting a monthly content calendar can help with approval processes. An organized spreadsheet works for both approval submission and program execution. Be sure to include planned posts dates, post content, images you plan to use and all links to additional web content.
Ready to Get Started?
Sharing relevant content with your social audience not only builds awareness , it allows your audience the opportunity to share your information with others and gives you direct feedback about the content through the social channel.
Need help getting started? Let us help you build a social strategy and plan that aligns with your communication goals and provides thought leadership and educational, relevant, timely content for your farmer audience.
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