It can be difficult to stay on top of all of the demands you have to find, create and deliver quality content on a consistent basis for your members. You have a lot on your plate and when you have to make a choice between putting out a fire or engaging your members….well, you know which one you have to choose.
I spent 12 years as a television news producer where it was my job to produce newscasts that delivered information to an audience of well over 100,000 people each day. As I was telling a fond memory of a newsroom “war story” the other day, it occurred to me that those lessons learned and habits developed over more than a decade of a career in information delivery, just might come in handy for folks who are having a hard time keeping up with content demands.
So, indulge me for a moment and imagine that you are a news producer and that your “newscasts” are your social media accounts, your chamber blog, your newsletter, etc. Think about how you could apply these ideas to your chamber of commerce social media strategy to keep the content pipelines to your members flowing.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of an Editorial Calendar
It’s a staple in the news business. It may seem like a bit of work, but spending a little time on an editorial calendar will pay off in plenty of ways. For one thing, it is a time saver. If you invest a little time on the front end coming up with ideas and plugging them into the calendar, when you do have time to write a blog article or post to your social media accounts, your topics are waiting for you. No need to waste time trying to figure out what you are going to write. Following an editorial calendar will help you be more consistent in frequency and make it seem less like work.
Think of the editorial calendar as a communications plan for content ideas. And since your chamber of commerce social media strategy may have you producing content for multiple platforms (social media, blog, newsletter etc.), include them all in your editorial calendar so you have a big picture view of what you are putting out there. It will help you identify holes in your “coverage” and opportunities to expand your coverage of a single topic across multiple platforms.
Build An Idea Factory
Have you ever watched a news program and thought to yourself, it must have been a slow news day?
Delivering hours and hours of news content on a daily basis isn’t always easy, especially at the local level. But, the show must go on, and it’s the same for you. Your members need to hear from you, but that doesn’t mean you have to come up with all of the ideas on your own.
In my newsroom, we had two editorial meetings a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. During those meetings we discussed story ideas, issues and events that needed to be covered. We made our plan, deciding which stories would air in which newscasts and assigning reporters and videographers to cover the stories. Having those discussions and making those plans made the job of producing a newscast not only easier, but possible. In those meetings, the knowledge, experience and perspectives of multiple staff members came together to make decisions about what our viewers needed to know and wanted to know. It made our coverage more interesting and more relevant than it would have been if a single person had been making those decisions.
So, how do you make that model work for you? You certainly don’t need to schedule editorial meetings multiple times a day. But, do you have a monthly staff meeting? Board meeting? Meetings with volunteers? Events where you interact with members? Take a few moments during your interactions with staff, volunteers and members to ask for input on what members need and want to know. Try to find out what’s on your members’ minds, not only related to the chamber, but what’s going on in their businesses? What challenges are they facing? What successes have they experienced? Use their input to develop ideas that you can spin into blog or newsletter articles or social media postings.
Sharing is Encouraged
Well-rounded news coverage comes from a lot of different sources. In a newsroom, producers may use the stories produced by staff reporters, as well as items pulled from the national newsfeed, or news releases sent to the station. You definitely want to be sharing chamber information with your members, but the content that you share doesn’t have to be exclusive to chamber events, programs and services. Find some regular go-to resources for articles that are relevant to business owners and professionals, and make sharing them part of your routine. Encourage your members to send their news releases to you, and push those out through your channels.
To the untrained eye, a broadcast news room may seem a bit chaotic. And though newsrooms are definitely fast-paced, every successful news operation must have structure and organization to keep up with the demands of daily information delivery. While you may not face the same level of deadline pressure, your members still want and need to hear from you. Take a few cues from a newsroom to help you create a chamber of commerce social media strategy that delivers consistent, quality content to your members.