Creating meaningful social media content on an ongoing basis is a common challenge for SMBs, large corporations and agencies alike.
Barriers to creating great content that I’ve experienced, and that I’m sure many of you have as well, include:
Budgets for content production being miniscule or nonexistent.
Hierarchy diluting ideas and slowing the creation process.
Fear of underperformance or failure hindering creativity and experimentation.
Input from too many stakeholders muddying process, and dulling sharp thoughts.
And limited time… time always seems to be too short, doesn’t it?
The good thing about identifying barriers is that they’re – well – identified. And then you can determine how to address them head-on. So, let’s do just that.
Following are a few suggestions for how you can address these barriers, and heighten your opportunity for creating great social media content:
BARRIER 1: “We’ve got no budget to do anything really fantastic”
If budgets are a barrier to you creating great social media content, it may be an indication that your idea isn’t strong enough. There are an almost infinite number of ways to create compelling content without breaking the bank, so if budgets are a challenge to you, it may be time to invest a little more time in conceiving content ideas.
Real value can be created in numerous ways, so if you’re hanging your hat on high production value for every piece of content, it’s time to get creative.
BARRIER 2: “By the time our ideas are approved, they’re barely recognizable”
If you’re like me, you’ve seen many amazing content ideas die a slow painful death as they move through organizational hierarchy. Someone doesn’t like this. Another person things something should be added, and another thinks something should be removed. Someone else is worried about this scenario or that. Before you know it, you’re publishing .jpgs of your company’s latest print ads on Pinterest.
As well as you know your social media audience, you also need to know your organizational audience. If you have a deep understanding of the things that make the powers that be in your organization nervous, you’ll be better equipped to preempt their input, required revisions, concerns, additions, deletions, or any other curveball they throw at you. In short, if you understand the sandbox you’re playing in, you’ll be able to produce better content as a result.
BARRIER 3: “We’re not certain that this is going to work”
Feeling a little uncomfortable about the content you’re creating is probably a good sign that you’re onto something. If you’re continually producing content that’s tried and true, it’s not likely to be dramatically distinct from the content your competitors are creating.
Sure, sometimes taking a calculated risk doesn’t pay off. But so long as you use your head, the worst-case scenario will probably be that you’ll learn a great deal from your failure that can be applied to making better content in the future. In the long-run, this isn’t so bad.
BARRIER 4: “Everyone has interesting ideas, but we really need to focus”
Having a number of people pitching in with content ideas can be great for obvious reasons, but sometimes the volume of ideas can be overwhelming and indecision can bog you down.
Keeping your content creation team small and nimble can help you to avoid this, but what is most important is having clearly defined roles for each member of the team, including someone that is appointed head decision-maker. This person should be able to keep the team on track, make tough calls, and be responsible for keeping your content creation machine moving forward.
BARRIER 5: “We don’t have enough time to be creating awesome content”
Particularly as it pertains to SMBs that don’t have the luxury of having a dedicated team of content creators, limited time can be a major barrier to content creation.
While I don’t have a solution to magically make more time (I’d be pretty rich if I did), I do have a few suggestions for how you can integrate content creation into your workflow so that it becomes part of your daily routine. Dedicate yourself to scheduling increments of time in your calendar to work on content and commit yourself to not moving that time. Keep an ongoing record of content ideas so that no mater when ideas strike, you’ve got them captured and you’re ready to craft those thoughts at a later time. And finally, find inspiration for content ideas from the individuals and departments that surround you. Keep your ear to the ground and identify where the interesting things are happening within your organization and convert those things into compelling content.
What barriers do you have to creating compelling social media content?
If you don’t have any of these roadblocks to creating great content, what’s your secret?
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
For any business that is knowledge-based, ideas are typically thought of as being the currency of their organization. Ideas are the basis of their product, the centre of their value proposition, and their competitive advantage. For these reasons – which are entirely valid – ideas are typically held close to the chest and are protected as carefully as a newborn child.
While being protective of ideas seems to make a huge amount of sense, there are a number of incredible opportunities you could be missing out on as a result.
The amazing thing about ideas is that there are always better ones. Always. By giving away your ideas, you are forcing yourself to be innovative, to think of new ideas, and to think of better ideas. Holding your ideas close will keep you from being innovative and propelling your business forward. While your business holds ideas close to its chest, others are pushing the envelope, developing thoughts that are truly unique, and creating huge value for their clients in ways they never thought possible. Sounds exciting, right?
Proves Your Value
Knowledge and idea-based businesses continually face the challenge of having to prove their value to prospective clients. Giving prospects your ideas for free will prove what your business is capable of, mitigate the risk involved with choosing to work with you, and establish your organization as a trusted source of value.
Acknowledging that the purpose of case studies is to demonstrate the proven effectiveness of your idea-based solutions, there is still an inherent risk that prospective clients must take to work with you – no matter how relevant and impressive your case studies. At the end of the day, they don’t know whether you’ll be able to replicate the value your business provided other clients. Additionally, there will always be an inherent skepticism about case studies because by their nature, they are designed to show-off your organization’s highlights, and ignore all of the failed ideas that were sold to other clients.
Increases the Chance of Making Your Business, and Your Clients, Famous
How many incredible, award-winning ideas do you need to pitch for one of them to see the light of day? Chances are that this happens so infrequently that you don’t have an answer to that question. Increase your chances of selling an incredible idea by pitching more of them. Don’t wait to be paid to pitch an idea. Don’t wait for a client to ask for an idea. Simply put, don’t wait. Just share your ideas, stand behind them, sell the hell out of them and demonstrate why they’re game-changers, and I’m sure you’ll have greater success actually bringing ideas to life.
What benefits have you experienced by giving away your ideas?
What do you see as being the pitfalls of giving away ideas?
As always, it would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Image Credit: Veer