Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Scheduling content on blogs, social media and other channels without driving yourself crazy

Disclaimers: The information provided is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Links in articles maybe affiliate or sponsored links.

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Audiences on social media networks, your blogs and other channels all appreciate meaningful, timely and relevant content. Some communication strategists have said that all channels should get unique content, but with the number of channels, we’ve found that this isn’t the most effective strategy. For smaller organizations it would be nearly impossible.

We are advocates of a Create Once Publish Everywhere strategy. Typically, we recommend to start with a blog (aka website) post and then distribute the content (but reformatted) to the other channels.

It’s a good idea for your content strategy to include ideas and potentially even steps on how to ensure that all channels are hit. You might make a check list on your computer or on paper.

Scheduling content: The why

Social media and blog posts can be published instantaneously. We have something to say, we write it (social or elsewhere), reread it (we hope!) and then publish or Tweet it. Hashtag Done.

As part of a professional/advanced content strategy we don’t recommend that you publish things always the second they are ready to publish. That doesn’t mean that no posts are live immediately. For example, if something extremely timely needs to be Tweeted, Tweet it. Live. If somebody is asking a question on social, respond. No need to schedule a response.

Scheduling content is OK.

For produced stories that aren’t related to current news events we recommend scheduling content – the blog posts and related social media updates with some time in between stories.

Here are several reasons for this:

  • A blog post might be finished at 2 a.m., but that might not be the best time necessarily to publish it. Note that it can be hard to know what the best time to publish a post is. Our tip: Experiment with different times and days and watch web traffic and audience engagement. Repeat what worked and build on that.
  • You were able to pull 15 Tweets out of that blog post. You surely wouldn’t want to send them all at once. Especially, if it’s 2 a.m.
  • Scheduling updates can make your brand appear much more active and engaged.
  • Scheduling updates a ways out can make content production less stressful. No need to worry about tomorrow. We are thinking about three or more weeks from now.
  • It assures that different stories don’t step on top of each other.

A note of caution: It’s still a good idea to keep abreast of what is publishing when and what else is going on in the world or with your target audiences. You wouldn’t want an unrelated post to connect negatively to a breaking news event, for example.

Scheduling content: The tools

Scheduling content in WordPressWe recommend a self-hosted WordPress install for just about any content-heavy site. Using WordPress allows you to schedule posts to be published on a particular day and at a specific time. Instead of pushing PUBLISH use the schedule function. Plus. WordPress gives you an easy overview on the dashboard of upcoming scheduled posts.

Using the free Jetpack plugin you can easily tie your site to all of your social accounts. An automatic update will go out once the post is published. Keep in mind this is just the headline with a link back to the post.

But, wait, didn’t you say to do more than just sending out links? Shouldn’t we reformat content to the social networks? The answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let people know that a new blog post is available. But posts like this shouldn’t be the only posts going out on your social media.

Look at the post’s content again and pull individual social media updates out of it. These could be complete sentences lifted from the post or concepts addressed that you rewrote as a social media update. An example? Sure. Let’s take the paragraph above. Tweets from that could be:

  • Don’t just Tweet links. Engage where the audience is. #socialmedia
  • We reformat content based on user expectation. They wouldn’t expect any less. 🙂 #ux #contentstrategy

There are a number of social media scheduling tools out there. We recommend Hootsuite. It’s free, with premium options available, and works well from desktop browsers as well as from mobile devices. (We use it on iPhones and iPads.)

You can view scheduled and sent updates side by side in Hootsuite.
You can view scheduled and sent updates side by side in Hootsuite.
Once you have Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts set-up, sign up on to get a Hootsuite account. You can then tie all those accounts into that one account and schedule posts from one central location.

If you have enough content, we suggest doing one post in the morning, one over lunch and one over dinner time. You can fill in more posts in between as needed. As long as posts are relevant audiences will appreciate them. We wouldn’t recommend posting several times per hour as a matter of routine.

Channel Differences and Content Reformats

All channels’ audiences have different expectations and channels display content differently. Keep this in mind as you are moving content between channels.

Website or blog
Posts typically should be at least 300 words. That’s helpful for search engines, and also makes visitors’ time worthwhile. Very few bloggers can pull off extremely short content that’s worth reading on a blog. Now, that same content might work on Twitter.

Email newsletters
Like all channels, testing what works is important here, too, but one strategy you might try could include posting one main article in its entirety and then offer links to other headlines. Of course, the main article was previously published on your website.

Social media
Twitter is short and all the time (but don’t post more than once every 15 minutes). You probably don’t want to post as often to Facebook and LinkedIn is somewhere in the middle.

The key take-away here: Take bits and pieces of website content and repurpose them as standalone pieces. Don’t always link back to the website. But link when it’s relevant from time to time.

Scheduling content: Conclusion

Planning ahead and using available tools to publish content – no matter the channel – at strategic intervals can help a brand appear more engaged, sharing and relevant. This strategy can make content gathering and distribution less stressful for content creators while it also helps brands be more top of mind to the audience.

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Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph 319-389-9853

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