Social Media Content Calendar
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www.lightboxcollaborative.com
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Once upon a time, newspapers employed journalists and editors whose job it was to seek out important stories and share them with the paper’s readers. Filling all those column inches every day was a difficult task, and in order to make their lives easier, many publications developed an editorial calendar to help them ensure they were producing timely stories tied to major upcoming events they could plan for. The Fourth of July meant patriotic stories and barbecue recipes. September would bring a wealth of stories connected to children going back to school. And nonprofit communicators spent a great deal of time thinking about how to connect their work with one of these dates to make it easier for reporters to cover their organizations.
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There are still reporters out there with column inches to fill, of course, but less of them than there used to be. There are, however, a heck of a lot more new tools that allow nonprofit organizations to connect directly with their supporters and key audiences. From email blasts to Facebook pages, in many cases it’s now the nonprofits themselves that find themselves with channels in need of content to share. Now that nonprofits are the publishers managing their own communications channels, an editorial calendar can be a great way to manage your content pipeline.
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The secret behind an editorial calendar is the way in which it allows a publisher to create content that’s in tune with readers' expectations—what’s happening in their own lives and, therefore, what they’re in the right frame of mind to hear.
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The editorial calendar in this document contains our ideas on 2012’s tailor-made opportunities for your organization to get coverage, as well as other red-letter dates to help spark your own creativity.
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As you map out your work plan for the year ahead, we recommend you augment our list with a review of your staff’s 2012 work plans to identify key areas of focus—gold mines of content for your communications platforms. At an upcoming staff meeting, you might create a chart for each month and post it around the room, then ask staff to mark key dates on the charts—including events, conferences, key issues up for consideration in the legislature, or program milestones. In this way, your editorial calendar becomes a tool they can use to ensure that communications is in line with and supportive of your day-to-day work, which creates alignment and efficiency in your efforts for the year ahead.
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There are still reporters out there to pitch these ideas to, of course. But there’s no reason you can’t be your own publisher and plan your communications and outreach efforts around your own editorial calendar.
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