Holiday Communications: 5 Steps to Scheduling [Series]

Every year, businesses, organizations and retailers ramp up their holiday messaging. “What should we post?”, “Where should we post?”, and “How do we keep it all on track?” are the three biggest questions asked at this time of year. This 3-part series for Holiday Communications will outline answers to those specific topics.

In part one of this Holiday Communication series, we discussed What types of NEW information should I be considering during the holidays?; in part two, we covered Where should we put all of this new information? In this third and final part, you’ll discover how to keep it all on track – a process you can repeat over and over throughout the year! Here are five specific steps you can follow:

1. DETERMINE THE “WHAT”

  • Which general pieces of the Holiday Contents will you be using?
  • Within each general area, determine the specifics your company will be adding.
  • If you can determine the exact messaging (read: words) you will be using, definitely go that deep into the setup!

2. DETERMINE THE “WHERE”

  • Which existing channels will you be using?
  • Will you be adding any new areas? Meaning, you don’t have a Facebook page yet so maybe this is a good time to set one up (be sure have a separate plan for that!).

3. DETERMINE THE “WHEN”

  • Using a pre-selected tool (see #5 below), begin laying out items from #1 and 2 above – place each content into their respective area and be sure to include dependencies (a video must be created, then uploaded before it can be linked to in a tweet).
  • If you’re a more visual person or don’t have a tool yet, try creating a large grid on your wall with post-it notes (see image).
    • Write each content piece on multiple post-its.
    • For each channel you will be using, add a larger post-it with that information.
    • Add the various content notes under the channels.
    • Post-Its make it easier to move pieces around until they’re in the order you like. Once the order is in place, you can add specific dates and assignments to the post-its.
    • Transfer all the information to a tool at that point (because Post-Its can fall or be moved).

4. DETERMINE THE “WHO”

  • If you are the sole responsible party for all of these communications, this part is easy and you can proceed to the next step. However, it is usually very unlikely that you can do EVERYTHING yourself – don’t forget your webmaster, your video guy, your intern, etc. They factor into your planning!
  • With a group of two or more responsible people for this content, the layout gets decidedly trickier. With multiple departments or outside resources, it’s even more complex!
    • For example: A video has to first be created by Susan in Marketing then posted by John in IT on YouTube, the website and Facebook before Karen in Social Media can tweet about it.
    • Inter-dependencies need to be laid out in your planning calendar so individuals understand that it’s not just one place that is effected if their job goes undone.

5. PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

  • Create a calendar with all details listed, including dependencies.
  • Be sure all parties can access the calendar; use one of these tools:
    • Spreadsheet on a shared computer network, on a cloud system, or Google Docs
    • Create a shared calendar in Outlook, or other calendar program
    • Use a 3rd party tool such as www.Divvyhq.com (in Beta)
  • Schedule Facebook & Twitter updates with TweekDeck, HootSuite, CoTweet or Buffer.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

  • Take holidays and vacations into account when planning the Who and When portions of your calendar. It helps to lay them on the calendar first then work around them.
  • Double check your spelling and grammar across all channels.
  • Be sure your links work before you publish them.
  • Don’t fret if you miss a social media update – not all your updates are read and you’ve (hopefully) got it covered with repetitions!
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8 comments on “Holiday Communications: 5 Steps to Scheduling [Series]

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