Conquering your content conundrum


Makenna Sturgeon, Associate Consultant (Email)

Creating consistent social media content isn’t as hard as you might think

On a scale of always to never, how often does your organization post to social media? If you’re intimidated just by the thought of it, it might be never. If you’re a big fan of communication, it might be always. Every public agency should be using social media regularly and it doesn’t need to be hard.

Most agencies already know that having a presence on social media is an essential way to connect with their community, and the data bears this out: according to Pew Research Center, 72% of the US population was using some type of social media in 2021. That number has only grown in the last couple of years and will continue to with a new generation who has always been using social media as they enter adulthood.

Having a social media presence is the easy part. Using it effectively is the challenge – but doing so will not only help you advance your goals, but will ensure you are using your resources wisely.

Typically, there’s one thing standing in the way of a great social media presence: good content. What should you post? The thought of coming up with engaging content every day is certainly daunting, but it’s not impossible, and it begins with knowing your audience.

Addressing your Audience

Before you can build a successful content calendar, you need to answer two questions: who is in your audience and what do they care about? These two questions will inform every content decision you make—from what platforms you’re on to what type of content you post.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Who is in my audience?
    • Are they mostly younger or older? How much education have they had? What is their income level? Do they speak a different language?

Understanding who is in your audience can help you determine how to word your posts so they’re accessible to all, meaning, everyone understands you regardless of education level, age, or other factors.

  • What do they care about?

Understanding your audience’s lived experience can help you determine how to frame your messages and content in a way that will resonate and matter to them. Once you have a solid sense of the answers to these two questions, consider these next two.

  • What message am I trying to deliver?
    • Do you have an announcement to make? Are you trying to develop general awareness of a program? Would you like them to come to your community engagement event? Change their behavior?
  • Where do I have the best opportunity to reach them?
    • Are you already operating on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn? Which ones are working for you?

Meeting Your Audience Where They Are

Picking the right platform will ensure you reach your audience.
Click here to read more about picking the right platform.

Creating the Content Calendar

  1. Determine which days to post
    Start with deciding how many days a week you’ll post. Posting daily is encouraged, however, if that’s a challenge for you or your team, posting three times per week is a great start.
    Social media platforms are run by algorithms. The algorithm determines whether your followers see your posts in their timelines. Posting more frequently helps keeps you in the algorithms’ favor as an active user. Note that posting too often might add you to the spam category, so try to keep it to a maximum of once or twice a day.
  2. List your topics
    Once you’ve determined the days you’re going to post, make a list of the topics you want to talk about and divide them up by seasons, since some topics may only apply during certain times of the year.
  3. Create theme days
    A daily theme can help organize your content and ensure you’re covering important pieces of information on a regular schedule. Consider setting aside a day for evergreen content (information that’s relevant any time), so if news hits on Monday, you have the flexibility to move the planned piece of content to another day or week to make space for your more pressing information.
  4. Create content
    You know what content you want to share – but what should you say and how? To frame it well for your audience, Google can help. Put yourself in the mind of your audience and ask a basic question pertinent to your work.For example, if you’re a water utility, you might ask Google, What are PFAS? This is a timely topic for utilities and local governments across the nation. Consumers want to know what these chemicals are and how to deal with them. When you type this question into the Google search bar, you will see many other commonly asked questions related to this question.This is a great way to determine what your audience wants to know. With this information, you can create content that caters to commonly asked questions and creates value for your followers.
  5. Build the calendar
    Once you have a few different ideas, you can build a month of content that includes agency news, commonly asked questions, and other information for your community to know about.

Consistently Commenting

It’s not enough to consistently post. You must consistently comment, too. Social media is not a broadcast tool, it’s a conversation, and time and time again, we see agencies leave comments unanswered. Responding to those comments ensures your customers or constituents feel heard and are engaged in the conversation.

Keep in mind that you’re not just posting to inform and engage with your audience, you’re building trust by being there. Ignoring their questions and concerns is counterproductive to this.

If you’re concerned or confused about which comments to interact with, check out this chart to help make the decision.

Download Response Guide


Finding Your Content Strengths

Social media is an essential way to connect with audiences, but coming up with content week after week can be a challenge. It doesn’t have to be. Thinking through who your audience is, what content you need to share, and how that lines up with what your audience wants on those topics will help you conquer the content conundrum.