You need a better content calendar

We have a content publishing problem

photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/robellisphotography/
photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/robellisphotography/

Hey you there.  The one with the combination of WordPress, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Twitter, Buffer, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Slideshare, Excel, Word, and a Google Docs mishmash of information ending in Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Apptentive and others. You and I have the same problem. We want to be better at what we love – publishing valuable content for audiences that appreciate it – and we want to measure it. We also want to know which content published by which person at which time was effective. And we need to do this without the compendium of technical knowledge and project management skill that it takes today to get this done.

Consider this exchange and you’ll get the idea of why this is difficult.

a conversation among community manager types on Facebook
a conversation among community manager types on Facebook

There has to be a better way

You need a better content calendar (and so do I.) You’d like to have the ability to make a campaign, syndicate information to multiple channels and to track analytics in the same place. You need to schedule this content for days or weeks or months in advance. You’ll need to do this for multiple authors and also have a big red STOP button to make this information cease when bad things happen in the world.

I send apologies in advance to those people think that content calendars and scheduled publishing is bad. I think that it’s better to publish live than schedule, and I also feel that it’s better to set ideas in advance and follow through on those ideas when you are trying to drive sustained, measurable success. So perhaps these two goals are at odds, and perhaps not. In the meanwhile, we all need a better content calendar than just dumping everything in a Google Spreadsheet.

There are good signs – when I asked this question on Twitter – I heard from Meshfire, Relaborate and Brightpod. I also asked a group of about 5400 community manager types and got some great answers. And I also got the feeling that there are few people out there who are managing the publishing of multiple content authors in multiple channels in multiple campaigns having a simple workflow for approval with the precision and information that they are using to manage their email marketing campaigns.

What does this mean overall? Two words: Market Opportunity. Someone needs to build a content calendar and management service for normal people that is as easy as managing your blog posts in WordPress. That service needs to handle scheduling, analytics, and content funnel management for multiple people and campaigns across multiple channels. If this service already exists, I’d love to know about it so that I can use it.

Obligatory iPad Post (by the way, it’s a gamechanger)

Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images

The last day or so, I was trying to figure out what not to write about the iPad.  Would I not write that it was like an iPod/iPhone, only bigger?  Would I not write that it should have had handwriting recognition, video recording, or a webcam?  Or would I not write that it has no chance of lasting the 10 hour reported battery life, as we all know from MBP and iPhone experience?  And then it hit me.

I think we’re looking at a new type of computing.  iPad doesn’t replace or substitute existing computing paradigms.  It’s true that yeah, “it’s kind of like an iPod”, and “a little like a netbook”, and “sort of a media player and a book reader” but that doesn’t really describe the change in consumer behavior that’s likely to happen when you have one of these babies in your hot little hands.

What Jobs has done is given us a portal to buy things, made the screen big enough for everyone to see, and opened up the floodgates so that we can not only buy DRM-able media, but also mini applications, a la carte Cable Television series, and perhaps even live streaming of Sporting events.

So forget Apple TV and the Cube.  The iPad isn’t going to be a failure — it’s going to be a rollicking success that is going to leave us wondering how we ever lived without it.  And by the way – if you are among the 75 million people who already own an iPod, iPod touch or an iPhone, you already know how to use it — and so the greatest pain of user adoption is going to be figuring out how you can hold the iPad in one hand and take out your wallet with the other.  Let the games, the gaming, and the gamesmanship begin.

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