Social Media: Exercising restraints before hitting the publish button

A couple months after I started blogging, I developed my brand relevance checklist. I did it to ensure that what I say online would always be consistent with my personal brand and with what readers expect from me. Whenever I get a new post idea, I write a post, a tweet, a status or I tell my opinions in a comment, I validate if I should publish it or not, up to the last moment. When I have doubts, I either press delete, or save it and think it over.

Two weeks ago, I was glad to hear Pam Clarkson (Mondelez Canada), Laurie Dillon-Schalk (Draftfcb) and Helen Androlia (Draftfcb) mentioning during the Oreo Wonderfilled session at Mesh Marketing 2013 that they also use a checklist to validate whether or not they should comment, participate in a conversation or create an original content. In a matter of fact, their checklist is quite similar to my own checklist.

Before you can even think of using a checklist, you will need to have a clear idea of what your brand stands for, what it is the purpose of each social presence that you use in your entire strategy and to have a clear idea of who you talk to. As a guideline, you could validate any content or comment that you intent to make against these points:

  • Is it relevant or helpful for your audience?
  • Is it valuable for your audience?
  • Do you bring something new to the talk? If not, why would say it? There might still be a good reason to say it. The idea is to think about why you want to publish it.
  • Does it help you accomplish what you want to accomplish?
  • Is it align with the core values/culture/mission of your brand?
  • Is it driven by the community? Therefore, you might have to respond.
  • Is it appropriate to participate in that conversation?

Don’t feel bad when your content fails the checklist test

It happens to everyone. The team behind the Oreo Wonderfilled campaign in Canada won points for being authentic and truthful when they shared one occasion when they resisted the temptation to post what they created. The team originally planned to respond to the Tim Hortons Duelling Donuts competition. It seemed like a good idea at the time since an Oreo Borealis donut was a finalist. All the materials (assets and messages) were already done and approved. At the end, the team decided that it would not be appropriate for Oreo to enter the conversation. It was a Tim Hortons moment, not an Oreo moment. I think that they made the right call.

Like them, I remember a few times when I worked hard on a post and decided at the last minute to not publish it. Even though I felt bad about losing precious time, my approach has always been to learn something from the experience. I do it in three ways:

  1. I will determine if there is a way to recycle some of that work. Maybe, I can find a new angle or do more research on the topic.
  2. I ask myself if could I have done something to prevent it? Could I have stopped working on it earlier?
  3. I move on to the next story happy that I did not put online something that I might have regrets.

Whether you are a blogger or a marketer, you need tools and guidelines to help you decide what and what not to publish online. Validating your content relevance with a checklist is a good way to start.