A few years ago, Atul Gawande wrote a great book called The Checklist Manifesto regarding the value and various uses of checklists in different professions. In it, he argued that “the volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people—consistently, correctly, safely.” Which is a more eloquent way of saying that humans have trouble with consistency. I have applied this “manifesto” to several areas of my life to much success. The two most notable are content curation and my morning protein shake (I always forget those darn chia seeds!). I will spare you the second and instead give you my own checklist for writing awesome social media posts through content curation, every time. More of a list of questions, really, but a content curation checklist in essence.
1. Does this add value to my readers?
Is this post for you or is it for your readers? Be honest. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with posting a self-indulgent comment or thought from time to time. Making this a part of your process may lead you to think of ways you can add an insight that may bring value to your followers.
2. Is this post relevant?
Be conscious of the publication date. If you find something that was posted over a year ago, it may not be relevant any more. In the constantly developing global marketplace, very few things remain unchanged for longer than that. There are rare occasions when you can share something older than this and it still be valuable, but don’t assume. Verify.
3. Does this hit my niche?
I have written before about the importance of focusing your message on your target audience and I’m going to echo that sentiment here. Ask yourself if what you are posting or where you are posting it could be more highly targeted to your niche. For example, if only a small, but important part of your audience would find something extremely valuable, consider posting it within a Linkedin group, rather than as a tweet.
4. Have I formatted properly and checked for spelling/grammar?
Want to know how to instantly lose credibility? Misuse to, too, and two. It is probably the worst thing that can be done in my eyes. It actually physically hurts me to see it done. While most people aren’t as annoyingly fast to point out a grammar mistake as I am, it is just good professional practice to spell check everything you put out.
5. Does the link work?
Don’t leave this step out. Always check your links. If you are taking the time to publish information for the benefit of your readers, make sure they can actually get to where you are sending them. It’s too easy not to make this a habit.
This list may seem too long for something that may only end up being 140 characters. I won’t disagree, but I will ask that if you aren’t willing to do something in a way that will result in the most possible value, why are you doing it at all? Try using this checklist for a while and see if it doesn’t improve your effectiveness on social media. Your readers will appreciate it.
What do you think of my list? Did I miss anything?