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MorgueFile Alarm ClockWhile the NationBuilder scheduling feature can be used on a one-off basis to make sure your email is delivered in the early morning or to publish a blog post when more people are awake, it is truly powerful when integrated into a larger content strategy.

5 Steps for Content Planning

  1. Develop an editorial calendar
  2. Create content
  3. Schedule your content
  4. Make time to respond to the news
  5. Turn off scheduled content during major crises

These five steps will ensure you deliver content on a consistent basis that engages people with your mission.

There are many editorial calendar tools available to help you stay on top of the editorial process. LightBox Collaborative shared a 2013 Editorial Calendar Google spreadsheet that could be particularly useful for nonprofits. I was introduced to the Lightbox version via Beth Kanter's blog and the introduction to the 2012 edition provides additional explanation on how creating content boosts your voice.

I'm a firm believer in scheduling content while making room for flexibility. You'll need to decide how important the news cycle is to achieving your goals. Remember that you don't need to be an advocacy nonprofit to take advantage of breaking news. People look for ways to get involved when news breaks and they're more likely to share your content if it is relevant to the day's news. This can be a slippery slope into only reacting to the news, so make sure you're giving yourself plenty of time to proactively share your story. 

Additionally, it can help to develop a policy for how to respond when local or national crises happen. For example, you may want to unschedule a tweet when people are gathering online to find out more information on a major news event like the Boston marathon bombing. Creating a policy beforehand, including assigning someone responsibility for unscheduling content, will help your organization maintain its human voice.

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