Content Therapy is Managing Editor’s monthly advice column, where Paul Chaney responds to your questions about the messy dilemmas content marketers face in their work. We are (obviously) not licensed therapists.

We May Have One Too Many Social Media Channels!

Dear Content Therapist: I am a social media content specialist and have about three years of experience in this role. I started a new job at a furniture manufacturing company a few months ago to help a brand rebuild their social media strategy and optimize their channels. One of the channels that I want to either put on the back burner or delete completely is YouTube. The problem? My manager is dead set on keeping the channel even though the work outweighs the benefits. I’m still technically a newbie to the field, but I’m knowledgeable and I truly believe we’d be better off without it for now. How can I prove to my manager that this is the right move? Or should I just leave it be and try to make this work? — THE CONTENT SOCIAL GURU IN-TRAINING

Paul Chaney:

To your point, it’s not necessary to be on every social network. Before answering your question directly, however, let me outline four reasons to be on any network:

Your customers are there. It makes sense to have a presence on social networks your customers use. In retail, your customer base likely inhabits Facebook and Instagram, and possibly TikTok. Those are the most popular.

Your competition is there. If you find that a sufficient number of your competitors have a presence, then it stands to reason that you should, too. There is no need to cede that real estate to them.

You have the bandwidth. You have the time and resources to produce content your customers and prospects will find valuable. Excellent copywriting, graphics and video are standard fare these days (anecdotal posts are still OK but not as your main content thrust).

Bandwidth also applies to engagement. Social media isn’t just for broadcasting; it’s a conversation between the brand and its target audience. If you don’t have time to talk, you may need to reconsider participating or hiring a community manager. (YouTube is an exception, however. You may want to turn off comments to prevent trolls from leaving off-topic and even off-color remarks. It gives you better control of your brand message.)

It fits your brand personality. Which social network culture does the brand’s personality fit best? For instance, TikTok favors humorous, entertaining and trendy short-form videos. Can you conceive of creating content that’s a match?

You said the work of being on YouTube outweighs the benefits. In what respect? Is it a bandwidth issue… is your target audience not there… or is there another roadblock that makes it less useful?  

There are good reasons to use YouTube that don’t apply to social media. These two come to mind:

  1. It’s the second-largest search engine owned by the largest, Google. Assuming you rely on SEO for marketing, having search-optimized video content (think title tags, keywords, categories, etc.) is a no-brainer.
  2. It serves as a shareable video archive. Rather than housing videos on your website in a siloed fashion, publish them on YouTube and embed them on your site. That enables sharing. (Although I view YouTube more as a “content” network and less a “social” network, I believe any content you create should be where people can find and share it more easily. If nothing else, put your existing content there.)

As it pertains to new content, consider these factors:

  • Analytics. Do you see sufficient website traffic, conversions and other meaningful KPIs to justify the effort?
  • ROI. Does the cost of video production outweigh the ROI benefit?
  • Marketing strategy. In what ways does YouTube fit into your marketing strategy? SEO, branding or lead gen, for example?

As you can see, there is much to consider when determining where to establish a presence on social media. Reflect on the elements I outlined, analyze the data, do a cost/benefit analysis and discuss the results with your manager. Your decision should not be subjective but strategically focused. Only then will you know the direction to take.

HELP! A Job Seeker Looking for the Right Path

Dear Content Therapist: I’m asking on my daughter’s behalf. She has two bachelor’s degrees. First in journalism/broadcasting, where she worked in the film industry for six years. Second in nursing (BSN) where she worked as an RN for over five years. She’s totally burned out with nursing and wants to pursue something else but is running into many dead ends. Any suggestions on careers to look into and/or courses she’d need to obtain a fulfilling career? — THE JOB SEEKER’S NO. 1 SUPPORTER

Paul Chaney:

I know several people who work in medicine and greatly respect them. However, given what took place over the past three years with the pandemic, I can understand why your daughter is burned out. COVID-19 exacted a steep psychological, emotional and physical toll on many medical professionals.

While I can’t address the topic of career fulfillment broadly without knowing your daughter’s interests, one question I would ask your daughter regards her motivation for seeking a new career. Is it income-related, focused on personal growth, a desire to impact society or something else? Speaking from my own experience, these characteristics comprise a rewarding career:

  • Personal alignment. I found careers that aligned with my values, interests, beliefs, and passions to bring greater fulfillment than those that did not. The fact that your daughter went from a journalism/broadcasting career to nursing tells me that her personal values are meaningful. I would start there.
  • Growth and development. A rewarding career offers growth opportunities and allows you to continually learn, expand your knowledge and acquire new skills. Again, the fact your daughter has not one but two degrees suggests she desires growth.
  • Work-life balance (or, preferably, “life-work balance”). “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” While you want a fulfilling career, you also need time for personal interests, family and friends.
  • Contribution to society. Your daughter’s medical career exemplifies her desire to contribute to society and positively impact others. Knowing that your work has meaning lends to fulfillment.
  • Sense of purpose. Similarly, having a sense of purpose in what you do is a vital part of creating a rewarding career.

With that said, because this column is devoted to content marketing, let me reflect on your daughter’s earlier career: journalism. There are many fulfilling career paths that someone with a journalism degree could consider:

  • Public relations. Is your daughter a people person? If so, public relations might be an option. PR professionals craft press releases, pitch to journalists, coordinate events and liaise with media organizations. Some extra public relations, marketing or business courses could benefit.
  • Content writer or strategist. With a journalism degree, your daughter must be an accomplished writer. Many companies need skilled writers to create content for their websites, blogs, social media and other platforms. Courses in SEO and digital marketing could provide additional skills needed for this role.
  • Managing editor or copy editor. A journalism degree also means your daughter has editing skills. Many companies, including book publishers, need people in those roles, both from a management and copy editing standpoint.  
  • Marketing or sales. Journalism graduates with good communication and persuasion skills can do well in marketing or sales roles. She may need to take additional marketing, sales or business courses.
  • Nonprofit work. Your daughter’s motivation to serve others (as evidenced by her nursing background) combined with her journalism degree could make a communications role with a nonprofit organization a good fit. Many nonprofits need skilled communicators for fundraising, community outreach and advocacy work. Extra courses in nonprofit management, social work or a related field (like environmental science for an environmental nonprofit) might be helpful.
  • Grant writer. This role involves writing proposals for funding from foundations, government agencies and other grant-making organizations.
  • Social media manager. Writing, editing and understanding what content engages audiences are vital skills for social media managers. Some extra courses in digital marketing, SEO or social media management could help.
  • Podcasting. It goes without saying that podcasting is huge, and I’m sure there are openings for writers and producers. That seems right up your daughter’s career alley. She likely has many of the required skills thanks to her broadcasting experience.
  • Teaching. With a journalism degree and experience, your daughter could consider teaching journalism at the high school or college level. However, she may need a teaching certification or graduate degree.

When it comes to finding a rewarding career, one thing I know for sure is that if you move in the direction your heart leads you, you won’t go wrong. I wish your daughter the best of luck as she chooses a career that’s right for her.

Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for advice from a licensed mental health provider, health care provider or legal professional.