What happens every Monday, has an audience reach of over 465,000 and was named a Top 25 Twitter Chat for Marketers by Social Media Examiner?

The answer is #ContentChat, a Twitter chat that takes place every Monday from 3 to 4pm ET. Started in January 2013 by Smarter Shift, #ContentChat regularly trends worldwide on Twitter. 

ContentChat's founding moderator, Jenise Fryatt is content marketing strategist at Smarter Shift. And from the very first chat on Jan. 21, 2013, Fryatt summoned skills she learned in improv comedy to handle the unexpected.

In the early days, some guests forgot to show up. Other times, only a few people attended. 

According to Fryatt, “Improv taught me that nothing is the end of the world. If a guest didn’t appear, I just opened the discussion and posed the questions to the group. If activity was low, I just did a lot of the question-answering myself. They key was to make the best of things and not worry about what other people were thinking.”

Recruiting Guests

Participants drive the success of a Twitter chat. So how do you attract the right participants? 

Provide guests they want to hear from. 

Separate from #ContentChat, Fryatt organized a number of tribes on Triberr — a social network for bloggers — consisting of marketers she knew.

Triberr served as an early source of guests on #ContentChat, including Founder of Triberr, Dino Dogan, author and keynote speaker Jeff Korhan and Lilach Bullock, co-founder of commsAxis. In addition, Fryatt was always on the look-out for new guests.

“Anytime I read a blog post that I liked, I would consider asking the author to be a guest,” said Fryatt. Chat participants would also at-mention users who they thought would be great future guests. 

Continued Fryatt, “A few times people mentioned the Twitter handles of their favorite content marketing influencers and got a thank you response from the influencer.”

One example is Ann Handley, best-selling author and Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, who was a guest in 2014.

When asked to pick her all-time favorite guest, Fryatt thought long and hard, but ultimately settled on Lindsay Fultz (@LindsayFultz). 

According to Fryatt, “Not only is she a genius marketer, but she has this in-your-face, no sugar-coating way of communicating that can be both shocking and endearing. Think of Charles Bukowski as a cute, 5 foot, 30-something woman. I've learned a lot from her and she is always entertaining.”

Lasting Value

One of the chat’s regulars, Martin Lieberman, content marketing and social media manager at Meteorix, believes that anyone working in content marketing could benefit from participating in #ContentChat.

According to Lieberman, “There are some great people who are active participants, and it's a very welcoming community. The topics are very accessible to less experienced marketers, but always have some value for those like me who've been doing it for a while.”

With so many links being shared across Twitter 24x7, Lieberman finds Twitter chats useful “because they're a designated time when people are more inclined to actually be social and not just push out links and noise. I participate in #ContentChat because nearly every week, I'm guaranteed to walk away with at least one substantive takeaway that I can apply to my work.”

And though Twitter (and Twitter chats) is a real-time experience, Fryatt also uses Storify to capture the wisdom shared during each chat.

According to Fryatt, “Storify made the chat summaries aesthetically pleasing and easy to scan. We got a lot more bang for our buck from the chats because they continued to live on our blog. To this day, you can view all the summaries from nearly three years of chats.”

#ContentChat Carries On

In Jan. 2016 Fryatt handed over the moderation reins to Lucy Rendler-Kaplan (@LUCYrk78). A Founder of Arkay Marketing & PR, Render-Kaplan 
joined Fryatt as co-moderator in July of 2015 in preparation of becoming the sole moderator.

Rendler-Kaplan is a clear fan of the medium, “People in Twitter chats are more open and willing to share honestly than they do in ‘normal’ tweets. Perhaps it’s the fast paced nature of them or perhaps it’s such a targeted niche, what each chat is focused on.”

According to Rendler-Kaplan, “#ContentChat always allows me to have something on a Monday to look forward to. The group is just so incredible, and amazingly, grows week after week. It’s one of the most friendly and welcoming chats I participate in.”

What Are You Doing Next Monday?

If you don’t have a meeting to attend or a deadline to hit, join #ContentChat some Monday — you might just enjoy yourself!