In seminars, I usually use the following statement to start: “The digital marketing approach, To use content marketing and social channels to inspire, educate and grow strong relationships with current and potential customers about your unique business.” Boring business speak on a slide, right? Here’s how I say it:
“I love engaging with people in digital spaces. It’s truly about trying to get to know the people who follow you. Care about who they are and what they like. Talk to them like a real person (because they are!) and not just look at them as a number (please stop doing that). Once you get to know them, you can start to know what they like and you can begin shaping whatever you do to suit their needs. This takes time and care, but it’s also a blast and well worth the effort.”
Now, that’s what I think I’m saying. I’m sure when it’s actually being uttered there are a lot of asides and cheesy (see: not good) jokes. In my latest workshops (with Radio-Canada and University of Winnipeg), I narrowed down a previous seminar (see: Repurpose below) to focus on a few helpful tips for creating decent content. Here are three of them…
Use content marketing to tell your story
Get your story out there by creating content your community will engage with and freely share. Here’s how to pull compelling stories out of your content:
No alternative facts here. Make truth your anchor. Feature real people, real situations, genuine emotions and facts. Tell us how you add value to our lives.
Set yourself apart
You’re an original, show us why. Your stories should offer a fresh perspective. What’s interesting about your brand? How is it distinctly you? Tell your story relentlessly and unwaveringly.
Make the customer your hero
We know your story is about you, but tell it in the context of your customer’s life. Your customer doesn’t care about your website, or all the parties you go to, they care about how you will satisfy their needs. And it will be easy to show them how, if you make them the hero in your stories.
Tell a bigger story
Who doesn’t like a grand tale? Tell your story relentlessly, unwaveringly. Delight your readers with gifts only you can give them. Be authentic and nurture great relationships. Your story will be the backbone to whatever digital presence you ultimately create.
Look for content moments
Instead of trying to force people to come to you. Just go to them. Why fight it? It’s so much easier to put yourself in their spaces.
Be in spaces people already are
You got to give the people what they want. And that means you have to connect with them where they want. You’ll start to discover content moments when you plop yourself down in their spaces and begin engaging with them in the topics they are focused on.
Tap into trends
Hop on the trend bus, Gus, it’s going to be a fun ride. Be forward-thinking and look for opportunities to become part of a moment, trend or event. It could be as small as joining a hashtag conversation to large like weaving your story around an upcoming event (maybe a sporting event, a holiday/theme week, or a TV show).
A word of caution, tread carefully when tapping into breaking news (newsjacking) or hot button topics. When it works, great! But when it doesn’t, it can ruin you. In other words, don’t be this guy … or Pepsi.
Got a great idea, but you need to think about it for a day or two, get approval, spend time on making it pretty. Ok, all ready now? Oh, moment = over. Being good on social means being nimble. If you can’t inject yourself or your content at a moment’s peak, then don’t bother, wait for another moment to come along. Timing is everything. I know, bad cliché, but it’s true.
Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose
…to save money, money, money. Anytime you spend any effort creating content, think about how you can repurpose it. The more interesting ways you can share a piece of content, or the more assets you create for it, the more ways it can fly.
Customize for platform
Look at the functions of one of your social channels, and its unique audience, so you can adapt your content to suit. Don’t just share the same thing, that looks the exact same on each channel. Alter it in some way.
Make complementary pieces of content
Create evergreen content
Content moments deal in mostly topical-driven content, but evergreen content is where you can create something that has a shelf life. Something that’s relevant a year from now. Those are ripe for repurposing. Topical captures attention, evergreen shows them you’re an expert. And it will keep your investment fruitful.
Repurpose your successes
If something you create is successful, think of how you can repurpose it elsewhere. And I don’t just mean repurpose digitally, think outside the modem (like a hashtag campaign that became a book, which then became an adventure). Each piece of content you spend a significant amount of time on are your bricks. Bricks are heavy and cost money. For every brick you make, figure out how you can make 10 to 20 feathers out of it. Feathers are light, don’t take a ton of effort, they are your status updates, Instagram photos, blog posts, etc.
Many of these tips are elaborated on in Ann Handley’s most excellent book, Everybody Writes.