Everyone wants to be heard. In fact, your success depends on getting your story heard by the right people at the right time. So, how do you avoid getting lost in the crowd? How can you make your brand stand out?
My straight-up advice: Don’t ask your consumer to come to you. Become a native on the platforms that they already call home and add value.
Ignore Your Bias
Everyone makes decisions with a personal bias. We are all influenced by the cultural river we are a part of. As storytellers, we have to make the decision to put aside our biases and do what we can to understand the biases of our target audience.
That is true for content platforms, channels, formats, topics, and metrics. Some marketers want all engagement all the time. Others want sliced and diced metrics based on corporate success factors. Some brands won’t let you go where you need to reach your customer, because they don’t think it’s relevant. Etc.
A good marketer is intensely audience-focused and willing to fight for what is right for the consumer. An excellent marketer knows that the campaign will not succeed unless audience preferences are elevated above brand bias — especially for certain platforms.
Let’s talk about advertising platforms and channels for a minute. Each one has pros and cons for content marketing.
- Facebook leads the audience metrics charge with their (slightly creepy) segmenting location-targeting tool.
- Twitter helps you run a virtual newsroom by building on topic trends tied to action metrics.
- LinkedIn and Medium build audience with influencers who want to attract the executive, HR, and B2B crowd.
- Instagram and Pinterest activate buying decisions for visually minded consumers.
- SnapChat is perfect for connecting with the young, post and ghost, private types.
- Google and YouTube are search goliath cousins with dominant search and mobile positioning. They can make or break your audience’s ability to even find your content.
But no matter what platform you think has the sexiest capabilities or metrics, your audience should always have the final say. Why? Because you’re asking people to do you a favor… consume (and act upon) your content. (And also, because no one has time to visit all the attention-seeking brand blogs.)
Think Omni-Channel And Go Where Your Audience Lives
Let’s say your product guys are seduced by Facebook’s ability to target locals, and your dinosaur boss has said, “publish or perish on that blog thingie.” But, you know that your audience spends their time on 5 mobile apps, thinks Facebook is for old people, and has the attention span of a gnat. So, what do you do?
Here is where you put aside all biases, and put your company’s differentiating factor to work.
Let’s say you work for a company who has a new product that simplifies a common task. And it’s definitely the most user-friendly product on the market. Your company also has a CVP reading something like, “we make X easy” or “we’ve got you covered.”
Marry that help message and stand-out product to your audience’s love of life-hacks and heavy use of YouTube search. Now you know your keystone piece of content + where it will live. So, lets build a conversation through a series of value-add content…
- YouTube Keystone/Owned: A 30-90 second video of a customer solving a particularly hairy problem thanks to your product
- Paid: Spend your paid advertising on the platform where your audience will see it. In this case, YouTube
- Owned platform: A long-form educational piece using pictures and graphics to illustrate the hack and how your product features helped
- Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook: A flipbook of images (taken during the video shoot) that walk someone through the hack without needing to watch a video
- Facebook/Owned: An infographic outlining the stats behind how this hack makes life better
- Instagram: Photo contest that asks users to weigh in with images of their best hackable moment
- Twitter: A tweet-storm that gains momentum for that hack subject
- Medium/LinkedIn: Post by your CEO mentioning how he used that hack himself
- A live event hackathon…
You get the idea.
By thinking of every piece of content as one story that lives through many formats, you can create succinctly, pivot on success, and build on momentum.
1. Your content costs will be much lower.
2. You gain data on which platforms and content types perform for your target audience.
Win, win, win.