Over the years, I’ve repeatedly seen a major disconnect between real writers being able to find real work (without having to low-ball on bidding sites), and the brands and agencies who are looking for real talent. Unfortunately, when it comes to writers, everyone thinks they’re a writer, but as we know that’s not really the case.
So my primary goal with Media Wise is to serve both sides of the coin – to help writers make a living doing what they love to do, which is writing, and to help agencies and brands find a writers who can help with their marketing efforts.
Today I want to talk about the who, what, where, why, when and how of content marketing. So let’s dive right in.
Why is content so important?
The best way to sell your own products and services is to become your own media company. SEO is important, but it’s just one small piece of a very large digital puzzle.
Getting top rankings in Google is difficult across all industries, not only because the Internet gets busier and noisier, but because they’re turning their focus more toward delivering answer boxes in the results page than delivering organic rankings.
The way we get noticed is changing.
When you produce relevant content you become the go-to resource within your industry. Visitors will trust you deliver the up-to-date information they seek. That’s how you command an audience.
With an abundance of content, you’ll naturally drive traffic by way of SERPs, but also by way of social media marketing, paid social ads (which are grossly under priced right now, but not for long). More web content means more social content, means more followers, more traffic, more eyeballs = accelerated brand awareness.”
Who should create the content?
Everyone with a brand, whether you have a product, a service, it doesn’t matter. Anyone vying for attention, whether you’re a pop star dropping a new album or an e-commerce store that sells running shoes, you’re vying for attention, and the way to get that attention is by producing interesting, relevant content. Like it or not, the key to visibility is content marketing.
And I think one of the important things to remember is how and where people are consuming content because that has changed dramatically as well. It used to be cable TV (so brands would create 30-second commercials) – now we’re watching commercial free on-demand TV, so commercials don’t work anymore. And even when we ARE watching TV, the second a commercial comes on, what do we do? We pick up our smart phones, tablets, or whatever mobile device you’re using. That’s where the attention is today – it’s mobile.
What kind of pieces should be created?
If you’re a tech company selling big data analytics to monster warehouses, you’re probably not going to be producing a ton of cute pictures for Instagram or fun videos for Youtube. But if you’re that pop star we were just talking about, you absolutely need to be on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Youtube.
On the flip side, if you offer a B2B service or you’re a B2C ecommerce website, you might be smart to start blogging, vlogging, tweeting, creating Facebook Live videos … and so on and so on. The key is to know your audience and know where and how they’re going to be consuming your content – then go there and give them what they want.
How do you come up with fresh, new topic ideas?
It can be easy to get stuck when you’re right in the middle of it – when you get too close to it, you can run out of ideas. But, ideas are everywhere all the time. Look to your competitors, stay up to date on industry news and trends. The market will tell you what to create.
The biggest piece of advice I can give here to is to listen – spend time on social media, watch videos and listen to what your audience is talking about. Find out what they’re watching, reading, and listening to. Whatever topics have their attention is what you should be creating.
Now, that’s not to say you should go out and plagiarize your competitors. Just use the information and come up with your own spin, your own opinion. Just be sure that whatever you’re producing, make it your own.
When should you publish content?
I think that brings us back to what we were talking about a few minutes ago when we were talking about where your audience is consuming content. What social channels are they on? Are they listening to your message via audio, are they watching videos, are they reading articles?
Once you know where they are, how often you post is entirely up to you and your capacity. There’s no magic number that says if you create X number of podcasts and X number of Instagram photos, and X number of Youtube videos, then you’ll become successful. If there were, everyone would be doing it.
If I could offer any piece of advice around how much content to produce, it’d be:
- Start somewhere – don’t let overwhelm get in your way, just start doing something, because that’s better than nothing
- Next I’d say don’t spread yourself too thin. There’s no need to be everywhere all the time for everyone with everything. That’s how overwhelm happens. Figure out what you’re best at (whether that’s video, audio or text) and start there. Creating content is never “finished.” It’s always a work in progress, and you’ll switch gears, pivot, change, grow all the time. You can scale as you go.
- And last, and most importantly, I think, is to never ever compromise the quality of content just for the sake of mass production. Don’t churn out garbage because you think you’re supposed to do X number of pieces every week. It’s about quality, not quantity. The Internet is a really noisy place, and they ONLY way you’re going to get the attention you want from your audience is to provide value. That’s it.
Where should you promote your content?
Again, it depends on your medium. That said, there are so many free and cheap ways to promote yourself today, it’s crazy. Use social media to your advantage. Provide value, build an audience and share. It’s that simple. If we’re talking about paid promotion, Facebook and Instagram ads are grossly under priced right now, and if you’re not taking advantage of that, you’re falling behind.
They won’t be this under priced forever. In the next 4 or 5 years, ad prices are going to skyrocket, just like Google Adwords did, because people are going to catch on and crowd the space, which jacks up demand, which jacks up the price.
In terms of free promotion, the options are seemingly limitless. Obviously, you need to be posting your content across multiple social media channels. Which ones? If you have the capacity and bandwidth, go everywhere. Most of you won’t have that ability right out of the gate, so the short answer is for B2B you need to be on LinkedIn. For B2C you need to be on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re producing lots of informative text-based content, make sure you’re optimizing it for organic search and make sure you’re posting it on Medium.
Should you post your content on all of them? Maybe. I can’t tell you that without knowing who your audience is and without knowing what your goals are. What I can tell you is that do as much as you can do without compromising quality. Don’t stretch yourself too thin because it will reflect in your content. But don’t be lazy either. Promote your content because if you don’t do it first, no one else will know it exists, which means they can’t consume it, and they can’t share it.
Quality over quantity: Yes, you need to produce more content. No, you shouldn’t produce mass amounts of garbage. Offer value, create quality pieces whether it’s text, audio or video.
Know your audience: Don’t rush out to produce what you think is cool. Find out what your audience thinks is cool. When you know what your audience wants, and when you know where they’re hanging out, and when you know how they consume content, you can effectively give them what they want, where and how they want it.
Start somewhere: It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you look at all the different types of content you can produce, and where and how you can promote it. I get it. My best advice is to start small and do something. You can scale later as slowly or quickly as you like. But you have to start somewhere. Figure out what you’re best at (audio, video or text) and start there. If you only have time to build one social channel, go where you audience spends the most time and go there first. You can branch out later. Just start. If you don’t, you’ll be left behind.
Have a question about content marketing that I didn’t cover here? Email me directly — always happy to help.