In this new phase of communications where earned media is the game then you need to not throw about “We’re great, buy our shit now will ya?” messages but instead become a publisher and advertiser. Creating something of use that can perhaps be reused or resent to people. We live in an age where content creation is a democratic idea but so is distribution of it. If you create good content then maybe the community you’re in online will spread it much further and it has more power as it comes from a person they know.
What do you want to get out of this?
If you’re going to invest time and resources creating content you need to be very certain what your endgame is. You need to figure out that if you are going to change the copy of your website, write some blog posts, work on status updates on Facebook or Twitter, that you are doing it for a purpose. For your business. What is that purpose? With your content, is it a way of showing off your authority, is it a case study of how you helped someone out, is it a direct way of making sales, is it a discount on goods, is it information that shows you care about the wider community? Lots of questions. Look at all the ones the communications bible brings up!
Who are those you want to energise?
Forget demographics, ask yourself who are the people you want to create good content for and as a result of good content, they interact with you and even help spread the word? Who exactly is the market for your products and services and what do they like online, on blogs, on Facebook, Twitter, discussion forums etc.? Use the likes of the Facebook Ad system to figure out the volume of the people you are interested in interacting with and increase that by perhaps 30% for overall Internet numbers.
After figuring out what you want from working in an online media and who the people you want to work with are then you need a properly considered plan on when and what to send out. You can’t be doing anything adhoc or randomly. Unstructured might be more fun but a plan keeps you on message, allows you to measure how well you’re doing and makes people more comfortable and familiar by the fact you are interacting them on a regular basis. Themes could be a week long education initiative, a week of special offers/discounts, a week of tips on how to use your products more efficiently etc. Themes allow you to be repetitive with your overall message without using the same enforcing updates again and again.
Tweak their bits, get reactions
Interactions here are key. They might be weak emotional engagements but you every comment on a blog, every reply or ReTweet on Twitter, every comment or the weak but effective “Like” on Facebook is someone taking time out to react to your content. Not job done but certainly a recognition of sorts to what you’ve done. So figure out what people like by past experience or see how they presently interact with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, what content gets them going and see can you provide content like that. Getting interactions too might be as simple as asking for them. Solicit opinions with your content, go away from the broadcast type telling of news and lecturing. Ask on Facebook, blogs, Twitter: “What do you think?” “What do you think should be done?”
Update daily, measure weekly
On a weekly basis, evaluate how your content plan is going. Comments on the blog posts, links to the post. Interactions on Facebook using the Insights option. Views on your YouTube video, links to the video on YouTube. To start with you’ll be in prospecting mode, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. From that you’ll become more experienced with this, making it easier to gear up and plan well in advance and having much better knowledge what will work based on what worked before. The Insights tool especially will tell you what age groups and genders are being responsive and which are not which should give you crucial data on what to change and what to keep.
Knowing what people like, you can be the one that acts like a mini-newsfeed for them. Summarising industry news, interesting blog posts, showing videos they might like etc. Think of the daily papers they have on Newstalk or Morning Ireland, can you do the same with websites that apply to your area? The Fluffy Links blog posts I write are one such example of content curation.
Budgets, breaking news, elections, Apple products, volcanoes – They all impact people and all give us the opportunity to share our take and our authority on issues. Also, when you think about it, the marketing for these events has been done by the media already so it’s a nice opportunity to tie in to something relevant if you also have something relevant to add to the mix.