Blogging, videos on YouTube, Instagram Photos, Snapchat, Vine, Facebook videos, groups, and more...
There's a staggering number of ways to reach your content. And the good news is, that nearly all of those channels are free (or nearly low cost) to reach your customers and prospects.
The bad news is - creating the content that will engage and delight them isn't easy.
It takes this little thing I like to call - craft.
There are really two things that you have to keep in mind about content marketing and making your company a valuable "content marketing" engine. First - you have to respect the platforms you're in (and know why you're there) and second, you have to respect your audience... and that means making VALUABLE things for them... not just constantly making commercials (which typically have low to no value for the customer.)
Respect the Platform
First, you’ve got to respect your platforms. Respect the psychology of what people are doing when they are on the platform. This means that maybe you do not need to be in Facebook, or Twitter, or whatever. This means that when you make content - it can't be one size shoe-horned into all channels.
A friend of mine says to me, the girl you meet at the bar on Friday night isn't the same girl you meet in Church on Sunday.
Even though they are the same person - context matters.
I know a forty-year-old woman is in a different mindset when she’s on Facebook than when she’s on Pinterest.
I know on Pinterest she has intent to shop and on Facebook she’s keeping up with her world. I know that on YouTube she's probably looking for answers or amusement and on Twitter she's probably looking for news and information. Consider that fact in how you make content and what you say to your audience (the storytelling aspect of your content): the psychology and the platform itself.
Respect the Audience
Secondly, respect your audience.
You have to put out content that she will like rather than content that you will like. This is really quite hard for 99% of businesses to get. What you want, it's almost irrelevant in the minds of your customers. No wait, it's not that - it's absolutely irrelevant. So the content that you want to make, that you think is important, I can almost guarantee that your prospective audience doesn't think it's important... at all.
I am someone who STRONGLY has advocated that content marketing is about selling; I've taken a lot of crap over it. The way that you do that, however, is not by constantly marketing commercials as content. You have to connect with people on a more intuitive and emotional level... get known, sell stuff (this is why I keep saying this over and over).
For a service client, I wrote content for their customers - women who were educated in their 40's who run households. They really didn't care about plumbing and heating, what they cared about was their families, their commute, their jobs, their husbands, their issues. So the content I created spoke to THOSE ASPECTS of their lives - not how to unclog a toilet... which, let's face it, yuck... nobody wants to think about that even when it's right in front of them.
If you’re truly making good content, and taking into account the context in which that content will be consumed, it won’t interrupt. This is absolutely key. Marketers talk about "native advertising" or "permission marketing," but what they're really talking about is having some degree of empathy for their audience and making content that fits the context and provides value.
If someone is trying to watch a video, the last thing they want is to sit through an ad and wait to see what they really wanted to see because of something you forced them to watch. Meet consumers in their day in authentic ways.