“Content is anything that adds value to a reader’s life.” ~ Avinash Kaushik
With the growth of content marketing over the last 3-4 years the phrase “create content” has become common among marketers recommending strategies for their clients. This is great and generally it is relevant advice, but what does it actually mean?
There are so many types of content, and mediums to distribute that content, that its tough to know where to start, let alone how to see real results from it. Rather than create a giant list of the types of content you can produce, i am going to take a different approach and focus on how you can create content that brings value to your audience.
In my opinion there is a common misconception that you need to be creating content everywhere to succeed, i disagree with that. It is a lot easier to find your groove and create content in a format you feel comfortable with than it is to force yourself to create content just for the sake of it, or because one platform is getting a lot of press at that time.
If you don’t have an idea of what you will be comfortable producing then you need to explore the types of content out there. Are you happier speaking rather than writing? Try podcasting. Are you happy in front of a camera? Make video. Don’t like being in the public eye? Write. Once you find where you are happy the content will flow a lot easier, put out some test content, refine your process and if you get a taste for it then there is nothing to say that you can’t expand out in to other types of content.
To give you an idea of general types of content, without covering every micro niche within each type there should be something listed below where you think might be a good place to start:
- Written – any written content, doesn’t matter whether it’s on your own site or an external platform such as Medium
- Video – this can be any kind of video, a daily, weekly, bi-weekly show, helpful videos on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram etc, or even using Twitter to reply to people with videos is a great use of video
- Imagery – imagery can be great for getting a message across quickly, Instagram has become the king of photos and images, create something that peaks interest and drive traffic through profile views
- Podcasts – Podcasts have had a resurgence recently due to there accessibility becoming much simpler and widespread. They can be highly effective and can provide lots of value if executed well
- Data driven – if you are not a wordsmith but you live in excel, find some data within your industry and tell a story with it
- Presentations – creating presentations is a great way to present stories in a sometimes boring space, take advantage of Slideshare to gain more exposure
- Webinars – Webinars can be super valuable, give away your best information for free and you will be surprised what you get back
Social Media is not all cats and cucumbers
Social media is common place in almost everyone’s life, and social platforms are a great place to create content, build audience and get real engagement and results. The same thesis applies to social media as i mentioned on content, stay narrow. You don’t have to be on every platform out there to be successful, do your research first and find where your audience is hanging out, once you are confident start engaging and putting content in front of those people.
It is not a difficult to figure out where your audience are, for example if you are a personal trainer you might want to put exercise and meal imagery out, if you are an IT support company you might want to publish content on Linkedin Pulse. Make sense?
But wait, social media is not on my website!? That doesn’t matter, you need to be where your audience is. If your content is good enough and you are consistent, you will get noticed and our customers will likely visit your website. You no longer need to focus purely on putting content out on your own site, but also creating content on the platforms where your audience hang out.
Social media is still content, a tweet, a status, a Snapchat, an Instagram, they all count as content.
We have talked about the importance of Micro Content before on the blog and it is something we believe can really excel a content marketing strategy. Once you have selected what kind of content you are going to produce you need to support that content in order to build engagement, and gain a loyal audience.
Let’s say for example you create a regular blog post for your site, its great and contains lots of information that your audience is going to find useful. You finish up and publish it, then you share it on your social media channels and it goes in to the feeds of your followers along with every other link that has been put out – meaning, they will probably overlook it…
This is where micro content comes in, create content around your blog post that is native to each platform you will be using to distribute on. Make it quirky but relate to your longer form content, boost engagement using the micro content and get people interested in what you are talking about. Create an image on Instagram and put the link to the post in your profile URL, create an image for Facebook and write a snippet of the post along with it. Using micro content is an invaluable and underused tactic that can really increase engagement.
Pay for attention
For some reason the concept of paying to put your content in front of the exact audience you want to interact with your content, seems to be somewhat of mystery to the majority of people. Take Facebook for example, they have 1.65 billion (yep, billion) users, and the targeting capabilities in their ad product means you can put your content in front of exactly the right audience for a cost that in reality is peanuts!
Now you still have to produce great content but if you really want to see your content rocket then seriously consider allocating budget to getting it in front of the right people.