More Content Is Not The Answer
A belief that producing constant content is the route to credibility and sales is the wrong approach. This article has the answer, it isn’t more content.
We can’t be everywhere at once and jump from one space to the other where our audiences are waiting for our next move while we create bespoke content for each platform.
A Conversation From Last Week
Last week I had a meeting with a new B2B client that became the inspiration for this article (and I thank them). A conversation was around the fact that they wanted to become more present on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. They didn’t know what they were going to say on each space, but they knew that their competition was present. It wasn’t going to cost anything to set-up an account and they thought it would be a good idea to have more of a focus to sell within these channels.
Lets just put the breaks on right there (but don’t open another browser window just yet!) and I’m using this as a barometer for many companies where the focus is to use social media as a place to sell rather than understand the culture for those who use the space and to then integrate as part of that culture. They are not looking to solve a problem; all they are becoming is part of the problem where engagement takes a backseat to putting a size 10 shoe in the door, so a potential customer cannot shut the door. The biggest issue I have is the Holy Grail to sales and recognition is expected from within the media, rather than the message.
Solutions & An Example
Creating more in places whenever and wherever we can is not the solution and will result in a complete lack of focus when the strategy is not in place. It also made me realise that the issue many businesses now face is to make a switch and the need to consider content first and the media second. A case in point is the belief that a company needs to be present on a social channel to become more recognised (the media), but not giving thought to what they want to say and what they are going to stand for (the content). This is the fundamental shift that needs to happen, lets learn to become comfortable at crafting our story first and who we want to share it with, then we can apply this message on the channels that we feel our audience would be best suited.
A brand that has its roots within my county of Dorset is paint and wallpaper stalwarts, Farrow & Ball. Earlier this year they launched The Chromologist with the aim to entertain, educate and challenge an audience to how to use colour and take a much more holistic view to the role it plays in art, fashion, literature and food and to invite an audience to interact with the story to inspire, rather than taking an approach to showing a range of paint applied to children’s bedrooms and oak furniture lounges.
Follow The Chromologist’s board Home on Pinterest.
When we look at the Pinterest board, rather than feature content that is wholly Farrow & Ball, the story becomes more focused on engaging a community for inspiration and take a look from the world around them. I take my hat off for making the most of a purely visual social network. The point I’m trying to highlight here is that rather than constantly create, we need to take a step back and look at what our core story is for our business and apply that message with the intention to provide better value to our audience. Have a read of the recent article I wrote that looked at repurposing content we produce, but more importantly when there is complete consideration for the story rather than the media, this allows businesses to reimaging and redistribute their message.
The Balloon Release Analogy
Imagine what you create is part of a balloon release, where you have many balloons ready to be set free (and on a big field and not the town centre by the pylons). The strings for every balloon, before they are released all come to one central place. This central place is the core story, where every thread from the clenched fist (or the balloon bag) is the mechanism to release the balloon, but holds everything together. When the balloons are released they are distributed throughout the skyline.
If you released the balloons one balloon at a time, it becomes a laborious and time-consuming process and over time it becomes boring more than anything else. This is the belief for many businesses, where the focus is to constantly create, one project at a time and them move onto the next piece.
The big balloon release is instant, but everything begins from a central place, which is your fist or for want of a better word, your website. This holds the story that you want to tell, before it is spread. When the hand is opened then every tweet, guide, blog, ebook, graphic, newsletter, email, video is distributed but comes from a central place that has a belief system within it. What is set free has a meaning and delivered to new places but originates from a central space. The ecosystem has a home.
To make that change, we need to embrace content first, that has meaning and then the media. In the words of Andrew Davis from a recent Talking Content interview, “I define valuable content as – high quality, relevant content, delivered on a consistent basis.”
Let Public Enemy Say It
30 years ago, Public Enemy recognised their message was more important than the method that was projected, in 1994 they released their fifth album Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (say each word aloud and slowly and then you’ll understand). Public Enemy knew that their approach was provocative, but in the words of front man, Chuck D everything they delivered was “about real truth and justice for all people.” There certainly was meaning in their message.
I like the idea that I’m leaving the last quote from Chuck D, but to bring everything back to the beginning if we are concentrating on our marketing efforts on media channels because everyone else is, then we are doomed for failure. We cannot keep on producing content for the sake of producing content. Lets put more effort in the content we create.
Before any media channel is exposed, you need to understand exactly what it is that you want to say and whom you are directing a message to. Things become so much more easier to deliver when this begins to take precedence.
Image at the top of the page courtesy of Steenbergs on Flickr