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Why Offline Marketing Channels Work Like Work Work

 

offline_marketing_channels

You can’t work solely within the blogging or social bubble and expect an audience to consistently invest time and believe in you. There comes a point when you have to take this offline.

Simply publishing in the digital space just isn’t enough.

The focus for measuring success for many businesses is still very much within their online efforts.

offline_marketing_channelsSuccess to many is still defined by numbers. The Content Marketing Institute/DMA UK ‘benchmarks, budgets and trends’ report for 2015 highlights that 61% of content success is defined by website traffic. We have all jumped on this bus as the answer for recognition, attention and growth, when really it is a relentless pursuit of collecting numbers.

The thought to many businesses of committing to offline activity has to be the equivalent of picking up a brick from the bottom of a 120ft deep swimming pool, in your pyjamas. Why do that when you can breath easily with everyone else?

By focusing implicitly on one space to build your audience narrows the overall objective. Mark Schaefer recently highlighted on his {grow} blog within ‘a solution to the content marketing measurement puzzle,’ he states that we want to ‘connect with people in a way that eventually leads them to take some action: register, download, sign-up, purchase.’ This makes sense for where your content marketing efforts eventually lead.

You Can’t Put Offline In A Box

You cannot think of offline as an after thought.

Whether it’s print or an in-person event, I get the feeling that our offline efforts are perhaps the truest way to connect on a much more personal (and sociable) level where we can support others.

The offline spaces do feel different. I bet you feel completely different when you see yourself mentioned in a newspaper, than you do seeing yourself mentioned on someone else’s website?

While we are all filling the digital funnel with places to be seen and recognised, we can now say hello to the new video streaming platform Blab (and perhaps say goodbye to Google Hangouts).

If you are not familiar Blab, it is the equivalent of Periscope for groups of people to broadcast. First thoughts, this could be a fantastic tool to build a community who come to a place to share a topic (four people can be on a screen at one time).

To find out more about getting started, here is a useful article from Social Media Examiner.

Whether online or offline, it doesn’t matter which side of the coin you prefer, if you are relevant to someone else, you mean something.

I believe that everything works in stages. For those looking to build audience, today’s mass media, meaning social media (that are no longer becoming free by the way), provides a pretty acceptable choice for the lowest hanging fruit to distribute a message to become recognised.

Becoming That Useful Resource For An Audience

Add to that a centre of gravity for your asset base of work by creating a website that allows you to share an opinion and provide and become a useful resource for a marketplace, there then needs the next step.

Your website should still represent the source for everything that you produce, but lets not forget the offline techniques to enable your content strategy and business objectives be more hearty.

The issues I have is not with the Blab’s or the Periscope’s of this world but businesses abandoning what has worked for generations by immediately backing another horse.

Lets look at it this way, all that Blab and Periscope represent are channels for people to address an audience with the lowest amount of effort and if you get a bit tired of it, you can leave the room without anyone starring at you. Is this the evolution of the in-person event?

Why Don’t We Have More Conversations?

I have found that taking a step sideways and investing in a more traditional approach of being part of an event is a worthwhile exercise.

I have found that these represent a far more intimate and personable experience than any online equivalent can provide.

Isn’t this what the whole premise for what content marketing should be? Creating content has to lead to a conversation. Everything that we are doing today has to be about facilitating a dialogue and people becoming more interactive with each other that can then lead to an objective of building a customer through to someone who advocates what you believe in.

I am finding creating participatory experiences as the next stage of the content marketing journey. My whole approach is about sharing and not an audience being totally submitted to one person talking at everyone (if you have been to a Once Upon A Time or a Content Revolution Workshop I hope you see what I mean).

So much great content comes from conversations, why don’t more people do this?

Taking it to a more personal space where someone has committed to find out more, you have elevated the whole experience to an audience that are ready, committed and prepared for what you have to say.

This is different from clicking a button to see if anyone has commented on your latest LinkedIn post from this morning whilst you are listening to a webinar.

Offline Marketing Channels As Part Of An Overall Objective

The more I invest in offline activity, the more I believe that you should combine digital and in-person as a way to connect.

It’s a way of showcasing what you believe in and not get accustomed too closely behind the digital comfort blanket. As long as you are compelling to an audience and consistent with an approach, use your website as the centre of gravity and your ongoing activity become the planets circulating the main planet (your website). Building your own solar system and introducing new planets ie. committed activity can help build a much stronger content galaxy (lets leave this detail for another blog post).

You cannot ignore the interactive nature of creating participatory events. It’s something that was here before the digital hemisphere took centre stage. In the words of Bob Marley, ‘in this bright future, you can’t forget your past.’

Bringing in the in-person event should be integrated within your overall content strategy. It’s interactive, it connects, it’s two sided, it’s participatory. If there is an audience who are beside you with what you create, start small and build with this format.

It really can become a strong tool to your content armoury that doesn’t have to start and end with only written content and pressing publish.

Image at the top of the article courtesy of Moazzam Brohi

 

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