A lot of businesses are using social media. And producing content. But when you take a closer look at their content (and to a lesser extend, their interactions), it’s all really thinly veiled marketing. While people may or may not mind being marketed to, it’s usually not what they consider useful information. If you really want your content to work for you, you need to take a closer look at exactly what you’re saying and how.
The 80-20 Rule
We’re all in business to do business – to sell products or services. We can’t give everything away for free (including our content). There has to be some marketing in what we’re doing or else we’re asking our potential customers to follow a breadcrumb path that may at any minute be eaten by the birds. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t tell your audience about your promotions or events, but try to keep it on the DL. Marketing should not be your primary source of content – think more of 80% useful content, 20% marketing stuff. Keep in mind that the 20% includes things like links to your posts on your home base, mentioning events or promotions that are coming up – basically tooting your own horn.
I see a lot of Twitter and Facebook feeds that are nothing more than promotions, sales and give-aways. While you may think this is useful information, and maybe your audience would like to know about these things, this content falls squarely under the 20% in the 80-20 rule. Useful content can be information about industry news or things that may help customers understand your products (or services more). Think of all the things you know about your industry. What makes you an expert? Why are you passionate about what you do? Writing about things that can be helpful for others to know, but which aren’t necessarily about your products or services can make great content. (If you need help figuring out what to write, take a look at my post Business Blogging – What to Write.)
You’re probably spending most of your time on your home base and so most of your content creation probably happens here. Think about ways you can then distribute that content throughout your network – especially through your outposts. I use RSS and widgets in order to automatically post my blog posts on Twitter & Facebook, for example. This distributes my content out to a much wider audience, but also entices them to come back to my blog to read it.
As an aside, I do believe in sending out a full feed through RSS – if people want to read my posts through their RSS reader and don’t come to my blog that often, I’m OK with that. I would rather they read what I have to say. There are hopefully times when they come to the blog for more information or other reasons – either way, I stay top of mind by allowing them to read my content in the way they want.
Next in the series, we’lll talk a bit about measurement.
What’s your content strategy?