Instinct tells you to always create something new. You can maximise impact by using what you already have.
A popular question asked seems to be centred on how to have the ability to consistently create (write, record, film), without running dry of ideas. Finding persistence seems to be a daunting area when talking to others (when related to ownership, not renting). This is understandable where we are looking to find relevance in a Tinder driven world.
Does this mean that people aren’t interested in building an asset base of ongoing work, but the minimum amount of creation to achieve conversion?
To achieve growth you need longevity.
It is not a case of choosing between instant growth (by throwing money at it) OR longevity.
Getting Others In Quickly
This is something seen from the recent IPA Bellweather Report (published during July). This report made reference towards the increase in marketing budgets, but this is broadly concentrated within the digital space. In these pretty unstable times, short term digital solutions are seen as a more robust solution to traditional media channels. It looks like the focus is very much on getting people into the funnel, by any means necessary. Lets worry about keeping them there later.
So, if there is the inquisitive nature of how much to produce and the other on this trade off between growth and longevity, lets see if we can find a middle ground within this article.
THE MIDDLE GROUND – You can keep people engaged/entertained/connected/motivated without the impulse to relentlessly create more.
Lets look at it another way, you can still create a really good meal during the week from what you already cooked with the Sunday dinner.
As a child Monday dinners were always better than the Sunday roast. My mum would make more inventive meals from a bubble and squeak to a chicken pie. This was in a totally different place than the meat and two veg. Buzzfeed has a far more extensive list of 35 ways to use up Sunday’s leftovers. I don’t know what it was, it just tasted better, maybe the chicken was left to marinate, maybe things just taste better 24 hours later (you’re with me on cold pizza, right?).
Making Your Dinner Go Further
Let me share what I am doing at the moment where I am making my Sunday dinner go further.
I consider my Sunday dinner as my writing. It is where the main thought process sits and happens every week. It has become my own tradition (have a read about finding new rituals). I put things in the slow cooker on a Friday and throughout the weekend (by this I mean using Evernote to collate the ideas and let them come together slowly), the dish is finally served every Thursday morning (click here to get your serving if you don’t already get it).
What I have now started doing is turn the Marketing Homebrew podcast into a ‘best of’ (I don’t want to call it ‘remains’ or ‘left overs’). These are the topics that relate to an owned media approach and people building rather than forever renting to grow their audience.
The reason I am doing it this way, is that Ian (Rhodes) handed over the reigns of the podcast to myself at the end of June. Ian’s ever increasing workload wasn’t sustainable for balancing a podcast. I originally thought that when I started this, in July, it would be a case of finding more time during the week (which I am currently struggling to find). My original thought process was to create something from scratch. Again, the default position was to create something new. Find people to interview, find different ways to record, find new things to talk about. It was all about the pursuit of ‘new.’
I decided to look at what I had already created and make the Sunday dinner into a different meal.
There is alternative originality in taking something from its original format and giving it a different taste.
I decided to do this:
- recognise the most popular articles that people have read from the blog. I find this via Google Analytics and the most read articles
- collate articles where there is a crossover. A popular theme for me throughout 2017 has been alignment (I pull these together)
- record weekly Marketing Homebrew podcasts that are around 15 to 20 minutes each week
- the script is already produced, I just need to adapt it so it feels more natural, rather than listening to someone who is reading and starts to sound uncomfortable hearing it read, word for word
It seems to be working, people are still listening.
Going School Textbook On You
Lets bring all this into a school textbook format of what I am saying. Out come the old school principals to how this all works and one you are probably aware of.
The Sigmoid Curve, in its most basic explanation highlights the representation of time and activity. So, the longer you are committed to something (writing, audio or video), the greater chance you have of building your audience.
It works by:
- the seed of an idea develops
- it slowly becomes introduced to audiences
- growth is experienced ie. growth of subscribers to a larger customer base
- growth slows and then stops
- decline naturally happens
You can make this work in your favour, but it looks like businesses are happy to chase the short term increase, only for them to find a quicker decline. You can be in control and understand how you are gradually building your audience, or you can look for the next place to advertise on and chase what is new.
This is what you can do. Rather than a continuous stance to make new things all the time, you use what you have created and produce a second sigmoid. So, rather than starting from scratch with a new podcast, after Ian handed over the reigns, I took what I have already produced and adjust the medium it is communicated within (from blog to audio).
What About You?
This is something that you can take onboard, by reinforcing a message within different channels rather than a pursuit to always look for something new.
That blog that drove a decent response of readership (by this I don’t mean a family member that gave it a like on Twitter), or led to someone getting in touch, or reaching out to you when they didn’t know you before, provides an excellent basis to build on. It shows there was an audience who was receptive. Everything here relates to look at what is converting.
From the Slideshare visual, to the video series, to the posts on Medium and LinkedIn, these all help reinforce a message, rather than looking to build a new fire everytime.
For instance, a series of interviews became a Slideshare presentation, that became a whole section in The Content Revolution book.
You should not be thinking about where the next piece of content is coming from (and when the next thunder bolt of inspiration hits), but how you can reinforce a message that you resolutely stand by.
From my side, if you look through the blog articles from the past three years, nothing has really changed. It is just having a deeper understanding and leaning into it. Sharing multiple perspectives and providing real life analogies for people to connect with does work. All I really do is deliver the same thing (embracing content ownership from a clear point of view) in a different way, until someone has internalised it.
Another old school textbook reference is coming…
This comes back to another old school principal and the ‘rule of seven.’
Very simply, a prospective buyer should hear or see the marketing message at least seven times before they will buy from you. Repetition is important. However, after nearly 150 shows of the Marketing Homebrew podcast, this has not generated one lead (but that was never the intention).
If you are prepared to put the effort in and take on board what you have in front of you, the rewards are there. Back to my mum’s cooking, it’s like a pot noodle or my mum’s left over chicken noodle soup. One is instant and takes no effort, the other is more gratifying if you are prepared to put more effort in.
Lets Round Up
It doesn’t matter how much you should make, but keeping track on the problems you can solve.
If you are going to keep the wheels moving, you don’t have to relentlessly focus on just one wheel to make everything run smoother. When the focus moves to longevity, you can identify common themes to explore deeper and also to introduce within new channels, that have converted elsewhere.
Look at what you have in front of you and what you have done, rather than trying to climb over a wall that you can’t quite manage to look over. Things can become a lot easier to manage when you find content that has already connected and to continually remain relevant.