The narrative you create elevates when it becomes a two-way transaction, not a one-way feed.
This article is about approaching your content creation as a way to cement bonds, not just traffic from you. When you provide real value, solve problems and become a place of trust, this can put you in a space that not many others reside.
Whilst you have the channels readily accessible to use, many people still use them as a means to purely promote and pontificate. Don’t get me wrong as mentioned in a previous article, we have to pull people to us by any means necessary to get them to action. However, if all you are doing is giving people the bait to then pull them to a space where it’s only you that looks good, then it is going to be a short-lived tenure. People leave, they’ll move on.
Treating It All As Currency
Whilst the end goal has to be a return ie. people staying with you, making a commitment, spending money with you, building a dialogue/work that keeps going, think of what you create as currency.
Let’s look at it this way, if you are telling the business community you have a new song because you got carried away that you had an army of strangers on Facebook is 50p compared to the big crisp note of sharing something that others cannot get anywhere else (and strikes a chord).
Look at what you create as a means of a two-way exchange. It can’t be on way.
These are seven things that I have learned when content creation becomes a form of barter between two people.
It is about the give, not the take. When approaching from an angle of value and not coercion, it makes it easier for someone to step forward. For instance, Kerrie Reeves from the You Are The Media community, suggested it would be a worthwhile idea to set up the You Are The Media Facebook Group (why don’t you join click here). Whilst I was slightly reticent to set-up ie. I am not very active on Facebook and would people want to join in (I have seen the gusto on Slack groups fizzle out after a couple of weeks)? It’s early days, but with the You Are The Media ethos based on ownership, self-sufficiency and a content-driven approach, people are participating. Credit to Kerrie for setting up.
Makes you sharper. The focus for the August You Are The Media Lunch Club was that everything has to have a start. The point of this was to highlight every house built, it always starts with the first brick. I write because it allows me to flesh things out and recognise that I don’t have the answer, but documenting allows me to figure out and put a point across. The longer you stick at something, the more fluid it becomes, the easier it is for others to associate. As a result of the Lunch Club, it has been encouraging to see others share what they are creating/building and how they can help others.
An understanding on both sides (creator and recipient). The best way I can explain this is to create with one person in mind or in front of you. This is another way of saying, ‘know your audience.’ By taking things offline, it has allowed me to know the people who make up the You Are The Media Community. Initial I took the stance that my audience was for people with a marketing slant, but in the past year or so, the growth of small business owners who are part of the community has highlighted that the message needs to be at a level that is easy to interpret and more importantly, take thoughts and put into practice.
You value relationships/friendships more. Creating a narrative/content has to be seen as more than doing work, it is a way to cement bonds and friendships. For instance, Gordon Fong has been part of the You Are The Media Lunch Club since it started in May 2016. Back then, Gordon and I had no relationship. It used to be, I put on Lunch Club, he came to Lunch Club.
By keeping the events and communication ongoing, I now consider Gordon as a friend someone who I can turn to when I have an idea or just want to start the seed of an idea. He has contributed to articles, encourages others to come to the events and the You Are The Media conference and You Are The Media is better for having Gordon on board. Your consistency of output can cement relationships. This is something that no half page advert could achieve. Your allies are your army to further your cause.
It gives you a better chance to listen, not just jump in. An effort becomes two way when you have the ability to listen to others. By having forums in place both off-line (Lunch Club) and online (email and the new You Are The Media Facebook Group), it allows a better grasp of what strikes a chord with people, that you can follow up on. For instance, by sharing an idea as a LinkedIn post and gauging feedback determines how this progresses for the weekly article.
Recognising what other people take away is important, this allows you to tune in more. Martin Austwick from Wirehive shared what he leaned into at the recent Lunch Club. Martin said, “A few of the things that were mentioned at the recent Lunch Club struck a chord with me. Mainly because they are things I have been working on recently. The first is that consistency is better than genius. The second is that social media can be used as a source of traffic if we can divert it to a place where we can control it.”
Helps you continually practice at being better at business. If everything you create is between you and the channel you distribute from, it can become a lonely place. For instance, my biggest challenge with podcasting is gauging feedback. Whilst I can see numbers of people who listened, interaction is limited. If all you decide to do is blog and there is no means of action apart from looking at the number of visitors to a web page then this is a soulless life to live.
By recognising the thing that you stand for, the ability to create on a consistent basis, that in turn builds an audience and opens up a way to interact on a personal level, helps you hone your craft with the marketplace you participate in. By writing, recording and sharing have made me better at business, rather than living in a world of one-off projects for one-off clients.
You can solve more difficult problems. By creating and living on a two-way street, allows a real sense of empathy and recognition that there are wider areas to explore. For instance, if all I had was a content marketing head on and there was no means on continual interaction with others, you would probably be reading articles that would have a generic theme that are widely available ie. building followers, structure for creating a story, what messages to create for your business, distribution of your message.
Since the latter part of 2017, I believe that there is something that is fundamental for businesses to grasp, the ability to retain and grow a loyal audience. It just so happens that we can create content and then share that allows us to connect and interact on a far more intimate level. I used to get so excited about the ingredients of the Marmite jar ie. the principals of content marketing, that I realised that most business owners didn’t care about the jargon, but the simplest way to understand what it takes to be relevant so others will spend money and keep with them.
Let’s Round Up
A content-driven approach works when those within your audience have a role to play and it’s not just you at the front of the orchestra conducting to a stage full of strangers.
Everything you create, produce and distribute can become a two-way exchange where you understand your role better and recognise the medium you participate in as a method of exchange. This is not a race to tell everyone that you more than them, but for others that the exchanges made are truthful, honest and intended to have longevity.
When you look at a content marketing approach as a responsibility and not a means of filling space with words, videos, images, and sounds, then other people are more obliged to take note and make that decision that spending time in your space is an experience that is worthwhile. There is so much for them to take.