Communicate your message in the places people feel comfy.
The channels where your message resides is an opportunity to vary your voice to create familiarity.
It looks lazy cutting and pasting a message across any space that will allow you.
The message for this article is that it is not just about what you say, but where you say it. It also looks at recognising the tool that can bind everything together.
What used to be building and nurturing a message in a space and then let your audience concentrate around your space, is now about build your message wherever people prefer you to be.
Familiarity Is Home
People like the things they are used to, why make things difficult for others by putting up obstacles? For instance, if a webinar means asking people to download a new app that they are never going to use and takes up space on their hard drive. The content you are delivering had better be reaching the ceiling.
Different media channels ie. your website, your blog, social, offline, podcast, video means a variety of ways to share your voice. From my side, the ecosystem I have built up works like this, where every channel has a different voice:
– the blog (which you are reading now) is my scrapbook for application and to go deeper around topics that all relate to building your audience
– LinkedIn is a place to test ideas and see who is onboard (and what resonates or misses the point)
– The You Are The Media Facebook Group is the pulse to keeping people connected that are part of the YATM community
– The You Are The Media Podcast is a way to present an upbeat message and bring in the voices of others
– The You Are The Media Lunch Club is a way to create something live and has a raw energy about it as well as people being able to participate ‘in the moment’
These all represent different rooms in the same house. It is the same four walls, just a different etiquette for each space. If a friend is going to come and see me, we’re not going to head to the bedroom.
Similarly to what you create, it has to match the medium that you are part of. As Mitch Joel said in a Talking Content Marketing interview, “On a macro level businesses ask themselves ‘how do we sell to people in the digital channels’ (from blogs to the social web). The thing to realise is that every channel has its own type of culture with an unwritten role of engagement and connection. Most brands go into channels to sell from them instead of learning to become part of the culture.”
Find The Anchor For People To Stick With You
You have to lodge in the places people want you to be and then find the anchors to keep people holding onto the chain to your buried treasure. In 2018, I think we all have to be honest with ourselves and say that people do not actively go out of their way to explore company websites and set out to read company blogs. You have to work harder to get people to commit.
People spend time in the places they are familiar with and feel safe. You can either make it complicated or easy for others. Complicated is asking someone to download an app they have never used before for a webinar. Easy is when you ask someone to watch live via Facebook Live or YouTube.
However, the company website can still become the glue, you just need to venture out further on your expedition to bring people back home and make them feel welcome.
The reason for this article is that a key theme from Content Marketing World 2018 was that you have to live in the places people want you to be. This means if you are picking up the momentum with your content creation efforts, to save confusion and time/budget wasted find the channels where people are the most receptive and then focus on them.
If the final destination is to get people to become comfortable to an owned space such as your website where they are regularly signposted, then you have to steal from anywhere you can by any means necessary. In August, I wrote an article where I have pivoted away from being resolute in just concentrating on one space ie. the website and take from the places that are not yours.
Everything I produce, now follows a three-step process.
1.Build a presence where you are confident that your message is not the same as everyone else and you can house the blogging, the video and the audio (your website)
2.Transfer a strand of that narrative to any channel where the audience already exists, such as a micro story on LinkedIn or within a Facebook Group
3.Pull people away so they can see that the party is happening at yours. This helps build a stronger subscribed audience
If your goal is to build your audience, then you have to go where the audience resides and the message looks far too compelling to refuse when they see they can feel part of something else.
Finding The Bridge
So, if the message for this article relates to being in the places people are comfortable with, what is the bridge that connects everything back to you?
The answer is email.
As we approach the latter part of 2018, the companies who are building a genuine audience are those companies that are building their email lists and provide something valuable for someone else. This is in stark contrast to the companies who use email as a way to advertise to anyone who subscribed (and forget that GDPR ever happened).
You can create a respectful and ongoing flow of communication with a trusted database. This is the ultimate form of connection, where the message sits waiting for your attention and the dialogue can be two way. You send, they receive.
For instance, I subscribe to CB Insights based on an interesting report each year that highlights why business fail. In their own words, “A compilation of startup failure post-mortems by founders and investors.” CB Insights sells business intelligence to venture capitalists, the reason I subscribe is that it doesn’t feel corporate. It is simply telling stories with data. Every email is signed off with the words, ‘I love you.’ Lesson here, B2B doesn’t have to feel straight-laced.
The reward for finding a rhythm with an addressable audience is loyalty. You write for someone else and no search engine every drifts into the back of your mind. When it works, you can have an open and honest conversation with someone who has read. It becomes a continually evolving process:
– People step up and can help make the overall effort stronger ie. maybe someone has noticed something that looks out of place on a mobile that you have missed. The interaction becomes two-way
– You find patterns to what works and what doesn’t. I found that people clicked on topical articles that related to the overall areas that I share ie. ideas for your content calendar
– Over time, your personality starts to break through. What starts as industry protocol, starts to open up creative freedom and a defined voice becomes easier for people to connect with (email is always from one person to another, not info@ or noreply@)
– Following on from the point above, people like things delivered to them from you, not by someone else. To own the relationship of the database is a place of strength
– You can become a reference point during someone else’s week. This is about relevant, industry information coming to you. For instance, Scott Monty’s Monday email, The Full Monty is a fantastic resource for business intelligence and I know that this takes Scott the best part of a day to put together a day or so before
– Email is a way of appealing to the softer side of our emotions. You can capture emotion the same time as attention
– People like inside information. These are the things that they can’t get elsewhere or before anyone else. For instance, before the You Are The Media Podcast (when it was weekly) it was published on iTunes, subscribers would receive it 24 hours before
– Creating sections in an email helps to create a magazine feel and for people to make an attachment that something took time and thought to produce. For instance, on the You Are The Media weekly email there is a section for activity and work from other members of the You Are The Media community
Let’s Round Up
A message that resonates is one that is easily consumed.
To find a way to get people to commit, once they are comfortable, your email provides a way to steer people through a story with your commentary, within your space.
When email works, it is precision to someone else’s heart and their brain. When someone is in front of you, it is up to you to conduct the orchestra at the right tempo.
When someone appreciates and enjoys what you send, then your message will always sit in the place that they prefer (their in-box). This is the space that you have created and curated, not someone else.
It is not what you say, but where you say it. The in-box can become your place where it’s just you and someone else.