Facebook fans, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn followers. Add them all up and you can get to some impressive numbers. Some companies obsess over the size of their social media audience, using these numbers as the ultimate metric to define their online marketing success. But the quantity of social media fans is only half the story.
Your social following isn't forever…
You spend thousands of dollars and countless hours curating the perfect posts for platforms that allow you to lease your online space, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. But you don’t technically own these subscribers—the social media companies do. As far-fetched as it seems, if Facebook shuts down or alters their algorithm, then your audience base goes with them. Facebook has already done this and now only a very small percentage of organic posts are seen by fans who “like” a page. Facebook enjoys people who pay for their sponsored posts.
Content goes beyond social media
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that social media marketing is not only worthwhile, it's essential. But we want to go beyond quantity and take your content marketing to the next level. You need to give your social media fans a reason to go beyond your Facebook page to visit your website. And once you get them there, you furthermore want to give them a reason to interact with your website. A great way to do that is to offer free, useful content.
Original content creation before the internet
While not a fan of Procter & Gamble, they are one of the pioneering content marketers. Back when there were no websites 50-60 years ago, there was television—which P&G used to their advantage. By creating shows like As the World Turns and Guiding Light, they were able to attract their audience and advertise their products, hence the name “soap operas.”
John Deere's popular farming magazine, The Furrow, is another classic example of curated original content. John Deere never actually solicited any products in the magazine, yet the magazine's connection to John Deere was made by consumers.
Creating and publishing original content 101
Your brand may not be in the realm of John Deere or P&G, but anyone can create valuable content. The key is to be an expert in your chosen field.
- Start by focusing on what you do best and create topics for your content based on those skill sets and knowledge.
- Scan your environment for trending topics concerning your customer base, and then create your content surrounding these trending topics. For example, plumbers can provide simple home maintenance tips. IT companies can communicate how to handle cloud-based storage. Auto repair companies can offer simple ways to diagnose simple automotive problems.
- Use actual examples and data, and link to online sources to lend further credibility to your content.
- Determine the format that is best suited for your content.
- Consider the target audience and their behaviors in order to set the best possible time to publish your content, ensuring optimal reach and impact.
Creating and publishing original content is time-intensive, and it may not lead to new business right away. Stick with it. Being consistent and committed to creating content is vital to growing your audience, or base. Again, Joe Pulizzi describes your base as equal to your content type (i.e., blog) + a main platform (i.e., your website) + consistent delivery + a long period of time. These four factors add up to content marketing success if done properly. Take the time to become a curator of original content and own your customer base.