Media choices: there seem to be a zillion of them! Curated links, status updates, ads, photos, graphics, GIFs short videos, long videos, animations, audio podcasts, webinars, hangouts, blogs…..SHEEEESH!! Look at all the options and it’s easy to just throw your hands up, post a picture of your cat and call it good…
Talk with solopreneurs and small business owners about digital marketing strategy and the need for a content strategy that maps to their business needs, the needs and desires of their audience…..well, it can seem complicated.
It’s not really. There are just a lot of choices.
Based on who you are trying to connect with and how they wish to be connected, that is the foundation. After that comes resources required / available, and the other deciding factors.
Let’s take a look at a couple of these: Video and Audio.
The accepted wisdom today is that video is really the only way to touch your audience. Facebook and YouTube loom large in the minds and eyes of many marketing departments (even if the department is actually just you…the owner!). Videos and animations in short or long form grab the eyes and attention of everyone, it seems. Everything from shaky Facebook Live broadcasts from a smart phone to high-cost productions from big brands fill the screens of the Internet. I’ve written about this quite a bit lately…
How can you get on board this train?
First, look at your audience research. Who are they? Where are they? And by “Where?”, I mean not only geographically and channel, but their mind-set. Are they looking for entertainment, information, connection, assistance or just a moment’s distraction while standing in line at the grocery store? Knowing your audience is central to creating the most compelling, right content and using the right media to reach them.
So, you’ve gotten all that together, and have decided that video is the answer for reaching them. Next comes the goal and objective setting for the project. What are you trying to do?
- Raise awareness for your business, especially as it relates to the problem or question (or need for entertainment…) posed by this audience?
- Build your credibility, your reputation with this audience? Establish a closer relationship and greater trust with them?
- Promote your product and service in a way that isn’t “sales-y”? Remember…no one is on the Internet to be sold to…..they may be there to buy (eventually….), but NOT to be Sold To.
Once you are clear about what the goal and objective is for the video, let yourself go bonkers with ideas. Nothing is too outrageous (although many things may be offensive or illegal, but weed those out later…) or too off-the-wall. The one thing you cannot afford is to be the same as everyone else.
- One big hint: NOTHING touches human beings like a story. A story is the most direct line begin a human being and the truth. We are hard-wired to pay attention to great stories. Notice I said “great stories”! If you wish to excel in this area, immerse yourself in good stories AND do some research around story-telling (look for resources at the end of this article).
Once you have these pieces all together, then you need to think about the actual video shoot. There are a number of ways to approach this, based on your objectives and resources. I am providing some resources (which change frequently, so this is a snapshot in time…..) at the end of this article.
- A hint: don’t go either too low-tech OR too high-tech for your first efforts. You need it to be good enough (think MVP – Minimum Viable Product) to catch the attention of your audience, but overkill may not even make it to published, due to various costs.
Post-production, including editing and additional bits like intro and outro music, branding and the like, also need to be included in your resource considerations. Do it yourself or get a professional? Unless you are a real hobbyist in this area, I recommend getting a professional to help you. Getting this right is important, and you learning all the tools and processes is not the best use of your time.
Finally, you publish. This could be to your web site, YouTube, Facebook or other channels, but have a plan based on where you audience is and your existing digital presence is strongest. Promotion comes after this, but that is another article….
In the rush to video, audio is a blind spot for business. Podcasting is the primary way audio is consumed in many markets today, as radio is dependent on location, availability, sponsorships and synchronicity Here are a few numbers from 2017 so far that provide some business justification for looking at podcasting:
- 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast – That’s up 11% from 2016.
- 67 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly – That’s up 14% in a year; 24% of Americans age 12 ore older listen monthly.
- 42 million Americans listen to podcasts weekly – That’s 15% of the total US population.
- 2/3rds of podcasts are listened to on a phone or tablet.
- 85% of listeners hear all (or most of) a podcast. – Compare that to how long viewers will watch of a video of comparable length (the average length of a podcast is just over 20 minutes….).
So, now podcasting looks like something you want to add to your content mix. What’s next?
Refer to earlier in this article about using your audience research to help find the right format and, then, topic for your podcast. It needs to be a sufficiently distinct and niche area (don’t go broad in topic….No One will subscribe…) that has powerful overlap of an area of passion and an area of expertise for you. It doesn’t matter if someone else is already publishing a podcast in that area, because you can:
- Be different from them.
- Be authentic….it will be done with YOUR personality!
- Include the selling points that are unique to you and your business.
There are several different kinds of formats you can use: Interviews, Topical, Educational, Entertainment….the list goes on.
Once you have this level of planning together, you need to think about equipment. Like the video recommendations earlier, don’t skimp, but don’t over-invest, either. You do, however, want the best quality audio you can create. Since there is no visual for your audience to grasp, they only have what they hear to go on, and, if that is sub-standard in any way, they will never come back. Post-production, like video, involves some editing, intro and outro, maybe some music, etc. Again, unless you are already a strong hobbyist in this area, I recommend you hire someone to do this for you, at least to start. If you wish, you can learn as you go, but focusing on the podcast itself at first will probably be the smartest approach.
Finally, you publish. This is a bit different than uploading a video to Facebook or YouTube. There are hosting services, directories like iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher, artwork and the like to consider.
- Hint: you should have at least 3 episodes to publish at first to get the kind of foothold established you want.
Promotion is, like in video recommendations earlier, the next step.
I am working through this process myself and finding it a lot of work, but really helpful in deciding where to put my content development time and effort (as well as other resources….). Watch for more on this process in the weeks to come! Plus, head up to my Facebook page and leave a comment about how you are approaching this opportunity in your business…
Here are the resources I promised you –