I’ve been talking a lot lately about content curation lately, and our contributor, Erik Deckers, is all about content creation, which has led to some “Tastes great! Less filling!” types of discussions. But the one thing that we’ve both agreed on is the importance of publishing of our content, regardless of where it came from.
Publishing is the overall approach of content and conversation. It’s more than just publishing a post to your blog, or uploading a video to YouTube. It’s the strategy that not only includes the development of this content, but the effective distribution to its audience.
This last part is important, because that’s where social media is taking us.
Thanks to the Internet, many people are writing some pretty good stuff, while others are creating some pretty awful stuff — not you, of course! You’re great!
It’s falling to the curators to make sure the best stuff is shared, while the bad stuff is ignored. We’re acting as a sort of editorial board to our networks. That’s why publishing carries some pretty important expectations that everyone should know, whether they’re creators, curators, or just want to have conversations about these bigger ideas.
1. You need to know what your audience wants.
What types of content is your audience interested in? What subjects do they want to learn about? What formats will they consume? How long can your content be? How often do they want it?
This varies from audience to audience, and even group to group. A B2B marketer is going to reach her audience differently than a B2C marketer. She’ll reach executives differently than she’ll reach middle management. The B2C marketer will take advantage of mobile video consumption among Gen Y while still reaching out on laptop and desktop users who want to read text.
2. You need to know what your audience is talking about.
What does your audience care about? What are the issues they’re facing and the problems they’re dealing with? Most importantly, what terms and keywords are they using to talk about those issues?
A lot of marketers make the mistake of trying to get customers to use the “official” language of the brand and industry, rather than adopting the language of the audience. So they lose out on all the search traffic to the companies that keep up with what the audience talks about. Use their terminology and their language; save the official language for the back pages no one ever visits.
3. You need to go where your audience is.
Where does your audience spend their time? If you’re a B2B marketer, then LinkedIn and Twitter will be your best bet. But in the B2C world, it’s Twitter and Facebook. And of course, you’ll want a blog to be able to send people to for more in-depth information.
That means you need to be a regular user of the social networks your audience is on. You can’t just join and use it like a broadcast station, occasionally pinging out new blog posts like some lonely beacon in the middle of nowhere. You have to have regular conversations with them, and learn about the things they like and want. It means being a valuable resource that they can turn to for answers.
It also means you can’t let your IT department stand in your way. If they tell you they don’t allow social media access in the workplace, remind them that it is you, and not them, who are responsible for generating revenue for the company. If your audience is on Facebook during the day, then you should be too. If your audience uses Twitter, then you need full Twitter access.
As the line between PR and marketing blurs in this 2.0 world, the line between content creation, curation, and promotion are also blurring. You can’t just create content in a vacuum, or curate it for a group of people who don’t care.
Publishing is a new way of thinking, and the smart marketers have already been embracing it. Are you ready to get started, or have you already been doing it?
Photo credit: Chris Devers (Flickr, Creative Commons)