Whether you know it or not, these days, your brand is now an online publisher. Whether you’re blogging, podcasting, or just posting random stuff on Facebook and Twitter, you’re publishing content. In many cases brands are producing content an a somewhat-alarming rate, and the fact that the content seems to have no rhyme of reason behind it makes your brand look sloppy and unorganized. Assuming, of course, that you’re ready to accept your new role as a publisher, you’re going to need a content strategy going forward. That means strategically planning each piece of content, how it’s delivered, how it’s consumed, and how you ultimately track it on the web.
What Type of Content Do You Want to Produce?
This is the biggest question, and one that only you can answer. There’s no right or wrong here, but you do need to spend some serious time thinking about it and also thinking about how much time you have to devote to it. There are several types of content that require very little effort, but others will require a lot of effort, so finding the one that fits you and your brand is essential. Your options are vast and varied when it comes to the types of content you can create. For instance, you could choose to do a weekly podcast. This is a great way to produce engaging content while at the same time lending itself well to strategically placed advertisement and conversion opportunities. On the flip side, a podcast is a big commitment, and it will require some technical knowhow as well. Other types of content that you could create include, but are not limited to:
- Audio/video podcasts
- Google+ Hangouts on Air
- Daily, weekly, or monthly newsletters
- Vine/Instagram videos
How Are You Going to Get the Content Out There?
Once you create the content, you have to have a way of broadcasting it to the masses. That means you need an awesome website or blog that is both well designed and maintained. If you don’t have a website, do that first. Without a website your content plan doesn’t mean a damn thing. Once your website is all setup, take time to craft blog posts and share your content with your audience.
You also need to be invested heavily in social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+ in order to build a base of loyal followers that you can funnel back to your blog. Of these networks, choose three of them that you want to focus on exclusively. Ultimately, which ones you choose depends on where your community is the strongest. Then, once you’ve picked your “big 3” you need to prioritize them in order of importance. Once that order is determined, follow the 30/20/10 rule in order to effectively manage your time. Not sure what the 30/20/10 rule is? Keep reading.
The 30/20/10 Rule
This is the most basic form of social media management that I teach to my students, and it’s also the bare minimum investment that you’ll need to make from a time perspective. With this rule you will only have to spend one hour per day working on your social media channels. You take 30 minutes per day to manage your first priority network, 20 minutes on the second priority, and 10 minutes on the third, for a grand total of 1 hour. That means if your networks were Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, in that order, then you would spend 30 minutes on Facebook, 20 minutes on Twitter, and 10 minutes on Google+.
During this hour you will be posting new content to your channels, and also interacting with your community. As you grow your following people will begin to like, comment, and share your posts across all of your chosen networks. Your job is to engage those people in conversation. Answer their questions, give them advice, or just say thanks for reading. This will build trust between you and your users and hopefully lead them to checking out your stuff in the future.
Be Bold in Your Choices
Don’t do what everyone else in your industry does. If you look over your competition and all of them are blogging, then maybe you should try something new like a video podcast. By breaking down the boundaries that normally encompass your niche, your content will rise to the top and you’ll be setting a trend instead of just following one that already exists.
Don’t Be Afraid to Look Stupid
My first podcasts, honestly, were embarrassing. I had a slow pattern of speech, a strong southern accent, and very little knowledge of video production or audio quality. But I didn’t let any of that stop me. I cranked out new episodes every week and I continued to learn the ins and outs of the business. Slowly, but surely my skills improved and so did the quality of my show, and my subscriber count reflected that as well. When I look back on it now, it gives me a true sense of pride to see how far I’ve come as both an instructor and as a production artist. That is something you can take pride in as well. Don’t be afraid to look ridiculous and don’t sweat the inevitable negative comments that’ll come your way when you first start out. It’ll get better and so will you, but you have to stay the course.
I realize this is a monumental shift in the way that most of you think when it comes to your business. Trust me, though, this is where the world is headed, and now is the time to jump on it. Thanks for reading!