After you have established your most essential channels of communication in Internet Marketing, whether it’s email marketing, Twitter, Facebook (groups and business pages or just your personal profile), YouTube video channel, pay-per-click ads with opt-in newsletters and all the other unforeseen ways of providing “content” to your audience of followers, friends, fans or subscribers, what do you say?
Imagine that the Internet is a really big nightclub and everybody who is in your audience is sitting there with their drinks in hand and the spotlight comes on to the mike on stage and you walk up and…WHAT DO YOU SAY?
This is probably the most crucial question you can ask yourself (probably before you even get started), but most people who want a Twitter account or want to drive their customers to the website or just make more sales using the Internet are more concerned with how they look than what they will say.
This is exactly the problem faced by 24-hour news channels when they got started. They had the capacity to provide wall-to-wall news, but what to fill it with? This dilemma was detailed in a very insightful book by Fark.com’s Drew Curtis called It’s Not News It’s Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap as News. Now that we have these ways of delivering content, WHAT DO WE SAY? Of course, when big news breaks (like on September 11, 2001), it’s easy to just show the same traumatizing clips of death and destruction over and over, but what about when there is no news? What do you say then?
If you’re going to build it, they will come…but they won’t stay if they aren’t entertained or informed. Keeping those eyes on your content is going to be tough if there isn’t enough of it. I find it to be very challenging and I consider myself an expert.
Now sometimes this means that you must resort to repeating the content of others. It’s not ideal, but it works. This is why news aggregators are so popular (such as Fark.com, Huffington Post and others). They may or may not have original content, but the ones that have something going for it besides aggregation alone tend to do much better than without. But a word of warning: You will turn a lot of people off if you are repeating innuendo, scandal or otherwise junk news. While this is a strategy that some use frequently, it’s only going to cater to the lowest common denominator and will just dilute the value of what you have to offer (unless what you have to offer is purely fluff and gossip).
I myself use RSS feeds as a way of providing some content on my Facebook and Twitter accounts (but not for my blog). I make it super-easy by using Google Reader and clicking the Share button which puts that article in queue for my RSS feeds which is automatically picked up by my Facebook and Twitter via ping.fm. I think that for my blog that I would only write an article around content from somewhere else rather than just forwarding it (also called “retweeting” on Twitter and “sharing” elsewhere).
The answer to “What Do You Say?” is really the difference between make or break. Hopefully by providing insightful content such as this article, I will develop a reputation for providing something useful.
I really want to provide value to my customers and if my customers aren’t ready for it, then I will ask them to find someone else to work with.
Here’s a case in point: Recently I had a customer who told me that the free template I found them didn’t look first class and so they didn’t want to use it. This was a deal-breaker for them and so I told them that they needed to focus less on that and more on their content such as their awesome video of their product (that I made from their less-than-ideal footage). I had smartly and prominently featured this video in their awesome template that they didn’t like. They didn’t listen to me and so I recommended they find someone else to figure out their “first class website” issues. I took that template to my next customer who loved it so much that they are recommending me and my services on their next newsletter that’s going out to thousands of their clients. So guess which customer is the successful one? The successful one is the one who has the newsletter and is focused primarily on what to say rather than primarily on how they look while the one focused on how they don’t look first class is still in a business incubator after four years.
So when you start putting together a social media strategy or an Internet Marketing campaign, it’s great to focus on what it will look like and that it’s working properly, but THEN WHAT? What will you be saying? How often? Will you author it yourself? Will you aggregate? Will you go for weeks without saying nothing? What is your plan?
Having a vehicle for your message without knowing what the message will be and how often it will be sent is like having a shiny new car with no gas.