Let’s say you know what type of content your audience likes to consume, and you know what they’re interested in right now. Once you have those insights locked down, what types of actions should they trigger on your part?
Happily, brands have more tools than ever before to become effective publishers. With the relevant real-time insight at your fingertips, it’s now easier than ever before to know what to say.
Two ways to think about your content approach
1.Tent pole. There are a number of marquee events throughout the year – holidays, major industry events, and your own product releases – which you can anticipate well in advance. How do you maximize those opportunities to be a part of a larger social conversation, and to vie for attention when many other players will be doing the same? These events can congested, and thinking of something relevant and unique to say can be difficult. Staying on top of real-time social conversations will help you find the conversation entry-points that let you distinguish yourself.
2.Evergreen. While tent pole events can make it tough to get attention, figuring out what to say during the in-between time can be even tougher. For everyday engagement, it can be immensely helpful to think of social media as the place to either discuss how your product or service affects your customers’ lives, or to speak to the interests and lifestyles of your audience. There’s an entire constellation of recommendations, tips, guides, and other relevant content you can create or share based on the answers to a couple of key questions:
- How can people use my products and/or services?
- What problems can my products and/or services solve?
- What does my audience care about?
- What brand personality am I trying to convey?
You’ll find that a mix of topical and news-based insights is helpful for triggering content ideas that answer these questions. Both will help you understand the overlap between your core product or service and the other things your audience generally cares about. Both will help you understand what matters to your audience, so that you can create content that appeals to them.
Using publishing tools
Once you get a handle on your approach, you’ll then publish content. Remember, publishing can include a wide breadth of activities, from a short tweet to a comprehensive article or well-produced video. There are the obvious environments:
Social media. Your social media accounts are a great way to add quick context that gets you into the conversation, without requiring lots of overhead. Once you secure a content alert system, adding a word or two or commentary – or simply sharing out a link if your brand personality is well-enough defined – is another way to keep yourself in the mix and make yourself useful to your audience.
Inbound. With the proliferation of social media environments (and given the failure of the microsite movement), websites might seem a bit quaint these days, but they’re making a comeback. With great content, your website can be an effective content hub. Companies like HubSpot and Red Bull have built serious equity in their sites, making them valuable publishing properties in their own right.
And then there are the new guys. As the content creation imperative has become more urgent, a couple of innovative companies have created tools that offer solutions for brands’ content creation and presentation needs. Consider:
RebelMouse. The social CMS enables online publishers to build great-looking pages out of their social media content, and to automatically curate content using everything from handles, hashtags, and keyword phrases to items the brand likes on Instagram.
Branch. This forum platform lets publishers host real-time conversations, then publish them afterwards. These are a way to provide context to real-time content, and to add value to that context by having it come from multiple voices, whether hand-picked or from your broader community.
SpreeCast. Like Branch, the video conversation platform provides a way to generate real-time content about a topic. It also adds a collaborative and multimedia element to the mix, making the content that much more engaging.
By staying on top of real-time intelligence about your audience, you'll find that you have all the publishing environments and tools you need to respond effectively to the things your audience cares about now.