Choosing your content marketing media

I’m a baaaaad example of content marketing media.  I have a face for radio and a voice for print, so you’ll notice there aren’t videos, Webinars or podcasts here yet.  I have less than no artistic talent, so infographics are well beyond me (for now; one can always learn).  Don’t believe me?  Here’s the cover I designed for my book:

 

underling

I suppose I could do slideshows, but since I started this blog in part to improve my writing, I’ve been a strictly one medium guy.

But you can’t be.  There are a whole work of ways to reach an audience today and depending on your mission, some, many, or all of them may work well for you.  However, each one takes a toll of time and effort.  It is better to be the master of one medium than a jack of all of them.

Blog posts

Advantages:

  • I would argue that this is the easiest entry point.  You need to write a story.  That’s it.
  • A great way of (as I mentioned yesterday) figuring out what your audience(s) is/are interested in.
  • Can serve as a host and/or a marketing platform for your other content marketing.

Disadvantages:

  • Difficult to capture an audience.  Sure, you can have an awesome weekly newsletter than anyone can sign up for here, but no matter how blatantly you name check it in the middle of a blog post, most people read blog posts individually rather in binge reading.
  • Need to do it regularly enough that people can expect new content from you.
  • Need it do it often enough to be successful.  Hubspot has some great data here that show that posting 16+ times per month gets you the most traffic:

blog_monthly_traffic

 

Furthermore, having 400+ blog posts significantly increases your traffic as well:

 

blog_total_leads

Podcasting

Advantages:

  • Good for when you have two personalities that can play off of each other.
  • Excellent way to incorporate guest contributors.
  • A very popular medium right now.

Disadvantages:

  • Take whatever time you think it will take to edit the audio for your first podcast and multiply it by ten.
  • Very production-value-dependent.  It used to be that people will put up with poor audio quality to get good content.  This is less and less true.
  • Needs to be even more regular than blogging.
  • Difficult to capture an audience, as you don’t have a record of who subscribes to your podcast.

Video

Advantages:

  • Great for people with compelling visuals.
  • You can repurpose existing assets with a little bit of editing and voice over.
  • Guest appearances become a bit easier; there’s something about a video camera that makes everyone want to be on TV.
  • YouTube is a valuable quasi-social network that allows you to be discovered by people who might not come to your site.

Disadvantages:

  • It requires some editing skill and expertise (compared with blogs, which any idiot can write)
  • A talking head looking into the camera is the most common and most boring possible video.  Sometimes it’s necessary, but hopefully you can surpass that.
  • You may do 100 videos that have almost no views; it may be that 101st that gets an audience.

Infographics

Advantages:

  • Great way to communicate complex concepts.
  • Very shareable.
  • Good adjunct to other content (e.g., if you have a complex white paper and are trying to pitch media, an infographic can help with the pitch to explain to people whose journalism majors did not cover microbiology or environmental sciences or whatever (of course, neither did my poli sci degree, so I can’t talk))
  • Who doesn’t love a picture?

Disadvantages:

  • Some infographics are now just numbers with a circle around them or some other gussying up.  Steer clear of the infographic if the pictures aren’t going to add value to the story.  Sometimes a pie chart is just a pie chart.
  • Requires graphic design knowledge.
  • Lacks interactivity and, usually, emotional content.  All of the other media can bring you to tears or to donate.  Infographics are good for the brain, but usually not good for the heart.  And the heart is what donates most of the time.

Quizzes

Advantages:

  • Fun for the whole family
  • Very shareable, especially if you make it so that people can be competitive.
  • Who knows?  Someone might learn something.
  • Can pique interest and encourage someone to learn more.

Disadvantages:

  • A bit fluffy for content — can’t get deep into an issue (which is probably OK; that’s not why someone takes a quiz)
  • Doesn’t convert particularly well.

Whitepapers:

Advantages

  • As mentioned yesterday, they are easy to create from existing content.
  • Excellent for lead generation, because you can email gate them.
  • Demonstrates subject mastery, whether justified or not.

Disadvantages:

  • Can be a bit dry when done poorly
  • More difficult to incorporate emotional content.

Print:

Advantages:

  • Not dead
  • Less competition, because people don’t believe the first bullet
  • More engaging than online content
  • Can engage in conversations, rather than dialogues
  • Can effectively get donations

Disadvantages:

  • Have to explain to people print isn’t dead
  • Cost
  • Less ability to track and capture interactions

And here are a couple I recommend against.

Slideshows:  A lot of folks do these.  I have to admit, I don’t get it.  It’s certainly easy to do, as you have the slideshow in the can already.  It’s good for a business audience, who is used to the format, and gets a lot of data out quickly.

However, it requires someone to want to sit through a PowerPoint presentation without the entertaining audio.  There’s not usually a good conversion mechanism.  And, as you know, the worst live presentations are the ones where people have all of their words on a slide and have to read them off.  These are, ironically, the only decent slideshows, because if someone relied on funny images for their original presentation, it won’t read without audio.

For my money, these are better done as a white paper if you have a dry topic (because you can get email addresses) or a video if you have a lively one.

Social media: By this, I mean posting on Facebook or LinkedIn or what-have-you, so that they own your content.  Don’t do this.  It’s all fine and dandy until someone changes the algorithm or your rules for sharing or your organic reach and your so-called strategy is lost.

Actually, it’s not fine and dandy, because even when things are going well, you are building an audience for that social network, not for yourself or your organization.  Social media is a fine place to link, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

So those are the basic media.  But once you build it, they won’t necessarily come, so you will need some good marketing strategies for your content marketing.  We’ll cover that tomorrow.

Choosing your content marketing media

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