Choosing Your Channels Wisely

A few months ago I wrote a fair bit about the idea of “Content Marketing 2.0” and my thoughts about how some of the most commonly held ideas were wrong.

Current content marketing orthodoxy is “be everywhere” and that’s just flat out stupid.  I really don’t have a nice way of saying how dumb the idea of “be everywhere” actually is because, for most people, they’ve bought in hard on these myths.

How does this stupidity manifest itself?

Well, you have people who spend half their day creating Snapchat stuff, then bounce over to Facebook Live to talk about their Snapchat.  Between takes, they are taking selfies to post on Instagram.  YouTube videos, blog posts, podcasts, emails… These people do them all and there’s no common theme or trend aside from “be everywhere”.

And what’s the outcome?

You need to be clairvoyant to work out where these people will pop up next.  As someone paying attention you end up trying to get a handle on everything this person is doing because maybe, just maybe, in amongst the noise, there’s something you liked and you’d like to come to know more about this person.

Nope, no time for that, there’s a Blab session this person has to be on talking about some event with a bunch of people you don’t care about.

On and on it goes.  You can never keep up.  In their effort to “be everywhere” they end up being absolutely nowhere.  Finding them is like serendipity rather than strategy on their part.

And that’s the thing, they are confusing marketing with activity.  The “be everywhere” idea is that if you turn up on enough platforms and in enough modalities, you’ll cobble together an audience over time.

The truth is, it rarely works like that and the live video stuff is making it worse.

Let me start by saying that I think Facebook Live is a powerful tool and it is going to be a very important marketing weapon in your arsenal in the coming years.  I get it, I really do – that live, real-time intimacy is powerful stuff.  The problem is that right now it’s all just too ad hoc – there are very few people using it like a proper event.

These tools are all very powerful, but more often than not it’s like they’ve been placed in the hands of spastic monkeys.  With great power comes the ability to act like an enormous dumbass.

I think people need to get back to basics and simplify what they are doing.  Pick one medium or modality and own that.  Become really good at it and make it the singular place where people can find all your best stuff that you’re creating.  Then use the various other platforms and modalities to drive traffic back to that main one that you’re fostering.

If you want to be the Facebook Live person and drive all your traffic to that, then go for it – setup your Facebook Group and get on there every day and do your thing.  Make it an event for your audience to attend.  Use Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and everything else to remind people of all the cool stuff you’re doing in your Facebook Group using Facebook Live.

Here’s the thing, when you give people too many choices and too many options, they’ll choose nothing.  If you make people choose a bunch of stuff and do work to come find you, they won’t, they’ll just go somewhere easier where they don’t have to do as much work.

I mentioned my views on Content Marketing 2.0 – I think it’s all about engagement and your audience consuming your content.  The “be everywhere” idiocy is about publishing and just getting in front of people whereas what’s coming is about building deeper relationships with your audience and them really consuming and getting value from what you produce.

These emails are my foray into that shift.  They are routine, they are designed to be consumed without fuss and they foster a tighter relationship with my audience – it’s like we’re having an ongoing conversation.  You don’t have to do anything other than read, there’s no clicking, no going to my blog, no watching a video or downloading anything – you just open your email and read when it suits you.

So before you run out and start Snapgramming your Tweetbook with hashtags, just take a step back and think, “If someone is new to my world, where is the single best place for them to find me?”  Once you have that answer, you’ll know what to focus on and make everything else you do about driving people to that.

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