I get asked a bunch of questions about… you know… stuff. And in the early morning hours I enjoy responding (hopefully) thoughtfully and thoroughly. A couple members of my team suggested I start sharing my advice. Previous AMA’s are here. So, without further ado, please enjoy this installment of Ask MilEs Anything:
A reader asked me: “How do you develop and implement a plan for creating relevant content?”
Stop. Before we go any further, it is crucial to know what you can’t do.
You can’t be all things to all people.
Now read that line again. Got it? Now we can move on.
You need to start by defining who you are going to speak to. Not by their age, not by their annual salary, but by their values – the ones that match up with yours. According to study by Harvard Business Review, 64% of people said the main reason they continue doing business with a company is because of their shared values. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.
So let’s say you’ve identified your organization’s four or five core values (*cough* there’s a totally organic way to do this and we give an entire presentation on how to do it *cough*). Your next step is to look for stories on the Internet about other people demonstrating those values. You don’t have to overtly say in your content: “We believe in authenticity. Here’s an example of authenticity.” Just share the story in different channels which will be determined by what your time and money budgets allow.
Share stories, share videos. Whatever medium you’re using, look at how users already use that medium and then, slip into their stream of content.
Talk about things they’re already talking about. But, consciously architect them in a way that resonates with their values because they’re your values as well. Heck, they’re the values of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in your market, around your market, and around their realm of influence (unless your values include hating puppies and babies, then you’re part of a very small circle and should probably reevaluate your company values as well as your life choices).
Facebook says you have 1,000 friends?
Nope. You really have a maximum of 150 who actually care about the stuff you share.
Those 150 are being affected by everything that comes through their feeds. So you’re not just looking to reach people who might do business with you, you’re trying to reach their 150 people as well.
How do you reach them? The fastest and the most authentic way to do it is by:
1. Uncovering your own values that you have as a company because millions of people mirror those.
2. Through those values find things in the world that people are already sharing on Facebook.
3. Share those things.
There’s the bridge.
Identify your core values and know that there are people who share them AND find what people are already talking about and how they’re talking about it in the channels you want to use.
Once you’ve demonstrated that you can be in these conversations, that you’re not just some loud-mouthed-look-how-awesome-we-are brand shouting something nobody cares about, then you can talk about yourself…a little.
For every four posts that you engage people with what matters to them, you can have one where you explain the benefits you have to your audience with some sort of promotion or sale.
There’s your strategy that allows you to have relevant content that’s not so awful sales-y.