By Daniel Fuller
The secret to social media is understanding what it is: it’s social, meaning that people are interacting with each other, and it’s media, meaning it’s a form of mass communication. Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Apple Podcasts have given people like you and I access to a larger audience than the average human being has ever had access to in the history of human civilisation.
Content marketing is using social media to create text, video and audio content, with the intention of creating interest around a brand, product or service. If done well, we can gain the trust and respect of people we’ve never met who can end up becoming our clients. Tragically, instead, we use this awesome power to promote our products and services until we’re blue in the face, and then we blame the algorithm because nobody likes our stuff. But we never ask ourselves if we’ve made content worth sharing.
Think about it this way. Would you walk up to somebody at a party you’d never met before and start telling them about how awesome you are? No, you wouldn’t. You’d take a moment to listen to the other person, and when you spoke, you’d try to be interesting enough to hold their attention.
The first thing you need to know about content marketing is that it’s an act of service to your audience. They have a need for quality online content and you are filling that need. Your audience are real people and don’t like ads any more than you do; as long as you keep giving the good stuff and avoid annoying them, they’ll be back again and again.
It’s important to be very targeted with who you’re creating content for because you want them to be the same person that is likely to use your product or service. This way it’s an easy funnel for your audience to naturally become your customer, and your calls to action fit perfectly within the context. Perhaps you’d like to target local businesses from your area, and you might even like to narrow down your niche to a specific type of business. Start by thinking about where decision makers are likely to be spending their time on social media. LinkedIn and local business podcasts might be a good way to get in front of the right people in this case.
Find local YouTube channels and podcasts that create content specifically for people in your area. Getting a million overseas followers doesn’t help a local horticultural business very much. If there’s no local business podcast for your area, you should start it and invite your ideal customers on the show as guests. Everybody wants to be on a podcast but nobody wants to start one.
Grab your ideal client’s attention by speaking directly to them in a LinkedIn video post, and don’t worry about reaching the masses because they won’t hire you. Mentioning a specific suburb and type of business in the first sentence gets a prospect’s ears pricked up because suddenly here is a professional that actually understands their needs even better than they do.
Hosting the Plants Grow Here podcast has given me an insight into consumer behaviour because I can see when listeners turn off. I create horticultural, ecological and landscape gardening content for professionals while keeping it approachable for keen home gardeners, and when I stray from my audience’s needs, I notice it in the stats.
I’ve done a couple of episodes with a musician and horticulturist Tom Wall who uses a device to translate a plant’s electromagnetic output into music and then plays along with the plant. Tom and I speak about how amazing it is that he’s able to influence the plant’s output with his music.
I love these episodes. I know there are many listeners that also love these episodes, because more than half of the people that tuned into his episode listened through to the end. Tom has also brought a few listeners from his audience over as well. But the fact is, the stats are way down compared to previous and later episodes because this type of content isn’t what my usual listeners come to my podcast to hear.
If you regularly create content for your ideal client’s taste, you might just earn yourself a follower and some respect. You might even earn a click through to your profile, and then out of curiosity, your website. And who knows, that LinkedIn scroller, or that podcast listener may just become your next regular client.