Like any good culinary creation, content creation requires a tasty combination of ingredients to appeal to all the senses. You can’t actually smell or hear or even touch online content, but your clients can evoke those same emotional responses in their readers.
In essence, by creating a good content mix, you’re cooking up a delicious stew that addresses your audience’s varying needs to relate, to learn, to be heard, to win. Meet those needs and you’re sure to engage them.
Why is mixing it up so important?
Like beauty, the value of your client's content is in the eye of the beholder. But they have more than one audience, and different audience members are certainly looking to fulfill different needs at any given time. Right now they may be looking for some quick, grab-and-go information, or they may want deeper educational content. Tomorrow – or later today -- they may be focused on social sharing.
Nothing is more glaringly irrelevant than online content that’s off-target. But boring them to death is “off-target,” too, and that includes serving up the expected. Would you want to eat the same thing day in and day out, over and over? Don’t forget we’re all split-second quick to judge the potential value of online content and move on if it doesn’t seem just right.
Once your clients lose their audience it can be darn hard to get them back.
Actually there are two types of content “mix.”
First of all, there’s what you have to say. That could be:
- News – your own or relating your company or products to a current local, regional, national, even international story.
- Promotions and offers, for sure, but don’t get stuck in “sell mode.” Didn’t your mother teach you no one likes a braggart? And didn’t you just hate that kid in school that talked incessantly, always about himself?
- Sharing someone else’s tasty content, like sharing a new recipe.
- Content that requires interaction, such as contests, short surveys, posing direct questions like “How do you use this product?” or “What’s your favorite feature of our new gizmo?”
Then there’s where you say it.
If your clients are like most marketers today, they're using several delivery channels to communicate with audiences, including social media, email, website and blogs. By their very nature, each channel is more conducive to certain types and lengths of content.
Web-based articles, e-newsletters and blogs are better-suited for longer original content such as news or opinion pieces. A blog is an especially great place to also share news, resources and links to external material.
Social media are more appropriate places for sharing re-posts or links and generally building community. Your clients can more easily start a conversation by asking questions or asking the audience to pose questions for others members to answer.
Whatever the channel, the point is to establish a connection and use it to build an ongoing relationship that encourages repeat visits and ultimately converts audience members to customers. Creating an interesting – dare we say captivating – content mix keeps them coming back for more.
Curation is also becoming a “must do” to generate a good content mix without creating brand new content for every channel, every time. Curating is simply repurposing content. Your clients can curate other people’s material to change up the voice the audience hears or “share” their own content on other channels. This technique can be as valuable as creating original content, and it’s much more efficient.
Context gives your content shape and meaning.
Whether or not your clients really connect with their audience in ways that promote ongoing engagement depends on the context in which the content is delivered. Great material simply isn’t enough.
Context humanizes the message, one reason storytelling is becoming an increasingly popular marketing technique. It evokes an individual emotional or intellectual connection, not unlike the aroma of a favorite food.
Planning streamlines your efforts and keeps you on track.
Planning is always a good plan. It’s like making sure you have all the ingredients on hand before starting to cook. Your clients have to remain flexible, though, so you can quickly pick up on the latest trends or topics. Timeliness impresses.
Thinking ahead helps your clients create and maintain balance among their posts and platforms. And knowing what types of content work best on each of the channels they’re using and how to integrate and “share” both new and existing material is the best recipe yet for creating a successful content mix.