Content making through the lens of the platform

Guess what? I’ve made a podcast that accompanies this article!

And the podcast is streamed here:

 

Probably no one is going to listen to it, which… for now, is a good thing. Haha. The primary reason why I want to do podcasts, even if no one is listening is this: to practice the straightening of my thoughts on the fly. 

If you have comments on how I can improve, or even better, join me as part of an interview on the show, contact me!

The thoughts for today surrounds content making.

Content marketing is becoming really popular. People are writing, making graphics, beautiful videos. And spending a lot of money in the process.

We’re frequently told that “if we build it, they will come”. But many businesses are finding it disappointing to have developed great content, only to see dismal numbers or not having it go as viral.

In the midst of making the content, sometimes we’ve pumped our egos so much that we think our content will fly given the thought, time and care taken to produce it.

There are too many variables behind content that is shareable, popular and actionable…but today, we want to zoom in on one aspect: to look at the making of content, through the lens of the platform it is distributed on.

In short, I urge you to think about your content in terms of the platform that it will eventually end up on.

If you’re familiar with the philosopher Marshall McLuhan, you might have heard the phrase “the medium is the message”. And that’s what it is all about.

The medium or platform which your content is going to be distributed on, plays a big role in what you’re trying to say and certainly affects how you say it.

To my mind, I believe platforms can be organised into 4 general categories, or families of functions. 

We then look at these categories to understand what users are doing there and how they’re using them.

The categories are:

  1. The Search family 
  2. The Evaluation family
  3. The Inspiration family

And the 4th is the social family, which I will organise into two-sub-categories: online and offline.

Search family

The Search family includes the famous search engines such as Google and Yahoo and the myriad trade directories.

When users do a search, they already know what they want. It also means that your product or service is popular, understandable and the words going through the searcher’s mind operate almost like the categories of the Yellow Pages: florists, car repair, interior designers, web development agency.

When a users searches like this, he has questions that need answered. This almost always includes: 

  • Price. Price is top level query, don’t be abstract about it, be as specific as possible), 
  • experience (do you know what you’re doing, can you deliver on what you’re doing)
  • trust (who’s worked with you)
  • Value (how can I convince the family or the boss that yours is the best choice)

Evalution family 

These include:

  • Industry specific forums and discussions
  • ReddIt
  • To a lesser 

When producing content for these platforms, consider that  these platforms contain micro-conversations that may help you build trust, be recommended or gain more confidence. 

On the other hand, you want to prevent yourself from being discussed negatively, or at least have them addressed. Negative conversations can have worse impact than bad press does.

Sometimes businesses use forums to stalk discussions, combing for leads.

Distribution on these platforms is a matter of art and perhaps better handled by a PR or lead generation agency. Engaging with anonymous individuals as a corporation can easily get out of hand.

Inspiration family

  • Magazines
  • Pinterest
  • Influencers
  • Outbrain
  • Native advertising

People seek to be inspired and to get ideas everyday. We generally turn to magazines to find out what’s new, what’s trending, where we are on the social hierarchy. 

You want to be distributed on these platforms if your product is new, unknown, you’re seeking impulse sales or really just trying to raise brand equity by building a relationship with your audience. 

This is the domain of snazzy videos, splashy colours, big images and inspirational writing. You want to give hope, solve problems, help people attract a partner or improve their social standing. 

Social Family

  • Facebook 
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

These are platforms where your brand comes alive. It is a place where you imbue your brand with voice and character and make it come alive.

Social media has one interesting phenomenon. Because it is real-time and live, viewers have the idea…and expectation that you’re there 24/7 answering questions on demand. 

Distribute here if you want to announce a cause, a piece of news, show off, explain, sing, dance… well, it’s a social cafe, do what you want to get you to where you wanna go.

But; Caveat Emptor. 

Because of the nature of social media, and how people are generally attracted to bad news and scandals, there is a good chance to mess up. But I think that is less a concern, compared with the problem of opportunity cost. You’re given a megaphone, how do you best use it? 

Communities

  • WhatsApp
  • Meetups
  • Groups

I find communities one of the most exciting, intriguing and unexplored territory. 

This forms the “social” part of “social media’ and I find that we are particularly drawn to this type of communication.

It baffles me how we complain that our phones are exploding with WhatsApp groups but yet still want more! 

But this is how we operate; we are culture that quickly organises ourselves into private and exclusive cliques, associations and groups. 

If you’re a clever marketer, you want to find out how to get into these groups and deliver your product there. There are challenges: You won’t be welcomed so easily, so it’s going to take a lot of legwork to find out who, where and how to get into these communities. 

Today’s article is merely scratching the surface on exploring the platform to content link. We’re just thinking about what to consider when developing new content. 

If this is something you’re interested in or would like to talk about, hit me up! Email me at: [email protected] 😀 

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