At last week’s Vocus User’s Conference, I had the pleasure of sitting in on Adam Singer’s session.
He spoke about the importance of becoming a media company and about building equity in a community.
Last week, we talked here a bit about the importance of building your own community via your own website or blog.
Adam repeats that importance by saying, “Most companies are playing around in platforms someone else owns. Most companies are not building a hub for traction.”
Following are the four reasons you’re not a media company (yet) and Adam’s recommendations for solving these issues.
You have a lack of cadence
People ask me all the time how many times they should blog. In fact, Marcus Sheridan wrote a fun post last week about the best blogging schedule (hint, it’s not the same for everyone).
Three years ago I would have answered that question differently. Now I’ll tell you that consistency is key. If you decide you want to blog once a week or once a month, that’s fine. Just do it on the same day at the same time so people know when to expect to be able to read or view your brilliance.
My favorite thing Adam said during the presentation (which was to a room full of communication professionals) was,
If you can’t come up with a blog post idea every day, you’re in the wrong field. Put on your media hat and go tell the story.
To him, this means you should be blogging daily. To me, however, people are creatures of habits. Just let them know when and how often to expect your content.
You’re focusing only on Facebook and Twitter
We’ve also talked quite a bit here and at Jayme Soulati’s blog about how important it is that communication professionals learn some marketing skills. While I usually focus on the numbers, the math, Adam says you also have to think beyond Facebook and Twitter.
The Web is bigger than the two social networks. You must learn how to use search and social.
You shouldn’t be marketing on the web if you don’t have conversion goals. Get access to your analytics, have your techy guys show you how to add goals, and track those goals. Don’t know what those goals should be? Call me. I’ll help you.
Your design is outdated
Come on, people! With WordPress and a few plugins, your design can be updated and pretty. Sure, it may cost you a couple hundred bucks when it’s all said and done, but that money is well spent when you’re competing on the web with other companies who’ve taken the time and invested in their content efforts upfront.
Too often companies invest in their design after they hit a certain pinnacle. Are you sure you want 10,000 readers before you invest in design? My guess is no…because you won’t get to 10,000 readers with crappy design. Don’t know what to focus on? Ingrid Abboud asked her readers a couple of weeks ago what they look for when they visit a blog. Read the comments there. You’ll get plenty of ideas.
And guess what? Once you buy your domain and upgrade to WordPress.org (from .com), most of the plugins are free.
Do it. Do it now.
No one understands your content
Are you using corporate Bingo, as Lisa Gerber calls it? That means you’re using acronyms and vernacular only your colleagues can decipher.
We work with a Fortune 10 company that uses acronyms in their every day speak. It took us two years to a) figure out what the heck they were saying and b) get them to stop.
Adam says the secret to producing content is to publish a blog on your own. As communication professionals, this is extremely important.
When I wanted to figure out what worked and what didn’t, I launched My BFF’s Beauty Bag as a test blog. You’ll see I’ve published nothing there for two years, but this launched me into writing for Spin Sucks every day. I understood how to build a community on the blog using Twitter and Facebook as promotion tools. I understood what content people wanted to read about. And I learned who I needed to follow in order to gain inspiration and ideas.
I know. I know. We’re all busy. You don’t have time. Blah, blah, blah.
If you really want to understand how to produce great content, it’s non-negotiable.
Ask yourself these questions
As you learn how to develop content for your company or for your clients, Adam suggests you ask yourself the following questions:
- So what? How is this useful/different/fresh?
- Does it have character and uniqueness?
- Is it relevant to my target audience?
- Does my headline stand out?
- Will the content make people look funny or smart by sharing it?
You have to care about your content. Be creative, be networked, and be passionate.
So what can you do, today, to either get started or freshen your content?
P.S. You can visit The Future Buzz for more information, charts, graphs, and case studies on solving these four issues. The blog post is here.