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Archive | July, 2013

You are not a content machine

Never Stop Writing Cartoon - The Anti-Social Media

Social media takes content. Billions of pieces of content. An endless army of content enchanting mythical audiences dying to hear from another brand.

Or so we’re told by social media experts.

To do social media right, you need the creative chops to create dynamic and entertaining writing and visuals. That isn’t easy. It takes time and an aptitude that is foreign to many of us.

Now do that daily, or maybe multiple times a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

What your audience wants

Before you go posting all willy-nilly, ask yourself, do you know what your  followers want to hear on a daily basis?

In the early days of social media, there was the theory that if you build the social media channel, they will come. If you started a social channel, a Facebook page or a Twitter, people would just show up and follow you. Your content didn’t matter that much.

That strategy worked for maybe a day or two. Then people’s news feeds became cluttered with pictures of pets, babies, George Takei and poorly targeted advertisements.

Now, when a person or a brand is social, you need to have something to say that is informative, emotionally powerful, or entertaining. Even better if you can be all three at once.

Ask yourself, “What does my audience want?” If you don’t know, ask. It’s social media. Someone is bound to answer, even if it’s a spam bot offering you a free iPad.

Once you know what they want, then you can start creating content that will be meaningful for them.

Doing content right

There are three factors that make great social media content:

  • Quality – Nowhere in the history of humanity has anyone said, “Gee! I want more brand messages on my social networks.” I’m not saying you can get away with posting every six months, but if you don’t have something meaningful to say on Tuesday, don’t feel the need to fill the void with bland dribble and a trackable link.
  • Entertaining – when you think social media, what brands come to mind? The brands and people we praise most on social media entertain and delight us. We share their stories because they’re fun. Find ways to make your content entertaining and it will go far.
  • Information– Let’s face it. Not all of us can work for sexy brands that make people laugh. We have business goals to meet. Customers to educate. Complaints to answer. When you can’t be funny, find a way to share useful information.

Those three things are hard. Most people don’t have something quality to say about themselves daily, let alone their company.

Take your time and do it right. No one says it has to be perfect. No one says it will go viral. But if you take the time to write it it, write it well.

Moving Beyond Mass-Produced Content

There is no point in sharing content for content’s sake.

You’re not a machine. You don’t just churn out a great post every day, let alone seven of them. This is hard work. Maybe not back-breaking labor, but more than most of us dedicate to a social media post.

Once you get beyond the myth of endless content, you find more meaningful things to share. You don’t stress over having a “minimum” number of tweets per day.

You find the stories worth telling. You delight and enchant your customers. You create something that has meaning beyond a Facebook post.

And that’s where the true beauty of social media takes place.

Caturday

Sleeping cat

The one true way to blog

U R WRONG

I love reality TV, even though there is nothing realistic about it. I don’t imagine most people ending up on an island voting off the people perceived as threats. We’re too comfortable in my suburban bliss.

We all love the twists and turns of a good story. There’s nothing like seeing the hero triumph over the odds, or the horror of an unexpected twist. The drama, the relationships and actions that border on the real and surreal keep us coming back for more.

And so it goes with blogging as well.

I haven’t been a good blogger. I don’t write as much, and I don’t read as much. When I do read, don’t take the time to leave thoughtful comments or share it out on Twitter. I just don’t care for that any more.

But I do love watching the drama between bloggers.

The one true way to blog

Somewhere along my ten years as a blogger, I missed that there is one true way to blog. The one true way to blog is known only to bloggers with an ego bigger than their Facebook page. When they see something that they disagree with, they immediately dismiss it, because it does not fit within the one true way to blog. Typically, the one true way to blog dismisses the post in a line-by-line break down of everything that is wrong with the offending blog post

And if you want to learn more about the one true way to blog, you can buy their ebook, or subscribe to their exclusive community of like-minded professionals.

Finding your own way

Everyone blogs differently. Some of us write. Some of us post photos. Others draw comics. Some sit in front of a camera or microphone, recording everything.

And that’s what makes the internet so powerful. Through our words and creations, we can all find ways to express ourselves. For every person drilled in AP style, there’s another who is writing her first post.

Your way will be different than my way. Maybe you will be helpful. Maybe you’ll be funny. Maybe you’ll be both, and post a great video while you’re at it.

The key is to experiment and find what you enjoy. When you enjoy it, you’ll stick with it. And when you stick with it, you’ll see results.

There’s always something new to learn. Something new to try. But if you get bogged down within the one true way to blog, you’ll never get anywhere.