When it comes to coffee, I like a strong Americano with just a dash of frothed up soya milk. Emily, my Purple Chia business partner, prefers a decaf with regular milk, no sugar. When we go out at night, we both can’t wait to get stuck into our gin and tonics while our significant others go for Scotch on the rocks.
I might be stating the obvious when I say this, but people are different. As such, we are drawn to different things: different foods, drinks, books, clothes, homes, and holiday destinations.
It’s no different for content.
Some people love to take their time plowing through a lengthy article full of helpful tips and examples; others just want the basic facts, straight up. Some love words and some prefer pictures. Some salivate over diagrams, graphs, and numbers while others want their information delivered in sentences and paragraphs. Some just don’t want to read at all. The only hope you have of reaching those people is through images and video.
There are so many ways to present the same information, as Emily wrote in her fab blog post Reduce Reuse Recycle, which you should read, by the way.
Have you ever felt proud of a fantastic article you wrote? You did a lot of research and came up with a fascinating angle. Now you are sitting back waiting for the praise, the engagement, the new clients that your amazing piece of authorship will inevitably attract. Well, don’t just sit there waiting – you’re peaking too early…
If you have something earth-shattering, funny, or even just plain interesting, to say, you’ll want the maximum amount of people to hear it. That means you have to present your information in ways that will appeal to lots of people. As we are all different in our tastes and proclivities, the fastest and best way to reach lots of people is to present your ideas in multiple formats. By doing so, you’ll also get the most bang for your buck on every piece of research or every amazing idea you have.
As I’m partial to the odd gin and tonic, let’s pretend I own and operate “Gins R Us” – a boutique online liquor store. This month I’m planning on promoting some of my specialized European Gins, and I need some content to back me up.
Here are five types of content I can knock out today that will not only help me establish my authority in the gin world but also, widely advertise my online store, start some lively engagement on social media, and, quite possibly, get me some more clients.
1. The ebook
With the proliferation of online content around today, people just don’t have the time to consume so much information. This is causing some people to favor shorter forms of content, as well as images and videos. The world is a big place, however, and there are still tons of people who want meaty, long-form, highly-detailed content. This is where an ebook can be such a valuable asset for your business. Yes, it’s a lengthy project that will take time and effort to create, but once you’ve done the initial work, you can repurpose the information to make lots of smaller blogs, infographics, images, and posts for your social media, etc meaning your efforts will be well repaid. An ebook is also a great way to showcase your in-depth knowledge and expertise in a particular field, thereby building the trust of your audience.
For my online alcohol business, an ebook will be an excellent way for me to show my mastery over the subject or alcoholic drinks and make myself the go-to resource for all things gin.
I’ve decided to create a very detailed book. I’ll have sections on the history of gin-making, reasons why gin is enjoying a revival, a summary of how gin is made and a rundown of some unique ingredients that can add extra spice. I’ll also be throwing in a comparison chart of various European gins, some reviews, and some great gin recipes. I’ll add a discount coupon code at the back, too, and I’ll ask people to provide their email address so I can send it to them by email and grow my list at the same time.
It’s going to be a cracker of a book and of course, it will help me sell more gin.
2. The Blog post or Series of Blogs posts
As amazing as my ebook is going to be, many of my potential customers will never get around to reading it (although many will download it with the intention of getting to it at some point). For these people, bite-sized chunks of content will be more palatable. All that hard work I did researching my ebook has not been wasted however because, with just a little bit of added time and effort, I can use all that information to write a series of shorter blog posts.
I plan on having one blog about the best ways to make a gin and tonic, another about the gin scene in Europe, another about flavored gins, and another with gin recipes. If I stagger the publication of each post and promote each one multiple times on my different social media channels, I’ll have enough content to last for ages. All from one bit of research. Smart!
3. The Video
No matter how short your blog posts are, they will still be too long for some people. Enter the video. Producing a video might sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a professional production a la Hollywood. With your humble smartphone, you can easily produce a video that’s worthy of your Facebook Live, Snapchat or Instagram Story.
People today just love video. Videos are fun, often entertaining, easy to watch, and you can pack a ton of information in there too. It’s easy to prepare some short videos to post to your Facebook or Instagram. Post new ones a few times a week for a massive boost in audience and brand awareness.
For my Gins R Us social media channels, I’m going to run a series of videos showing how to make different cocktails using my gins. I’ll add a new video each week in the build-up to New Year’s and I’ll add a coupon code in my social media feed so people can buy at a discount in my online store. It’s such a simple project that I might even get my nephew to do it for me.
4. The How-to-Guide
For many reasons, a video might not work all the time. As most of your customers likely use their smartphones for many tasks, they could be accessing your information literally any time and from anywhere. Say your future client is lying in bed scrolling and they don’t want to disturb their partner. Or they are sneaking a peek at their phone during a boring lecture. Or traveling on a jam-packed train going to work. In all these scenarios, it might be nice just to get the basics in a readily swallowable format without having to rely on keeping the volume up.
Enter the how-to guide. My customer might want to know how to make an impressive cocktail in three simple steps. All I need to do to snap a few photos of my cocktail-making process and write a few lines to accompany each picture.
It could look something like this:
- Step One: slice up your lemons (picture of sliced lemons)
- Step Two: Add some cucumber and rosemary (picture of cucumber and rosemary)
- Step Three: Add a fistful of ice (image of ice-bucket)
- Step Four: add a dash of X gin (Picture of a nice gin from my range)
- Step Five: Fill to the top with tonic (picture of a tonic I sell in my store).
Easy! Its quick, informative, cheap to produce, and it might be just what some of your customers need!
- The Infographic
An infographic is a visual snapshot that conveys tons of information in an at-a-glance-format. It’s quick, memorable, and people are likely to save these on their phones or disseminate on social media.
I’m going to do a simple infographic showcasing four festive gin and tonic recipes to wow the guests at your New Year’s Eve party. There will be simple illustrations of the ingredients and a few words to explain the process. The result will be pleasing to look at, informative, and imminently saveable and shareable. My logo and URL will feature prominently, of course.
Over to you..
I’ve simplified the whole matter by talking about gin, but all this applies to any business, however simple or complex. Whatever your product or market, and whatever your message, think of different ways to present information so as to appeal to the widest possible customer base. It sounds like a lot of work, but once you get started, it will be fun and rewarding – I promise.