Dear <<First Name>>
It's the first day of the Easter holidays, and we're working from Sonja's kitchen. There are empty coffee cups everywhere, piles of work to look at and we’ve just polished off a packet of chocolate digestives. How about you?
This week a client asked for help with Twitter. They’re new to it, and are finding it hard to feel at home there, let alone enjoy the experience or see any kind of results.
It got us thinking. Although he’d asked us one question – how do we make Twitter work? - there are quite a few angles to it. There’s finding your way around the social media landscape, there’s making it an enjoyable experience, and there’s actually getting results for your business.
One question, three angles
So as well as advising him, we decided to create some content to help him with the Twitter problem. We tackled it from three sides.
Rather than just sending him a link to an article we’d written already on ‘making social media work for your business’ (how many of those have you read over the last few years?) we wrote three new blogs with different slants.
1. A thought provoking blog
Has social media had its chips?
2. An entertaining look at Twitter
Who’s who at the great social media party?
3. Finally, an instructional "how to make it work' blog
How to (re)connect with social media in 2015?
Thinking of content as teaching
The lightbulb moment for us was thinking about our content as teaching rather than marketing.
Thinking like a teacher is really useful when it comes to creating content. (Thinking like a teacher with a class of 14 year old boys is even more useful. Sharon should know. She did that in a past life.) It gets you to push any thoughts of selling aside, and focus on creating stuff that will really make a difference.
Create a mix of content for different learning styles
A good teacher doesn’t just impart information and assume it will be understood and acted on. She knows everyone in the class will be at a different level. There will be people who learn best by doing, not listening. Some will be visual learners. Lots aren’t looking or listening at all.
The key to helping people learn is to offer up the information in more than one way. Break it into manageable chunks. Making them laugh can be powerful – humour can get people on your side more quickly than being bossy. Repetition can be handy too when you’re trying to learn something new. Applying the same principles to different situations is a good way to embed those principles in someone’s mind.
Thinking in this way can be especially useful if you find yourself tackling the same kinds of issues many times over. It’s easy to see that different content types appeal to different learning styles – get some podcasts for audio learners, infographics for visual leaners – but thinking like a teacher helps you create content that is attention grabbing for the slackers at the back, or pared down and focused for the student who can’t cope with more than one task at a time.
So if you want to be a better content marketer, think of your content as teaching not marketing.
Which challenges that you help with could benefit from a spot of good classroom practice?
See you next month.
Sonja and Sharon
PS – Talking about teaching we have a new class starting in May.
We’re putting together an exclusive group for business owners who want to learn the valuable way with us. A powerful 12-month programme for just 10 like-minded owners that will take you through the whole valuable content marketing process, with the support you need to make it happen, every step of the way. If you want to learn how to make a valuable content marketing approach work for your small business then drop us a line and we’ll tell you more.
NB: Teaching sessions will be held once a month here in Bristol (plus some serious homework). For those of you elsewhere in the world, we’re creating online courses just for you later in the year.