In baseball, there’s an old-timey expression – “hit ‘em where they ain’t” – which serves as advice to a player about to step up to bat. The goal is to hit the ball where the defensive players aren’t.
This is about the worst advice in the world for content marketers, unless we turn it on its head. Because our goal, of course, is to reach them – our prospects – where they are.
To continue with the baseball theme, the idea of “build it and they will come” has long been discredited. Even though attracting traffic to our websites is our goal, outreach and engagement elsewhere has to drive the traffic to our sites.
That means meeting your prospects where they are already gathering and attracting their attention there.
The best way to achieve this goal is to have a multi-channel plan. This should be obvious to anyone who has seen that their taste for Twitter, perhaps, does not match their colleague’s preference for Pinterest.
Beyond social media preferences, you have
- Prospects who read blogs and those who don’t
- Folks who value high-quality information delivered via email and those who’d rather ignore their inbox
- People who pay attention to a well-produced print newsletter and those who view all snail mail as either bills or junk. (Except maybe that birthday card from grandma. It’s got $5 in it, after all …)
So how do we reach all of these potential customers with our high-value content marketing? The answer isn’t as simple as “be everywhere, all the time” because being there isn’t enough. You have to be there and be effective.
In other words, if you can’t do it well, don’t do it at all. And if you have limited resources, there are going to be limits on how many channels you can effectively target.
How do we choose? Well, stick with the channels where you’re seeing the best results, of course!
This can be a trickier question to answer than it appears since your results are most certainly affected by how well you’re “doing” the channel as well as the channel’s appropriateness for your audience.
In the absence of being able to stop time, begin by sticking with the channels that are working best. But spend some time learning why a particular channel is working and even tweaking your formula there. Yes, that means messing with success – but with the goal of reverse engineering that success to apply it to other channels. And, perhaps, even to improve on the success you’re already having.
One you have an understanding of the reasons for your success in a channel, examine your next-most-successful channel to see how you can apply what you know there. Or, if you don’t have any other channels already active, identify the new channel that is most popular with your target audience.
From a tactics perspective, not everything you do in one channel will apply to any other channel you might identify, so be careful to know the rules and expectations before diving into a new channel. And be sure to apply your findings thoughtfully. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are great for managing multiple outlets, but they can make it too easy to have a “one size fits all” mentality that will limit your success in your secondary channels.