I’ve often been told that I could make a nice career for myself just by advising companies how to start and maintain a blog and social media channels. I sometimes do such consulting, but not that often. One of the reasons why is because too many companies are focused on learning the social media tools moreso than learning to understand the customers they want to reach via social media. They want to talk about what is the best CMS, what’s the best way to schedule and automate content distribution. What’s the best way to tweak a tool’s settings to get more engagement and shares?
It really gets to be depressing sometimes.
Understand yourself, and your audience first, then you can focus on the tools. Too many companies focus on the tools and ignore their customers, which defeats the purpose.
Start by asking and answering these questions:
1 – Who am I creating content for?
2 – What impact will that content make on their daily lives?
3 – What action do I want these people to take after interacting with my content?
Notice those questions are focused on the audience for your content and have nothing to do with the tools you could use to reach that audience.
Know your audience first, then that will help you understand which tools you can best use to reach them. THEN you can dig into understanding the tools. But it makes no sense to learn the nuts and bolts of Twitter, if your audience is on Pinterest.
BONUS: Understand yourself. How do YOU like to communicate with your audience? The content you create has to be interesting to your audience, but it also has to interest you. Granted, this is more of an issue for a solopreneur or maybe an executive versus a team, but the fact remains that if the content creator doesn’t enjoy the process, it will be more difficult for them to create their best content. If you love writing and your audience is reading blog, write a blog. If you think better on the fly and are comfortable in front of a camera, look at shooting videos. Or if you can better explain yourself by talking, but hate being on video, try a podcast.
The point is, understand who your audience is and what you are comfortable doing before you even consider which tool is best. The people decide the tools, not the other way around.