It’s Time to Think of Your Content as a Party Bus
Once upon a time, we were fed the fairytale “Build It and They Will Come.” Some of us doubted the tale while others plunged down the rabbit holes of SEO and paid advertising.
We all emerged, more or less unscathed, from the story into a world where building something did not mean anyone would come. The party favors would not be shared. The piñata never hit. The cake, uneaten.
We learned that having a party without sending invitations just didn’t work. Even if we did send invitations, we kept hearing the same excuses of busyness, distracted minds, and limited attention spans. What were we to do? How could we get people to come to the thing we’d spent months and sometimes even years building?
We Became the Party Bus
We studied people’s behaviors and learned that our audiences weren’t purposely ignoring us. They were just having too much fun reading BuzzFeed, hanging out on Instagram, or chatting on Twitter to come to our house to read a 500-word blog post. Our party just wasn’t that interesting to our audiences. We were going to have to change our party offerings.
More than that, we were going to have to take the party to where our audiences were. We could copy BuzzFeed’s style on our site all day long and not see any return on the effort. We first had to let people know we existed, and to do that, we would have to go leave our house party.
How to Become a Party Bus:
- Develop audience personas.
- Determine where they access content and/or ask for assistance.
- Create content and share it at those access points.
We Left Breadcrumbs
We discovered a problem with creating content for the party bus; we didn’t have any content left for our own party. People finally were becoming interested in our house party, and we had nothing but bread and water to offer. We needed to rethink our party bus tactic.
Instead of sharing all our content at borrowed parties, we decided to share only some of it. We turned our content into breadcrumbs that people could follow home. Once they arrived at our party, they saw what they’d only glimpsed on Vine or an article placed at Forbes: the glorious, full HD, surround-sound, studio version.
How to Create Breadcrumbs:
- View small content pieces like Vine videos or pinned images on Pinterest as “breadcrumbs.”
- Direct people to the owned, larger content piece housed on your site with the breadcrumbs.
- Reward the people who follow you home with your best content. The memorable party is not the one that fulfills expectations but surpasses them.
Going from Partier to Ambassador
A strange thing happened when we stopped trying to get people to come to us and focused on going where they were: we not only had more parties to attend but also more breadcrumbs to leave behind. For a few weeks, we didn’t notice much of a change in traffic at our own party. We still clocked the usual average. One night, though, everything changed. The partygoers came in such droves that they crashed the server, and we had to rush out and buy a bigger, better one.
Something had happened. When we checked our traffic routes, we saw we’d reached a tipping point through not Vine or Instagram but SlideShare. The infographic we’d posted had received attention on the visual networks, but it was SlideShare that did the final trick.
Another strange thing: these partiers seemed in no rush to leave our site. They lingered on pages. They signed up for our email newsletter. They contacted our sales team. When we delivered the email newsletter they wanted, they shared the content online. When our sales team proved more than capable of handling the most difficult of questions and complaints, it was lauded on Twitter and Facebook.
We were increasing leads, but, more than that, we were finding loyal, outspoken customers. When we awarded those customers with previews of upcoming products? They loved us even more, took the party to where their people were, and eventually brought them home to us.
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