Should you be blogging? What about video? Aren’t you supposed to have a YouTube channel these days? What about LinkedIn? Oh, don’t forget to launch a podcast, too.
If you listen to all the “gurus” out there, they’ll have you building a full scale media company around your business, even if you sell toilet brushes for a living. And yet, there’s something here worth considering.
As traditional marketing and advertising still struggle to reach the person you most hope to attract, and as digital marketing becomes easier and easier to ignore, what’s the answer? How do you reach the person you want to sell and serve?
The answer might just be this: The everything bagel.
Everything Bagels are the Best Bagels
I’m obviously going to use this as an analogy, but I should explain what goes onto an “everything” bagel before we go any further:
- Sea salt
- Poppy seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Dehydrated minced onions
- Dehydrated garlic
At the time of this writing, I found no fewer than 23 different bottles and jars of just the toppings that you can buy and sprinkle on other foods besides bagels. That’s how much people love this topping.
If you’ve had an everything bagel, you know they’re messy. The little poppy seeds and sesame seeds pop off and end up stuck between your teeth, hide in the folds of your clothes, and somehow forcibly launch in a 20-foot radius from where you consumed the product.
Here’s where the analogy kicks in.
If You’re Not Really a Media Company
Your customer crosses a multitude of contexts where they might come in contact with information about what you’re hoping to sell. It’s not yet to the level of that advertising scene in The Minority Report, but some days, it feels that way.
The question is this, where is the best place to reach someone?
It’s not one platform. You can’t say, “Well, I sell a B2B product so I’m going to LinkedIn.” While LinkedIn has made massive strides in trying to be seen as a media consumption network, many people still go there once a year at most to update their employment history. Similarly, highly visual networks like Instagram and Pinterest and to lesser extents Snapchat and TikTok appeal for consumer goods, but not always.
Should you blog? (Yes, always.) Should you post on other people’s sites like Medium, Facebook and so on? (Sometimes.)
And that’s the everything bagel approach.
Spread Your Efforts Around
The everything bagel approach to content marketing is that for every idea you hope to spread to the people you intend to reach and serve, you must consider creating content for a variety of contexts:
- Blog for Google. Write newsletters for people. This has been my advice for well over a decade. Write useful articles (with some reasonable keywords and phrases) that earn the attention of people searching for the information you can share. For newsletters, write something more personably that doesn’t also exist on the web. (If someone can read your newsletter anywhere other than their inbox, they’ll unsubscribe and you’ll lose the most powerful connection you have.)
- Launch a podcast if you have enough material to support it. More and more people are consuming podcasts and audio content, according to the Edison Research Infinite Dial report.
- Create short form (under 10 minutes) video sometimes for LinkedIn and Facebook. Both platforms favor sub-10-minute content. Some reports say that videos under two minutes or over six do better. (Between two and six is a weird “dead zone” where people don’t watch.) Don’t think of it as having to launch a “channel.” Create some content in video form sometimes. It mixes it up for people.
- Consider a video channel on YouTube. If you do this, YouTube prefers 10 minutes or longer. The average is between 10 to 20 minutes for the highest-rated and most shared content on the site (not counting music videos).
- Use social networks to sprinkle small bites of your ideas. Point people back to your main site or to some call to action. Promote your content this way, as well. Share snips. Make graphics.
Why? Why do all this? Because the goal is to reach someone who is moving around quickly and between all kinds of potential points of interaction in their various contexts.
A podcast is great for commuters, people at the gym, people walking the dog, or who otherwise don’t want to push their face back onto a screen. A blog is still the most powerful way for search traffic to find you. Visual platforms like Instagram are showing growth even as social networks like Facebook (which owns Instagram) are losing attention and slowing down.
The little seeds and salt and spice of your ideas getting strewn across the Internet are the everything bagel of the information and content you can offer a prospect or customer. And once they take a bite of what you have to offer, no doubt they’ll want to keep going and you’ll have the sale. (Blame me if you’re hungry now. It’s okay.)