Content marketing works wonders, especially when compared or coupled with traditional advertising. Of course, I’ve been talking about tactics for creating compelling and persuasive content since early 2006 here at Copyblogger.
The missing elements that make content marketing truly work are strategy, observation, and rapid readjustment. And it’s exactly these elements that make social media such a dynamic and profitable environment for ambitious new media content producers.
In the world of software, agile development is an approach for software engineering that promotes development iterations throughout the life-cycle of the project. In other words, software is developed, released, and improved through regular adaptation to feedback and changing circumstances.
Let’s take a look at the mind and skill set that’s required to develop profitable new media assets with agile content development. It all comes down to understanding the social media feedback and iteration process.
The Dynamics of Social Media Content Strategy
Seth Godin characterizes the process this way:
Here’s what we used to do:
Create —> Edit —> Launch
Here’s what happens now:
Create —> Launch —> Edit —> Launch —> Repeat
Social media represents such a fantastic opportunity because it allows us to create and launch media properties directly to the public. But even more of a blessing is the direct and indirect feedback process that naturally happens in this space.
You put something out there, and the crowd will reveal the direction you should go. It’s not necessarily always the wisdom of the crowd, but rather the desires and objections of the crowd that guide you.
Sell Access, Not Products
Likewise, in Teaching Sells, we advocate agile content development for online training programs. You have a strategy and curriculum in place, but you allow for improvisational flexibility that improves the quality of the content and enhances the learning experience.
Viewed in this context, it makes much more sense to sell access to knowledge rather than information products. This leads to more profits through recurring subscriptions and related sales, and you get the additional benefit of getting paid to create the content.
Thinking you’ve got it right on your own and sticking to it is an arrogance the crowd will not forgive. You’re an indispensable part of the equation, but so is the audience.
The Fallacy of Getting it Right the First Time
Top copywriter Michael Masterson eloquently argues that this iterative approach works for any type of business in his new book, Ready Fire Aim. Many of you are familiar with Masterson as the lead author of the AWAI Accelerated Course for Six-Figure Copywriting, but he’s also a killer and a poet since he uses his copywriting skills to launch and build businesses.
Masterson says a business will never devise an ideal selling strategy until the company launches and starts trying to sell. So, prepare carefully, but then simply launch and see what works. Once you hit that sweet spot between your offer and what the crowd wants, then it’s time to accelerate the growth of the company with additional products or services.
So, it looks like everyone agrees:
Create —> Launch —> Edit —> Launch —> Repeat
The editing phase represents your go-forward strategy for content, product development and promotions. In essence, a new media property is a constantly evolving platform that stays tuned to the audience or becomes irrelevant.
Perpetual Launches with New Media Platforms
As I’ve mentioned before, the exact same principles apply to these huge Internet marketing product launches you keep seeing. They’re using a pre-launch and launch sequence to gauge response, identify potential objections, and proactively eliminate those objections on the fly. The goal is for the final sales page to be a mere formality, because the prospect has already decided to buy and wants to make sure he gets in.
The difference in my approach is that I’m also building an asset with the platform. The new media property itself has value that’s independent of any particular launch or promotion, therefore increasing the value of the overall enterprise.
Take a look at this product launch blueprint video from Jeff Walker (I cheated and linked directly to the video, so you don’t have to opt-in). As Jeff illustrates, these launch principles apply to any niche, and can be used to build entire businesses, not just to launch products.
Every Company is a Media Company
While it’s true that anyone with social media skills can become a successful new media owner or producer, it’s existing small businesses that need a mind shift. Rather than starting a blog to promote your business, you should be creating new media assets that transform your business into something bigger.
Here are some questions for those pursuing a business blogging strategy:
- How do we create an online marketing platform that delivers independent value to visitors?
- How can that platform grow our existing business model?
- How can that platform create diverse revenue streams?
When advertising gives way to authoritative content, and that content tends to be found on web sites that offer independent value, the answer is clear. Successful companies of any stripe must view themselves as media companies in order to effectively market online.
About the Author: Brian Clark is the founding editor of Copyblogger, and co-founder of Teaching Sells.