Ever notice how we have eyes, ears, noses, mouths and hands? Better known as the 5 senses. The reason we have these ‘options’ is so that we can digest things in alternative formats. Some things we prefer to eat, others we prefer to smell, and others we prefer to just look at.
It’s important to pay attention to the types of consumption and consumption preferences when we consider the types of content we produce and publish. Our audience is made up of people that prefer to listen, while others prefer to read and still others prefer to do. Appealing to the masses is not as easy when your audience knows they have options. If they want to read good writing and you are running an online TV show, then they will find good writing elsewhere and leave.
Catering to the mass consumption methods.
Just as we are given all these options to consume stuff, we have the same options to learn and retain the information we are watching, eating, participating with or listening to.
At a recent conference I attended, I heard someone say that they were doing a weekly Podcast via iTunes and had thousands of listeners. When attempting to do a blog as well, he felt the effort failed as he had only acquired a couple hundred subscribers. I am going to bet that a majority of the blog subscribers were not listening to the Podcast because they preferred reading over listening.
The consumption is different. Where some felt that listening was effective, others prefer to read the written word. If you want to cast a wide net and appeal to the masses, then you have to present your content in multiple formats.
Our learning styles are different.
I have always been an avid reader. I love to read. In fact, I would rather be reading than doing pretty much anything else. But, in school I hated to read out loud. It distracted me somehow and even though I was reading the information, I wasn’t consuming it. I wasn’t retaining it. My content consumption preference was to read silently.
Brands are producing content in multiple formats. There are blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, webinars, tradeshows, lunch & learns, dinner events, email, podcasts, tv commercials, print mailers, billboards, etc. A truly multi-channel, multi-sensory content marketing strategy encompasses quite a few of these, if not all.
Some content is truly dictated by the format.
Is this true? Does a whitepaper need to only be a whitepaper? Does a successful podcast only need to be a podcast?
Whitepapers for example require a lengthy, report-style document to provide the information that is required. These are very research-driven in nature and provide sound advice or guidance to solving business decisions. You just cannot communicate the same message in a blog as you would in a whitepaper (you could do a whole bunch of blogs, but again, not the same). While ebooks are very visual and do not generally have a whole lot of text on a page. Often informational, entertaining and condensed, you could fly through a 100 page ebook in just a couple of minutes. Try doing that with a whitepaper.
But you could turn a whitepaper into an ebook and an ebook into a webinar and a webinar into a bunch of blog posts. Catching where I am going with this?
Your audience is multi-sensory so your content needs to be as well. As you visualize and define your strategy for content, ensure that you are incorporating types that cater to everyone. You don’t want to just be publishing whitepapers or blog posts.
Are you serving a niche sense or is your content covering all the consumption methods?