Content marketing is one of the few truly effective tools small companies can use to compete effectively with larger brands. Creating articles, videos, graphics and other content that your customer base values and appreciates is easier than ever thanks to smartphone technology and a range of free online tools.
There’s just one problem: there’s so much content out there that our customers are drowning in it, and it’s impossible for any one brand’s messaging to stand out. 293,000 status updates and 136,000 new photos appear on Facebook every single minute of the day. Instagram sees 60 million new images uploaded daily. 20 terabytes of new data appears on Pinterest each day – which means that there are twenty million additions to the platform.
What are you supposed to do in this situation? There’s no one answer. Making use of each platform’s advertising opportunities is one way to secure reach where you know there’s a sizable audience; this is increasingly important as platforms take overt action to suppress the organic reach of content.
Another strategy to consider comes from Melanie Deziel, of The Overlap League. In a recent digital marketing forum, she recommended that companies who want big results from their content marketing may need to go small. She says, “There are so many vibrant niche communities that are less crowded but incredibly engaged: Fantasy Life App for sports fans, GoodReads for literature lovers, Startup Nation Forums for small business owners. If you can find the community or network that has your tribe, you can likely create better engagement for a fraction of the time and cost you’re handing to the larger networks.”
It’s a strategy well worth exploring. You may already be familiar with the online communities your customers are passionate about – for example, we can’t imagine a local yarn store owner not knowing about Ravelry. If you’re not sure, start the conversation. Ask your best customers in person, and open the dialog on the social media platforms you’re already on. Explore the communities that have been pointed out to you. Spend a few weeks lurking: observing the way community members share content, engage with each other, and rally behind an issue or cause is a hugely valuable way to learn how to establish and maintain a community presence that doesn’t appear to be driven by your commercial interests.
Niche communities are smaller, but they’re focused and passionate. While your content may never achieve the same sort of reach a viral Instagram post might, you’ll enjoy greater relevance and, hopefully, response from people who are more likely to be your customer. It’s well worth exploring anyway – make 2017 the year you leave the overwhelming sea of content long enough to visit the islands!