Content that engages current and potential customers is critical for most startups.
And like everything it has evolved; now you have to evolve with it.
I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the most successful content marketers of the modern era on my podcast recently. I’m talking about Chris Savage, the CEO of juggernaut Wistia.
Wistia helps brands with their content by focusing on video. Chris told me about the state we’re now in:
“What’s happening now is that there is an opportunity for content actually to move up the funnel. So instead of just trying to interact with people who already have like buying intent or very close to having buying intent, you can actually build a brand of content. And it’s a different type of content you’re going to need to make. You have to meet people where they are in a different way. You have to entertain them a little bit more. You have to teach them more. But if you can do that, you can actually create brand affinity with people through your content. That means exactly as you said, that they will get to know your brand and actually have demand for your brand before they even know that they need your product.“
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to advertise on swamped platforms like Facebook and Instagram. So how do we get our message out there?
Chris says it’s all about getting people to share it for you, by creating truly valuable and meaningful content.
Connecting with consumers in an internet culture: How to get your content shared
“We live in an internet culture. And what that means is that a huge percentage of the media we consume is not created by the studios. And we expect that you can go find a subReddit that is on any topic that you care about. It doesn’t matter how niche it is — it’s probably out there. And if you go to that group, there might be tens of thousands of people, maybe hundreds, but tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people who care about that topic.”
Chris says it’s about impressing these people so they do your marketing and distribution for you:
“What ends up happening is if there’s content that’s made for those groups, it gets spread within those groups very quickly. And what resonates and what works is this stuff that is very specific and very focused for those groups. The way that that shows up is on Medium — you follow a bunch of people who have similar interests to you. Let’s say it’s entrepreneurship and it’s like this podcast, trying to help people avoid the pitfalls they can come across when building a company. If you follow people like that, you’re going to see content that they like. And it’s just like a reinforcing system. And so to get into that, you have to make content that’s really focused and really good.“
Then, Chris says your content distribution where no one can see it:
“That happens in Slack channels. That happens in iMessage. That happens on WhatsApp, and that happens in email. And so it’s actually these worlds that you can’t even advertise on, right? You can’t advertise in Slack. You can’t advertise in email. You can’t advertise in WhatsApp. And so the only way to get a message that resonates with that group is to give them something that is truly valuable or entertaining or inspiring. And the only way to do that is to know who that group is, and to really focus on what their challenges are and what their opportunities are.“
Retaining an audience is everything today, Chris insists. So I asked him how we should go about doing that:
“The best way to grow an audience is to take an existing audience and delight them, and teach them, and educate them, and inspire them and give them something that they can’t get somewhere else – or give them the courage that they need to take a risk at work or whatever it is. The audience you build, if you can retain them successfully, they will actually help you grow their size. They will inherently do that. And I think it’s critical.”
Podcasting: Building and keeping your audience via a repeatable format
Chris says the repeatable format (like the podcast we’ve created here!) is the way to build your audience:
“I think in terms of a content strategy, the way that we think about that is that one of the best ways to do that is to actually make a show, something like this podcast where you have a repeatable format. And so hopefully as you keep making this podcast or anyone keeps making a show — over time, if you are learning and you are figuring out what is actually resonating with your audience — within the same format, you can usually make the content better and better and better and the production usually becomes more and more efficient. And so it’s this interesting thing which is like, as the audience grows, you get a faster loop to making the content better — which gives you the ability to actually grow the audience faster, and having a repeatable format is super important as a part of that.“
Wistia: Advertise to your superfans for better sales results
Chris points to a new feature in Wistia that allows you to advertise directly to the people who are your superfans:
“If you create a Wistia channel, you can see people who are super fans and they’re watching all your content, people who are bouncing, people who are engaging with more than one video, or you can even obviously look at each individual video. Then you can create an audience based on those folks and you can go and advertise to them. The cool thing about that is usually you’re the only company advertising to those people, so it’s usually quite efficient and effective to do this. And it’s another piece of the puzzle in terms of the value of creating that repeatable content and trying to create an audience.“
Does this change how you’ll approach your brand affinity?