In 1968 Andy Warhol famously claimed that, “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” Although it took a few decades for his prediction to manifest itself, the pop artist most certainly hit the nail on the head with his prophecy. Today social media allows almost anyone the ability to build a following simply by providing their own unique content. In some cases, a regurgitation of popular, or trending, topics is enough to gain a bit of attention. No matter who you are, you cannot deny the fact that it feels good to get likes on your Instagram selfie, or your political commentary on Facebook.
In a world saturated with bloggers, vloggers, and influencers how does one separate themself from the rest? Getting your fifteen minutes can be easy, but turning that microscopic level of influence into a long term, lucrative, impactful career is the real challenge. Developing your “brand” should have a stronger driving force than simply a attaining 100,000 followers. Establishing goals for opening and changing people’s minds, as well as education and enlightenment will have a far more permanent impact than the dozens of likes you might get after sharing a sexy selfie or retweeting someone else’s joke.
How can anyone be expected to do it all: grow and keep a following, provide high-quality content, educate and enlighten followers, make money, AND not sell-out and disappear into the growing heard of social media sheep? The answer: it’s hard, it takes time, and it takes work! Content-driven marketing is an approach to selling yourself online. It’s a strategy for not only reaching an audience, but engaging with them as well. Content-driven marketing doesn’t just mean getting clients or customers to your page, but also incentivizes them to return. It’s the difference between persuading someone to buy what you’re selling, and providing information and guidance that could ultimately lead to a purchase.
If you’re looking to find away to garner trust, respect, and allegiance from your following, content-driven marketing is a far better approach than the hard sell. With EMERAC, I try to teach my clients how to develop content that informs, versus content that sells.
Be a Resource
As an individual developing your brand, you don’t want to immediately tie yourself to the first sponsor that offers you a buck. Constantly pushing products on your followers is a major buzzkill. How many highschool friends have you deleted because their personal page became a billboard for their latest multi-level marketing products? Instead, demonstrating expertise in a subject, without pushing products, will encourage your following to look to you for advice. Then you have a responsibility to provide them with the best information; if that means they should buy X product then they will buy X product, because they now know and believe that you know what you’re talking about!
Engage, engage, engage! You aren’t the only one with an opinion; your followers do too! Content that requests involvement is far more likely to get feedback and input than content without. You may be an expert, but you don’t know it all. Inciting input, suggestions, opinions, and advice connects you with your readers. When your content becomes a conversation it is far more likely to leave your website and penetrate into the real-world lives of those who follow you.
Keep It Authentic
Let me give you an example: As a lover of fashion, I follow numerous fashion bloggers. I love when I find a great blogger with a unique approach; like thrifting, sewing her own styles, or exploring handcrafted products. I can’t tell you how many times I found a blogger with one of these trademarks who, upon developing a following, sold out to market the same Nordstrom deals that every other influencer is pushing.
In short: Be the trendsetter, not the trend follower.
There are millions of resources online for developing a following and learning how to “grow your brand,” but creativity will get you a lot further than a how-to guide that anyone can find on the first page of Google search results. If you’re looking to take an alternative approach to developing content, or if you’ve found your own distinct path to success, I’d love to chat! Leave a comment, or send an email; I’m always inspired by those looking to make their own unique mark on our virtual world!