In our continuing series on Content Marketing, we are now at the point where we are going to consider which CM channels to use. As you well know, there is a huge variety of different channels (ways, mediums, formats) available for sharing various types of content.
The big question is: Which is the “best” channel for your campaign?
Here’s The Secret Sauce Folks
Selecting optimal Content Marketing channels begins with changing the question from “Which is best?” to “Best for whom? The best strategy is to match your content channel/mode of presentation to individual learning styles.
What is a learning style? Simply put, it is a way that people tend to learn, their preferred method for acquiring new information. Different people have different learning styles — not everyone learns the same way, and in fact most of us have more than one preferred way of learning new material, although we may not be consciously aware of how we do that.
An Example From Real Life
As I sit at this PC and post this article, I am surrounded with all sorts of paper: notebooks galore (loose-leaf, Moleskine, planner, file folders and file drawers). For a long while I thought this an aberration, until some training I took revealed that one of my preferred learning styles was verbal (in this case the written word). Dovetailing with this I am also a visual learner, so for me it is natural that I rely on written information, much of which is written-down.
The following chart summarizes the major learning styles which are recognized today, and suggests different types/formats that would appeal to persons who favor that particular approach —
As you may have noticed from the above chart, there is some overlap in available choices. For example, a webinar can appeal to both aural as well as social learners.
Well-trained educators have been aware of the existence of learning styles for a long time, and they learn to craft their teaching methods to make use of as many different types of mediums to appeal to a wide range of learning styles.
How To Make This Work For Your Content Marketing
I am suggesting that you do two things:
- Make use of as many different formats/mediums as possible to appeal to the widest audience — don’t assume that everyone assimilates information the same way, or as easily as others, in a particular medium.
- Secondly, when evaluating various Content Marketing channels, consider carefully how information is presented on that medium.
For example, your niche/industry may have some social channels where the comments and replies to posted information are hotly debated, and lots of facts and figures are tossed about.
This is a CM channel that is both a social medium (where people are interacting as a community) and is also engaging the logical thinkers — this channel is targeting the logical and social learning styles.
In this case, presenting case studies and the results of in-depth research on this channel would be a very effective strategy.
On the other hand, so much of the information in the SEO industry is presented in the form of online reading, ebooks, PDFs and training courses. This appeals to many doing SEO because these are solitary ways of learning, and many SEOrs are in fact solitary individuals sitting all day at their screens, pretty much isolated.
This also explains why do-it-yourself (DIY) marketing projects — like help in fixing things, repairing/replacing, proper use of tools, building — almost always require the use of a video. Not only because it is a visual medium, but DIYers are also very hands-on, physical learners, who have to get in there and actually do it for themselves. That group of people doesn’t like to wade through a long-winded user manual!
So remember: You need to develop a wide range of content types, because different segments of your target audience learn in different ways, and they are not all found through the same channels on the web.