Anyone wanting to provide value online, through selling a product or service or offering useful content in some other form, first needs to be found.
For this, you need to have a presence on the channels that your target audience hangs out.
By the way
With 'channels,' I mean any digital platform. Examples of these are:
- Content aggregation and discussion platforms like Reddit.
- Social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.
- Your (business) website.
- Social media apps like Instagram or Snapchat.
After your audience finds you, you want them to remember and recognize you and your business. You want your audience to not only come back; you want your audience to share what you offer with their peers.
For that, you need to stand out, connect, and deliver a lot of (upfront) value.
But your audience is usually not all in one place.
And you don't have an infinite amount of time and energy.
Especially not the time and energy to spend equal effort on every channel your audience hangs out.
So what do you do? Maybe you do try to be everywhere in equal measure? But this is not sustainable, and eventually makes you end up nowhere. The problem is, you won't be able to connect with your audience when you're scattered all over the place.
There is something you can do about it, though. And that is to segment your channels in a fashion that lets you reuse content in various ways, thus saving you time and energy. While still being deliberate in the way you connect with your audience.
The specific way you segment your channels is essential. In the rest of this article, I will explain how you can do it.
Your primary channel is where you publish your best content or sell your service or product. It is THE place you want your audience to go to eventually. The source where they can derive the most value from what you create, share, and sell.
Some examples of this are:
- A personal blog where you write great content.
- Software or platform where you want clients to signup.
- A product or service that you sell.
- An educational course that you provide.
- A podcast that you host.
- A video channel.
- A landing page for a book you sell.
All these don't necessarily have to be a website that you own. It could be a Youtube channel or a Medium blog. (Although I recommend having a personally owned place as your primary channel, considering all the demonetization or de-platforming as of late.)
For the sake of keeping it simple, I will continue the explanation with a content creation business in the form of a blog.
Let us say the blogger creates fantastic content on his blog, and part of this he sells (also on his blog). Like I mentioned above, this blog is his primary channel because that is where most of the content value is delivered AND where he wants his audience to go eventually.
How can he get as many people to his primary channel?
Well, the channel itself will rank in Google Search eventually, but it will go much faster if he utilizes other channels.
On top of that, if he uses these other channels, he gets a stream of visitors Google would not have gotten him.
So, what can he do? Just post links to his content on various social media channels and hope he gets a bigger audience?
Maybe, but it's not as simple as that.
I argue he needs to be active on those other (secondary and tertiary) channels. Because then people will start to follow him, like his content, and draw in influencers.
Then he REALLY gets the flywheel turning.
What should he pick for his secondary channels? Read on!
For a secondary channel, pick just one. (Maybe two if you have a lot of time or someone else helping with marketing.)
Because this channel will be a place where you immerse yourself in a community, where you will post content daily (or even multiple times a day).
Your secondary channel is the place where you make a real connection with your audience (apart from your Primary channel, of course).
You do that by taking content from your primary channel and adapting it a bit to fit in this channel.
Make sure to deliver value WITHIN this secondary channel, though.
An excellent example of this is making a Twitter thread from a blog post (got this from Harry Dry.) Another one is making an audiogram from a piece of written content and sharing that on Instagram.
With all the content that you create and share on this channel, make sure people know how to follow that back to your primary channel. You can do this directly, through a link back to your primary source, or just through a great bio on your secondary channel account.
In all cases of choosing a secondary channel, though, make sure to select something:
- Where your audience hangs out.
- Which aligns with the type of content you create.
- Where you feel you can participate in for a long time (without getting burned out or bored).
One - If your target audience does not even take part in the consumption or discussion of content on a specific channel, then it's not worth your time or energy. So first go out and find the channels - the 'watering holes' - that your audience drinks at.
Two - Make sure to pick a channel where the type of content you want to share, suits the channel. Twitter is excellent for text. Instagram is great for images. Reddit is famous for more extended discussions. Etc.
Three - If the community and channel is a place where you feel at home, you are much more likely to stay there, and thus benefit from the momentum you build up by communicating with others there. If you don't like the channel, you'll drop out eventually, and then the return on time invested is significantly lower.
This segment of channels has some overlap with the previous (secondary) channels. In that, it needs to fit two of the three earlier mentioned elements:
- First, is your audience active on the channel?
- Second, does the content fit the channel?
It does not matter much here that you don't have a lot of time to interact on the tertiary channels. Here it's mostly to place content that you have NOT created separately for this channel (but already created on your primary or secondary channel).
Tertiary channels are a place to get 'quick wins,' so to speak. To republish your blog posts for example.
(With a canonical URL, so Google knows to point SEO-juice back to your primary channel when it finds the same content on a tertiary channel).
Or to automatically share snippets of blog post titles, podcast snippets, photos, etc.
This tertiary channel is to gain exposure, to be everywhere, just a bit. Just enough to point people that are interested in your stuff to go to your primary and secondary channels.
Tertiary channels can be great to gain even more exposure on content that resonated well with your audience on your other channels.
The last type of segment is supportive channels.
These supportive channels are somewhat in line with tertiary channels in the sense that it is just extra exposure without a lot of work. But not the place where you post regularly. Not even copied content (form your primary or secondary channels).
Supportive channels I see as (semi)-static content.
Examples of these are:
- A business page on LinkedIn,
- A Github repo,
- Publicly visible accounts on various websites/platforms.
I also file things like Product Hunt or Beta-list under these. These are online places where you post one-time content that may not change, ever. But it does provide exposure down the line.
You can see it a bit as link-building.
Speaking of link-building, here I show a visual representation of how I see the channels in relation to each other. Plus the 'link-juice' that flows between the different types of channels:
To summarize, we have four segments of channels:
- The primary channel is where your main value delivery and connection with your audience is.
- Secondary channel(s) is where you also create a real connection with your audience and again provide value (which you base on original content).
- Tertiary channels are where you post links to your primary and secondary content, posts, and discussions. Possibly automated.
- Supportive channels are where you have an online presence, which is mostly static, but that does provide link-juice to your other channels.
Agree, disagree? Different ideas on channel segmentation? Please do share your opinion on this because I’m still feeling out the segmentation model.
Also, what are your favorite channels?
Thanks for reading. :)