You walk into a lovely little café. It’s charming, with all the right sounds, all the right smells and just the right amount of hipster-chic decor. You look at the menu, already imagining the lovely latte art that will crown a perfectly brewed cup.
And that’s when the barista shoves a cup of instant coffee in your hand and runs away.
Content is King, but not all content is created equal
Let’s get one thing right out in the open: I’m not much of a coffee drinker.
But even I know that a cup of black instant is in no way the same thing as what you pay $5 for in the café.
This is also true when it comes to content.
Content marketing is becoming the accepted best-practice approach to marketing by more business than ever before. This is fantastic because content marketing is critical to driving real results with your marketing, no matter your business. Good content allows you to connect with your clients and prospects in a meaningful way. Great content is how you break through the noise and make your message heard.
Your content is how you win the hearts and minds of the people who mater to your business.
To win at content marketing you need two things:
- a good content strategy and
- a lot of content.
The plain fact is, a content marketing strategy with very little content isn’t going to get you very far. While there are many tools to help you find content material , delivering content that offers insight, assistance or some other form of value-add still takes effort. You still have to write the article or record the podcast or video. And then there’s the editing and polishing and publishing.
Sound time consuming?
It can be, especially if you aren’t practiced at producing content.
Isn’t there a faster way, you ask?
Snapchat, Meerkat and Periscope – is ‘instant’ content the answer?
All three apps (and the multitude of more-or-less-the-same competitor apps) are based on the idea of ‘in-the-moment’ content creation and sharing: you capture and share live and once it’s over, so is the content.
Should ‘instant’ content be on your content strategy agenda?
To help you decide, let’s look at the pros, the cons and the realities of this type of content.
- Be ‘in-the-moment’ – The major benefit of any instant content service is that it helps you focus on what’s happening right as it happens. This means that you don’t lose out on a chance to share because the actual process of deciding, creating and sharing took too long and the content lost its relevance in the meantime. Catching the moment as it happens can also help you keep momentum if you do follow-up content after the fact.
- Highly visual –The best content marketing has a mix of words (like a blog) and rich media, such as pictures, videos and infographics. As all three apps are video based (Snapchat is a video messaging app while Meerkat and Twitter-owned Periscope are live video streaming apps) the end content from any of these is highly visual video media.
- Engagement – By their nature, instant content is all about engaging with an active community ‘live’. These services help break down the wall between creating and consuming content, making the experience more shared for both sides.
- Cheap – When it comes to rich media development, these solutions are about as inexpensive as it gets, especially compared to full professional video development.
- Prep-free – Using any of the apps is basically as simple as pushing ‘go’. That said, you will get better results with Periscope and Meerkat if you alert your followers that you are going to live-stream a little while before you start, if you can.
- Nothing to clean-up – Self-deleting content (which all 3 services are to some extent) means you end up with less to curate in your content archives.
- No long-term value – While SEO loves content, it needs that content to stick around to matter. One-shot only showings don’t help your SEO and also limit the exposure of the content to a wider audience, destroying the chance of your content to go viral. As SEO expert and Search Engine Journal founder Loren Baker explains, “I really think that’s a flaw with Meerkat and even Periscope at the end of the day because, if that content is not captured, then what’s the real long-term value?”
- Questionable privacy – Snapchat in particular made its mark in the social sharing world by promising to delete your stuff. This was a bold move away from the trend of saving everything forever. Meerkat and Periscope also play up the ‘live, only as it happens’ aspects of their services, but you need to be careful. All these services have on-selling and sharing offers with partner apps. Even social media experts have been caught out by what is and what isn’t actually gone.
- Easy to go off-brand – The appeal of getting some content out there ‘right now’ is strong. But a snap-decision may not be in-line with your overall brand and positioning. These apps, by their nature, force you away from ‘sleeping on it’ to make sure what you are putting out there is the right message.
A quick reality check:
Instant content apps will work for some brands and businesses, but, frankly, not for most. If you are still unsure if these apps are for you, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have highly visual content that will work with this kind of delivery? Remember, video media demands more than audio, stills or words.
- Do you have the bandwidth? I’m taking the internet kind: streaming video requires serious connection up-speed capabilities to avoid drop-outs, lag and other frustrating problems for both you and your audience.
- Do you have the bandwidth? I’m talking the mental kind: while this is easier than full-scale video production, it’s still something you need to commit to regularly to make effective. Can you do enough with these apps regularly to make the effort you put in add value to your content strategy?
Remember, your content should delight, not disappoint
No, I don’t drink much coffee.
But if I am going to have a coffee, I take it the way I take my content:
I want something nice, that really does something for me and leaves a lovely lingering feeling with me after it is gone.
And I want it when I order it, not whenever the barista feels like making it.
What about you?