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R E TA ILER R E B E L

CREATING SUPPORTIVE CONTENT By Gabriel O’Brien

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There are loads of different ways to engage your audience with content, so many that they may seem hard to keep up with. I talk often about video because it’s the key to retail buyers, but there are others worth exploring, many of which are also highly effective, especially when you pair them together. Supporting a piece of content with another piece is a great way to engage your audience on multiple levels. Because people have different lifestyles and methods of learning, it’s important to understand you can’t reach them all using one platform or format. People like to consume content in a variety of different ways. Eighty percent of all people watch videos regularly, and 90 percent watch them on their phone. While most people like to watch videos, some prefer to read an article or blog, or enjoy reading as a supplement to gain a deeper understanding. An online survey showed 68 percent of people felt blogs added credibility to a website, and seven of 10 people surveyed preferred articles to ads. Video blogs are also increasing in popularity, as are podcasts. Just more than half (51 percent) of Americans have listened to a podcast, and nearly one-third (32 percent) listen to podcasts monthly. People also enjoy listening because it can be done while doing something else, like commuting, cooking dinner or exercising. So, what is supportive content? First of all, I’m fairly certain I’m making this term up (if I’m not, please let me know so I can credit someone smart), so here’s what I mean: Supportive content is simply creating layers of content for your audience to experience, which also increases your potential reach by giving people multiple methods to experience what you have to say. It’s like having a bunch of on-ramps to a highway — the highway is the message you’re trying to deliver, while the on-ramps are the types of content. Maybe you have a really short direct ramp, like a graphic or 15-second ad for people with short attention spans. Maybe you have a longer ramp that’s a big turn onto the highway, such as a video that includes comparisons and sound clips. I’m out of highway-themed analogies, so bear with me here. Maybe you have some shorter videos about specific attributes. Maybe you have a great single image that’s an Instagram post. Maybe you have a podcast talking about history and your personal experiences, featuring a guest. So, what does that look like? What’s a specific example? I’m constructing this idea about a guitar, but it’ll work for any product or service.

Say you’re making a video about how to record a 12-string guitar for your YouTube channel and Instagram TV. You want to make a video encapsulating four main points about the guitar, which is featured on IGTV, YouTube and the product page on your website. Then, take those four points and make four one-minute videos for Instagram with them. That’s five videos, which is great. Writing a blog post about how to record a 12-string guitar for your website is another way to repurpose what you’re saying in the video, and it won’t require much more effort than simply putting your thoughts in written format. In fact, you probably already have some notes on what you were going to say in the video that can be used as an outline for your blog post. You can also record a podcast talking about the history of 12-string guitars on famous records, and the techniques used on those compared to the ones you describe in your video and blog post. You can invite a guest to talk about their experiences with 12-strings, and maybe even discuss Nashville tuning. What’s Nashville tuning? That’s your next series. Creating content to support other content is also great for search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines examine your website to determine how well it answers the search prompt, or to better put it, how well your information answers the question someone is searching for an answer to. Using my example, if someone were searching “how to record a 12-string guitar,” you’re giving Google five videos, a blog and a podcast, and the descriptions and links to each other that go with those things. That’s a lot of answers to that question. Plus, you can link those things to each other, both on your site and elsewhere. Your YouTube videos can include links to your blog and podcast. Your podcast, which can be recorded in both audio-only and video formats, can include links to your videos and blog. Your blog on your website can include links to your product page, which will feature your media about the product. Backlinks are great for SEO too. Common search terms like “best” (best beginner trumpet, best way to learn guitar, best music store) are a great place to begin this style of campaign, as 101-level content is evergreen, meaning it doesn’t expire and will always be good content to have available. Start with these building blocks, and alternate between them and new or niche products. These are the things that will have the best results out of the gate. Need help planning your content, or someone to bounce ideas off of? Write to me at gabriel@upperhandstudios.com. MARCH 2020

Profile for Music & Sound Retailer

Music & Sound Retailer March 2020, Vol 37 No 3