Breaking Bad, Dancing with the Stars, CSI or Sunday Night Football – you never want to miss your favorite TV program. That’s how we’re trained. Back in our childhood we knew that if we missed our TV program that was it – we wouldn’t get another chance. And even now in the days of PVRs and reruns, we still want that shared experience of learning what happens at the same time as everyone else.
So what does this have to do with your content marketing strategy? TV networks’ marketing efforts are geared to making sure everyone knows exactly when a show will be on in each time zone. They air trailers which hint at some of the action to raise excitement and at the end of the program they may preview what’s coming next. Viewers know they can rush home to catch their favorite show; networks can use that fact to deliver audiences to advertisers. Effectively, the networks are making appointments with their viewers – and that’s a technique that content marketers can use successfully.
Andrew M. Davis, author or Brandscaping, highly recommends appointment making to marketers. In fact, he’s devoted a whole chapter of his book to it. He says: “You have to make an appointment with your audience… Appointment consumption is the notion that your audience expects the content they’ve grown to love on a predictable schedule.” This is exactly what TV networks do effectively, and that hasn’t changed, even now that audiences can consume content at different times.
Rob O’Regan of Emedia Vitals agrees, pointing out: “DVRs and other on-demand technology have changed the nature of appointment viewing, but not the concept: creating quality content that audiences make time to consume on a regular basis.” He suggests using something simple like an email newsletter that arrives at a predictable time each week.
Chris Brogan has done just that with a regular Sunday morning email to his audience of more than 200,000 people. His readers know exactly when to expect it and he has built engagement by continuing the conversation with the 300-500 people who regularly email him after the newsletter goes out. For him, it’s a chance to truly engage and to make an impression on them, as he points out in the video below:
And it works. Rhonda Hurwitz of She Means Business shows how initially signing up for Chris’s emails became something that was part of her routine and something she looked forward to and prioritized. The emails were useful, consistent and personal – three lessons for marketers.
Helping Readers Form a Habit
The lesson here is that delivering a message to your audience at a consistent time helps you become a habit for them – it makes an appointment which they won’t want to break. The Bussolati blog discusses the habit loop, dividing it into three stages: cue, routine and reward. For an email newsletter, the cue would be the arrival of the email, the routine would be looking at it, and the reward would be finding useful information.
One issue marketers must consider is that their audience is now consuming their content on a wider range of devices. That means it’s not enough for an email newsletter, a white paper or an ebook to look great on a desktop computer. It also has to look great and be easy to navigate on a mobile device. If it isn’t, then you could lose your audience before they form the habit of reading your content. No-one wants to deal with fonts that are too small or too large and content that doesn’t look good.
The good news for you, as a marketer, is that people are still adapting to this mobile world, so you have the chance to grab your audience early by adapting your content marketing strategy and providing content that:
- is adapted for mobile viewing on any screen size
- is easy to navigate via touch screen controls (pinching, zooming, tapping and swiping)
- has working links
- looks attractive.
That’s what we offer at Readz and it will help improve your conversions and marketing ROI.
Give your readers great content that works wherever they are and whatever device they are using on a reliable schedule and they will love it. That’s the best way to encourage them to make an appointment with you – and who knows? Maybe your email newsletter could become one of their favorite programs!