“Print doesn’t need saving; it is just that the market has shifted. Print used to be the active call to action, but now it is a gateway medium to digital media — and content is the core of being relevant today.”

Roberto Blake

 

The power of print is undisputed, and it’s even more powerful when it’s paired with social media. Whether you’re promoting your own business or building a brand for clients, an omni-channel approach can help you reach a larger audience. At Blueline by Domtar® we know that creating social media content can be challenging for creatives and printers—but it doesn’t have to be. We asked Roberto Blake, a graphic designer, marketer, social media expert and recent HOW Design Live Conference speaker with a YouTube audience of over 100,000 to share his top tips for content creation.

 

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Most companies use demographics to measure things like location, buying power, gender and ethnicity. Blake recommends using psychographics, or collective user psychology, to reach a larger and more profitable audience.

 

“Instead of targeting 18-34 year olds, my content targets creative people, regardless of their discipline, experience level or age. They have so many commonalities that all I have to do is appeal to their mass psychology. Creative people have a balance of artistic skills, passion, emotional intelligence and technical skills. They also have common struggles, like justifying their craft to the world and being paid appropriately. These are common pain points for artists, designers, web designers and photographers. So why would I ‘niche down’ and take on just one? By approaching all those things, I can speak at a web design conference, HOW Interactive or Shutterfest. There is a lot more money and opportunity there than if I were to niche down.”

 

“I investigate and I listen,” says Blake. “And I listen in scale. From looking at my analytics in YouTube, I can assess what people are searching for to find my content. Then I ask them to join my email list, and I engage with them through personal emails. I offer advice, send out polls and ask questions like ‘What do you need from me?”

 

KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS
When choosing which platform to start with and what type of content to create, Blake advises focusing on your strengths first.

 

“You should have a basic awareness about what you are good at,” he suggests. “You may be smart, but if you lack the ability to create engagement and respond to questions, you shouldn’t be a teacher. Ask yourself ‘How do I take what I’m passionate about and serve this purpose?’”

 

Start with topics you understand very well, and use the mediums with which you feel most comfortable. You can progress to other platforms when you are ready.

 

“If you have great information but you are shy, start with a blog, then a podcast and work up to video,” Blake advises. “Because your voice is out there, and your face is on Instagram or Twitter, you can be more confident about video. It is a less intimidating first step.”

 

Once you know your strengths, how do you incorporate them into content ideas? A great place to start is think about problems you have solved successfully. Blake proposes asking “What are ten problems I solved for myself, that I feel confident I can solve for others?” You can then write a blog, post a video or create a podcast on each topic.

 

REVERSE-ENGINEER
Another way to generate content ideas is to reach out to your audience directly. Blake calls this concept “reverse engineering.”

 

“The audience tells me what they want because I ask them,” Blake confides. “At the end of my videos or blogs, I ask them to give me their requests for content or their point of view. Then I have a huge floodgate, ‘Tell me more about this. Can you go deeper about that one thing?’”

 

For printers or graphic design firms, Blake recommends creating content around your 20 most frequently asked questions. He also suggests asking someone in your staff who is an industry expert to start a Facebook group for sharing free advice and hosting forums, and using the resulting conversations to spur content ideas.

 

“Target specific people with a specific problem. Then, let potential customers voice their opinions and resources, that you can reverse engineer,” he says. “It’s an open forum, so people feel comfortable saying what they want to say.”

 

GET STARTED
It can be tough for designers and printers to find the time to self-promote on social media, but it’s well worth the effort—and in today’s business environment, it may be essential. When we asked Blake what sort of returns one might expect from investing in the medium, he had this to say:

 

“What is the ROI of kissing your spouse goodbye every day? You stay married. Meaning if you want to stay in business, show up and sell every day. If you’re not adding to your sales funnel, you are working toward going out of business every day.”

 

When choosing which platform to start with and what type of content to create, Blake advises focusing on your strengths first.

 

“You should have a basic awareness about what you are good at,” he suggests. “You may be smart, but if you lack the ability to create engagement and respond to questions, you shouldn’t be a teacher. Ask yourself ‘How do I take what I’m passionate about and serve this purpose?’”

 

Start with topics you understand very well, and use the mediums with which you feel most comfortable. You can progress to other platforms when you are ready.

 

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