In the quaint old days before the internet your choices as a content creator were fairly limited. You could speak or write books and articles, but for the most part those were the only formats readily available and consumed by your market. Today you can produce short form videos and blogs, work with your followers to co-create aligned content, and you can still write a book (but it’s much more likely that you’d self publish it). There are podcasts, webinars, online assessment tools, MOOCs, distance learning, e-learning — it’s likely that by the time you finish reading this article there may be another format that pops up. The world has changed, and not every thought leader has changed their market strategy with it.
I constantly see my clients struggling with what modalities they should build their market strategy around. Some stick to what they are most comfortable with, typically the written word but sometimes that’s speaking, others figure that they need to be all things to all people and frantically attempt to get their work out in every possible medium ASAP. I think the answer is somewhere in the middle and you as a thought leader or author don’t even need to decide what is right. Your market does.
If you know your target market or markets, and I mean really understand how they consume content and what they prefer, all you need to do is give them what they want in the format they want it in. If you aren’t sure, observe them and ask them before you put the energy and effort into creating something that isn’t in a modality they’d want to consume.
We each have our own format bias. The more outgoing and verbal types love to deliver keynotes. They love the energy of a live audience and the instant feedback and that option to change direction in the moment if the audience needs something a bit different than what was planned. Others love the written word; love to wrestle over each phrase, perfectly crafting the pace and arc of the story being told, pulling data and shifting anecdotes to bring the work to life. Others still may be more creative or spontaneous and enjoy working with video or more visual mediums. The point is that although we each have a preference if we don’t listen to what our audience wants and refuse to give it to them in the format they prefer we will no longer have an audience to serve. Attention spans today are much shorter and the content consumers options’ are much stronger than they have ever been before.
Observe your audience, engage them, ask how they want you to deliver your work, and build your market strategy around those results. The effort now will pay off as you stay relevant and your work continues to have impact beyond what you may have previously envisioned.