Like the British high street, your favorite purveyor of boutique content might need your support.
In the UK, we have somewhat of a high street crisis. In almost every town, stores are closing, as independent stores are struggling, and large chains are closing down.
Unless you are a destination with footfall to support the retail space, every British town like the one I live in is struggling to move with the times, and their high streets smile with a toothless grin. There are plenty of gaps.
I recently walked through our town, and it was a particularly bad week, as three stores either had their shutters up or were on their way.
But the market decides, right?
Retail is changing; we have too much retail real estate, and the two-hundred-year-old design of our towns and inner cities has become obsolete.
With some self-reflection, I realised I love to walk through a thriving high street, probably selfishly thinking how it probably reflects on house prices, attracts the sort of thing I do like (restaurants), but then orders on Amazon. I’m the problem.
The market doesn’t decide, we do.
You feel sad when you see a lovely old pub close down – did you drink in it?
What do you expect?
Don’t use it, you lose it.
I am no expert in retail, and that’s definitely not the topic of this weekly thought, but I’m thinking the same for digital, where we spend all our time starving the high street of our attention until it dies.
Blogs, podcasts and anything a content creator creates are as equally fragile as that cute little local bookshop you love the idea of in the high street and never buy from.
I came across this LinkedIn article from Mary Keough, Head of Marketing at Map My Customers, who shared the lack of vanity metric success she was getting with her company’s LinkedIn social media and content strategy, with few likes, comments and nothing going viral.
She could have been discouraged and stopped their program.
And we hear all the time all of the stats about how few podcasts, blog posts or newsletters make it past the first 8 or 10 posts or episodes. Mary would not be alone in giving up.
But, she hears from prospects in real life how much they love the content.
She shares this quote from someone who has never liked or shared a post:
“I can’t use you right now, but we’re researching options for 2024. Keep posting. I send my leadership team everything you write.”
Mary shares some other anecdotes of her audience that don’t click like or share her content via social media, but they do enjoy it and share it by email. It’s behaviour that goes undetected by our marketing machines, often called dark social, that will never appear on a marketing dashboard.
Wouldn’t it have been a shame for those people enjoying the content if Mary had done what it seems the majority of content creators or businesses taking their first steps into content marketing do, and followed the disappointing vanity metrics and closed up shop?
They would have lost a source of content they clearly enjoyed.
Mary’s LinkedIn post is heartening for producers, folks who are shouting into the void, as maybe someone is listening, and it only needs a couple of people to be truly engaged, unknown, to make it all worthwhile.
Maybe even success that coverts commercially, as the content keeps you in mind for the 95% of your potential audience that is not yet ready to buy (As Mary’s prospect said – “I can’t use you right now, but..”).
My thought, and back to my inspiration from the high street, from a content consumer perspective, I feel we have a responsibility, like those “shop local” advertising promotions.
Yes, Mary was fortunate to have those prospect conversations that gave her this non-digital feedback, but not everyone has that connection and maybe a few likes and comments from those folks would have eased any thoughts her company had to stop the program.
As consumers, we should give the digital signals these content creators need and like, share, comment and give reviews to those digital things we love, not in the dark social, but in a way their marketing machines will see.
So, whether it’s a digital destination or a cute store in the high street, use it, like it or lose it.
Aside from my ongoing argument with Grammarly robots did not write any copy, but they did create the image, which was created using A.I. through NightCafe Creator
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I’m a 3xCMO, now a marketing strategy advisor and podcast host at Rockstar CMO. Although, I’m not a rock star, but a marketing leader, strategist, content marketer, columnist, speaker, industry watcher, and creator of ART (Awareness, Revenue, and Trust) for the companies I work with. But most of all, I am an enthusiastic tea drinker.
The half-baked thoughts shared on this blog may not reflect those of my employer or clients, and if the topic of this article is interesting or you just want to say hello please get in touch.