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Your Digital Channels Are Not Equal

Digital channels are important to understand when running a business online.

However, what’s really important is understanding why each channel is different. Many beginners make the mistake of using digital channels to accomplish a single goal, assuming that each channel will do the same thing.

Many people choose to only use one or two channels when they’d be better off using all of them. But not everyone should use all of them. It really depends on the niche.

In this guide, I’ll elaborate on the unique purpose of each digital channel for your online business. Understanding the difference between these channels is crucial for an effective online business strategy.

What are Digital Channels, and Are They Important?

Digital channels are content distribution and audience retention products.

These are what you use to deliver content to your audience and retain them as loyal followers. You’d also use these channels to convert followers into customers.

The digital channels that we’ll be taking a look at are the common ones.

The common channels include blogs, online communities, newsletters, and social media platforms.

You might think each of these channels should share a common goal, but in reality, they should be approached differently.

Once you understand the difference, it’s easier to use the channels and more effective with your strategy and success rate.


Digital Channel 1 – Blog

The goal of a blog is to help the PERSON.

You write posts as if you’re writing to a person one-on-one or even as if you’re talking to them one-on-one. The goal of your blog is to inform, teach, and entertain a person.

We know this because of the engagement structure on blogs.

We’re not looking for a group discussion from each blog post. We’re looking for individual comments so that we can engage the reader and keep the discussion going between each other.

Blogs are Person-to-Person digital channels.

To fully utilize blogging for your online business, it’s essential to adopt a personal approach. Imagine you’re speaking to one person at a time. This individual focus is key to engaging your audience effectively.

Doesn’t this blog post feel like I am right there with you, informing you on how to do it?

Get on that personal level. It feels good, doesn’t it? It also feels good for me because it’s a natural feeling when we talk one-on-one.

Focus your blog efforts on the PERSON if you want to move towards success with your online business or venture.


Digital Channel 2 – Online Community

Your online communities are about driving INTEREST within your niche and enterprise of digital channels.

A community is a place where people can get together collectively, learn through courses, participate in events, and help each other with love and interest more than they have before.

Communities are another thing that tends to get people excited and feeling good if they’re done right.

If you want a successful online community, your goal with that community should be to drive interest. You should also focus on engaging members and connecting them with other members. Networking is such a powerful tool.

Like with blogging, you need to use the community to distribute content and the INTEREST.

Create daily discussions, weekly assignments, monthly live webinars, and quarterly interviews with subject matter experts. Add a few courses here and there throughout the year. Make sure the community is engagement—and resource-friendly.

In many cases, you might charge for membership in your community. Communities make for great paid products. But the only way you can make it work is if you add a lot of value.

People need to know about that value before they join, too.

We’ll get more into that with the digital channels mentioned below.

If you choose to have a community, make sure your focus is to drive INTEREST with your community if you want it to be successful.

Digital Channels

Digital Channel 3 – Newsletter

Your newsletter should be about PERSONS within your audience.

With a blog, you’re focusing more on someone one-to-one, but a newsletter is more person-to-group than anything.

These people are your subscribers. They voluntarily joined your mailing list, and you need to ensure that all of them get what they want to stay subscribed.

So, with that being said, the content and resources you include in your newsletter should focus on pleasing a specific audience segment.

One of the best ways to focus on the group is to survey subscribers. Add polls or even quick form-based surveys where subscribers can give their thoughts about the last newsletter issue. Then, you can shape the newsletter based on the overall feedback from subscribers.

It’s important to provide the best content you can in a newsletter.

You should provide exclusive content not found anywhere else. You should also provide resources and external content that you have found helpful for your audience. Finally, you should provide networking opportunities for your audience.

Make sure you promote engagement, too. Give the PERSONS you write to plenty of opportunities to reply and engage back with you. Make sure you reply to every reply made to you, even if it takes you a while. They went out of their way to send you a message. The least you can do is be respectful and send one back.

You should also use your newsletter to make sales. You have a direct line of contact with people who are loyal enough to you to subscribe to your mailing list. These are the people who will most likely buy something from you.

Whatever your product or service is, promote it in every issue you send. Work on making it more than just an advertisement, though. Make it part of the exclusive content that subscribers gain access to. Maybe it’s a paid online community? A service? Or a physical product? Make it blend in with everything else, but be popping enough to encourage sales.

Focus on delivering read-worthy and click-worthy content with your newsletter.


Digital Channel 4 – Social Media

Social media platforms are also digital channels to be considerate of when assuming what their intended purpose is.

Social media platforms are about promoting YOU or your brand.

Many beginners and even some non-beginners make the dire mistake of treating social media as a standalone platform for their business. That’s where they use nothing else to distribute content and retain an audience other than just social media channels.

It’s a bad idea!

Why? Social media is a rented space. If you lose it for whatever reason, you will likely lose it forever, and everything you worked for will be gone.

Social media is a tool, not a standalone platform.

You want to use it to help raise awareness and drive traffic to you as the creator or your brand as the business you’re trying to grow. Some businesses are about you as a person, while some are just about the company. That’s up to you and what kind of online thing you’re running.

You should still focus on your audience’s needs and wants on social media, but you’re on there to grow your own or your brand’s reputation by answering those needs and wants and being an active contributor to the platform.

Just don’t go into social media with a 100% promotion attitude.

Social media algorithms are designed to increase views on native content. Native content is posts, images, videos, and stories/live events that are uploaded to the platform. Non-native content (external links and advertisements) gets fewer views.

You’re better off joining the platform as your brand name or your name if you’re the brand. Add your link to your bio or about section. Then start posting native content at scale – I mean multiple times a day and every day.

Use scheduling features if you need to, but make sure you consistently post multiple times a day.

You also need to engage with your audience. You need to engage daily and more times than you actually post on your own page. Engagement on social media might actually be more important than posting content.

When you do promote things, try to promote things that you want to sell. Promote your paid online community, service, or other products. You might even purchase some advertising on the platform if you have a goal to earn more in profit than what you paid to the social media platform.

Focus on building yourself and your reputation with social media digital channels.


Final Thoughts About Digital Channels

Digital channels are important to have when doing your own online business. They’ll help you get the word out, build a bigger audience, and make more money in the process. You just need to make sure you understand the use of each of them. They’re unique and different.

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Shawn Gossman

About the Author

Shawn Gossman has created content, blogged, ran online communities, and shared a passion for digital marketing for over twenty years. Shawn believes the best way to help content creators, businesses, brands, and marketers is to give away more than you sell. The same advice is recommended for the readers who follow this blog. Shawn also offers various services for extra help in content creation and blogging.

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