Making Waves: Content and Audience Engagement

Ocean waves

Ocean waves

When developing content for the web, the goal is forever to drive audience engagement. By communicating a resonating point, successful users are able to make waves within their sphere. We’ve discussed the importance of content timing, but timing will only get you so far.

Over the last few months of promoting my YouTube piano covers, I often get asked why I don’t cover more mainstream songs. Talk about uninspired.

Truthfully, YouTube has reached a saturation point with the overplayed piano covers of Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, etc. Lesser-known users who upload covers of immensely popular songs after the fact are left floating in a crowded sea, unable to make waves. And no wave means less chance of receiving views, and even less chance of gaining new subscribers.

To me, the songs that scream “OPPORTUNITY” are those that have not yet been covered, aren’t expected to be covered and/or inspire a new interpretation.

For instance, back in September, I covered “Pop Culture,” a 39-song mash up by French house/pop producer Madeon. The original mashup had first come out in July, and with the exception of a remake created with a compilation of YouTube artists’ vocal covers, my video was the only piano cover of the original mashup. Currently at 67,581 views, this video alone earned 166 comments and 32 subscribers, making it the most popular video on my channel, as well as driving the most outside engagement.

Whether it’s covering a Euro-trance track, an autotune parody or songs by influential YouTube users such as schmoyoho and BadLipReading, I relish the opportunity to create something new. By adding my own ballad-like style to introduce a different ambience to the song, I have found a content niche and continue to differentiate my personal brand.

Similar to YouTube, the web as a whole is saturated with overrepresented and unimaginative content. Much like I have created a new type of content that is distinctly and uniquely my own, we pioneer unique content with our social media clients. An important part of my duties on the content team is developing extensive and effective content strategies for our accounts. Regularly, I am presented with the challenge of creating content that is relevant and resourceful for target audiences, all the while reflecting positively on the unique brand and voice of the client.

Tackling this issue requires seeing what is and isn’t receiving coverage in any given industry. By surveying what is currently happening, we can better explore new and uncharted waters. It is that exploration and resulting differentiated content that defines an effective online presence.

The real opportunity for content lies in the shadows, in the ideas that go underrepresented. Gaps in coverage are nothing more than an opportunity to be seized by expertise, brand values and a distinguished voice. And that’s how you make real waves.

Ji-Sook Yim is an Integrated Marketing Associate at Otherwise Incorporated.

Photo credit: James Corchea Stark