This will likely expose my nerdiness – to the extent that it already hasn’t been widely exposed – but I’m not one of those people who uses social media to stay abreast of my favorite celebrities. Although I will confess to following Michael Palin – wait, that’s now Sir Michael Palin – on Facebook, there’s not much else. I don’t see what famous people are opining about on Twitter. I have scant interest in seeing the latest red carpet fashions on Instagram. And I subscribe to just a single, solitary channel on YouTube.
And that’s where my nerdiness comes in.
I follow Steve Kaufmann on YouTube. Steve is a former Canadian diplomat and lumber company executive, and I’m guessing he’s in his early to mid-70s. His regular videos are shot from his house, typically with poor lighting, and by all appearances, recorded without a script or actually much planning at all. But it’s his content that keeps me coming back again and again.
Steve is a polyglot. That’s someone who speaks multiple languages. In Steve’s case, he speaks 17 of them, some of them acquired by living in various countries (France and Japan, most notably). But mostly, he is self-taught, and he has invented an online platform that leverages his system of learning. It’s not for everyone, but he’s pretty much earned the right to say that it works.
What’s so instructive about Steve’s regular YouTube videos is how repetitive they are. You might think that’s a bad thing, but it’s the essence of a sound content marketing strategy. Another way of putting it – he’s stays on message, on brand.
Steve has three core elements of his learning philosophy, and there’s not a video that doesn’t touch on all three of them. This is not to say that they are boring or overly repetitive. For the most part, they are not. Steve finds a way of introducing that philosophy in different, creative ways – it may be a travel update, reports from a polyglot conference (yeah, they exist), a world event that has implications to language or cross-cultural communication. But wherever he starts, he inevitably circles back to the same place: learning a new language requires (1) the acquisition of new words; building vocabulary is best done through reading content that interests you; and (3) you need the ability to notice. It’s that simple, only we know it’s not.
In content marketing, we spend a lot of time tapping our creativity to develop compelling content, in particular, content that resonates with our target personas. But in doing so, it’s important not to wander too far away from your core identity. Your content is helping you build an online reputation, and what you write about showcases your expertise and a track record of success. If that means a bit of redundancy over the months, that’s okay.
Most importantly of all, stay on message…in no matter which language you speak.