Guest post by Michael Brito, author of Your Brand: The Next Media Company
There are four fundamental truths shaping today’s digital ecosystem, which I outline in my upcoming book, Your Brand: The Next Media Company.
Number one. There is a content and media surplus in the market place. There’s no shortage of advertising, marketing messages, mobile devices or social interruptions trying to command our attention, daily.
Number two. There is an attention deficit in the minds of consumers. Our brains are finite and we can only consume a small amount of content and then actually make some sense of it.
Number three. Consumers’ lives are dynamic and extremely unpredictable making extremely difficult for brands to reach them with a message.
And four. All consumers are influential and aid their peers down the purchase funnel.
For these reasons, you need to start taking content serious and begin to make the right organizational changes to adapt to the external chaos in the marketplace because it’s not going to change for you.
This also means that you need to elevate the conversation beyond just content marketing. Content marketing is by nature, tactical. It can easily be done in a silo. If you are a marketer, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from creating, aggregating, and curating content and then posting it in social media channels without having a content strategy.
You can hire consultants, agencies, and even third-party journalists and bloggers using platforms like Contently or eByline to create content and campaigns on your behalf. It’s fairly easy and affordable to use services like Poptent or Genius Rocket to crowdsource highly produced video content. And guess what? You can do all of this without actually talking to anyone in your company. Now, the content itself might not be epic or change any specific consumer behavior but it’s not hard to do, and it’s not all that expensive.
The reason why many of the brands struggle with content, storytelling, and scale is because they are looking at content from an elementary point of view. Content is not a box you check, a bubble you fill in, or a bullet point in a PowerPoint presentation. It’s more than SEO, more than videos, Infographics, Instagram photos, or tweeting during a half-time show. You can’t learn about content strategy from clever blog titles like “10 Proven Tips to Learn This” or “5 Smart Tricks to Learn That.” Content must be considered a strategic imperative for your business. You must become a content organization if you want to take your business to the next level.
Just as there is an art to storytelling; there also needs to be a strategic and operational plan that can help you create and distribute content; integrate it across paid, earned, and owned media; and measure it effectively. As a marketer or brand manager you must move beyond the content marketing buzzword and commit to building a long-term content strategy that will allow you to execute your content marketing initiatives flawlessly and at scale.
Your brand must become a content organization.
This is much easier said than done, of course. Here are four, very easy considerations to get you started.
1. Why. Before you even think about Twitter, Facebook or any other social media channel, you must first establish “why” you want to invest dollars and resources into a content strategy. In other words, you need to establish a vision and business goals. Is your goal to drive brand awareness, reposition your brand or generate leads? The “why” will help ensure that all of your content marketing activities will be in alignment with your brand’s goals and objectives.
2. What. What exactly do you want to say online? Your content narrative is essentially the story you want to tell across all of your distribution channels. In some cases, you may have different storytelling principles in Facebook versus Twitter versus a corporate blog. The following are key inputs that will help determine the story you want to tell online:
– Brand narrative (core values, brand positioning, product attributes)
– Non-business issues that are important to the brand (sustainability)
– How the media contextualizes the brand when they write stories
– How the community contextualizes the brand when they tweet, leave comments, or write blog posts
– Audience/persona definition
– Historical content performance
– How consumers search for your brand, product
– The top 10 or 15 customer support issues
3. How. This is where your content operations will take center stage. In several reports over the last few years, marketers have been vocal that their biggest challenge with content is that they don’t have enough time, enough budget or resources and approvals make the content lifecycle months instead of days. Building what I call the content supply chain will help facilitate workflows from content ideation, creation, submission, and approval to distribution – as well as the integration into paid media. This also includes building a centralized editorial team, assigning roles and responsibilities and investing in smart technology solutions that can you scale your content operations globally. Part of the “how” should also involve mobilizing employee advocacy (brand journalism) and customer brand advocates and enable them to help you tell your brand story.
4. Where. Mapping where you want to tell your story involves prioritizing your social media channels and determining the resources you have internally to properly manage content creation and community management. This is essentially the content marketing piece of your strategy.
This should give you a solid baseline on the internal resources you need to think about as you transition your brand into a content organization, or what I refer to as a media company.