It has been said that the brands that will succeed and thrive in the coming decade will be those who become publishers. Content is becoming one of the key pillars of any online strategy as it is utilised to drive organic search tactics, forms a key part of social media activities and is also being used to position brands as experts and a trusted source in their field. This content wave is one that has not gone un-noticed by Australian organisations.
The importance organisations are placing on content is is reflected by the increasing demand for content specialists and producers. Content generation is however is more than hiring dedicated resources to support the cause and deliver tangible outcomes. So if you are contemplating content as part of your strategy – here are my 4 Cs to produce interesting content online. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but rather is some of the major factors that can be the difference between a successful content strategy or no more than online dribble.
1. Content Trending & Monitoring
Monitoring what is topical in your industry and forecasting what will be topical in the coming months is one of the keys to producing relevant and timely content for your audience. Social news and bookmarking sites as well as social media monitoring tools enable us to determine what is popular and what our audience is likely to be seeking content for. Content trending and monitoring is also about learning from the content your users are consuming. What kind of articles and topics do your users respond well to and how can you give them more of it? Both of these sources of intelligence form an integral part of any content planning and creation process.
2. Cutting Edge
The content arena is vast and often your organisation will be competing against a mass of content related to your product / service or industry. One of the fundamental things to therefore consider is how are you going to build cutting edge content that will keep people coming back for more? When I set out blogging there were 2 key things that defined my content position / edge in the market;
– Local Statistics & Trends; Stats and trends for Australia’s digital market were and still are difficult to come by. Searching for them is time consuming and they are rarely found in 1 single source thus my first edge was to deliver marketers with this source on an ongoing basis to support business case development.
– Client Side Marketing View; Many of the digital blogs that are written are done so by agency professionals who experience very different challenges to client side marketers. I wanted to cover the topics and issues that client marketers face to enable them to make more informed decisions in their role.
Defining your content edge requires you to define boundaries for topics – to identify what you will and will not cover. To do this you need to effectively scope your market and find your edge. Aside from this the other key to producing edgy content is to ensure that you are not simply re-gurgitation the same news and content as everyone else. If its topical use it as a base and re-package it to add new information and value to your users.
3. Content Fatigue
One of the hardest things about developing strong content online is maintaining a constant flow of quality content. The first 6 months is the easy bit, it is after this time where it becomes more difficult. A solid content strategy must consider source and define avenues for content generation and contribution. Below is content source diagram which defines some of the key avenues I use to create compelling content beyond the honeymoon period.
4. Content Distribution
Great content is only great if people can find it and it supports the achievement of your organisations goals. Like any marketing a creative idea is never enough – it is as much about the distribution as it is about the idea thus what is your distribution strategy?
Distribution extends well beyond social sharing buttons. A content strategy should be integrated within your existing communication strategies such as your email lifecycle and also be used to drive sign ups to your database. Your content should also be optimised for search and even paid search may be used as a form to drive users to the content. Your content may also feed into your social profiles – however ensure that this is not the sole purpose of your social profile.
So with that said – just who in Australia is delivering a good content strategy. Below are 2 examples;
– Blackmores; For a little while now Blackmores has been delivering quality content in the form of health and weight-loss advice to their users. The value delivered through content has been one of the key online value propositions used by Blackmores to build a substantial database of existing and prospective customers.
– Coles; Coles have developed an online content strategy in line with their offline activities. Their content strategy revolves around recipes and cooking tips from Curtis Stone. Coles has tapped into Australia’s cooking obsession and provides hints and tips as well as recipes to cook like a professional or on a budget. This is enabling Coles to build a sticky onsite experience and get people back into Coles supermarkets – a tactic which I am sure is delivering success for the supermarket giant.
I would love to know of more organisations using content to support the achievement of online objectives – thus please share them below.