Guest post by Julia Hutchison, Client Partner at Headstream, a digital content marketing agency.
With so many different channels of communication available, ensuring you are getting the right message to the right people, at the right time has never been more complex. I look at how and why you should invest time and energy in getting your web content strategies in place.
The rapid pace of change within the consumer technology sector has left many marketers struggling to keep pace. With so many different devices and channels available, making sure you are sending out consistent messaging across all your channels and effectively managing information and associated rich media assets, such as photos and videos, for all of your products is one of the biggest challenges facing marketers today.
Now more than ever, brands and retailers, you need to think like publishers and explore your workflows, publishing tools and business models to deliver your content consistently to the right media channels at the right time… and for most these aren’t necessarily skills that come naturally.
Managing customer facing content has evolved into an extremely complex process, driven in no small part by the fact that consumer expectations have risen exponentially. We now all want to be able to see the same content and have the same level of experience and engagement whether we are viewing a website or webshop on a laptop, a tablet or a smart phone.
To be able to cope with this, retailers and brands need to have a fully integrated approach to their content marketing, which covers all the channels they operate in, and ensures their story is told not only in an interactive way, but also a consistent way. Once an overall content strategy has been created – which will be very much determined by your business objectives – only then can you focus on individual platforms and look at distributing your content across all channels.
A key part of this process involves putting in place a detailed editorial plan to ensure that customers are taken on an engaging journey and that the right content is distributed across on the right channels. And, as stated above, you need to remember that this content isn’t just words, but also pictures, video, infographics, content to share, competitions and even coupons.
So what’s all the fuss about?
Effectively managing multi-channel content is crucial to your business on two distinct levels:
- Done correctly, it is one of the most effective forms of marketing: firstly, because it is pull rather than push marketing; secondly, because it drives engagement and word of mouth; and, thirdly, because it takes customers on a real and seamless journey of discovery through your brand.
- On top of this, it is hugely cost and time efficient as it means you simply create the content once and then distribute it across all relevant channels rather than constantly being forced to re-invent the wheel. For example, a video shoot can also involve photography that can be used across digital, mobile and print, driving return on investment and ensuring you get the most value from your marketing activities.
So, how can marketers effectively handle multi-channel content?
Before you do anything, decide on your business objectives first, what is it that you want your content to achieve? Only then can you drill down to focus on the individual channels.
Furthermore, you need to remember that relevancy is critical; if your content isn’t relevant for any particular channel it will just get lost, or worse ignored.
Once you’ve made it that far, it’s about systems and people; making sure that your team understands how to manage, create and distribute content and that they have the technologies in place to manage this. Ultimately, effectively managing your content flow is also about process management.
For most businesses, the content they produce is for their customers, and the harsh reality is that if these people aren’t getting the information they need from your online systems, they will simply go somewhere else. As the competition for people’s attention becomes more fiercely contested online and people demand more of their online experience, so getting your content in order is becoming increasingly important to your business.