How to and why build an own content strategy?
The old saying “content is king” (which was soon altered to warn us that “it is great content which is the king”), takes an increasingly prominent force in the development, growth and consolidation in communication strategies (both digital and conventional) of contemporary organizations.
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I want to articulate a methodology that goes beyond content marketing, branded content and other fashionable concepts to come up with something a little deeper: strategically assume that any organization has a natural ability to generate content, carry to term in their own media and finally attract earned media. This statement is independent of its size or industry and it is applicable for B2C companies, B2B business, the third sector and any government institution.
The explanation, which is quite obvious in the background, lies in the fact that an overabundance of issuers (remember, every company is a media company) generates overdose of information and, consequently, a reduction in the share of public attention, customers and alleged fans who are asked by us to pay interest. To stand out, therefore, is a matter of differentiation, not merely for an aesthetic or visual reason, but because market differentiation (product, service, identity) is a key strategic issue.
Every day we realize in conversations with our customers and with our colleagues in the market, the growing demand for more sophisticated content instead of the old method of using links and interesting news as a way to energize the wide range of businesses and organizations of all kinds in the world we now call “social”. Before proceeding, I propose to make a single-blind test: show your web pages or blogs and that of your competitors to your friends and colleagues and if no one can say which belongs to your organization, better start thinking about how to create a differentiated content and… relevant: bombarding with promotions may be differentiating (after all it is my discount and my product), but not really.
However, the idea of “content,” even more “original content” may create difficulties to explain within a company, even if they have large media budgets available. It sounds more like an entertainment industry and advertising machine rather than an organized and natural strategy within a company or institution. The thesis of this paper has two parts: first, that in every organization there is enough content with strategic sense that can be original and relevant as well. The second, although it requires resources, doesn’t necessarily have to be exorbitant, and it has more to do with the internal capabilities and attitudes than with large budgets. But obviously, if you have great resources, things are easier.
How to create a valid strategy for any company?
The most essential aspect of content strategy, regardless of the size of the company, is to be fully aware of the aforementioned interest groups who you want to catch their attention and the positioning you want to achieve in front of them.
At this point, with your potential receptor identified, knowing the demand of content on their part and assuming the need to create that content, the question arises: Do I need to pay for them or I can generate them internally?
Let’s pick the second option and again by doing an exercise in company observation, we realize that in absolutely all of them, although it was not given enough importance, there is a “stock of unmanaged latent information”. That is, raw information that has been generated in the various processes and company divisions (access to sources, market data, studies, specialist people…) and which actually represents their know-how, unique and self-knowledge. This is the original content but for now we need to be present just as “potential content”.
The key step in the strategy we want to build will be transforming the raw data into a consumable product for your public and giving the proper format. So… how do I adapt what I already know? How do I transform tons of knowledge in an understandable and interesting story?
On the one hand, we have expert people inside the company, internal authors who give credibility and closeness. They also help reach the balance between the confidentiality of existing information and positioning objectives with stakeholders who are identified. They become real content managers and provide transversality to the company.
Another option and accepting the limitations of each company, will be using providers (experts and people who know the best of our subject-matter) to facilitate production.
If they assume all of this, organizations will be able to establish their own content product so they can choose the most appropriate channels for dissemination, sometimes limited but highly effective.
What content should I produce? How can I choose?
Starting from the “Mission Statement” which has to be asked by each company and to answer this question we will have to do again an observational exercise regarding the content consumption trends in the environment of the organization. Knowing what the stakeholders need and how they would like to find it, although in any case there is a common point due to the new ecosystem of business communication, which will be creating a niche content better than the generic. On the other hand, the information available in each case will be adaptable as well to certain audiovisual formats more or less complex (entertainment, reports, infographics, posts …).
Undoubtedly the available budget will be a determining factor. We all know cases successful cases such as the Red Bull Media House where a large budget was key, but even more so was the constancy and the unwavering consistency in its strategy as a producer of content to finally achieving a high volume of benefits. This would be the benchmark applicable in all cases, assuming a real and long-term commitment.
And in your company… have you already identified the “stock of unmanaged latent information”?
NOTE: Originally published in Spanish on Territorio creativo #TcBlog