It’s no surprise that content marketing is flooding blog post headlines everywhere. It’s a hot topic and rightfully so. Content is the heart of what we all do as communicators, whether you are an SEO Ninja, community manager, PR professional or whatever.
Content is also the gateway into the social eco-system. It’s how consumers find you, like you and learn to love you. Content could be a press release, 3rd party article about your company, Tweet, blog post, photo on Instagram or a status update. Content is a game changer. But it has to be the right content, at the right time, in the right channel. It has to be integrated and tell a story. Content marketing cannot be put into a silo and despite what some tell you, SEO should not be your content marketing strategy.
Content is powerful. It’s influential; and if done right, content causes click throughs, RT’s, Likes, Loves, Shares and all that other good stuff. But more importantly it can change behavior. If you work for a large brand, that’s probably what you want. RT’s and Likes are fine for a PowerPoint presentation, but your concern is more aligned with sales, how your customers perceive and talk about your brand and of course how they tell other about their experience with your brand.
Your 2013 content marketing strategy should be a plan that helps evolve your brand into thinking more like a media company.
Take for example the Super Bowl when the lights went out during half time. No one could have anticipated that this was going to happen so planning for it would have been impossible. But there were a few brands that were able to capitalize on creating real time content based on what’s happening NOW.
Oreo Cookie, the recent media sweetheart tweeted the below. What’s interesting about this is Tweet is that it’s relevant, recent and still seems to drive brand messaging.
At Edelman, we call this the Creative Newsroom and we have deployed this for several clients. Of course, not all real time events and occurrences might be relevant to a given brand so it’s important to ensure that there are levels of editorial standards in place that will help determine what the brand is comfortable talking about and what they aren’t.
What most don’t really think about is how something like the Creative Newsroom is actually deployed. It’s not like you can just turn on a button and BAM, it’s done. It requires a significant amount of planning, creative and content resources, and potential headcount; not to mention a high degree of trust from the executives and brand managers.
The Creative Newsroom is only one portion of a media company strategy. Other factors to include are the following:
- Converged Media Models: The integration of paid, owned and earned media. Technology vendors like One Spot and InPowered can help. OneSpot basically takes owned media content (like a status update or a tweet) and turns it into a display ad. InPowered does something similar but creates ads from earned media from highly trusted experts and influencers. And, you can certainly build your own models/triggers for converting organic Facebook posts into sponsored ones.
- Editorial Roles & Responsibilities: Much like a media company, there are paid writers, contributors, editors, etc. The transformation into a media company will require you to think about who in the organization (and outside, like customers obviously) can fit into a specific role. Perhaps trained employees can assume the role of contributor while the marketing teams can be editors.
- Content Strategy: Not a content marketing strategy. A content strategy will help establish a social narrative and take into consideration brand positioning/messaging, 3rd party research that illustrates how the media perceives and writes about the brand, an analysis of how your current community perceives and talks about the brand and lastly an in depth look at how consumers search for your brand, product and services. A content strategy will also bucket certain pieces of content. For example, these buckets can include content related to the brand, the industry and then Creative Newsroom content; and then determine the frequency of how often content from each bucket is shared.
- Technology: There is really no use in assigning roles and responsibilities without having technology solution that can build workflows and processes for content planning, ideation, creation, approval, distribution and optimization. Unfortunately, not one single vendor can do it all. For planning, and ideation check out Kapost, Compendium and Contently. For content creation, approval and distribution, you can take a look at those already listed plus Sprinklr, Spredfast, Expion and Hootsuite Enterprise (Edelman client) and for real-time optimization, I would take a look at Social Flow.
There is still a lot more required in becoming a media company. Change management, culture, leadership and a social business strategy that can drive everything forward will be necessary.
I am going to be talking a lot about this at the upcoming Kapost Content Marketing Bootcamp in San Francisco. It’s free to attend so what are you waiting for?