- Kevin Smith
Everyone is talking about content. Marketers are besieged with content advice, tools and strategies, but in the end the basic challenge is to sell the whole idea of investing in content to your boss. Easier said than done. Here are some of the basic arguments:
The Last Mile
Much of those investments in digital technology that your company has already made have just laid down the tracks to deliver content. A website or a Facebook page is only as good as its content. Every piece of your brand ecosystem is only a vehicle to deliver content because it’s the part of the system that actually touches consumers and intrigues, inspires, and compels them to action. In a world where traditional approaches seem to have lost much of their sway, content is still one of the few ways brands can influence attitudes and perceptions. If not content then what? More paid advertising?
The Real Challenge
The content challenge, simply stated, is to deliver the right content, at the right moment to the right consumer. In other words exactly the right kind of engagement for that viewer, context, and moment in time. And because consumers form their attitudes about brands based on the cumulative impression of many touches, it is vital that each content experience be designed to work in concert with multiple interactions before and after.
That doesn’t happen accidentally. It’s the work of Content Strategy, which illuminates the dynamics of each interaction, and instructs a brand as to “what to say” and “how to say it” in each instance. When combined with Journey Mapping, which reveals “where” to engage and “when”, a brand gets a plan for how to build a content delivery system that has the maximum influence on their consumers.
Figuring out the right recipe for content at each interaction point, however, is not enough, and this is where the conversation with your boss might get difficult. Content has to stay fresh because it goes stale very fast, especially since consumers are all voracious content guzzlers, and in our ADHD world, always running off to the next new thing. So the goal is to deliver a steady stream of fresh content across all the relevant channels.
The basic idea is to not only have brand preference before consumers become ready-to-buy, but critically to be top-of-mind WHEN they become ready-to-buy. There are only three ways to be there at that magic moment: 1. Buy lots of advertising; 2. Develop a database of all your prospects and mail them regularly; or 3. Make sure your content is always where it needs to be. It’s an easy choice. Advertising is expensive and losing its influence, and it takes a long time to build an effective database. Content, on the other hand, costs less than media and has great influence on consumers. It’s a big shift, however, from a focus on investing in the delivery of your message to a focus on investing in the message itself.
The Hard Sell
Companies are in the business of making whatever it is they make, not content, so it can be hard to explain to senior management that they need to be in the content business. On the one hand it seems like a big financial commitment without a directly measurable ROI, and on the other, it is often a large cultural shift for a company to move from the old, familiar marketing model to becoming a content factory. The truth is very few companies can do it internally; it’s just too different, which is why agencies like mine step in.
Getting your boss to commit to a content based approach can, therefore, be hard, but like all moments in business and life that require change and foresight, some smart people and companies will grab the opportunity at the expense of their less enlightened competition. For those with the vision, content will put them front and center when prospects become “ready to buy”. For those that can’t make the shift, their options may dwindle to increasingly ineffective paid media and the hope that their competition is equally resistant to change.
Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us
You may also like: