Multi-media, multi-channel content strategies take much more time and energy that companies are ready to dedicate today. There are reasons smaller brands are overtaking established players when it comes to social media and online brand management. We will not get into the discussion of how much of this converts into actual sales but rather look at effectiveness of the content strategy as the most important criterion. So what are the key challenges for companies looking to make a mark online? And how does one get the content right?
The most critical aspect of content is planning. The key things you need to plan out before publishing anything are- who will read it? why will they read it? am i selling or am i spreading awareness? does this elicit a response? what demographic will find this interesting? where will this be published?
Once you have answered these questions, it is essential to implement a process that aligns all your content to your brand image. This is a rather tedious job for anyone who his not a startup as it can often involve an audit of all existing marketing material and standardising it. There are chances that your management may find this a futile exercise but not doing this is one of the biggest reasons your content strategy has not worked for you the way you wanted it to.
The second biggest reason for mid sized companies to fail in their content strategies is their preference for SEO over content quality. SEO firms were hard sellers a couple of years ago and some brands fell prey for their cheap tactics to put the site higher up on Google. The reason why the strategy fails you is that Google is constantly on the lookout to create technology that values the quality of the content rather than the frequency and usage of the keywords. While there is this constant tug between SEO firms and Google, the latter is likely to emerge as the winner in the long run. It is critical that companies are on the right side at the time.
There is too much content on the internet and we don’t know who is publishing. The main culprit are the content generation companies who are constantly reacting to trending topics and news and churning out senseless repetitive content that only drives traffic and increases ad revenue. For companies dedicated to piling up the internet with trashy content, this is a rather profitable idea but if you are a company who needs to stay relevant, adding too much content could be a serious mistake. Simple, readable, streamlined content is what is selling today and if your content is anything else, it is failing you.
Mid and small sized companies that are more than ten years old often find themselves struggling to create a multi-channel presence or create a solid multi-media marketing foundation. This is often due to lower marketing budgets, lack of access to quality agencies and above all the reluctance of the board to outsource digital. While it is worth hiring experts and getting it done, a multi-media-multi-channel strategy needs partners who can execute at a scale that your brand needs.
Finally, the biggest advantage of the online space today is the opportunity it provides to share knowledge and best practices. Whitepapers, case studies, thought leadership content, blogs, brochures and other marketing communication materials are gaining ground by the day mainly due to the fact that companies no longer need to hide their internal strategies and innovations and know that sharing it with the world is a far more effective strategy. For brands who are not focusing on these materials, it would be a rather tricky road ahead, as the demand for research driven content rises globally.