It’s the Content, Stupid !

For years we have known that Content is King. More recently (our current Social (R)evolution), we have embraced Content in a different place. Namely, at the intersection of Search and Social.

Sometimes we shy away from Content because we don’t understand its hierarchy in our attempts to captivate the customer. Naturally, content is for publishers. However, by having a website makes us all publishers. We need to think as a publisher and act as a publisher. Our audience thrives on content. Fresh content on a regular basis is a necessity. No news is bad news.

Content has re-emerged as the marketing go-to element in the social world we live in. Yet so many companies do not have a Content Strategy. First we have to agree on what Content Strategy is all about. To me, it is simply stated as “getting the right stuff, to the right folks, whatever way they want it”. Easier said than done. The customer is at the center of the universe surrounded by a bombardment of whirling junk debris and we as customers have become smarter and do a decent job of avoiding this clutter.

How do we avoid being part of the clutter? Embracing the “getting the right stuff, to the right folks, whatever way they want it” definition, where do we start ?

It is driven by customer insights. Understanding needs and wants and delivering a ‘sensing and serving’ approach to the customer. As seamless as possible. Data driven. Relevant, timely and personal. A good content strategy will extend the Life Time Value of your customers.

Successful Content Marketing is developed by organizing your customers into clusters or persona’s. This allows us to message appropriately. It keeps our eye on the ball and we can build Objective Profiles that relate to your defined customer group(s).

As we gain insight from this group we determine the triggers that will drive them to (as an example) your website. The goal here is to drive your product or service, your destination or hotel, on to the radar screen and in to the consideration zone. But first we need to intrigue them with appropriate content to fuel their planning and ideation process.

We should know the timing of this from what we have learnt from the characteristics and behavior patterns of this group. Maybe even transactional data.

The communication calendar should be driven by data insights. Preferably triggered by the customer as opposed to “Spray and Pray”. If you have specific events, make sure that you have created the persona group that will improve response rates. Remember the mantra “getting the right stuff, to the right folks, whatever way they want it”.

You are ready to share your content. Make sure your content is the right content for the defined group. Is there anything missing? Do you need to grab additional content. Does the content fit the group. As an example, mountain biking content at a resort might not fit a customer group composed of Boomers. (Not that some Boomers do enjoy mountain biking.)

Today’s Über-Connected customer can reach you from a multitude of channels. Your content strategy should identify the various customer touch points. This requires some creativity in repackaging your content in to something that looks new and fresh. As an example; a series of top notch consumer generated themed photos collected over the last few months repackaged to tell a themed story. All content shared should be classy, polished and compelling.

As you define your Content Strategy make sure your framework has good metrics. If you can’t measure it seriously consider it being part of your plan. What can’t be measured normally doesn’t get funded.

Another major reason for a Content Strategy (as if we needed another one) is the continually changing algorithmic playing field from Google as they continue to tinker with their bots. We have witnessed Google give content a higher priority over keywords. Cramming keywords in to posts and messaging do not cut it anymore. We should be more concerned about the topic searched and make sure it is found in our authoritative and naturally flowing content. This landscape will be in continual flux as Google’s encrypted organic search keyword algorithms change in the next updates.

Bottom line is that customers love content, fresh compelling content…and so does Google.

So, let’s head in the right direction at the intersection of Search, Social and Content or you could be headed down Lonely Street and Heartbreak Hotel.