With high-quality publication machines in every hand and pocket, there is more content than ever available. Absolutely anyone can produce and publish multimedia content from anywhere in the world in seconds. Unfortunately, most of it is of no interest to many.
If companies want to avoid ending up in the user-less hinterland of the Internet with their PR and marketing messages, they need a resilient content strategy, which is why we explain step by step what to do.
- Set your goal with top-down support: Anyone who decides to make the investment alongside day-to-day business, to develop a solid strategy, should be cleary this makes sense now. Once you know what you need, get top-down support for your project, because an integrated, modern communication and content strategy will later affect far more stakeholders and touchpoints than just your direct team.
- Provide clear branding message by involving relevant stakeholders: Then think about which stakeholders from other departments, like sales and product development, you need at the development table to precisely align the strategy in terms of content and to get the buy-in to be able to implement it. As soon as you have identified for yourself the core team and the extended team of development, collect the current and future-oriented core messages of the company: What do you stand for? What do you want to stand for? This can happen in the core team of communicators and, if necessary, be coordinated with the company management. If you already have material here, check it for freshness.
- Define your target group and personas: Equipped in this way, you discuss and define together with the extended team who the relevant target groups for the company content are. Check who you want to reach for what reason and who can influence whom. Once the target groups have been determined, create sufficient suitable personas - stereotypical representatives of these target groups. This will help you later to precisely tailor each asset to your addressees.
- Focus on content: From the combination of the company messages and the interests of the target group, you can now derive which topics are important for both your brand and your recipients. Choose then three to five main topics, define what is behind them and collect content examples that can fit in with them. Only then the implementation follows.
- Select the channel: As part of the persona definition, you should check via which channels these people can be reached on – is LinkedIn worthwhile for your target group? Are there enough contact persons represented there? Or should you ultimately stick with your presence at the trade fair and, if necessary, enhance your presence there with multimedia and interactive features? Carefully compile the communications ecosystem for your business. Each additional channel means enormous additional resources that need to be used in a targeted manner. Therefore, make sure that those responsible know the target personas very well. They should speak to the target groups at eye level and get to the point, besides cross-promoting relevant assets, such as blog posts or videos, again and again.
- Performance tracking: Regularly, ideally once a month, keep an eye on the performance of the content across all channels. Reporting allows you to see at any time what is going down well and what is not working. You can derive lessons learned and continuously improve. For instance, experience has shown that the internal anchoring of a new communication approach should not be underestimated. Stakeholders, outside of the marketing and communications departments, often want to see their messages published without the entire company being involved. There can always be time-consuming political friction, which you can save yourself with the corresponding buy-in of the extended team, the top-down support, and corresponding effort to pick up content from all colleagues.
If that’s your first time doing this or trying an integrated content strategy between offline and online, give yourself time. Organically, it can take several months for the algorithms to notice and honor changes. Falling back into old patterns, and new formats turning out to be a flop, are also normal parts of the process that you shouldn't be afraid of. It is important that you follow the new strategy for at least twelve months and keep an eye on the performance. Then you are well on your way to an optimized, modern communication future with a high probability of success for your content and brand positioning.
By Daniela La Marca