The media landscape is changing rapidly and opportunities to achieve results in the traditional editorial media space are decreasing. In addition, the growth in social networks has created an expectation that brands will engage with consumers directly. There is a great opportunity for brands to become publishers, but evolving towards a publishing model that serves both customer needs and corporate strategy could be a challenge. Here are seven key steps:
- Consider your goals and your audience. What do you want to achieve? How will publishing content support your business goals? Who do you want to talk to and what are their content needs? Once you have considered these questions, interrogate yourself (and your team) even further. Make sure you know what your messaging priorities are.
- Decide on production and distribution. You need to be clear on how frequently your stories will appear and which channels you will use to seed your content. Where will you source your information from? Are there themes you want to follow? Are there seasonal triggers? Quality control is key to success and should be carefully considered as part of the content development process.
- Create compelling content that will drive organic views. Content should be managed as an asset, and it needs to be created, maintained and managed with care. The death knell of producing good content is insisting on brand prominence.
- Consider a ‘hybrid’ of content. Developing unique content is both time and resource intensive. We recommend using a hybrid of both exclusive content and content streamed from other well-known and respected sources.
- Create content that is useful to both your company and its customers. Interesting content is cited as one of the top three reasons why people follow brands. Creating strong content is about engaging people with information for its own sake rather than interrupting them with promotional messages. We should consider producing content that’s worth sharing in its own right, and develop it in a format that is easy for the reader to follow.
- Entertain and educate. Content that can stand on its own in terms of entertainment or education is likely to be shared. Red Bull does this really well by producing videos, images and adrenaline-inducing stories which keep fans coming back for more. Consider viewer interaction and engagement opportunities, but make sure that you have the resources to answer those customers who take the time to interact with you.
- Amplify content via earned and paid media. Search engines now measure social signals to determine search rankings, making citations, virality and page authority increasingly important. Promote your content so that it is not only seen and read by the intended audience but also shared by the brand’s fans and influencers. Consider pushing content through promoted tweets, sponsored stories, native advertising and even banner advertising to circulate your stories wider.