system two

system two
start-up thinking in the enterprise

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Developing a content strategy....

Many of my clients struggle with content. Content drives the conversations we're trying to create in an earned media strategy. Together with data web marketing and a listening and engagement plan - content forms the basis of any brands usage of the social web. Without it we are mute. And yet the development of a plan can leave the most forward thinking and courageous of clients running for the door.

As Mitch Joel points out here - most brands are now publishers, and great publishers devote a serious amount of time and resource to the creation of their content. The days of hoping a few blog posts from PR every now and again would cover it are long gone. Now listening and engagement strategies (as much as insight driven from planning and research) should drive an hourly news cycle for brands. See the Gatorade "mission control" clip below.

There is absolutely no doubt now that for most brands to be effective in a connected world – the quality, frequency and variety of the content they generate, needs to be on a par with anything that a conventional media organisation might publish. CMO's might differentiate - users don't.

This from a McKinsey Quarterly Report...

"Traditional marketers spend about 60 percent of their budgets on “working media” (or paid placement), 20 percent on creating content, and the balance on employees and agencies. Digital channels, with their social nature, reverse these economics, focusing on a smaller core of engaged people who can spread positive impressions, or simply share information, with a broader audience. Active digital marketers tend to devote about 30 percent of their marketing budgets to paid media and 50 percent to content. Customers do more of the heavy lifting as they decide what to look at, play with content, and forward it to their online communities. We have found that by making the right investments, active digital marketers can spend significantly less on marketing as a percentage of sales, with little to no deterioration in performance." full report is here

At a practical level, the most common error is to start with the tools – don't get distracted by whether you should be "writing a blog" or "posting on youtube" or "getting a facebook account". Tools will change - the need to engage your users will not.

Instead - go back to your research, your segmentation models, your personas, need state analysis, customer journeys, techno graphic profiles and KPI’s. Figure out what content your users want – what will inform, delight, entertain and engage them – what will make them talk (and say the right things) about your brand…then be as imaginative as you can with the different media options you have at your disposal.

Once you have a grip on user need - you are then in a far better position to know how to re-engineer internal systems, reallocate marketing budgets, source new suppliers to generate the content, recruit the right people, upgrade your IT systems and re imagine your marketing to become a publisher.

As a starter for 10, I've jotted down potential sources for your content below - to try give you a sense of the wide range of places you can search for content gold


Once you have a grip on type, manner and approach - some sort of systemised approach is critical initially to make sure processes and systems become embedded. The neat summary above, from an excellent presentation here covers the basics. Notice the dynamic integration with SEO and the related disciplines of correct metadata and tagging. Without giving users the chance to find stuff, any work will be in vain.

Happy publishing....