What content should you be producing? What channels should you be distributing it on? How do you get your content to reach the right people? We look at five ways your content can bring your brand to life.
Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. The latest CharityComms Brand Breakfast explored how to amplify your brand through content strategy and production.
We are bombarded with brand messages, through an ever-increasing range of channels. But what is it that most people like to consume online? The answer is video content. Whilst we are used to being wowed when brands embraced video, we’re increasingly disappointed when they don’t.
This is because people can be informed through video content whilst exerting the least amount of effort. We can process video faster than text (60,000x to be precise), and 60% of site visitors will opt to watch video before reading. Vitally, it boosts audiences’ recall of messages eight times more than text. Search engines also love it and will often serve video ahead of websites and articles.
So, how do we make a sustainable plan to get content to the right people, at the right time? And what should you be producing and for which channels?
- Audit the current state of play
A good place to start is to assess the current state of play. When I start working with a new brand, one of the first things I do is sign up to its social channels, as well as its main competitors, to see what they are serving up. I can quickly tell whether the brand is being well curated or whether there is a lack of strategy behind it, which I call “spray and prey”.
This is a very simple, but powerful tool, as social is a platform where the customer is more likely to see a range of content from one brand in close succession. It’s also good to expose the state of governance, as content will often be produced by different departments for different reasons, so alignment is difficult to attain. As well as exposing whether the posts are ‘on-brand’ you’ll be able to see whether they follow best practice such as keywords and hashtags. This type of audit often provides that much-needed wake-up call to align the right people towards a common goal, of investing in a better strategy.
My bugbear is content that is inappropriate for the channel. As a ‘creative type’ I like Instagram, but that doesn’t mean I want an animal welfare charity to post pictures of abuse with their logo plastered over every post. As Danielle Wootton, Head of Marketing at Scope, said: “You don’t have to stick your logo on everything to own it.”
- Embed your brand strategy platform
An essential starting point is to make sure you have a clear brand strategy platform (vision, mission, values or purpose, proposition and personality) and brand story (problem, action, solution) in place, as these should guide the reputation you want to build.
Once agreed, I would recommend including them on every creative brief as a reference point, so you can critique all content through a brand lens. As Danielle Wootton added: “If you have a strong brand positioning you will start to see it come through everything.”
Often, the first place I look to find out about a new brand is the ‘About us’ section of its website. It’s great if they have their vison, mission and values clearly promoted. But even better if there is a short video which brings their story to life for me. So, it’s a great place to start.
- Decide the purpose of your content and channels
There was a sense in the room, at the CharityComms Brand Breakfast, that many of us were excited by creating video content without always being clear why we were doing it or having a plan in place. I would recommend making sure you are clear which channels you are using, for which audiences and why. LinkedIn might be good for your senior leadership team to publish blogs and thought-leadership. Twitter might be better for news updates regarding your problem and opinion on the solution. Whilst Facebook might be best for engaging people with video content and emotive human stories, particularly campaigns and community fundraising. I would warn against trying to manage too many channels based on your target audiences, budgets and capacity.
As we only have an eight-second attention span, Charles Williams, Head of Content at Marie Curie, described how they focus on sharing authentic, emotive and sharable, “life-affirming moments” of their brand in action. Particularly on Facebook where there is space for their community to join the conversation. These bring to life what they do and the impact they make in a format people can dip in and out of, which all add up to a bigger picture.
- Ensure you have enough resources in place
Charles Williams also pressed the importance of having the right conditions in place to manage a sustainable content plan. In the case of Marie Curie this included championing the importance of stories across the whole charity and creating a specific role for case study management to help curate them better. Both speakers highlighted the need for a six-month forward plan and the benefits of repurposing existing content.
- Evaluate the impact on your brand perceptions
Finally, there is no point going to all the hard work of producing content, unless you are evaluating it. Measuring levels of engagement is great, but don’t forget to also measure its impact on brand metrics. In the case of Scope this includes ‘knowledge’ as one of their objectives is to improve understanding of what they stand for.