In my days as a full-time PR professional, one of the tasks I enjoyed most was the public relations ‘message house’. For one, it meant taking a wholesome view of the client’s business and industry, digging deep into unique themes and impact. But it also meant that all parties were on the same page, from agency teams to the marketing and communication professionals on the client’s side.
Cut to today, applying the same discipline to content marketing has met with reasonable degrees of distrust and judgment. The requirement usually is for some blog posts, some video scripts, and some social media content. Do we really spend time or money, often both, on a strategy deck when we can just get some blog posts from you? The answer, almost always, is a resounding ‘yes’. That is when I realized that as a public relations professional, consistent messaging, tonality, and style are a matter of habit for me. Because inconsistency could result in soul-killing headlines, working weekends, late nights and unnecessary heartburn. But what can possibly go wrong as far as own content is concerned? A lot, as it turns out.
The answer is simply – without consistency, you are not leveraging all the opportunities to connect with your audience - for your messages to resonate, or even for them to look forward to what you have to say. Creating one-off content might help your audience understand some issues and themes better. But that does not mean that they will be able to relate these issues and themes back to your brand.
Think of it in terms of cinema. Consider an actor who delivers amazing performances in relatable movies year after year. Naturally, as a fan you will look forward to his or her movies. This connection is powerful. It takes conscious strategy, thoughtfulness, and effort in signing single-mindedly good projects. More importantly, a few wrong choices can make the connection go away overnight.
With engaging visuals and consistent messaging, brands are able to reach audience through their online journeys, build sound connections. Eventually, they are able to position themselves to be top-of-mind as not just a consumable but also a trusted resource of information and ideas.
With consumers engaging with brands like they do with their peers, the touch points are for the taking! Content has never been more important in the context of forging relationships. It is no longer as much about selling your product and services to consumers as it is about forging deep connections and turning them into friends and advocates.
Despite all of this, only 37 % businesses have a documented content strategy at the core of their efforts. This is a gap waiting to be filled.
The most crucial components include:
Effective content marketing means consistency not only in your messages but also in your frequency and distribution. If you post five blog posts or podcasts in one month and none in the next, your viewership too will fluctuate accordingly. An editorial calendar solves this issue by bringing teams on the same page in terms of how much and how frequently your brand needs to produce content. It will give you some idea about the number of resources and specific skills you need on-board. For example, if you are going to be posting one video a month, do you need an in-house video producer or will a freelance professional do?
Content calendars also help brands outline how each piece of content performs and which days of the week or times of the day garner most engagement. This information ensures that you invest time and money in the effective content formats and platforms, which in return reduce wastage. Further, it promises to maximise the impact of each piece of content and campaign.
As more and more platforms and formats come into play, content promises to become one of the most crucial marketing investments that brands will have to make. Over time, the pace of content production will increase and it will become cumbersome to create, distribute, and measure such huge volumes. It is safe to say that starting small and starting right is going to be crucial for your content effort to be effective. How far along are you in this journey?