How to Get Your Content Strategy Right
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“Content is the king!” they say. But we all like and consume different contents differently, in varied formats and through different media.
Someone may like politics; some may not. Some prefer tech and others, maybe, science fiction. We all subscribe to different value systems, culture, myths, beliefs and… Gods.
Then how do you ensure that you create the ‘Right’ message (I am using message and content interchangeably) for the ‘Right’ person (your Target Audience- TA) in the ‘Right’ format and dispatch it through the ‘Right’ media.
I can tell you with some confidence that there is no magic bullet here. Rather, it is an iterative process that changes with time, geography, demographics, medium and any other variable that may be relevant to your TA.
The trick lies in constantly listening to your data. It is there where you will find your sweet spot.
While this may sound daunting, but definitely it can be done and has been done. And some do it better than others. Let’s look at how you can develop or better evolve, that ‘Killer’ Content/Message strategy for your brand:
Step 1. Figuring Out the core — What Problem Does Your Product/Solution Solve
Let’s start at the very start! The process kicks off with an internal exercise where you and your team ask yourselves this fundamental question (Warning: it’s harder than you think). Once you strip your product down to its barest – and think beyond the high-tech stuff, glitzy packaging and what a great product/solution you have created… What is the benefit that the consumer is going to derive out of this – convenience, status, efficiency, savings (cost, effort and time) etc. No features, no jargon – just in simple words, intelligible words – How, after buying this product/solution, the life of the consumer will change.
Step 2. Is there anyone or anything in legends, literature, history, politics, past, present etc. that can be the embodiment of what your product stands for?
‘Notes of Saraswati’s Veena flow through your laptop’ would be a very catchy message for an online Coaching brand – Brand X.
Just metaphorically speaking about your product! This makes explaining the product so much easier and your brand will also benefit from the so called ‘Halo Effect’ — the positive attributes of the Goddess of knowledge will automatically be taken on by your brand. The consumer will be more open to your message as she is familiar with the ‘Metaphor”. So our brand ‘X’ now has been granted the boon of these Halos by Goddess Saraswati herself. She, who is the very fount of knowledge, enlightenment, and discipline.
Step 3: How will the target audience (TA) perceive the message?
A question of Fitments
- Benefit Fitment – Is your message conveying/highlighting benefits that the TA really cares about? — Continuing with the Brand ‘X’ message, the audience will interpret that their child will be tutored exclusively (one-to-one) in the convenience and safety of the house. Hence this equals to ‘Home Tuitions’. A benefit, highly desirable for many doting parents. Thumbs-up you got this one right!
- Culture Fitment- For 70% of India, Goddess Saraswati is the very embodiment of knowledge. Since time immemorial, here on this holy land of Bharata, teachers, students and every seeker of knowledge have invoked her. This one fits in too!
Step 4: What format would be best suited for the TA?
Congrats! You’ve sailed through the first three steps. Now, we start creating the distribution strategy.
How would your TA like to consume content – Audio, Video, Image or Text; it usually is a combination of these. Tailor-make the content for each of the TA — in the case of Brand X, we have the parents and children. There will be some common messages and some customized for each TA subgroup viz Parents and Children.
For children, quick consumption formats like videos and images would be more effective. For parents although these (videos & imagery) are important to open them up, they would like to involve themselves into further details like who will be the teachers (qualification & experience), how many live lectures, quality of notes, teaching techniques, how can the child consult in case there is a problem at a time beyond the live sessions, cost and many more. Thus a detailed text is also required. The format mix will also vary for different grades. Children in higher classes tend to get more involved and hence more text for them too!
Step 5: What is the best medium to reach the TA? And there are many!
Now, that you have a fix on the content and the format, you need to figure out the media/avenues that should be best suited for disseminating the content.
There is an abundance of platforms — traditional media (Print, TV & Radio), face-to-face meetings individually and in groups; Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinintrest, LinkedIn etc.) and blogs.
It is pretty straightforward to traditional media with Circulation/Readership for print, TRPs for TV and expected assembly and conversions for direct contact.
Social media and blogs are a bit more complicated — study these platforms in and out, using tools like App Annie, Similar Web Alexa and general Social Media Engagement.
This exercise will reveal to you how large a segment you have isolated. Efforts are best served and identify the metrics to track that best define success for your company. It’s extremely important to compare these metrics with industry standards to realistically define what is success and what is failure. Over time these standards will be internally defined but its essential to start with some barometer. Also you have to ensure that all media are working in tandem (and not in isolation) towards achieving your marketing/business goals.
Step 6: Try, Rinse and Repeat
The great news is you’ve got your system in place, there’s no looking back. Brand X is up and trending on Social media, blogs and its ads are running on newspapers, radio, and TV.
People are talking about it and there is a buzz. Fortune favors the brave, you now know the variables at play, don’t be afraid to test, test and test again. Measure everything you do with the tools tracking your metrics and slowly, you’ll begin optimizing towards your sweet spot.
If all goes well your brand will be ‘On top of the world’ or shall I say ‘On top of the trends’!
But just make sure that you don’t get too comfortable, the internet and everything else evolves rather quickly, just trust your data and it’ll lead you in the right direction.