Build an always-on content factory to boost engagement at all stages of the customer journey
The world is being consumed by content, and we’ve only seen the beginning. Everything in our daily lives has a surplus of content around it.
Millions of events occur worldwide each year — conferences, trade shows, business expos, concerts, weddings, sports games. And we are all capturing video and photos at each and every one of them.
Because we all have a high-definition video camera in our pocket now, and we can all capture the moments of our lives that are important to us and tell whatever stories we’d like.
One-hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Facebook users watch 100 million hours of video per day. Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and others are generating tens of millions of views for content creators.
For marketers, that means feeding users to keep user engagement up and your brand relevant.
It’s the only way to keep pace with customers and prospects to stay in control of the conversation. Earned media now represents a larger percentage of the way we reach customers. And marketing success is no longer determined by what you pay for.
It’s now about the amplification of the content you create. The ever increasing need for real-time marketing has morphed into the growing importance of earned and owned media — ‘content development.’
As a result, many brands are becoming their own media publishers. Creating an always-on “Content Factory” or “Content Engine” initiative to continually generate new content that can raise brand awareness, generate leads and boost engagement at all stages of the buyer’s journey.
A content factory is comprised of owned and user generated content. Implementing this approach allows brands to be their own publishers. And generate the amount of content needed to reach customers across various channels and devices, from:
- Live video
- And new or emerging channels.
The better brands can produce and distribute content, and the more it is based on understanding their audience, the more media exposure they will earn.
With all this in mind, here is a framework for implementing a content factory approach.
Regardless of your industry or who you’re targeting with your content, you’re likely to share similar top-level goals — namely, building brand awareness and encouraging engagement around your content.
Apply this framework to create appropriate content and build excitement around your brand with your customers.
Implementing a content factory to tackle your content marketing needs.
1 Begin with the audience first
A content factory is built on a deep understanding of customer behaviors. The key is to first place great importance on the ability to identify and define a loyal audience.
It’s a lot easier to craft compelling demand generation campaigns if you know who you are targeting first. Find a real, loyal audience. And focus on delivering relevant, engaging stories. Brands need to think of themselves as storytellers.
For instance, ING Group created a bilingual digital publication (English and Dutch) that provides prospective customers with the latest information about ING’s performance and strategy in an engaging and educational way and Nike launched an original YouTube Series, ‘Margot vs. Lily’ to reach millennial-aged women.
Enterprise brands have been using content as a way to position their brand as a thought leader in their field or spread stories internally and externally about their employees. For example, Wells Fargo Bank acquired almost 20 percent of its 12,000 new hires from content posted on LinkedIn.
2 Build a fanatical social asset kit and publishing strategy
Look at creative development from the ground up as a multi-channel storytelling strategy. Everything should support and strengthen your big- idea campaigns.
Create a mix of professionally produced content from local teams, creative partners and agencies. Curate user-generated content from communities designed for customers to co-create and collaborate with brands.
Then determine a publishing strategy that’ll best reach your audience.
Do they like more information-based in the morning and more entertainment-based at night?
Facebook during their AM commute and LinkedIn during the day?
You decide, then pump out addictive content to contribute to your audience’s culture.
Many brands are doing this well. Incorporating best practices in developing a wide range of content across multiple formats throughout their buyer’s journey.
Denny’s blog is a collection of funny user-generated content. General Mills released a Hamburger Helper mixtape on soundcloud. Ford Motor Co. tapped influencer Colin Furze to create a series of videos around the theme ‘unlearn’.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. created “From the Ground Up,” a series that uses videos and articles to tell stories of people and issues that make a community strong.
And even GE has used corporate content marketing to grow their credibility in core industrial businesses—GE Reports now has an audience of over half a million readers.
3. Amplify reach to increase unique engaged users
Brands must engage customers where they are — across all touch points before, during and after purchase.
Reaching customers today requires a shift in media planning to place a greater emphasis on using your own content. Supported by paid and seeded distribution to fuel earned media.
If you do things well, your content should be so engaging that it is actively shared for you.
Just like scalable revenue, think scalable brand. Measure the success across all your channels instead of evaluating individual content. The reason is that a channel is a destination where if you produce the right amount and type of content, you can drive consistent traffic.
That is what we want as marketers: a targeted, consistent customer we can engage with. An effective content factory drives engagement, brand favorability and extends your offline investment dollars to impact sales.
Lastly, if you have a captive audience, you will be able to find a way to monetize that user on a 1-to-1 basis.
Figure out the products and solutions that the target wants to buy and content they want to read or share. Own the full buyer’s journey. Tap into more relatable and relevant stories.
The content possibilities become endless once you are able to connect prospects and customers to things they care about and would spend money on.