WTF and the benefits
A content eco-system. Another buzz word or worth to spend your time and resources to get it? Quite biased, I kindly recommend you need it. The benefits are proven time over time for my clients. Most recently with the COVID-19 communications.
Break the content silos
As 'content' mostly lives within the marketing department, there is a lack of an overview of all content produced and distributed by PR, corp comms, HR for talent and recruitment, and customer care. When why what where does your audience stumbles upon your message, online and offline?
Content is undeserved one of the most silo'ed elements of a brand. Good news, it is easy to fix once you know the trick.
A visual overview helps to align all your touchpoints with a consistent and integrated message. Be detailed for the distribution; divide the touchpoints into audiences and topics.
- In the center is your 'content house': your owned channels: www's, apps, organic SEO. The central place where you (should) publish all your content. From branded stories to commercial activations and campaigns.
- Surrounded by an overview of the channels to get eyeballs and to drive traffic. From social to search, to performance, to CRM, to the e-shop, and to your offline touchpoints as TVC, DOOH, brick and mortar shops with POS and product packaging.
There are three main benefits of having a content eco-system in place.
First, you have an overview of all online and offline touchpoints for content. To have an integrated story or campaign, you now can verify what content assets you need for which channel and where to push it with media spend. Small side note for those perfectionists out there, no need to include all touchpoints in every piece of content or campaign. The purpose of an overview is for you to know what you have available, then to decide what you are going to use.
Second, in line with media spending, you have an overview of all paid and unpaid channels. If you push a social campaign, in one glance you know you have to spend the media budget on SEA as well. In reality, you seldom cross the bridge between marketing campaigns on social and SEA or even CRM. This visual overview helps.
Last but not the least, crisis communications. You never know when the sh*t hits the fan, expect the unexpected and be prepared. No need to explain it is indispensable to have one overview. A checklist with all touchpoints and channels, including audiences and topics, paid and unpaid.
Message over execution
The content eco-system is not about using social to always drive the traffic to the website or app. It is about your story and message. How this is executed into content assets depends on the chosen touchpoints and channels. On social, you go for native social content and shop-in-channel. For SEA it is about driving traffic.
If you publish mainly on social, then place the app or mobile pages in the center -- not the www desktop. Meaning, if your traffic originates from social, they are on their mobile, visiting your mobile pages or app. Hence, mobile visitors are a larger number than desktop visitors. Therefore, place the mobile-optimized content in the center and make this more important than the desktop content.
It seems a small difference, yet the difference in mindset is huge. Social savvy content on a mobile website means sticking to the social drumbeat. Short reads, easy to scan and digest, fast-paced and pleasant on the eye with clear formatting and bold writing. Short. Simple. To the point. No fuzz.
Read more on mobile and social first
'Employees' can be a channel to include in the content eco-system. Your coworkers can act as an amazing channel to spread the passion and enthusiasm for the brand and products. The initial reason I didn't include them is to empower, motivate, and inspire them to spread your content, is more aligned with internal communications. And I am not an expert in this area.
On the other hand, if your content is of high quality and adds value, your coworkers will spread the word by themselves. Then there is no need for a reward system -- by internal comms -- to make them do it.
Hence, including your employees in the content eco-system has all to do with the quality of your content and not the department or silo within the organization. Thanks to Paul for nudging me on this topic.
How to make a content eco-system
A few tips and tricks on how to create your own content eco-system for the visual overview.
- Own it. Make one person responsible for the content eco-system and to keep it up to date.
- It is tailored. There is no such thing as a content eco-system template. Every brand, company, and its channels are different.
- Include all departments of the organization, interview all stakeholders. An easy trick is to get the organigram of the company and you work through every silo.
- Sketch, iterate, adjust, and test. It is a living document and subject to changes.
A tangible and practical example of how I use the content eco-system for publishing my book.
The content eco-system presented in this blog is completely fictional and not related to any of my clients.
Quite biased, I kindly recommend you need a content eco-system. The benefits are proven time over time for my clients.