The key to effective engagement in a social/digital reality is relevance. Relevance manifests itself in content, consistency, cadence, channel, and commitment.  It turns brands into publishers, consumers into partners, and employees into advocates.

Relevant content breaks through the clutter and grabs attention.  It provides a pathway to and from the organization allowing for real conversations to take place and a deeper sense of comprehension regarding the brand, the organization, the customer, and the policies inherent in the enterprise.  Relevant content teaches and learns. It’s all about allowing people to discover who you are, what you stand for, how you think, and why you are important to them.

Note the word “discover.” It means content that allows people to find you on their terms vs. shouting at them in yours.

So why do brands find it so difficult to create stories that illuminate meaning?

Below are key areas where brands fall short:

  1. Content Must be Alluring – People must be attracted to the story because it’s attractive.
  2. Content Must be Meaningful – Information needs to be significant in terms of what it means to a customer or employee.  Most brand content lacks a material core to capture interest.   It’s mostly promotional in nature.
  3. Content Must be Engaging – One-way information is a dead end.  In today’s social world, customer and brand must be in continuous harmony exchanging perspectives and sharing information related to understanding each other better.  Content that provides immersive and experiential experiences.
  4. Content Must be Accessible – If you can’t find it, it doesn’t exist.  Content needs to be on all platforms at all times and frequently updated and addressed.
  5. Content Must be Connected – One-off content is quickly dismissed, and forgotten.  Brands that link content to convey a fuller story – broadening the narrative – create and sustain interest while.
  6. Content Must be Channel Specific – One size fits all doesn’t work.   Content needs to be directed to each specific platform based on audience preferences.
  7. Content Must be Diverse – Visual, Video, Static, Audio, Blog Posts and Case Studies, News, Interviews, White Papers, Webinars, etc.  Each of these methods and types of content reflect a specific need and purpose in engaging stakeholders and learning more about them.
  8. Content must be Personal – When brands grasp their customer’s lives, they speak with them in a conversational manner, sensing wants and needs and addressing issues in a respectful, timely way.

Insight Breeds Precision

Given the above, the overarching reason brands struggle with relevant content is that relevance can’t be defined inside the organization.  Relevance is defined by the market – customers, consumers, prospects, influencers, media – based on behaviors and actions.   Brands utilize analytics to uncover insights that inform and influence programming and messaging in addition to product development, policy formation, and operational excellence.

In turn, insights translate into action based on more precise data and knowledge resulting in an optimal spend and use of resources from a marketing and communications standpoint.

Rethinking content in a time of short attention spans, information overload, skepticism, and choice can be a daunting task.  Brands, though, have an incredible opportunity to completely upend decades of one-way communications and see their products and services through a new lens.  One that reflects a digital world and a customer base with a variety of touch points to the brand and an expectation for a more personalized relationship on-demand.

Content then must serve a greater role in the entire marketing and communications mix defining the customer experience in new and different ways.

It begins with first letting go and accepting customers (and employees) own your brand.  It then moves to employing analytics to identify behaviors and actions providing insights that mirror lifestyles for use in content and programming.

So, how is your content working for your stakeholders?

Gary