Content Strategy: Keep Focussed on the Big Picture
Lots has recently been written about real-time marketing (RTM), most of it stemming from notable and nimble ripostes, such as Oreo’s superb Super Bowl Tweet, Specsaves sage advice to Eden Hazard and the much maligned efforts of some brands during the Oscars.
The starting pistol for RTM has well and truly been fired. In fact, we’re already beginning to see the emergence of real-time content teams that seek to capitalise on the viewership of big events; as more people use social media whilst watching their favourite TV shows in the multi-screen world.
Amongst all the excitement, razzmatazz and glitz of RTM and the events which brands seek to become a show-stealing participant in, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground and remember that RTM is just another strand of content, it’s not a strategy. For me, it is just the evolution of one strand of content marketing. Many brands have established, ongoing content teams, but RTM is the just the next stage in its development.
In the future, RTM won’t just be wheeled out for the big events, we’ll see more brands with their very own 24 hour newsrooms so they can produce timely content and react to real-time events. But this will feature alongside the ongoing content team.
David Armano described ongoing content as a ‘drumbeat’ and continuing the musical analogy, you could compare real-time content as a jam session. Ongoing content is structured, whereas real-time is more opportunistic in nature. Both strands can and should feature within your tactics.
It’s clear people are getting bogged down in tactics and not focusing on the bigger, strategic picture. We’ve all heard that ‘content is King’, but this is only half-right. Yes, great content is what fuels inbound marketing and content, such as blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers and social media if done well, will generate web traffic, leads and sales. But what this catchy sound bite overlooks is that content needs a strategy, data and measurement to be truly effective.
It’s easy to get caught up with the hype surrounding RTM, but content needs to be aligned with the overall strategic vision. Every content strategy needs goals and should look to reach, engage and convert people into leads and sales. If you take your eye off the end goal and marketing funnel, you get into the realms of producing content just for the sake of it. And nobody wants (or needs) that.
The reality is that RTM is still very much in its infancy and those which are currently defining what it means deserve credit for being ready and willing to take a risk, as well as drive forward and shape its evolution. Although, the land grab for RTM leadership is still being played out, if you want to take a look at organisations that really ‘get’ strategic content, I’d suggest you take a look at Harvard Business Review, HubSpot and Edelman.
This trio understand that content without a strategy to guide it, data to shape it and analytics to measure it, is aimless.