I believe we are marketing in a post-digital world. By post-digital, I mean a time when the communication landscape is no longer defined by the potential of any particular medium (digital, social, interactive, etc.), but instead by its overall ability to connect with particular human needs. Today, the medium has become secondary to the message. Finding one’s way through this new phase of communication and creating a lasting connection with the audience begins with the understanding that content truly is king.
What Content Means for Business
Content covers the sum of your brand’s publishing activities. When your company offers white papers, YouTube videos, webinars, XML feeds, and social streams, you are already acting like a publisher. In a post-digital world, the successful company publishes through a complete content strategy created with the customer in mind. Successful content strategy begins with the creation of content that tells a compelling brand story through an engaging user experience. This content is incorporated into the overall customer experience. Great website content, free training demos, how-to PDFs, story driven website copy, micro-documentaries, solution overviews, etc. are just part of the mix to engage audiences. Below this surface, the content must contain an intelligent structure in terms of meta data, search, metrics, and code. Further, content is not just for demand generation, but also for improving customer service and delivering value to current customers.
Effective content must be useful to the customer, and be wrapped in the social and made available in communities. Creating such content requires brands to reflect and express what customer’s value, not what marketing departments believe customers should care about. Forget about what you think makes you different and find out what your customers think.
Like other business strategies, companies need a content strategy based on customer research and customer service improvement. In 2010, most brands don’t fully employ a content strategy in developing their customer experience, customer service and business process. True, everyone is producing content on some level, but the relationship between actual business process and content strategy is not fully engendered. While companies have social media czars, how many companies have a content king? Organizations may have a UX manager, a development team and a marketing dept, but lack a content strategist or content manager to help bridge the gap between these groups and to forge a concise, cohesive strategy. If content is this important, let’s think about adding this person to our teams or partnering with content agencies.
Hail to the King
The post-digital world is ruled by King Content. Content is not just what you create, but the overall approach to your brand and what you publish. As we move forward, forget about the latest medium, and focus on your customer: who they are, why they buy from you, and what they care about.