Month: August 2014
Sometimes the interesting thing about being both a communications person and a digital person, is that there can tend to be an assumption that I lean heavily one way or another. The majority of my career has been in communications and worked my way up through the ranks starting out as an intern at a communication agency.
My interests slowly gravitated towards social and eventually digital, well because I just so happened to part of the era that launched yahoo chat rooms, ICQ, msn chat, the early stages of lavalife etc. etc. The move into the social space was interesting because it was happening to me and those in my generation and I also happened to be a communications person pondering what it would mean for my career and what it meant for communications as a whole.
Later on I became much more heavier in the technology aspect, and I saw this as a wonderful blend for a communications person. How useful would it be to really understand the intricacies of how the technology worked and what it could and couldn’t do, and be able to leverage this expertise from ac communications perspective.
The irony however, was that the transition back into communications and the few years in digital that I spent, has turned me into what communications people consider to be a highly technical person that more closely resembles someone from IT. IT teams relate well to me because they understand that I understand, and that I really get it. It is always a bonus for them to have someone from the client/business side that actually understands what they can and cannot do.
Understanding technology doesn’t limit or reduce the ability for anyone to perform as a communications person. To write, to lead strategy, to edit and/or approve. It is highly difficult to do that when you are relegated to a role understanding as the IT person. I would add to this that my communications background is what landed me the digital role in a media company famous for its content and published brands. It’s a very odd place to be – to not actually be the IT person or considered to be an IT person by IT people, nor the communications person considered to be a communications person by the people in communications. I think you can be both roles and really strategic in both of them – which to me is ultimately what makes the most sense since the world of communications is going digital!
This is what most companies – if not all companies struggle with. Content strategies can be complex at best, and when you tie in digital content – the level of understanding required takes things to an entirely different level.
Digital content strategies require a different line of thinking than traditional content stratgies – namely and primarly SEO and engagement (think time on site) in real estate that constantly competes for the users attention while encouraging them to go visit other things.
Here are 7 simples steps to take your digital content strategy to the next level:
1. Know your audience and who you are trying to reach: from television netowrks, advertisements, magazine content to the web. Everyone has always known that content is king, but only if it is talking to the right people. Know who you are speaking too, and who you are trying to reach. Use analytics, surveys and behavioural tracking to assist in defining who these people are.
2. Define you digital objecties: Do you need more visitors to your site? Do you want them to stay longer on your site? Do you want them to click around on more content on your site? Do you want them click over to other sites? Do you want them to comment? Do you need to improve your SEO? Do you want to grow your social following? Do you want to go responsive because your mobile audience is growing? Moving into ecommerce? Want to upgrade your technology platform or CMS? You can’t choose them all, but choose the ones that are most required for your current situation.
3. Ensure that you are properly resourced: What and who do you need on your team? If it is a specific CMS/platform, an SEO strategy, community management etc. you need to make sure that you have the right people in place to support where you are going Don’t forget your Information Architects and UX specialists! Prioritization of information, site layout and taxonomy play a critical role in content strategy for tagging and archiving reasons!
4. Plan your content: That’s right – the good old editoiral calendar. Know your dates, themes, company priorities and ensure our site and content managers are prepared.
5. Get geographic: Knowing your audience (point 1) also means knowing where they are. Region specific content/offers = awesomeness.
6. Think Like a Human Being: Based on your objectives and your audience, remember that you should probably make decisions from the perspective that your audience would appreciate. What are your CTA’s, are they continuing to ask your audience clearly what to do while at the same time driving to assist in hitting your objectives.
7. Assess content performance: Stay on top of what works for your audience and what doesn’t. Clean up your content, remove what is old, repurpose content that may be more relevant or previously performed well. Be the ultimate curator and historian of your own content.