Content allows you to build an audience, attract customers through opt-in (vs. the old opt-out tactics), and create advocates on behalf of your business or brand. In addition to planning for those milestones, you will need to plan content for each phase of the buyer's journey.
With traditional media, you used to be able to "borrow" the audience media channels built. You paid to rent eyeballs and ears with TV, print, even digital, and radio advertising and promotions. They had the audience, not you. You got to interrupt it in exchange for money.
In social media, you can go direct to customers and prospective customers. However, the media or channels are mere tools, they don't come with an audience you can buy, although many are selling you one. The best audience in social is the one you build.
That's where a content strategy comes in.
Mapping your content to the buyer's cycle
Given that current marketing and communication practices are still very much centered around a specific campaign or event -- landing pages, one or two Website pages optimized and doing the heavy lifting in terms of search -- many organizations have not shifted their approach nor mindset to become publishers.
For an example of what these sites may look like, The Coca-ColaCompany.com just re-launched as brand journalism site.
Making the case with data
That's where you should look for facts and statistics that show the evolution of static Websites into more fluid and search friendly places that are part of an ecosystem designed to connect with existing and new customers, get them what they need to make better buying decisions with you.
I wrote extensively about Websites -- and online presence -- being organized in thirds, with editorial impact, community building, and marketing actions as ingredients and organizing principles based upon observed behavior.
Blogs are contributing greatly to search engine optimization (SEO), and are especially helpful in balancing out search engine marketing (SEM) expenses.
Yet, we are now moving away from the siloed approach of bolting a blog onto the site and into a more fluid version of editorial voice earning attention right off the home page.
Social media and mobile are also forcing organizations to plan and own broader content strategies built on solid frameworks with a conversation or interaction component -- both baked into the way people buy, when they decide, who helps them make those decisions, etc.
We're moving passed the question of content value and utility for brands and into the next generation of content.
Next week we'll look at the evolution of my original series of posts on mapping content to the buyer's cycle through the lens of next generation digital experiences.
Meanwhile, if you have seen compelling examples of sites that are beginning to address your needs and deliver an above average experience, point us to them, please. Feel free to do the same when you encounter poor experiences.
The holidays are filled with delicious opportunities to learn free (I meant "free" and not "fee" - although I saw irony in the typo) lessons in a compressed time frame.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.