Content Strategy is more like waiting tables than you think!
In media and marketing, more and more professionals get the feeling that spraying out ‘one size fits all’-content isn’t the most effective way forward. There is a sense that content should be tailor made, more focused on the mission of the organization and the needs of the customer. The analogy that often helps me is the restaurant.
Help them go through the different phases of appetitive to dessert. And be sure to make them ambassadors on their way out. Every table, every customer has their own timing, their own way of going through this process.
To engage people with storytelling is very similar to this. You cannot create stories and push them indifferently at your audience on all channels, any more than you can throw random food on the restaurant tables. You need to pay attention to their needs to get a tip. Different formats have their own timing and channel. When to serve a teaser, an appetizer or a big main course? What is the variety of your content menu? A lot of people are hesitant to study this complex puzzle, but refusal to do so will hurt your brand and business model in the end.
So if you are willing to face this exciting problem, you will realize immediately that you need the right data. Think about it, do you have that?
The restaurant is a great metaphor for subscriber media, who have paying customers from the start. You are pretty sure that at the end people will pay for the service and the food. But how does it work for freemium models, like content marketing, that need to seduce people into a more valuable relationship?
In that case, the situation becomes even more interesting. In addition to content timing and formats on channels, you need to work with a funnel.
Your readers, viewers and listeners are not at the table yet; they are at various stages in their loyalty. There is the regular customer, but also the ones standing outside, looking at the menu on the window. What do we serve them? And how do we measure if that is working?
Every brand should have a visualization of their content and data funnel like the following diagram:
The purpose of your content strategy is to push your leads and customers upwards, on the loyalty mountain. First, content should find an audience. Our efforts on a first visitor should be to let him or her return more often. Only then content can seduce people to log in, subscribe and even to be a customer, fan or ambassador.
In all these phases contenttypes should vary, and so the metric by which success is defined must be different. In the beginning of the funnel the pageview is relevant, at the end conversion or retention is a key number. That is why a data strategy is difficult.
The restaurant advertises for reach, but the waiter gives regulars free coffee and a personal talk to sustain the relationship. The same goes for content: to get more eyeballs, content with high production value is usually a good idea to attract new people (‘hero-content’), but members of the community need more significant attention (‘hub content’).
What does your funnel really look like? And can you plot your content and data on the diagram? We’d love to talk to you about that!