Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Content Strategy: 3 Questions You Need to Be Able to Answer Now
At Content Marketing World 2011, Sally Hogshead gave a brilliant keynote where she talked about digital content and storytelling. One of the things she said was that you can’t be comfortable and innovative at the same time.
That conference was in September 2011, and since then I’ve thought about that statement a lot. I think Sally has an excellent point—most of the time in life it’s very difficult to be try new things and feel safe at the same time.
However, I think when we’re talking about digital content, there might be a way to do it. The key is knowing the answers to 3 very important questions—special thanks to Larry Freed, of Foresee Results for this framework.
You should always be able to answer these 3 questions:
1. Performance: How are we doing?
2. Allocating Resources: What should we be doing?
3. Knowing the Facts: Why should we do it?
Performance: How are we doing?
Measurement is a critical part of content strategy, and yet it is missed so often. We often focus on planning and creating content, but the lonely stepsisters publish and governance are neglected.
There is yet another step after governance: measurement. Measuring our content, its performance, our engagement, conversions, all that stuff the numbers people love to crunch is imperative. Those results let you know if you’re comfortable. If you’re doing well, and those numbers are good, then you are on the right path.
Allocating Resources: What should we be doing?
If you can answer how you are doing, then you the next step is the innovation—what should you be doing? Based on your numbers, if you’re performing well, then you have the comfort to be innovative. Try new things—maybe make a humorous video for a stuffier brand. Try a content marketing campaign that won’t directly generate revenue, but is important for brand awareness.
You can afford to be innovative because you’re already measuring and tracking your performance. And most importantly, those measurements are informing your decisions.
Knowing the Facts: Why should we do it?
So how do you know when it’s time to be innovative, instead of safe? The answer is that you are paying attention to what your customers are saying, in every feedback arena you have. Or maybe you aren’t comfortable, because you’re not doing well.
Even then, it’s time to take a good look at your analytics—what you are measuring—and listen to those. Are your conversions really high on one campagin, but really low on another? Look at the whys—different audiences? Different creative? Whatever the differences are, pay careful attention to those, because that’s where you’ll find some of your answers.
If you’re comfortable in your measurements, then you’ll be able to be innovative with your content. The goal of storytelling is to engage your customers and keep them coming back for more. In truth, it’s convincing them to be comfortable with your brand, and also feel your brand has something new to share with them. The best of both worlds.
What do you think? Can you be comfortable and innovative at the same time? And do you have any examples of when you did so?