Content Strategy + Optimizing Channels

Apr 23 2012

In March I attended the engrossing Q + A with Kristina Halvorson on Content Strategy.  A recurring topic of conversation was the tension between repurposing content across multiple channels versus creating channel-specific user experiences with rich content.

Content strategy is an odd beast since a cross-section of Information Architecture (IA), Copywriting, User Experience (UX), and Interactive Design are involved.  Marketing strategies in this framework take a back seat. So as a marketer, it was of interest to learn the challenges of this hybrid role and see that marketing tenets can serve as solutions.

The crucial question, “Can I use the same content on one platform – a website vs. Facebook for instance – on the other?” riddled the discussion. Especially given limited time, head count and budget. The short answer is “No”; but not for the reasons you may expect.

I often advise that all content should work to enhance brand, by channel, and be “repurposed” for that channel’s features in support of an overarching strategy. An example: a sale on a footwear product would be expressed as follows with a supporting channel campaign:

  • Facebook: Contest featuring a giveaway of the item
  • Microsite: Abridged catalog of sale items, thematically unified
  • Twitter: Two tweets per day regarding item on sale and features
  • Pinterest: Board devoted to user-generated photos wearing the footwear styles
  • Blog: Expository piece on the message behind the sale – Customer Appreciation Days? A simple “Surprise and Delight” campaign? Overstock?
  • Online Banner Ads: Best-selling product in keywords that drive users to microsite

What was discussed surprised me. Because so many consumers can smell a cut-n-paste job a pixel away, and are often aficionados of a given channel, marketers or content strategists should take their channel efforts to the extreme and create optimized campaigns and messaging that truly leverages a given platform.

So, that same footwear sale example would be optimized with a content strategy as such:

  • Facebook
    • A contest
    • An f-commerce application
    • An email sign-up form
    • Poll questions, status updates, photos and videos all tagged with sale items
    • Encouraging consumers to share their purchase and experience
    • A tab that allows consumers to submit product reviews
  • Twitter
    • Multiple pre-scheduled Tweets with links to microsite
    • Identifying and engaging with discount/sale consumer influencers or category enthusiasts
    • Leveraging and testing category and #sale hashtags
    • Participating in a weekly Twitter Chat
    • Repurposing assets (not copy) via Tweetpic or linking to YouTube
    • Retweeting consumer product reviews

And so on. At Mambo Media, we stay abreast of the latest channel trends and evolutions to tailor marketing programs. “Channel Optimization” is the typical terminology we use, but given the abundance of content I prefer “Channel Maximization!”

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