How not to muck up your digital content strategy

Keir Maher
By Keir Maher | 29 April 2021
Keir Maher

When brands embark on integrated digital campaigns there’s usually an abundance of enthusiasm.

But as Keir Maher, managing partner of indie agency Now We Collide, explains, there’s also the tendency to overlook the devil in the detail.

Here are half a dozen ideas to help avoid these pitfalls

The recent democratisation of technology is a pretty good thing. One advantage is that you don’t have to be at the top end of town to make something memorable. Nor do you require a budget that brings tears to a CMO’s eyes.

There is a flipside to this scenario however. The pencil has been around for thousands of years, but that doesn’t mean we can all write a New York Times best seller. The same principle applies to putting together a brilliant digitally integrated content campaign.

Which is why it’s timely to address a few common issues we’ve encountered when businesses take the plunge and dive into digital content.

If we build it, they will come. Right?
One thing I have observed often in this media landscape is the notion that creating supply will inevitably result in demand. This assumption is usually incorrect, especially when content is just blasted out into the wilderness.

Every day businesses are wasting staff time and pumping big dollars into video campaigns for negligible returns. In one forgettable case I witnessed, hundreds of high quality videos sat on a YouTube channel with 100 subscribers, no views, and no distribution strategy.

It’s important to really consider the value exchange your content is providing and then how it is best distributed to reach the right audience.

If you’re going to chop down a tree, sharpen your axe first
It’s a highly complex ecosystem we work in today - and one that calls for a well-rounded strategy before making any serious investment.

Some good advice here is to sit down and map out exactly what you want to get out of your campaign. It’s important to define where your customers are, and develop a content strategy that reports back to the goals of your business.

Additionally, there is sometimes a gulf between what businesses want to do and their capability to do it. If there’s a place you want to play but it’s not your forte, look into who else can help.

Be choosy and employ local knowledge
On countless occasions I’ve heard a variant of this story: “We’ve been burnt working with an agency before and my CEO needs proof this will work.”

If you’re working for a brand, then it pays to interrogate the strategy any agency presents you with before signing on the dotted line. Beware of shiny new objects and ensure the goals of your business are mapped out and can be met.

There’s also a definite advantage to sticking with local expertise. A big global name agency might bring reassurance (and maybe a shelf crammed with awards), but you are more likely to enjoy a closer relationship and some genuine TLC from a local partner.

Do sweat the small stuff
Before publishing content anywhere, it’s vitally important to ensure it is fit for purpose and platform specific. It still surprises me that in 2021 well known brands with large budgets are taking a one size fits all approach.

Facebook and YouTube, for example, are common choices for campaigns thanks to their scale.
Both these platforms can reach millions of Aussies each week. But the composition of these
broad audiences, plus the way they view, interact and share, varies greatly.

Taking a piece of content and posting it on these platforms does not guarantee views, interactions and - most importantly - planned business outcomes. So take the time to consider the nature of your content and the appropriateness of channels, platforms and audiences to host it.

The campaign is live … now what?
The euphoria that comes with the launch of a campaign can give way to complacency. Content is routinely launched into the ether without a proper examination of who’s looking (remember the 300 videos for 100 YouTube subscribers).

Which is why businesses need to carefully measure each channel post launch. It is not hard to do - the beauty of digital and social content is the ability to test, learn and then change tack when necessary.

So when you see the budget line titled ‘ongoing analysis’ – don’t cut it. It is crucial to amp up the elements that are working and lose the things that aren’t mission critical.

Don’t be scared of difficult conversations
Difficult conversations around on-going performance are often the result of poor planning. But on other occasions they arise as a consequence of breaking new ground or simply because of unforeseen circumstances.

Many businesses obfuscate or actively avoid these discussions, but that’s extremely shortsighted. Difficult conversations bring pain points into the open and identify problems and unearth new opportunities. So never hesitate to discuss what is working, what is achieving KPIs, and what isn’t - in a transparent fashion.

Having open dialogue across all teams and embracing the data and outcomes which are both positive and negative leads to constant improvement.

It’s my belief that plenty of Australian businesses are currently missing a trick with their digital content. Investing in the expertise of a trusted partner and putting the time in before, during and after a campaign can make all the difference. 

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