Today, every brand wants to do more with the content they own. They want to share it with more people, sell it to more people, or even just engage more of their company in reading it. And, this is no short-term task. The average company is expecting to work on this for at least five years before they feel their digital content distribution strategy is solid and effective. That said, no one person or company claims to know all of the answers in generating a proven path toward success and high-value brand equity. Everyone loves to hear what others are doing and innovate off of that.
After having been on the road for three weeks, speaking with CMOs and CEOs of companies – from B2B to B2C, and across all industries and countries, I felt there were 10 pieces of advice that could help everyone accelerate their innovation, or simply gain enough courage to get started. A few people asked me to share them in a broader forum, so here they are:
- Build an effective preference center (aka, get people to opt in). This means gather approval to email, text, Facebook message, tweet, and whatever else you can think of. Putting my old email hat on, anyone who gives you permission to speak to them will buy 25 percent more than those who don’t.
- Get a social sentiment monitor and gather the data. Every brand talks about monitoring social sentiment so they can respond in a time of crisis. But that is not enough. You need to monitor your commentary and save the words people use to talk about your brand. Those words then need to be used in your SEO, SEM, and marketing efforts. Speaking in the terms your customers understand, you will increase revenue 15 percent or more.
- Use print – don’t lose print. If you do anything in print, you have this unique, once-in-a-lifetime chance to use it to target your best prospects for digital. Stickers, QR codes, SMS codes, and more will enable you to educate and transition your customer to your digital content.
- Create and distribute video. Regardless of what business you are in, it can be represented visually. And that is important, because one video can impact five efforts. Video is currently the most malleable digital format. Meaning…you do not need to worry about resizing it for different mobile devices, or color correct. It can stream, or be embedded. But most importantly, it can be overlaid into digitized documents easily to wow the consumer, shared on social networks to introduce the prospect, included on your website for exclusive insights, and be used with partners and sales team as well.
- Define your international position. While the shackles of print have often held us back from thinking globally, digital distribution enables us to overcome those issues. This is hard. It’s hard to think globally for all content distribution. But it’s key to defining emerging market acceptance and true global domination.
- Phone a friend. Just like the early days of email, none of us know what tomorrow will bring in terms of technical advancements, strategies, consumer acceptance, etc. Now is not the time to try and do it on your own. Reach out and ask an expert for help. Some great resources (and people) I have enjoyed working with recently include The CMO Club, Argyle, ExactTarget, Webtrends, Skyword, and The IMA (and of course my own crews at my company and VIVmag).
- Create a consumer panel. In our overly social world, consumers like to feel like they are making the decisions. They want to help. Reach out to them and ask for advice, testing support, and help. If you have a consumer brand, you will be shocked to see how asking for help will lead to new business deals.
- Remember the four defining elements of a digital strategy. Consider what your goal is across these four factors when building anything digitally to ensure you are reaching the right target with the right product features: age (generation), access (small or large screen), intent (answers or entertainment), and engagement (fast flip vs. content engagement).
Good luck! And share you stories and learnings. At this point in the digital distribution lifecycle, things are going to keep getting better and more exciting!
This column was first published Sept. 30, 2011.