The digital content strategies you choose will depend on your overall business aims and values. Here, content strategy director at corporate communications agency Stratton Craig, Claire Wilson, identifies three digital content strategies that company owners could consider implementing.
When it comes to digital content strategies, there are three key types, or stages, that businesses and brands could implement – content owner, thought leader and storyteller.
To create valuable content, you need to blend users’ needs while supporting your own business goals, but how do you decide which strategy is going to work best for you, whilst you’re also being an effective (and helpful) content creator?
This strategy is about producing content that will create opportunities. It’s not about being an owner in a copyright sense, but sharing content that will make people aware. Listening to your audience and clients is vital, so ensure that you’ve fully researched your market to gain an understanding of the content people are looking for.
One of the most important factors in being a successful content creator is trust. Your audience needs to view your business as a platform that enables understanding and raises awareness of products or services. You must therefore be publishing content that raises questions and gives choices.
A great example of a content owner is AirBnB, who use their website to provide consumers with something new and useful. AirBnB connects their audience with places all around the world to stay and enables anyone to be a host, all whilst widening customer choice.
AirBnB is trusted by their audience, as they have a vast amount of options available. Users can browse holiday homes and rentals without being overwhelmed with information or feeling obliged to make a booking.
The brand can effectively utilise the content owner strategy because of the extensive choices they have on offer, as well as being trustworthy and easy to use.
The purpose of a thought leader is to draw people in and influence their choices and actions, whilst maintaining their interest.
In terms of digital content strategies, this one aims to give the audience what they need. Thought leaders support users in their decisions by being a source of knowledge and an expert in the field.
As well as gaining their audience’s trust and providing what they’re looking for, a thought leader should also put the ‘efficient funnel’ process into practice when creating content:
(1) Awareness – Open doors, raise questions and explain options
(2) Interest – Engage the audience by generating interesting content
(3) Influence – Using your expertise to convince people that your business can provide solutions
(4) Action – Customers and audiences will invest in your product or service
A brand that successfully positions themselves as a thought leader is inbound marketing platform Hubspot. The business appeals to marketers by offering something new to the market and by providing learning opportunities for their audience through blog posts.
With these techniques, Hubspot are able to meet the demands of their audience and also build up trust. People purchase Hubspot’s products because they demonstrate that they’re informed through the creation of valuable content.
The scope for creativity is endless with digital content strategies. From metaphors to allegories, storytellers create campaigns that audiences can relate to emotionally but don’t necessarily lead to an action. Storytelling focuses on tapping into people’s subconscious and inspiring them to make a connection on an emotional level.
Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign supported the beauty brand into being established as a storyteller many years ago, championing a healthy mind, body and spirit regardless of shape or size.
The campaign became so successful because people could relate to it. Dove’s staff understood that an image-obsessed culture generates insecurity and negativity amongst men and women, and their feelings towards their own bodies.
This campaign used real people and real stories to empower people’s self-image. Dove wasn’t selling a product or pushing a call to action, they were simply aiming to inspire audiences and encourage a culture where a healthy body image is celebrated. Dove is now seen as a pioneer for real beauty.
A content creator using this strategy might choose to have multiple stories in one campaign. Customer stories, stories from the view of the employees or even the story of the brand are always that storytellers can connect with an audience emotionally.
Which one is for you?
There is no right or wrong path for your business to take with digital content strategies – owners might even find that a mix of these three strategies will work best.
By combining storytelling with thought leadership, for example, business owners will be able to create a strategy that provides information and adds value in both an informative and emotive way.
To be successful, however, you need to know what your customers and audience want and need and, based on that, publish the right content at the right time.
Claire Wilson is content strategy director at Stratton Craig
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