Digital content planning is essential for any competitive business in today’s marketing climate. There are all types of thoughts on the best way to begin, but three things that are the most essential to successful digital content planning are naming of objectives, deciphering how success will be measured, and research, research, research.
Digital content planning should start with naming of specific objectives or goals. Why develop this network? What does the owner (stakeholders/decision makers) hope to gain from its development? What audience is the digital content aimed at? It might seem like simple common sense to flush out an objective before delving in to a project. But there are many companies out there who do not take this essential step before engaging in digital content planning. They know that the guy next door has a fancy website, so they should too. People know they need to take steps towards digital content planning but frequently their “planning” doesn’t go beyond “keeping up with the Jones’ business next door” type thinking.
Digital content planning requires that the planner think logically. Once there is a set of objectives, be sure to quantify it. The decision makers on top of your company totem pole will (hopefully) not sign off on an extensive digital content plan without more to go on than simply “getting the business name out there.”
Of course the named objectives drive the digital content planning. If the goal is simply to bear hug your customers and enhance their shopping experience, how can success be measured? Will you track web traffic, social media engagement, contest entries, phone calls, sales leads, referrals, actual sales…? The list goes on. There are many tools available today to track these types of metrics but what’s going to help your business make the best decisions?
How will the message reach the intended audience? You don’t want to be trying to sell children’s track shoes to the United Spinsters Union. Digital content planning must consider the attitude and emotion of the audience. It must consider implementation time. And it must consider the grab. How will the content grab the intended audience? What about that content will make them take the next step towards giving you their business?
Before finalizing any digital content planning, one should dive into the plethora of information flooding the internet about how to design content with meat on its bones–that is the research behind digital content planning. Or better, still, hire a professional whose entire focus is staying on top of the trends to grab your future customers’ attention and reel them onto your client list. There is a whole lot of worthless junk drifting across computer screens and a lot of word vomit flowing from people mouths. But there are good, solid references and knowledge as well. To grab the intended audience, all circumstances must be considered. I look at it by comparing digital content planning the same way I would set up a store people walk into… It could be a busy environment where people might give only a quick glance, and how will I grab their attention? Digital content marketing is like a delicate ballet and the dancing partners are the visuals and the messages. Together, visuals and messages walk off in to the digital sunset to find new, anxious customers.
The first step is always baseline understanding. Even the most creative efforts can fall flat on their faces if they don’t align with the audience, objectives, and of course the venue environment. The best plans are thought through and engage programming displays that consider the audience but are still creative and partner well with the dynamics of the digital venue.
So much out there…well… really… it stinks. Newbies go out there and make assumptions and duplicate what they see other folks doing online, assuming that is simply how the cookie crumbles. But that simply won’t work. You must forget most of what you think you know. You don’t know what you don’t know. Yes, you’ve seen some great projects out in the world wide web of madness, but that does not mean those theories will work for your business. If you are a newbie, for the love of humanity, hire a professional. Channel your mother: Just because you see other people doing it, does not mean you should do it too.