[Originally posted at ‘Round the Square]
Have you ever thought of your brand that way?
Think about it…
Independent media channels provide a distinct voice, and view the world through a particular lens not shared by others. Independent media channels engender trust and loyalty, giving audiences reasons to connect above and beyond particular programs.
Your brand can––and should––do the same!
You’re a content publisher, after all. Your brand, by way of your website, blog, e-newsletter, Twitter stream, YouTube channel, and Facebook wall provides a mosaic of content that audiences (ideally!) find engaging, useful, and worth talking about to others.
And out there on the inter-webs, information disseminated solely in support of commerce doesn’t cut it. You have to engage and hold your audience’s attention. In fact, your ability to engage––to spur people to respond in some way and come back for more––is more important to brand-building and your bottom line than anything you say about your programs, products, or services.
Why? The web has rolled content, commerce, and entertainment into one. Going forward, successful brands––for profit, non-profit, retail and B2B alike––will be those whose audiences view them as an independent media channel… providing a differentiated mosaic of content that engages, entertains, and encourages action.
Is your channel coming in clear? Does your mosaic of content reflect a greater “picture” of your brand people can understand and connect with?
Define your voice
If your brand was an independent media channel, what would you call it? What would its tagline be? While you might not put it out there for the world to see, a concise notion of your identity will help guide your content decisions: who are you… and what are you trying to say?This is where your content strategy comes in. What are the “story lines” that you can credibly advance about your brand––and that people will tune in to? Where is the content coming from? Who’s in charge? Do you have an editor in chief?
Draft an architecture
Knowing what you want to say, and where, means creating a digital content architecture. What platforms are you going to use? Who are the target audiences for each? What messages make sense, given audience / platform combinations? What is your metric for engagement and response? Answer all these questions, and you’re well on your way to creating an effective structure for your “programming.”
Bring ‘em home
Far flung outposts on YouTube and Facebook are great for meeting people where conversations are starting, but your website needs to be at the core of your digital media strategy. Drive people to the place you can most effectively communicate “one-on-one”, and find out who they are––and how you can help.
Know your stats
How are people responding to your content? What messages hold their attention the longest, and keep them coming back for more? Where do they stick––and where do they “bounce”? By keeping a close eye on your stats and analytics, you can tell where things are working, and where they’re falling flat. And there’s no sense in experimenting if you can’t gauge the success of your experiment.
People want more than the latest information on your new widget. They want to connect with you and with others, and be both informed and entertained. You need to keep their attention, foster deeper connections, and move them to take action. If your channel isn’t doing all those things, you’re not taking full advantage.
So, what’s on?!? You have a voice, use it!