The world is consumed by content.
In our daily lives we consume a surplus of content. Millions of events occur worldwide each year and we all capturing these moments one video or photo at a time.
Meanwhile, brand marketers distribute a surplus of content to keep fans engaged and stay relevant. Marketing success is no longer determined by what you pay for. It’s about how well you can amplify the content you create. In order to feed the monster of real-time marketing, earned and owned media has become increasingly important. This is where content development comes into play.
How to create a content factory
Regardless of your industry or ideal customers, you likely share similar top-level goals – namely, to build brand awareness and encourage brand engagement.
With all of this in mind, you need a framework to implement a content factory approach. A content factory is the infrastructure that facilitates the orchestration of people, processes, and tools to produce a steady stream of high-quality content. But most importantly, get it out the door so people can use it.
1. Start with your audience first
A content factory is built on a deep understanding of consumer behavior. First, identify and define your loyal audience. It’s a lot easier to craft compelling demand generation campaigns if you know who you are talking to. If you don’t have audience profiles, you can identify a core audience by creating buyer personas.
For instance, Nike launched an original YouTube Series, “Margot vs. Lily” to reach millennial women. Enterprise brands have been using content to position their brand as thought leaders and share their company culture to attract talent. For example, a Wells Fargo social media campaign (targeted to content distribution on LinkedIn) resulted in nearly 20 percent of its 12,000 new hires.
2. Build a social asset kit
Look at content development as a multi-channel storytelling strategy. Every piece of content should support and strengthen your big idea campaigns. Create a mix of professionally produced content.
Curate user-generated content from communities that co-create and collaborate with brands. Use hashtags on Twitter, create weekly chats, or set up Facebook interest groups to attract users who share certain content. Then develop a publishing strategy to reach your audience.
Do they like information-based content in the morning and entertainment content at night? Perhaps, they use Facebook during their morning commute and LinkedIn during the day? Develop a strategy based on these learnings and pump out addictive content.
Many brands develop a wide range of content across multiple formats throughout a buyer’s journey.
Denny’s blog, for example, is a collection of funny user-generated content
General Mills released a Hamburger Helper mixtape on SoundCloud
Ford Motor Co. tapped influencer Colin Furze to create a series of videos around the theme “Unlearn“
JPMorgan Chase & Co. created “From the Ground Up,” a series that uses videos and articles to tell stories of people and issues that make a community strong
GE has used content marketing to grow credibility in their core industrial businesses – GE Reports now has an audience of over half a million readers
3. Amplify reach across all touchpoints
Engage customers where they “play” across all touchpoints before, during and after purchase. Place a greater emphasis on developing your own content, supported by paid and seeded distribution to fuel earned media. If you do things well, your content should be so engaging that it’s actively shared for you.
Content creates scalable brands
Just like scalable revenue, think scalable brand. Measure success across all channels instead of evaluating individual content. Focus on how well content performs instead of how far your content reaches.
A channel is a destination. If you produce the right amount and type of content, you can drive consistent traffic. That is what we want as marketers: a targeted, consistent and engaged customer. An effective content factory drives engagement, brand favorability and extends your offline investment dollars to impact sales.
Lastly, if you have a captive audience, you will find a way to monetize users on a one-to-one basis. Own the full buyer’s journey. Tap into relatable and relevant stories. The content possibilities become endless once you connect your customers to things they care about.
This article has been edited.
Ryan Stoner is a serial entrepreneur and brand strategy and marketing leader. He is currently the Group Strategy Director at Phenomenon. A version of this article originally appeared on Medium. Connect with @stoneage on Twitter.