Every company is a media company. It's a phrase we've heard time and time again since Tom Foremski penned it in 2009. Almost three years later, this is a concept many companies are only just beginning to latch on to, but one that's becoming ever more important as the social consumer becomes more pervasive.
There are two components I see as crucial to bringing this idea to life: storytelling and sharing.
We know the evidence for why brands should be thinking strategically about content. Consumers don't respond to the editorial services of the old days. This one-way, one-size-fits all approach to corporate communication meant brands created messages in a vacuum, then pushed them out via every distribution channel possible.
Today, consumers are looking for dynamic, relevant, and helpful content that they can share with their friends and colleagues. As communicators, we need to tap in to our storytelling techniques to draw the consumer in, then combine this with the social, digital, and multimedia opportunities available to us to start a conversation and build a relationship. Further to this, it's important the brand understands what kind of content its intended audience responds to. This could be anything from news or feature articles and blog posts written by brand journalists to infographics or video. Not sure what kind of content your customers want to see? Just ask them. Digital and social tools provide more opportunities than ever to connect directly with your community.
But you can't create content just for the sake of it. Think also about what action you hope to inspire in your customers and how you will encourage sharing. This could be as simple as integrating social-sharing buttons into your social platforms to make it as easy as one click, or as extensive as employing more strategic community-engagement techniques to spur active conversation and real-time dialogue directly between consumers and the brand. Sharing is the only way to truly extend the shelf life of your content and make sure it doesn't fall into the vacuum.
We've successfully navigated a number of our clients into the world of content creation for both short- and long-term projects. Regardless of the various content techniques we've helped employ – brand journalism, community creation and activation, infographic development, microsite builds, and so on – the driving principles are always the same. Show, don't tell – and offer shareable, relevant content that resonates with the target consumer.
Aedhmar Hynes is CEO of Text 100.