Content companies will soon have the potential to reach more consumers than ever before as it becomes easier, faster and cheaper to distribute content across an increasing numbers of channels.
The challenge is how to capitalize on this access to new potential audiences while continuing to satisfy the needs of your existing content consumers.
Make the Business Case for New Content Ventures
Content companies will need to decide which audiences and channels they want to focus on in the future. This exercise will include a discussion of what makes your content unique and differentiates it from other content in the market, as well as how you plan to monetize that content. Make a business case for why you are targeting a particular new audience and channel, the specific types of content you aim to provide and how you’ll measure the success of this endeavor.
You’ll also want to investigate whether or not you need to invest in additional resources such as technology and staff to support your efforts. When looking at emerging technologies, you’ll be weighing the merits of augmented and virtual reality, machine learning and behavioral analytics.
Reassess Your Current Content Resources
At the same time, assess your current content creation and management processes. You may need to overhaul workflows to make them more efficient and rethink employee and partner roles and responsibilities. Your end goal is to have the capacity to rapidly scale up to produce more content, whether it’s brand-new or repurposed, for new audiences and channels.
If you expect to engage in a lot of content reuse, you’ll also need to ensure you have the right structures in place to support effective taxonomies, tagging and content management that is separate from content presentation. Your goal is to unlock the potential of every piece of content you produce to extend its longevity and its usefulness across channels, audiences and devices.
Serve Up Content Wherever Your Audience Gathers
At the end of this process, you should have a plan for how you’ll balance the needs of your existing content consumers with those of new audiences. Look at how other providers have already transitioned their content to fresh markets. The path to success often means starting small, experimenting and then gradually building out a loyal audience.
What's clear is simply distributing undifferentiated content to as many audiences and channels as possible isn’t the right way to build meaningful and profitable relationships with new consumers. When you try to create content that appeals to everyone, you typically end up with unfocused and dull material which interests almost no one.
Make sure the content you offer is an appropriate fit for each channel. For example, long-form content is unlikely to work well on a medium like Snapchat where content is only available for a limited period. Think about the devices people use to consume your content and investigate how you might use location-aware content on mobile phones.
Challenge Your Content Audiences
Remember to challenge your audience at times with the variety of content you offer them. For example, just because some younger audiences may appear to gravitate to bite-sized pieces of content, do not assume it’s the only type of content they’d be willing to consume.
Although content companies are investing heavily in digital content, print continues to be a strong source of revenue. Make sure you continue to cater to all your content audiences and don’t assume each group is always so very different from one another. Remember the predictions when electronic books debuted that e-books would kill off printed books? E-books have certainly grown in their appeal, but they co-exist alongside printed volumes rather than fully replacing them.
Use Personalization to Build Customer Loyalty
Some audiences will remain loyal to a long-time content provider no matter what happens in the market. However, underlying trends suggest the majority of consumers will be fickle, switching back and forth between content creators. The volume and variety of available content will continue to grow, coupled with the emergence of new content giants from the ranks of the software industry including Amazon.com, Apple, Facebook and Google.
Increasingly, content companies will look to personalization technologies to help them build and retain customer loyalty and increase customer content spend. Once you’ve established your audiences, you can apply sophisticated analytics to determine which content is of the most interest to which groups of consumers or individuals. You can also use that knowledge to help guide your future content as well as assess how well your audience responds to any ventures you make into new types of content.
Interact With Your Audience
The relationship between content providers and content consumers will increasingly become more of an equal partnership based on a mutual exchange of valuable information.
Being open to and actively responding to your consumers’ feedback will be a rich source for your future content and can also help you build content-based communities. Your consumers are looking to you to provide them with content that is informative, contextual and emotional.
Ultimately, the way to appeal to any audience is to serve them the content they need at the time and place of their choosing.
This is the fourth and final piece in a series of articles from WoodWing examining the future of content. The first article on the impact of emerging technologies is here, the second article on the need to reorganize internally and externally is here, and the third article investigating ways to monetize content is here.