Sunday, January 11, 2009

The content distribution strategy

Congratulations for the 2009!

3 years ago I was with a couple of brand managers and we were discussing about the right strategy for the Internet... I remembered that conversation during the past weeks and I like to share some thoughts.

First of all (I think) brands and companies should have a strategy and not an "Internet Strategy" and I am sure almost all companies and brands have their own annual or whatever strategy and they do not want to create a strategy for each channel (TV strategy, Radio strategy, etc) what they meant was that they were trying to understand how to participate, take advantage, use, implement and manage the Internet as a communication channel, because they did not know well at that time. 

After a strategy is designed (sales, marketing, etc...) it is important to identify which channels will be the ones which will maximize our efforts or the ones that we need to accomplish our tactics, etc. The Internet is nowadays one of the most powerful channels to start a conversation and/or deliver a message. There are a lot of tactics to bring  your audience to your message or to deliver your message to your audience (email Marketing, Search Marketing, Seeding, etc...) . All of this is not new to marketers today. All of the most common Internet tactics are helpful, but in today's environment are not enough. Some marketers believe that they can just create a website with their different messages and then implement tactics as Search or Display Banners to bring their audience to their content, but that is not enough... 

In today's environment we should  distribute our content and not just keep it in only in one place (our site). Social Media is increasing the content and perspectives from our audiences, but all of this is thanks to the different platforms which are offering an alternative to post or BROWSE content. Digg for example is an alternative to be updated from different content sources. It is not a blog or article search engine is a place in where the content from different sources is posted from different users who think that, that content is relevant now. Delicious is kind of the same, and there are everyday more and more different alternatives, inside the "famous" social network platforms (Bebo, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) and new different alternatives. 
So... how to use these tools? there are a lot of practices, but the way I see it and what I recommended to those Brand Managers 3 years ago was to use it to "distribute" your content.

Is your content ready to be published in these alternatives? is it possible to "digg it" or post it at delicious? Are you posting your videos at Youtube and the different vertical video sharing platforms? Are you posting your new communications at the Facebook, LinkedIn or other social networks groups, forums or shared links? Are you uploading your pdf's or other different file formats at Docstoc or ScriBD? Are you posting your slide decks at SlideShare? Do you agree with the content about you, posted at Wikipedia, Mahalo, Yelp (not as comment, but as your official description)? Are you giving updates through Twitter to your community? if yes... how often are you doing it? if not... when are you going to start?

Obama did it, a lot of artists and more top brands are trying to do it... and it is because is effective. Your audience is looking for you in different platforms, don't you want to "deliver your message"?

You should identify which are the most important platforms for your audiences and in where categories are they looking for info related to you or your product / service. Then, publish your content, customizing the title and description in order to be aligned with the platform. It is different to post at Twitter, than Digg, than Facebook. There are tools to simplify the posting process; to identify the most relevant sources and to track results. Do not forget to track. 

And you need to train your agencies (PR or Digital) to do this in an effective way. They probably know, but in my experience they say they know, but they do not understand well how to do it, and that is fine, this is new, but they need to understand the purpose and create a method.

Google is a great starting point and the official news sources like Yahoo! News, CNN, etc are also great platforms used by the consumers, but they are also increasing day by day the usage of the different platforms which are offering them an alternative to browse in a different user experience, what they are looking for. The list of emerging platforms is longer every day and you should define how to approach to them, how often to manage your content posts at there and how to manage a "conversation"and not only a one way message. I agree that there are not to many professional services who can help you to manage your communities, but if you find one ask them to manage not only the community questions or requirements, but to distribute your messages also.

Agencies, we need more community management professionals. 

Brands, we need to hear from you in the different platforms. 

Platforms we need a better user experience every day and APIs to be able to manage the conversations in a better way.

This content distribution concept, plus the traffic management practice will become a day by day task for top performers in all categories of brands.

Thanks and remember that you can find more about me at my LinkedIN profile

In my next post, I will be talking about how to track conversations or what your audience is talking about you (and where) using platforms like Radian or JackBe