Digital content - do it right or don't bother

I attended a thought-provoking seminar recently on digital content production. It posed the million dollar question: why bother producing digital content at all?

In actual fact, a number of presenters, including digital PR managers for Moneysupermarket, O2 and Capgemini, gave compelling reasons for doing it and all had evidence of bottom line results.

And very well they must too, because it’s a labour-intensive process. Moneysupermarket has some 16 full-time digital content executives and a number of freelancers on its books – try getting the FD’s approval on that without concrete proof of efficacy. In Moneysupermarket’s case, the benefit the activity has on SEO alone is justification enough. SEO equals web traffic equals sales.

So how can brands engage with their audiences through ‘owned media’ – in other words, their websites and social media channels?

The key, as with traditional media, is to produce relevant and genuinely engaging content. Just as a press release with overtly commercial messages will not get used by a journalist, neither will bland content lead to engagement with a product or service.

Look at the calendar and produce content aimed at seasonal news hooks, or time articles or blogs to coincide with known social or political events.

Keep it relevant to your line of business. There are plenty of websites and Facebook groups waiting to slam misjudged social media campaigns or brands simply jumping on the bandwagon of popular memes. (See ‘Condescending Corporate Brand Page’ on Facebook and aim never to make it onto this page!).

If your business is consultancy-based, make the most of your experts and ensure they’re highly visible online. Get them tweeting, blogging and contributing to LinkedIn discussions. Persuade them to be filmed, and place the video content prominently on your website.

Most importantly, use tools like Brandwatch or Google Analytics to see how your content is performing. Highly successful brands are doing this and proving it’s working.  Follow them.

Max Hammond, account manager