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Blogs  / August 10, 2021

Developing your content strategy to become a trusted expert

by Melissa Koski, Strategic Account Director

Welcome back to our blog series about earned media strategy and measurement! This week, we’re focusing on one of the primary functions of communications and PR—producing impactful content that resonates with your brand’s key audiences.

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quote Elizabeth Barrett VP Research, Gartner
Great content lies at the heart of everything communications does, including employee and leadership communications and PR. But leaders need to deliberately prioritize, plan, produce and publish effective content or the audience will simply be overwhelmed and confused.

Creating content that moves the needle requires a sound strategy—a roadmap for making sure your communication efforts are efficient and effective—rooted in business and communications goals that you’ve set above.

Here are the key questions to ask as you’re developing a robust content strategy.

Who is your audience?
You must always start with your audience. Knowing their pain and passion points, what they need along their buyer journey and how you can add value will determine the rest of your strategic plan—the most effective channels, the right messaging, and the best distribution approach.

What do your key stakeholders, including employees, customers, shareholders and analysts, care about the most? What do you want them to do, and why are they not doing it now? If you don’t know, it is important to understand what information is missing and where you can find it. One of the sources of this information is media monitoring and social listening technology.

What type of content are they interested in, and what worked in the past?
To really know your audience, you must also understand what type of content they find most useful and compelling. While you can find this out directly from them via interviews and surveys, it is also very important to let the past behavior data inform your strategy (what they say they will do is different from what they have actually done in the past).

Based on your media monitoring and social listening, you can extract insights that reveal which specific content, messages and formats have been resonating, which haven’t, and most importantly, which content has been resulting in desired actions you want your audiences to take.

AI-powered technology that exists today is capable of quickly sifting through massive volumes of data and offering you the exact insights you’re looking for. WIth solutions like Onclusive, you’ll be able to understand not only which content was picked up by the media and gained traction with your audiences, but also which specific publications, authors and articles drove social engagement, visits to your website and actions like brochure downloads, information inquiries, free trial requests and purchases.

How can you be a credible resource for your audience, stakeholders and the media by consistently sharing objective information and advice?
The next question is: what assets do you have that could position your brand as a trusted authority for the media? Having clarity on this is especially important at this stage.

  1. Do you have experts and spokespeople who can provide information or opinions no one else can? Even establishing just 1-2 key spokespeople who are each a clear expert on a specific topic, have garnered visibility in your industry and enjoy being active on social media can go a long way. 

    One Onclusive customer that does this really well is Edmunds, who uses their in-house team of automotive experts as a credible resource to the media by consistently sharing objective car-shopping information and advice. 
  1. Do you have proprietary data or unique insights that would be really valuable for your audience to access? When brands can curate their own data and conduct their own research, communicators can use this data to tell a great story.

    A good example of implementing this tactic is Monster, who conducts surveys amongst job seekers and employers and then tells its stories using data and insights from these surveys. Another excellent example is Sophos, who consistently provides information on current hacking issues and some of their peers being the targets of cyberattacks. 
  2. What other content might you have that can provide objective information and advice to those who need it the most? There might be content that already exists and can be repackaged and promoted through new or additional internal and external channels. For example, a product launch article could be rewritten from the customer perspective. 

    Another effective strategy is localizing your content. For example, Onclusive’s customers Equinix and Norton Lifelock have both conducted global surveys and then broken the data down by region to make sure it’s relevant to each geography and market.

    The final idea we would suggest is tracking what your competitors are doing and where they are being mentioned. This strategy can inform how to differentiate your messaging, as well as reveal “zero mindshare”—industry content, publications and authors that mention your competitors’ brands but not your brand. Mimecast is a great example of strategically using Onclusive’s competitive media monitoring and PR analytics to uncover these types of hidden opportunities for additional coverage.

Keep in mind the ultimate outcome of your content strategy—positioning your brand as the key thought leader, subject matter expert or reliable source of information in the eyes of the media and your stakeholders.

Be on the lookout for for The Ultimate Guide to Earned Media Measurement & Strategy whitepaper in the coming weeks. We will share recommendations and best practices around developing an effective earned media strategy and measuring success of your earned media activities in a way that showcases your business impact and return on investment (ROI).