Working on integrated content marketing strategy is a lot like building cruise missiles. It’s creative, of course, rather than destructive. Instead of trying to inject a hundred kilos of high explosive into a bunker protected by ferroconcrete, we’re in the business of propagating ideas into minds guarded by cynicism and limited attention. But aside from that, the two activities are remarkably similar. Modern communications, like smart missiles, need three things to be effective: intelligence, delivery, and content.
In the era of smart digital media, we no longer need to carpet-bomb in order to hit our targets. Broadcast and print media, like carpet-bombing, are still effective when the goal is for huge volume, sock-and-awe, country-wide awareness. But thanks to the capabilities afforded us by the likes of Edelman Berland, we can be far more specific when we need to. With research on digital media habits we can learn everything we need to know about the fortresses of cynicism and limited attention we are trying to penetrate. We know what our target people read, what they watch, and what they listen to. We can learn who they listen to and map their networks of influence, so we know exactly where to reach them.
How to reach them is another story. Pinpointing a target is one thing, but we also have to get our message to the target. Missiles rely on aerodynamics, rocket engines and sophisticated guidance systems to do this. For communicators like us, the delivery mechanisms are channels: from websites and videos to Twitter feeds and interactive apps. We can set up and develop each channel to fit with our target audience’s media habits. Then we can tune and target them, and boost our activity with paid support, to catch the attention of a particular type of person.
Once we’ve penetrated the bunker and caught someone’s attention, then what? It’s time to make an impact and deliver our content. We all know that the right ideas can be explosive when powerfully expressed. The good news is that as communicators we are no longer dependent on third parties to make that content. Though we can (and do) use the techniques above to deliver content created by journalists and others, we are increasingly masters of our own destiny. From videos to video games, articles to entire books, we create powerful, gripping, effective content every day. When all these capabilities come together, the result is integrated communications campaigns with all the power of a high explosive charge. And we’re just beginning to explore the possibilities of content marketing. Exciting times.