4 Ways to Create Always-On Content

always onIn a recent session with a client, Mindjumpers talked about the shift in thinking centered around campaigns, to thinking centered around the idea of Always-On content. We thought we would share some insights on how brands and agencies are building content strategies around this idea of Alway-On.

More and more, brands are understanding that in order for their messages to be heard, they need to focus on creating content that is appealing, relevant, and timely, and a lot of it! This is one of the key factors driving the shift from campaign thinking to thinking about real-time content and content that is Always-On.

Although the concept of Always-On has been widely talked about, they ways in which different brands and agencies integrate Always-On into their own content strategies can differ. It is therefore interesting to consider different models and frameworks, which can provide insights for your own Always-On content strategy. We’ll give a brief overview of four different Always-On strategies, from both the brand perspective and the agency perspective.

 

1. 5 Always-On elements from Kraft Foods 

In an interview with the Director of CRM Content Strategy and Integration at Kraft Foods, Kraft shares five key elements to creating Always-On content. First know the topics that you want to talk about, as well as specific topic areas that the brand does not want to talk about, such as religion or politics. Defining conversational topics gives branded content a sense of direction, purpose, and consistency. Be captivating, there is too much content out there and in order to be heard brands have to be highly engaging. Timeliness is key, try to be as real-time as possible. Real-time content doesn’t need Superbowl sized events in order to be interesting. Real-time content can be created around small events, holidays, and news stories that are relevant for both the brand and its audience. Location, location, location, this refers to knowing where your audience is and making the brand easy to find. Even though Facebook and Twitter are often the most talked about, many brands have found that their audience is active in other platforms as well, such as Pinterest, providing greater opportunities for interaction. Last,  establish measurements to evaluate content performance.

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2. Edelman Digital’s Real-Time Content Mix

The second model is from the agency Edelman Digital and focuses on three main factors in creating the most ideal, real-time content. These are current conversation trends, audience interests, and brand priorities. Edelman Digital suggests that content creators can evaluate real-time content opportunities against each factor. By judging a piece of content against each factor, this model can help content creators to evaluate the potential for content to create valuable, engaging experiences with brand communities. Although every piece of content does not need to satisfy each dimension, it can be used as a general guideline against which content can be evaluated.

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3. Percolate’s Stock and Flow content strategy

Another media agency called Percolate, talks about content creation based on the idea of ‘Stock and Flow’ content. This strategy focuses on the idea that brands need to create two types of content to break through the noise and keep the audience engaged over time. ‘Stock’ refers to content that is usually relevant for longer periods of time and is not outdated quickly, such as campaign content and content focused on a brand’s mission statement or brand values. Stock attracts people to the brand and drives interaction. ‘Flow’ content are smaller pieces of content, that are lighter, more timely, and will usually have a shorter life cycle. While stock content can initiate interaction, flow content should keep people engaged and entertained on a daily basis.

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4. GolinHarris’ The Bridge

The last agency is GolinHarris, who translated many of these ideas into practice in the development of their network called The Bridge. The Bridge is a network that connects digital media specialists, copywriters, and designers, allowing them to catch the most recent stories and issues that are relevant for brands and sharing them in real-time with social audiences. The video below demonstrates the importance of being captivating, being timely, and sharing topics that connect audience interests and brand priorities. Always-On content helps brands cut through the noise of social streams and build better, more engaging relationships with their audience.

 

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Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!