Once upon a time, a marketer’s online presence was simply their corporate website. Keeping a consistent brand image on the web was simple, and we all lived happy ever after.
But today, thanks to social media, the story doesn’t end there.
“Now marketers have all these other sources competing with them to provide information to prospects and customers,” says Howard Schwartz, senior vice president of content technologies for SDL Structured Content Technologies Division. “Monitoring is essential. There’s hundreds of thousands of conversations going on. How do you know what people are saying about you and your brand?”
For example, while you may have the “official” how-to instructions for a device you market on your website, customers are likely to take it upon themselves to film their own experiences with set-up or use of the device and put it up on YouTube.
“It can be very easy to lose control if you’re not monitoring what is going on, both in your own channels and outside,” he says.
Approaching social media in an ad hoc way is a bad approach if you want to have a consistent brand online with your audience, he notes. In today’s marketing environment, marketers much have a mechanism in place to monitor what is happening online across multiple platforms and channels.
The Danger of Silos
Many firms still have internal content silos, for example, bucketing marketing content in one place and post sales/support in another. And there are key differences to these materials—what is produced by tech writers to help customers after they buy isn’t the same as what marketing produces to help people when they are researching what they want to purchase .
But in many instances, there is content that can be written once and shared across multiple divisions in the enterprise.
For example, Schwartz points to one company that had a sudden huge call center spike after a big product launch. The cause? For one particular problem concerning the product, there were 35 different answers available in various places on the corporate website.
“The company got together, broke down the silos and was able to agree on one answer to the issue,” he says. After it was posted on the site, incoming calls suddenly dropped. “Silos are problematic for every company on the web trying to create a consistent customer journey.”
Redundancies in content also frequently happen for marketers who sell across the globe., notes Schwartz. Often, redundant content will get translated into multiple languages. Identifying these multiple documents before the expensive and time consuming translation process beings can lead to major savings.
Another key area to consider is not only what content you’re providing on your website, but how you are providing that information.
Marketers—particularly in the B2B space where purchases can be expensive and highly complicated—often strive to make their post-sales content as sophisticated and through as possible. And for some firms, that still means creating large PDFs customers must download , even when they may be only looking to answer one simple question.
“Companies need to get away from that,” says Schwartz. “People often can’t find what they’re looking for in these documents.”
A better approach is to build your content dynamically, in an easy to search format with strong visuals that be can delivered via multiple channels, be it your corporate website, a video on YouTube or a posting on Facebook or Twitter if it addreseses a problem many customers are facing.
While the way content is presented should be tailored to accommodate smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, keep in mind that it is still the same content.
“When companies were first building their websites, they were duplicating content that already existed offline,” says Schwartz. “You don’t need to do that. The content is the same content, and your CMS has to support that. Just understand that the layout on different devices will change—on an app it may be more veritical, while on the web it might be more horizontal.”
How do you gauge the success of your content management efforts? One easy way is customer engagement, such as NetPromoter scores. “If customers are frustrated and can’t find the content they are looking for, the scores will reflect that,” he says. “By sharing content across silos and not having to create multiple versions of the same content, you can then focus headcount on other areas.”