Mass communication can now be more accurately described as mass’ communication considering virtually anyone and everyone has the opportunity to spread their own message about themselves and their lives – including the products and services they endorse or disparage.
That means people outside your company (and your control) talking about your brand colored by their own experience, or worse, echoing as facts fragmented, second-, third-, fourth- or nth-hand opinions from a friend of a friend or an “expert” they follow.
Consider the effect of a rock thrown into a still pond. The first ripples are well defined and intact. But as they move farther away from the source, they quickly lose their cohesiveness and become distorted.
Now consider a pond with no shorelines to keep the ripples from spreading to a point where they lack all resemblance to their original form. It’s easy to see how even the largest brands could easily become deconstructed when communicated (or miscommunicated) on the exponential scale that the Internet provides.
Certainly marketers want to plant content seeds in the hope that they take root among an intended audience who will nurture the content and pass it along. The trick is to keep your brand from being unraveled as it travels hither and yon outside (and even inside) your company’s walls.
Devising a solid content strategy enables you to solidify one single brand message to help ensure all stakeholders spread it accurately.
A good content strategy will take into account the audience, an appropriate tone and voice to match the personality of the brand, along with objectives and challenges the content can help address and solve.
In essence, according to an article in the Spring 2011 edition of Content magazine, published by Custom Content Council, content strategy “is the foundation of consistency that can be used across channels and audiences – a touchstone all marketers and content creators can refer to in order to make sure their efforts are aligned with the brand.”
It’s essential that you clearly communicate and regularly reinforce the content strategy to all members of your company and your vendors. Creatives (inside and outside the company) in their zest to find fresh new ways to communicate your story may stray from the brand. Having a central content strategy will help prevent this from happening.
By necessity, marketing and creative strategies will vary from medium to medium to address the way the intended audience prefers to receive and digest their information. But the key message as defined by the content strategy must remain consistent at all times.
To protect your hard-earned brand, it’s absolutely crucial to track and listen to content as it reverberates through social media channels, sharing, peer-to-peer communication and via word of mouth. Constant monitoring of brand conversations enables you to detect when the message is in danger of becoming distorted. From there, you can react quickly and as aggressively as necessary to inject new and correct dialogue into the conversation to keep your message intact and your brand thriving.