I can imagine when newspapers first appeared (The Strasbourg Relation, 1600s for anyone playing at home), 17th century marketers would’ve been head-over-heels for this new medium that got to so many eyes at once. They could now promote their new heroine-based refreshment or hoop-and-stick plaything sensation to the masses.

There would have also been, presumably, a fair bit of confusion on their part at how best to go about it. Do they buy a bit of space in the classifieds, and try to get their message across amongst the death notices from the plague on the cheap? Or do they splurge on a full page spread and get a renaissance man to sketch their hoop-and-stick, and show people all the fun of hitting said hoop with said stick?

We’re at this point of nervous excitement again, with the onset of digital content marketing.

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The trial-and-error years are indeed exciting times, as if you hit on a recipe for gold, you may be the first to capitalise on it. This is, however, tempered with the nervousness of investing large amount of time and money into an idea that absolutely flops.

While the science of digital content strategy is still in its gurgling, rampant-bodily-fluid, formative years, there are still some basic tenets that are worth remembering when you’re forming your masterful plan of attack.

  1.    Content has an aim

Well no shit, Sherlock”, I hear you sarcastically say. And agreed, this is a bit of a basic point to make. But one that bears thinking about more than you might imagine.

Having a crystal clear idea in your head as to what you want a specific piece of content to achieve is paramount to its success.

Say you’re producing a bit of educational content. What is the aim of the game? The end goal? Are you hoping to garner brand awareness through this piece? Are you hoping for the customer to focus on a particular product in your range that’s related to the content?

Having a clear aim means that your audience will get a clear message when ingesting your content. If you throw around wishy-washy messages to your audience, the point will be lost on them very quickly, and the impact of the content will be severely lessened.

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  1.    Content can be moulded and refined

So you’re looking through your current content garage and see some pretty battered old rustbuckets. No need to call the wreckers. Old content that was once relevant and on-point can be given a lick of paint and still be as punchy today.

SEOs are an ever-changing beast, so going through your archives and ensuring that your older content will still be seen by the people who need/want to see it is a great way of optimising your digital content. No need to create a whole new thing, just make sure your current offerings are still as relevant as they ever were. And if your organisational goals change, so too should your content.

Even something as basic as ensuring all your content links still work can be super simple, but may not be often done. Get the systems in place to safeguard against this sort of thing.

  1.    Everything is content

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EVERYTHING.

Your website layout – CONTENT.

Your company logo – CONTENT.

Your mother – CONTENT. If she says she doesn’t think she is, scream CONTENT at her until she gives in. It’s called negotiation look it up.

But she’s right, she isn’t.

BUT EVERYTHING ELSE. And the way you go about displaying your all-encompassing content will say a lot about your brand. If you start to think of your online presence as a digital experience, it may help with giving your content the sort of personality and uniformity you’ve been looking for.

Over and above the entertainment pieces or the infographics, little things like changing your main contact email from info@ to hi@ or hello@ instantly gives your brand a personality that differs from 99 percent of the crowd.

  1.    Performance matters

It’s true, lads. No matter what she says.

Content. We’re talking about content. So getting the analytics going on your branded content is a must. If it’s not hitting, it’s not worthwhile.

And you need to be able to change with the game. That content schedule that has the next six months of material lined up is useless if the goalposts move. In such a morphing, fluxing world, inflexibility is the death of you.

Don’t be afraid to get out of your content comfort zone if your current strategies are failing. Without trial and error we wouldn’t have the wheel.

CONTENT.