While certainly not a new concept, more and more brands are increasingly turning into media machines in today's marketing landscape. While brands, media and audiences used to have distinct roles in the marketing relationship, in today's world, these roles overlap, with brands and audiences becoming two of the major media makers. This creates new opportunities for brands to leverage the content they, and their audiences are creating.
While media and media outlets used to serve as the meeting place for brands and audiences, today this is no longer the case. Now, each party is both a content creator and distributor. There are a few major takeaways to remember with this shift:
Audiences/people now act as their own publishers
With the explosion of social media and the ability to easy create and share content, your consumers and potential customers are now the publishers of their own opinions, preferences and experiences. In many ways, audiences have commandeered the function of marketers. They are often the ones driving product awareness, influencing purchase decisions, and telling brands and their own networks what they think publically.
The smartest brands are realizing the power of harnessing this user-generated content in their own marketing efforts. Brands are expected to not only create content, but also engage with user content
As audiences increasingly talk and share about brands via social media and digital channels, they are expecting that these brands do more than simply promote their own products and services. Every day, millions of people are actively reaching out to connect with brands, and they want to hear more than just what they have to say. These audiences also expect brands to engage with them and interact, use and respond to the content they are producing.
Develop a process for audience monitoring, content creation, and content distribution
For many brands and organizations, they've realized that creating high-quality and shareable content is the only way to really win in today's marketing landscape. Not only is this one of the main ways to succeed at SEO (read "Content Marketing is the New SEO"), but it's always one of the most effective ways to connect with audiences.
The truth is, consumers are likely to produce more content about your brand more quickly than your marketing team ever could. The key to success is learning to blend these types of content, repurpose it and distribute to new and innovative places.
The Postano platform allows brands to aggregate and curate content not only from across different social networks, but also from varied content creators- from media, fans, their own social teams and more. Postano provides a great visual tool for not only listening and monitoring the content being created related to your brand or industry, but also source the best of that content and then repurpose it in a brand's own marketing efforts and campaigns.
Becoming a connected brand
While it's very unlikely that even the most engaging brands will consistently produce content that generates massive amounts of interaction, brands should strive to achieve as much engagement and interactivity as possible.
One tactic to achieving this is by monitoring and aggregating what consumers are saying, and then use that in their own efforts. The brand audience provides ample information about what is interesting, exciting, and useful for them. By observing their behaviors and listening to the language they use, brands can not only use this content mixed with their own, but can also use it as inspiration to fuel their next campaign.
Using and distributing user-generated content
The complexity of creating and distributing content aligned with audiences' needs is not an easy task. Most marketing departments cringe at the price and workload associated with generating the volumes of content required to maintain an engaged audience.
However, marketers need to remember that they don't have to generate the content alone. Brand content can come from within the company, from agency and media partners, aggregated from third parties, and/or developed in conjunction with the brand's audiences.
For example, fashion brand Lacoste recently developed a campaign microsite centered around New York Fashion week, developed and promoted a hashtag (read "12 Tips for Effective Twitter Hashtag Marketing," for tips on creating a hashtag), and then asked their audience to tweet and Instagram photos of the fashion show with the hashtag.