We are drowning.
From ads to content marketing and everything in between, we're drowning in a sea of branded messaging that is almost impossible to keep up with.
Because, in an attempt to stand out from the competition, many businesses have adopted an ‘always-on’ communications strategy, believing that the more often you can get in front of your audience, the better.
In this post, we look at why brands need move away from an ‘always-on’, brand-first, pushed messaging style to what we’re calling an 'always-there' approach - creating content that's relevant and well-placed for the audience to naturally discover on their own terms.
Content that's, quite literally, always there when the user wants it.
What’s wrong with ‘always-on’?
In amongst the content swamp - and partially the cause of it - is a quoted desire of so many brands to exercise an 'always-on' content strategy, to quite literally create and distribute content all of the time.
The trouble with this form of messaging is that it ultimately still remains unwanted and unrequested from the user's perspective.
"I haven't asked for this content, so why are you shoving it in my face? At least before I only had your TV ads to deal with (which I can now thankfully avoid) but now I've got you appearing in my all my social media feeds, on my desktop and mobile platforms, getting in the way of the content I am actually trying to reach!"
In other words, an 'always-on' strategy is still one that's derived from the brand's perspective, and not the user's. At its core, it's still a push strategy.
Brands need to prove their worth
Today, brands need to provide a compelling reason for consumers to engage. If they don't, then there are plenty of other brands for their audience to turn to.
The brands getting this right understand that their customers are struggling to wade through the content swamp that meets them from the moment they first check their feeds in the morning until the hour they spend checking their phones before they go to sleep at night.
Culturally, what's changed now is that rather than waiting for a brand to shove yet another unwanted message down their throats, consumers will discover, and gladly revisit and remain loyal to those brands they choose to engage with - while filtering out or simply ignoring those they don't.
Brand interaction today is facilitated on the users' terms, enabling them to choose what they want to see, when they want to see it, and the platforms and devices they want to see it on.
What do we mean by ‘always-there’?
'Always-there' is a brand communications approach which involves creating content that's of real relevance to your customers, adding value in some way to their lives, and then allowing those customers to naturally discover it and actively seek it out.
It then becomes desired content instead of interruptive messaging.
8 steps to creating an 'always-there' strategy
So, how do brands begin to think about their content creation strategies from a user-first, ‘always-there’ perspective?
Here are eight key points every brand should consider:
- Say it because you mean it -Create content that means something to your brand.
- Be relevant - If the content means something to the reader, they will engage.
- Be timely and reactive - The right content, in the right place, in the right format, at the right time.
- Don't interrupt - Upset your users and you've lost them forever.
- Be regular - If you start and you're successful then users will hunger for more.
- Don't give up - If you're not successful at first, keep trying.
- Learn and evolve - Ensure that the learnings from each piece of content inform subsequent releases.
- Start a conversation - Be prepared to get a reaction and learn how (or if) to respond.
Hopefully these tips will get you thinking about how you can adopt an 'always-there' approach for your brand.