One of the biggest challenges of building a crossmedia strategy is that digital innovation means there are a million ways to build a “better” mousetrap, but 999,000 of them will not catch any more mice, at least not for you.
That still leaves you 1,000 potentially better mousetraps and finding exactly the right mix is not going to be easy. This is why it is so important to be honest about where you are starting from, discussed in part 1, and to engage your people fully in the development of your crossmedia content strategy, discussed in part 2. You need to make decisions based on your reality.
To get any kind of traction in digital media it’s crucial to cover the key channels. You have a website, you use email, you’re on Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook and Pinterest. Now you need to figure out where your audience really wants you to be. No point carpet bombing LinkedIn if all your readers are on Google+. No point building an iPad app if your readers access everything through Android smartphones.
Start with your current metrics. Wherever you’re winning – do more there. If the thought of scrutinising Google Analytics benchmark reports leaves you cold, keep it simple. All you really need to care about in the first instance is unique visitors and where they are coming from. Once you have a good idea of where you’re traffic is coming from you can start to prioritise your content creation and distribution, then you can start to worry about all the other good stuff like followers and retweets, likes and shares, and website bounce rates and entry and exit points.
Whatever you do in digital, remember you’re building a crossmedia strategy, so make connections wherever you can.
Only once you have identified your key online platforms should you start thinking about how to extend to other networks and formats. Better to have a solid Twitter presence driving your social media efforts and no Facebook presence than an ineffective presence on both.
Whatever you do in digital, remember you’re building a crossmedia strategy, so make connections wherever you can. Print is a great push-promotion vehicle for digital, and a phone app can help you build print subscriptions. Social media and email newsletters will drive traffic to your website and your website is a great launch-pad for social sharing or selling archive content.
You also need to realistic about your resources. Your blogs might be doing well, and it might seem like a great idea to switch up to daily posts, but if you don’t have enough bloggers, you’re dreaming. Be honest about the time it takes to service a product. This doesn’t have to be about spending money, but it does have to be about spending time planning.
One way to free up resources is to ditch the products that aren’t working, but how do you gauge what is working and what is not. In simple terms, if a product is profitable it works. If it’s not profitable, but gets you a lot of traffic and attention, then it’s probably worth keeping… for now.
Assessing your products isn’t a one-time deal; it’s a case of “Wash. Rinse. Repeat”.
This isn’t an exact science, it depends on your business, but again that just reinforces the idea that you have to be honest about your capabilities and what your audience wants. There is certainly no room for vanity or sentimentality when it comes to ditching failing or even marginal products in publishing; you can use the resources elsewhere. And assessing your products isn’t a one-time deal; it’s a case of “Wash. Rinse. Repeat”. With the rapid pace of change in digital media, what’s working right now, might not be working next quarter.
This might all seem like common sense, but as I said right at the beginning of this series, way too may digital content projects are reactionary. They are conceived in response to competitive action or a perceived revenue opportunity. No problem in these as motivations, the problem comes when no thought is given to the audience need, the resources required and there is no success-failure analysis done.
- Part 1 focuses on keeping your crossmedia content strategy real and starting where you’re at
- Part 2 focuses on the benefits of bringing your staff into crossmedia strategy development
- Part 4 focuses on the importance of content creation, management and distribution processes