8 things to help create audience-first content.


Aug 22, 2017

by 3rdspace


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Summit Media’s 20th anniversary summit, Summit Audience Aware, was held in Manila earlier this month. It brought together international experts to discuss audience-first content planning.

I joined Ben Darr, founder of BrandTale from NYC, Nicco Tan of Genting Malaysia and Christine Ko of Summit Media, along with representatives from Unilever and Mindshare, Belo Cosmetics Company and Globe Telecommunications, to share our thoughts on what “audience-first” media means.

As 3rdspace’s mission is to create content with a purpose, I shared the key elements that make us tick and our content kick.

Here are the eight key takeaways.

1. Create a content mission that supports your brand purpose. Use it to guide you in defining content that adds value to your audiences’ lives.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

All businesses exist for a reason – either to fulfil a human need or to make the world better in some way. This is your purpose.  Your purpose should shine through in your content strategy and all your content should ladder up to your purpose in some way.

2. Think about the environment your content will best play out in.

The format of your content is just as crucial to your story as the narrative, so consider the best place to tell your story.  Placing your content in digital environments that share the same passions and purpose of your brand will deliver higher engagement. Partnering with digital publications that have a strong alignment to your brand mean the use of native along with well targeted-social will deliver a higher ROI for your content.

3. Audience-First Content should involve the audience and provoke action.

Content shouldn’t just be appealing to your audience; it should highlight how they can get involved.

If you want your audience to consume your content and act upon it in a certain way, then it also needs to influence them to take action. Inspire them, entertain them, add value to the world they care about and then give them a reason to get involved -- they’ll enjoy the content more and become advocates for your brand.

audience-first content

Giving the keynote at Summit Media's #SummitAudienceAware

4. Target audiences that will share and influence their peers.

When thinking about your content distribution strategy, target those who have a predisposition to share and talk about your content to their networks.

Develop Advocate/Influencer panels, and involve them in your content creation.

Think about every link in the content chain. support your content mission with owned channels from inside to outside your business, including internal staff communications: if your team and your partners are living and sharing your brand, it becomes a lot more authentic... and it becomes an owned channel that doesn't need media budget.

5. Utilise both “always on” and tactical content around key events.

Think of your content as evolving story with a cast of characters and story arcs.

A brand is always on and evolving, and so too should the story it tells. Your content output should be dynamic, ramping up around key events that are relevant to your audience and that align with your brand’s prupose.

6. Seize the day -- have "thinking-feeling-doing" meetings.

News teams, breakfast show producers on TV and radio, as well as leading editorial blogs all conduct daily meetings to discuss the hot topics. They’re trying to figure out what are people thinking feeling doing and talking about on that particular day. Brands need to be doing this so they can reflect on what is going on in the world and what their consumer feels about it, as well as capitalise on relevant opportunities to get involved in the conversation.

7. Create diverse teams who understand strategy and how to tell a story.

Good ideas can come from anywhere – but you’re more likely to find them if you’ve got a diverse team, with a mix of skills, backgrounds and perspectives. An ideal mix would include people who are strategically minded from diverse storytelling backgrounds such as film, editorial, digital and media teams, as well as agency folk and influencers. The secret is putting the right mix of people together who understand the brand’s purpose and personality.

8. Drive results that meet your KPIs.

Too often we see content that talks at consumers instead of with them.

Whether it’s a brand strategy or product launch or topical tactic, your content should communicate your brand purpose and personality, as well as provoke an action that is going to move the business forward. Be clear about your KPIs early on, so they become a crucial part of the content plan.

As a final thought…here’s one to add to your KPI list of engagement metrics and sales:

How will the content you make have an impact on the world and to your audiences’ lives? Content that can answer that question is the kind of content that provokes action.


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