Make Content Useful for Multi-Channels

“Instead of one way interpretation, web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment a buyer needs it.” – David Meerman Scott

Just love the words – ‘content is king’! People are beginning to realize how true this statement is and how vital it is to have great content and make content useful for every possible channel available to customers now. With so much information available and so much information to share coupled with the fact that there are so many devices – handheld and smart – on which to access this information, companies cannot afford to ignore that customers expect that you provide them with content and make content useful across all the channels. If customers expect it – it must be done. Right?

Even the internet and companies that make devices to connect people have become more aware and understand that there is no escaping information and the fact that customers will check on everything before they make a purchase. From your own experience you would know that content over the internet has grown dramatically and companies are focused on making their websites more interactive, graphically enhanced and having content that is consistently updated, relevant and useful. Not only content on websites but companies are ensuring that they make content useful for multi-channels too – it could be via a desktop, laptop, handheld device, smart phone or any other device.

If you are still wondering why you should make content useful and accessible over multi-channels – reports reveal that the surge of information in the recent years has been more than the actual history of humankind and has been mainly on-line or digital. This has been combined with so many devices and means to deliver the content and therefore companies cannot afford to not make content useful across all channels and also present it in a fresh and cost effective manner to the customers. There is no point of content anywhere if it is not relevant and useful to the end users.

The internet is no longer just a tool or medium to upload content and graphics, but the management of this content and making it useful have become equally vital. As the number of channels increased and more can possibly emerge, the more crucial it has become to keep customers engaged via the content on these channels. The mind-set of the customers is now one that refuses to wait and accept anything that is half-baked and therefore does not arrest their attention. It is all about keeping the customer fixated on your business – who you are, what you can deliver, what you say, how you say it – are all factors of content and unless this content is useful and spread across multi-channels, it would be hard for companies to sustain their customer’s interest for too long.

Of course, companies can weigh and place their content strategically and use each channel as they please. Despite using the word multi, it does not mean that companies must be everywhere. Rather it means that they make content useful and use the right channels in the most beneficial manner to display the content. While it is an intelligent move to be ready for any channel, companies must know how to integrate all the channels being used to reinforce and emphasize their company’s strategies and make content useful for their customers. Whatever be the numbers of channels being used, make content useful and seamless and be so well connected across that customers see your company as a whole and not divided or in silos.

The customer of today is powerful, well-informed and possesses the best and latest gadgets. The emergence of their power has given rise to more companies, more products and a plethora of choices that customers of yesteryears did not have. Customers are no longer bound or in any need of following one single company, channel, device and even content. They demand and expect to have all at their disposal, irrespective of whether they want to use all that is available or not. Companies that can manage all these realms and integrate them and keep them standard across all touch-points – in the physical realm or in the digital one – are the ones that are succeeding and poised for even further growth.

We are focusing here on content – so in order to make content useful for a company and its customers, it should serve the interests of both. Content should be such that it controls the kind of experience a customer will have in the digital realm – customers must feel happy and find relevance in what your company is conveying through content. The use of multi-channels in this context is to ensure stability and uniformity of the information across and making it seem like the content has been personalized to suit the interest of the customer. If the company is conveying customer focus in their physical spaces, their digital realm must convey this too and more forcefully. This is possible only through content and the standard message across all channels.

It is easier to make customer service personalized and convenient when a customer visits, for example, a store. The staff, ambiance, products, space and other facilities on the physical premises all can convey personalization and relevance for the customer. In order to match this physical space to the virtual space, companies must be able to balance it by having relevant designs, pictures and most importantly content that conveys the same affinity and personalization as in the store. In fact, customers now seem to be shifting to first looking up the ‘on-line store’ before actually making a trip to the physical one.

Useful content over multi-channels is probably one of the foremost ways to increase brand awareness, keep customers engaged and thereby ensure a customer base that is loyal and profitable. There is no business or industry sector that can say that they don’t need content or that making content useful has not benefited them and made their customers perceive that they will receive great customer service and a line of offerings that match their tastes and needs. For example – a luxury hotel had a menu describing some of their Asian dishes with such flair, that they saw an increase in the sales of these dishes. This was all due to the ‘content’ – the way the dishes were described. Had they stuck with the drab content they had earlier, their sales would have probably dropped. Making content useful for them meant being able to appeal to the ‘taste buds’ and emotions of the customers – making their customers salivate and want those dishes just by reading the description. This is what every business needs – in the real world and in the digital space.

Making content useful for multi-channels also means ensuring that is displays agility and flexibility for customers. Being at the forefront of any business, content must show the customers that the business they are dealing with will be able to respond quickly, efficiently and with seamless collaboration across all teams to give them the highest levels of customer service possible. The content must be effective enough to let customers know that whichever channel they choose to connect with the company, they would be met with the relevant information and a set of people who will know instantly what to do for the customers from a service perspective.

When companies decide to support and connect with customers across channels they would need to manage the content centrally – not just for uniformity but also because the manual input of content is tedious and onerous – given the large amounts of content there is. Continuous monitoring of feedback from customers, via all the channels, is also crucial in order to refine and keep the content relevant so that the experience customers have with the company in the digital realm is uplifting and engaging.

Over time, content has become a key differentiator and there seems to be no signs of this letting up. Companies that can make content useful and effectively use it across channels will prosper in the future – they will be the ones using content to reflect that they are unique and can offer customers what no one else can. Does the content on your communication channels spell ‘useful’ and relevant?

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