You might be interested in/in need of a new concept which I’m labelling the ‘content brand’. Pie in the sky or potential winning idea? Have a read and see what you think.
Common Barriers to Content
As a starting point, below are the common problems I’ve encountered when working with a large number of organisations, which the concept is trying to solve:
o Weak brand concept/sense of brand: there is no really purpose for the brand or there is disconnect between what it thinks it is and how it presents itself etc.
o Red tape: Doing anything takes a very long time owing to red tape of various kinds
o Lack of time: people within the organisation have very little time, meaning they can’t provide the help necessary to get through the red tape
o Technical limitations: a poor choice has been made for the CMS and you can’t make the changes needed for building an effective content journey
Of course, solving these is the first preference – but what if things just aren’t going anywhere?
Other Important Things to Consider
Some other important points to consider when trying to overcome these barriers:
o If you develop a brand that resonates and has a clear reason for existence, it can grow exponentially
o Users start off not caring at all about what you do or who you are, they care about themselves and whether you can solve their problem
o ‘Branded content’ tends to be unsuccessful unless you have a brand that really resonates, or if the user is a long way down the journey. In many cases you should aim to be more of a ‘content brand’.
The Content Brand Idea
Set up a separate ‘content brand’ for your client, on a new domain with a completely separate existence.
This could immediately take away all of the common content barriers:
o It gives you something that can grow exponentially, as you can be clear on the purpose
o There is no red tape as it doesn’t have any association with the current brand
o You can use your own CMS
o You can be left to do everything.
You can then craft the user journey to arrive at the client site when they are ready to convert. Or you can commercialize the content under its own banner.
Of course there will be SEO implications in the short term – but could these worth sacrificing to progress in the long term?
Example: A Personal Injury Law Firm
For personal injury, the broad problem that users are trying to solve is getting their life back on track.
In terms of having a deep understanding of this, many law firms haven’t managed to present themselves with authenticity – the basis for websites in the sector is really saying what the law firm does, rather than helping solve the overall problem.
If this is proving impossible to change, you could set up a new ‘content brand’ based around rehabilitation. The primary purpose is providing advice and guidance for helping people getting back on with their lives. Sections could include pain management or returning to work.
The user journey on this site will filter down to claiming as one strand of this overall problem, which is when the law firm gets involved. Or you commercialize the new brand.
Example: Retirement Finance
For retirement, the broad problem that users are trying to solve is doing what they want to do after their current career.
Many brands in the sector offering financial products to retirees don’t seem to recognize this overall problem – or at least don’t reflect it in how they present their content. The basis for website is often saying what products they offer, rather than what they can help retirees do.
If changing this mindset isn’t going anywhere, then you could set up a new ‘content brand’ with the primary purpose of helping people do what they want to do in retirement, such as go traveling or take up a new hobby – rather than a primary purpose of selling the financial products.
This is more likely to grow, as above all else you are talking in terms of what people are interested in doing, rather than what they need to do.
The user journey on this site will filter down to finance as one strand of the overall purpose, which is when the financial product brand gets involved. Or, again, you simply commercialize the new brand.
Long Term Implications
Hopefully if what I’ve managed to get down makes sense, you can see the potential long term implications.
The ‘content brand’ may outgrow the current brand and become the new focus, with no barriers. Or, less radically, it might simply show what can be achieved if the barriers are removed for the current brand, leading to consolidation and a re-think.
It might just be the answer to your problems?