Skip main navigation

Using digital content to illustrate your digital strategy

David Rawlings explains how to use digital content to show people why they should engage with your business.

You know now that digital content should be strategic and based on your business strategy. So, how do you put this into practice?

There are a number of factors to take into account to ensure that your content remains customer-centric and strategic, especially in light of changes brought about by the pandemic, increased use of technology, and societal time pressures.

Firstly, people are giving less and less time to your piece of content. While the average person can spend two hours and 31 minutes on social media every day [1], the time frame for connecting with a piece of content is one minute. And that’s if they connect at first glance, where your opening word or image determines whether your content will be read at all.

The second factor is the rise of the story. Social media in the mid-2000s turned content away from publishing and more towards personal storytelling. If you look at your feed now, on any platform, it’s a constant narrative from contacts and friends, interrupted by corporate messaging. All of it is storytelling. As a result, sales pitches and advertising hooks that push messages instead of telling stories don’t work like they used to.

The third factor is the shift in branding towards connecting with businesses and organisations based not just on what they sell, but on who they are or how they operate. In industries where a personal connection is valued, for example, insurance, luxury goods, education, health or the not-for-profit sector, it is the personal connection that underpins the loyalty the brand is looking for.

In light of these factors, your content needs to move away from flat statements about what you do or sales pitches about what you offer. Instead, it should illustrate your business strategy which gets to the heart of your brand.

Let’s break down the three ways digital should illustrate your business strategy.

1. Digital should show who you are. 

Your digital content should go beyond stating your values, and instead, it should show them.

Consider, as an example, that four of your values as a business are the following:

  • Putting clients first.
  • Over-delivering on service.
  • Demonstrating innovation.
  • Compassion.

On its own, this is just a list of vague corporate buzzwords. There’s no real sense of a point of difference. This is because many people in business, maybe even your industry or your competitors, might use these words too.

This is where your digital strategy fits in. To illustrate who you really are, you could consider the following digital content:

  • Putting clients first: a testimonial in your eNewsletter from a customer endorsing your service after you fixed a problem for them that you created.
  • Over-delivering on service: your website goes beyond “about us” statements and is populated with quotes from real customers talking about how you delivered more than they expected.
  • Demonstrating innovation: your social media shows how you’ve been creative and innovative to arrive at a solution, however small, instead of simply saying “we’re innovative”.
  • Compassion: your content includes people-focused videos that show the heart of your business through the way you engage with clients, customers, the community and your own staff.

2. Digital should show why you’re the preferred option

This, in business terms, is your value proposition. What is the value you provide to customers to ensure they keep coming back? Why do they pick you over your competition?

This is what your digital content should articulate. Consider an example where your customer research shows that the reasons that you’re the preferred option include the following:

  1. Excellent customer service.
  2. Convenience.

What digital content should you produce to illustrate this?

  1. Excellent customer service: in your online ordering system, your terms of service aren’t simply a list of fine print written by lawyers. Instead, you talk about customer satisfaction and how you can accommodate customer needs if they’re not satisfied.
  2. Convenience: the contact page on your website goes beyond just a Google Map, your address, phone number and email. You could include parking options or public transport options, and how to conveniently return products. 

3. Digital should show why you’re in business

Your business strategy will likely include your business philosophy, your vision and your mission statements. Your digital content should illustrate those by showing what they look like in action. Ask yourself: how would our customers know that this is why we’re in business?

For example, your vision and mission statement may say the following:

  • You’re passionate about your industry.
  • You want to help customers/community.
  • You’re exceptional at what you do.
  • You have cornered the market on a particular solution.
  • You’re motivated to make our world a better place.

How could you illustrate this with digital content?

  • Feature blog posts centred on thought leadership rather than promotion. In these posts you can demonstrate your passion for the industry and the community in which you live and work.
  • When you talk about your staff in your content, don’t just talk about their expertise. Instead through video or social posts give us insight into why they raised money for a particular cause. They want to make the world a better place too, and people connect to that.

Notice that none of these ideas are built solely around brand awareness. Remember, somebody can be totally aware of your brand and your business as you go bankrupt!

Importantly, these ideas connect strategy to your content, to ensure that it’s effective. Next, we’ll explore which content to develop.

References

1. Dixon, SJ. Daily time spent on social networking by Internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2023 [Internet]. Statista; 2023 Aug 39, [cited 14 Oct 2023]. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/433871/daily-social-media-usage-worldwide/

This article is from the free online

Developing Ideas and Content for your Digital Strategy

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now