While the task of getting into an “always on” mindset can seem daunting, the truth is that good real-time content marketing takes lots of planning and preparation. The following list serves as a high-level framework for real-time marketing and publishing, to help you get started with your overall strategy and approach. Remember the term “publishing” can apply to many different digital asset types, or combinations thereof, including images, applications, text, and video.
<strong.Act “In the Moment,” and Be Fluid in Your Online Presence. Because your audience is always online and active, it is only common sense that marketers should also be present in their online efforts. It is the difference between existence and nonexistence in a world where conversations come and go if one is not there to be part of them.
Act as a Publisher and Media Provider in Order to Connect Through Content. Because digital touch points occur through content (as defined by a wide variety of content types), there is an increasing imperative for marketers to embrace new forms of publishing. The definition of publishing and content is broad and nuanced in the real-time landscape, and various content types may include images, video, conversation, status updates, applications, and articles, among many others. A real-time digital strategy may include all of the content types mentioned earlier, or a combination thereof. The challenge for marketers is to become comfortable with their own real-time publishing framework and platform and begin to be a publisher on a massive scale in order to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in real-time publishing.
Enable the Spirit of the Audience into Your Online Content and Voice To be effective with a real-time publishing and conversational approach, a marketer must put their spirited and sincere voices on the front line of their real-time presence. Connecting with your audience in a way that they naturally speak and interact is the best way to spread your messages through the digital consciousness. Your audience already has a distinct say in how your marketing efforts and company are perceived, so making the audience a co-partner in your real-time efforts will allow them to resonate in a more synaptic way. Enabling voices means projecting this spirit in your own content and providing a way for users to generate their own content, as well providing insight to help inform how you develop your own products and services.
A Company’s Real-Time Search and Social Identity Is Both “What It Says” About Itself and “What Others Say” About the Company. The reality of the current state of online marketing is that brands and companies can project only so much about how they want to be perceived before audiences provide their own perception of a company the way they see it. Your real-time marketing identity is a combination of what you write, what you say, and how you conduct your business. Your identity will be ultimately defined by the trail of conversation and content in your real-time marketing efforts and by the consumer trail of conversation and content, for better or worse. To a large extent, your marketing efforts are being judged more by what you are doing right now than ever before.
Reach Out to Audiences and Networks in Real-Time, in a Sincere and Present Manner. Whether it is connecting with your audience through conversation and outreach, sharing and curating assets, or creating active and passive content for both networks and search engines, the activity must be defined, sincere, engaging, and committed for the long term.
To Be Effective, a Business’s Primary Networks Should Be Acknowledged and Developed. The fundamental network audiences of a business should include both their own organization (the people working for a company) and their targeted network audience that will be directly interacting with the company. This expansion of the definition of social networks speaks to cultivating social participation, presence, and content development within your organization. Whether you are part of a small company with two or more people or the CMO of a large company with thousands of people, careful study, strategy, and a set of rules to play by will be part of your real-time marketing strategy.
Marketers and Companies Are Obligated to Listen and Interpret Their Data into Meaningful Content and Experiences for their Audience. Analyzing your company’s data should no longer be an option but rather an obligation and commitment to your audience. Your data, and other third-party data, reveals what your audience desires, what they may not be able to find in your network or any other network, and many opportunities for engagement through content and real-time interaction. Your audience tells you what they want in search and social; and as a real-time marketer with a defined strategy, you will be in a position to give back to them in a way that will allow for participating in the conversation on a large scale.
Rob is a longtime digital marketing strategist who has worked with some of the worlds biggest and smallest companies. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, and is the author of “Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing,” Wiley/Sybex.