Three Tips for Making Content the King of your Business

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Doug Straton
>LinkedIn
Chief Digital Commerce Officer, The Hershey Company

As an experienced general manager, marketer and digital commerce guru, I’ve long championed the role content can play in driving business value. As my colleagues can attest, I’m a brazen evangelist for the five “Cs” in Hershey’s total commerce strategy - Connection, Content, Conversion, Community…all with the Consumer at the center. The education process around our new strategy is a key priority of mine.

“Education and evangelism works wonders during transformative times.”

In this piece, I’ll focus on one of our magic “Cs”… Content. For more on the others, I encourage you to download the Power of Search in a Shopper’s World.

While content can mean different things to professionals across disciplines, I take an inclusive approach. Content your marketing department creates shouldn’t be the only thing that makes its way to consumers. Businesses must look at content holistically, and you might be surprised where I look.

Would your Quality, Regulatory and Compliance (QRC) team be top of mind? For me, yes. I recently sat down with Hershey’s QRC team to talk content. They’re a marketing gold mine, they just don’t know it. My team and I showed them how the ingredient lists - among other data - they load into their internal system plays a role in the “content value chain” as that input makes its way to a consumer touchpoint, a retailer’s product description page. I excitedly said in the meeting, “Congratulations, you’re marketers!” I could tell that was a first given the wide eyes on my colleague’s faces…they had never considered that their work could ever be consumer-facing and be leveraged in some way to enhance the consumer experience.

To me, this moment encapsulates my mindset on content. In today’s consumer goods market, content creators are everywhere. They’re across your entire organization and they’re your consumers.

So, how do you bring all this together when it can feel like a monumental task?

Last week, I had the opportunity to share some of my hard-earned wisdom at Newscred’s Think Content Summit in New York. The event was a mind meld of marketing professionals across brands, startups and agencies.

At the end of my panel, I shared three key content takeaways:

  1. KNOW your content: Content is king, data is its queen. Understand what content is being created across the enterprise and use it. Prove what content works and why. Understand that when you measure the impact of new uses of content, data will be imperfect. Iterate and clearly identify what works over time.
  2. MANAGE your content: Make sure your content is organized, up-to-date and easily accessible to internal teams, agency partners and customers. This allows for consistent execution... quicker and with modularity (think LEGO blocks).
  3. GOVERN your content: Monitor and hold the business accountable for quality and consistent inputs into the content value chain. Altogether, those inputs will make a big difference in your outputs: the consumer’s experience with your company and brands.

You want your team singing from the same song sheet, and it’s up to you to make it happen.

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