Every day our inboxes are filled with content. And if you’re in the arts marketing space, well then, your inbox is filled with content about content; content marketing to be specific.
But are any of us truly content with our content?
Content marketing is the communications and marketing strategy of giving your fans more of what they want – more of you, your art and your artists, in exchange you have the opportunity to share with them those important events, fundraisers and more that allow you to reach the business objectives for the organization.
While not based as a strictly quid pro quo transaction, the fact you are investing resources into the development of the content – either through written word, photography or video – creates an expectation there should be some sort of return from your fans.
When we get back to the very beginning principles of your organization’s art and artists, the idea is to share the joy, the talent, the beauty of art.
What better way is there to share the passion of the art than to package it throughout your marketing and promotion? However, sometimes that is easier said than done when looking for the idea for the next donation campaign or how to burst through on selling another few hundred tickets.
But this is the time when the true marketist shines through. Your responsibility is to take your content to the next level and to dig deeper and go beyond the first few levels of trite and sometime ineffective clutter, and past the easy stuff on your way to the message that will provide the greatest amount of impact.
It is difficult to plan this excursion into the depths of creativity. But as every campaign launches and then ultimately settles into its stride, you find the point when it is a good opportunity for you to revisit your original work and take a new, fresh look at the message, the audience, the medium and the frequency to gauge whether they are working together effectively.
Because we’re focusing on the actual content of the content at this point, be aware of anecdotal feedback about the message. Since you’ve made the well-researched decision of what medium will carry the message and at what frequency it will be shared, you are left with only the content to be revised, refreshed or left alone to meet or exceed the results you originally projected. If you are lagging behind your goals, you will need to make major modifications. Waiting for content to deliver beyond a certain point is similar to throwing good money after bad – and there are not many Executive Directors that exhibit patience.
We have found that with any campaign, not only do you have multiple audiences, each wanting to see or hear content in a different way, but the marketing should be split into different phases. Phase 1 or your introductory stage will look and feel different from Phase 2; when you might become somewhat more targeted in your messaging given the results of Phase 1. Between these phases, you may look at ways to refresh the message based on the calendar or timeline for it to have more impact.
By the time you reach Phase 3, you should be evaluating your progress and deciding whether or not to push your creativity to the next level and craft new content for the final phases of your project. Building in the ability to change direction, appeal to a different audience or refresh a stale message are important ways for arts marketers to remain at the top of their game as they are constantly under pressure to create the leads, build excitement and otherwise keep attention high for each program and project in the org.
Next time we’ll delve into content as a product used to create your own multimedia empire, but for now working on making your audience feel content with your content, and the results are sure to follow.