Factoring Email Into Your Content Strategy

The idea of brands as storytellers is a notion that has rapidly made it into our marketing-thoughts, as it helps us work towards the ever-elusive goal of ‘ultimate customer engagement.’ 

Every platform contributes to the brand narrative, but this can cause obstacles: simply repurposing content across channels isn’t always the answer.  Where does the cycle of content end? Heavy-duty users, for example, may see multiple distributions of the same content thread in one day, more than likely leading to some frustration.

Consider how your Twitter community often engages in a very different manner to your Facebook community, or how different target segments interact differently on mobile channels.

How then, do you clarify the role of your email campaign within your content strategy?

Fortunately, email is very adaptable to different contexts and content. However, questions for the role of email in the campaign should be asked and clarified up front before the content is created:

  • Is the aim of the email to inform, or to drive traffic?
  • Is the email confirming an action, or prompting one?
  • How much information does the user need up front (i.e. when receiving the email)? Will this be long form or short form content? If it’s the latter, do you need long form content to support it?

So, what should you remember when creating content for your campaigns, and contextualising that content?

Analytics And Data

Using analytics to inform your strategy is important when mapping user journeys. Even though these will always, to a certain extent, remain hypothetical, trying to get them as accurate as possible can only lead to better results. The only way to attempt that accuracy is to analyse your existing user data.

Anticipating the user’s state of mind has proven to be tricky – hence developing different types of content around the same thread or pillar that can cater to various attention spans and contexts.  Use the data available to you (through your email reports, analytics provider, social networks or customer service enquiries, for instance) to map at which point of the content cycle the recipient is most likely to encounter your email campaign.

UX, IA And Content Structure

UX and information architecture is especially important when cross-purposing content.  Yes, the content may not always need to change, but the way you structure it might be different. With email campaigns this often comes up when designing responsive emails, where subscribers viewing the email on a mobile device should be directed to a mobile landing page. The user experience, therefore, may look different to how it would for a recipient opening the email in a desktop client.

The Core Message

Start from the inside-out, it helps. It’s the same as starting from the core message: the best communications are very clear on what the core message is. Defining that first helps you focus and refine your message. Starting from the shortest, more focused message and expanding that to long form content across channels can help you build more concise content.

Go back to those initial content questions you asked. Use the answers to those questions to determine whether your email will be best used for long or short form content and how it will support, or be supported by, your other campaign elements.

Are you including email strategy in your content formation? What’s working for you? Let us know in the ‘Make a comment’ block below.

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