3 Ways to Future-Proof Your Content

Vikas Verma

VP & Global Head of Research

Ocean Spray’s viral TikTok moment. Zappos’ Customer Service for Anything hotline. Cottonelle’s #ShareASquare. It’s fair to say the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way brands interact with their customers.


It’s no longer enough to simply invest in content marketing, which 70% of marketers are actively doing. Whether your end user is a system administrator or a traditional consumer, they’re all looking for one thing: connection. To foster that connection, brands must create content that is meaningful, relevant, personal, and adaptable.


We refer to content with these traits as future-proofed.’ 


Future-proofed content stands up against trends intensified by current times, such as the shift to ecommerce, which IBM reports has accelerated by five years. It’s created in a manner that enables it to adapt to change, such as the increasing preference for video, which makes up more than 80% of online traffic. And, future-proofed content enables brands to foster personal connections with their audiences, even on channels otherwise thought to be “consumers only” -- like Instagram, where users now visit at least one business profile each day.


So, how can brands design future-proofed content that engages current and future customers in a noisy, competitive digital landscape? Here are our top tips to do just that.

Designing Future-State Content

 1. Get Digital


Personalized ecommerce content has come to the forefront of future-state content strategies for many brands. Online shopping has been on the rise for years – the number of digital buyers worldwide has nearly doubled to 2.1B from 2014 to 2020 – and the current environment has only exacerbated that growth, driving online sales through the roof. However, many brands still struggle with the quality of their online content, and poor content experiences can cause shoppers to abandon their carts.

 

When considering the home for your content, think about the experience first. Is it engaging? Informative? Does it offer opportunities for users to personalize their experience? There’s a reason why ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books were popular -- people enjoy mapping out their own paths.The same goes for content consumption habits online.


Everything created must be tailored to meet the needs of the end-user. With ecommerce and direct-to-consumer on the rise, the time is now to focus on your brand’s online experience, where quality content -- and the experience within which it lives -- is central. Content for commerce solutions are another option for brands interested in enriching their digital content experience.

 

2. Give it Legs


Without a thoughtful content strategy in place, organizations operate on a shaky foundation. And, a thoughtful strategy doesn’t leverage resources to create everything from scratch or reinvent the wheel.


A future-proofed approach is one that eliminates the guesswork. Putting the human at the center of your content engine is the best place to start. Analyze what’s working and what hasn’t, and create content that can be sliced, diced, and distributed across various mediums. A thoughtful strategy takes into consideration how users and business alike interact with what’s out there, designing an experience that optimizes for those key points of interactivity. 

 

3. Establish Guardians


Part of giving your content legs is understanding and caring for your online communities-- intimately monitoring their reactions, comments, likes, and dislikes-- yes, we’re talking about content moderation.


While content moderation may have gotten a bad reputation in recent years, there are ways it can be handled with care. It’s one that brands simply cannot ignore, regardless of size or market share. In fact, content moderation is critical to protect engaged online communities that will build your brand and drive your business goals.


We’ve penned a separate blog post that advises how to engage customers through effective content -- including content management and moderation in a 24/7/365 world. It’s the reality we’re living in!



Our final recommendation, in addition to the three tips above, is for brands not to shy away from outsourcing their content services.


It goes without saying that the consistent development of high-quality content, coupled with a thoughtful dissemination strategy, is no small feat. It takes significant time, thought, and talent, and many organizations simply don’t have the internal bandwidth to execute at this level at all times. But it’s one of the only ways to engage customers, drive preference, and build a brand. 


In fact, future-state content is one of the best investments an organization can make to ensure their long-term viability.

 

Designing Future-State Content