Successful Multi-Platform Delivery Depends On Sound Research
“Create Once, Distribute To Many” has been a goal for broadcasters since the emergence of the Internet as a promotional tool in the late 1990s. Transcoding technology, initially manual but later automatic, was deployed to take the linear broadcast channel and reformat it for digital online viewing. What you were watching on TV was basically the same as what appeared online –sometimes delayed to enable a TV-first strategy and sometimes uploaded simultaneously.
As time marched on, broadcasters began to study their online audiences more carefully and found that they wanted related yet unique content that expanded upon a story they had seen on TV. With no real time constraints and on-demand capabilities, the web helped retain the eyeballs that had left the TV in their living room and were now out and about. With the advent of the “smart” phone, this strategy evolved at a rapid pace.
So the new mantra became: delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time.
Aiding this evolution was a variety of newsroom technology systems that allowed reporters and producers to push a button and the completed story was sent to a multitude of socialmedia platforms simultaneously. In tandem, Media Asset Management (MAM) systems enabled archived content to be repurposed, breathing new life into stored content and making broadcasters’ staff very efficient and timely in their news coverage.
When mapping out the content assets needed to support programming and marketing goals, it’s become critical to plan how each piece of content will be distributed on the various outlets/channels. Not all content is relevant or appropriate for every channel. But more often than not, it can be repurposed in a way that works for the audience and platform. This upfront thinking helps avoid oversights and missteps in production and distribution.
Today new technology is used to analyze performance. Studies have shown that the top three benefits of using analytics technology are: insight into content performance; understanding of audience behavior and preferences; and easier methods for content repurposing. These are all essential to maintaining a relevant multi-platform strategy.
Through extensive research, broadcasters have learned that they must consider each of their distribution channels and audiences separately. No audience is the same and people engage with brands differently based on personal experience and brand offerings. They’ve determined that the best ways to research channel audiences are by using performance analytics and primary research (both qualitative and quantitative).
The key is to analyze the performance of your content on each platform: websites, landing pages, social media, search engines, apps, and so on. They identify positive and negative trends in how people interact with content and adjust accordingly.
To do this effectively, broadcasters have had to re-evaluate the role of their in-house content creation teams and the platforms they support. From acquisition to post-production processes, the right systems and roles will streamline creative execution to make a successful multi-platform distribution strategy possible and sustainable.
Production teams also have to recognize that viewer expectations are not the same for every story or news topic. That’s why broadcasters are making the cross-platform viewer experience apriority in order to increase their brand and viewer loyalty.
The data and insights gained from audience research and channel analytics take the guesswork out of repurposing. Understanding how, when, and where your audience consumes content typically dictates which channels are most important to your specific audience.
Again, there’s no one-size-first-all here. Some viewers might prefer live content over produced pieces or engage with videos more than written articles. Perhaps they trust Google more than Facebook or use their desktop computer more than mobile apps. So, the key is to find what works and support that with a multi-platform approach.
It’s also important to remember that in adapting content, you also have to make sure that the message doesn’t get lost or misconstrued.
Understanding that viewers will come across your content on multiple channels, and while the message should be presented differently, consistency builds trust and repetition builds brand loyalty. Interestingly, some industry studies have shown that trust in a brand increased by 55 percent when a viewer engaged with a brand’s message on six different channels than just one.
Once a broadcaster has their multiplatform strategy firmly grounded in research, they can confidently move on to creating content that will resonate with viewers. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.