The idea of content is changing. It’s no longer just about videos, social posts and websites. Our fridges, washing machines and watches are serving us recipes, news, entertainment and advice. It’s all part of a new, encompassing, connected world – the internet of things (IoT).
IoT is a complex, adaptive performance of ideas and information – content – perfectly choreographed with our behaviours. What we want, where we want it, on whatever device is within reach.
Brands are racing to understand what this means for how they talk to customers. These new touchpoints require rethinking how content can work for these new screens in our homes, on our wrists and in places we haven’t even thought of yet.
After all, the goal is to deliver relevant content in the right contexts.
Content strategists usually plan the content that drives websites, apps and brands. Now, they are finding themselves in teams designing systems where hardware, human habits and physical spaces intertwine.
Alongside experience designers and creatives, content strategists are an important part of defining how content powers and populates these ever-evolving networks of connected things.
Does entertainment news only belong on the TV and recipes on the fridge? How should content respond to people’s behaviours? How does it adapt to different touchpoints?
As IoT systems get bigger and more complex, content strategists will also be a part of exploring the physical influence content can have over a connected space. Setting a room light to blink when a piece of content is most relevant, for example.
When it comes to IoT, we’re really coordinating something bigger than just a network of content – we’re building rich, lived experiences. This means we need to define the experience before we burrow into the technology, interfaces and content.
Experience-first thinking also illustrates how important content strategy is to the mechanics of ideas, information and behaviours we encounter in the connected world.
Innovative, insightful content marketing
Every day, businesses ask about IoT and what it means for their brands. Part of this is exploring what it means for content marketing and native advertising initiatives.
As we’ve seen with products like Nike+, brands can innovate their way into people’s daily routines. In the same way, to market within IoT, you need to find ways to enrich lives in exciting and valuable ways. After all, most people won’t want ads appearing on their expensive fridges.
A precise understanding of where, when and how your brand should appear illuminates the right opportunities and ensures you emerge in sensible, welcome ways.
This also involves a layer of innovation: what are the latent or subconscious needs of your customers and how can you create something wonderful to satisfy them?
If we take the time to understand these things, there is unlimited potential to create a connected experience that does for content marketing what Nike+ did for mobile, apps and sports marketing.
Rule of thumb: build the right teams and don’t skimp on strategic thinking. Valuable content built around rigorous customer insights is the difference between Red Bull and preloading a U2 album.
Start with insights, finish with experiences
To make sure IoT-delivered experiences are meaningful and useful, we must take the time to carefully understand the role that real-time, personalised and poignant content can have. And part of this is defining how it’s made, maintained, and served – in other words, content strategy.
While content strategists can’t do this on their own, their traditional skills around change management, publishing and taxonomy design are valuable parts of building these experiences.
When it comes to connected content marketing, everything needs to start with careful insights and a strategy built around what people actually want – not simply what your brand wants to say.
Content in a connected world of things has endless possibilities. It can grow, change, adapt and connect with people in seemingly impossible ways. The best way to unlock this potential is to involve smart content thinkers.