Nightcap: Day Three

By Kimberly Charles, Strategic Planner, Mindshare

Day three at SXSWi was just as packed as the rest. But one of the great things about an event like this is that in between all of the running around for sessions, you can grab a portable charger from a Mophie-branded St. Bernard, give your elevator pitch in a branded elevator, have a seat on the Iron Throne with HBO, and even join Hootsuite's pedi-cab bus.

But now onto the content - literally. A big theme at SXSWi has been the changing nature of content and entertainment. My day featured several sessions on the keys to content development from an editorial, user-generated, and data focus - and how it all impacts a brand.

Industry leaders and innovators continue to shed the old content development strategies that result in unauthentic, disruptive content. And all brands and companies must adapt to incorporate the countless data and insights available at our fingertips in order to continually produce successful and engaging work. 

The day started with an editorial perspective from Glamour and Refinery29. The big question was: How do we incorporate data and insights to influence editorial work, without sacrificing our "gut" instincts or inspiration that have historically led to success?

Pairing an open mind and proper training, editorial teams have begun the shift to incorporating multiple data touch points in their content development. While monitoring their content in real time, they garner valuable insights that allow them to consistently optimize. The ability to apply multiple metrics unlike ever before ensures repeatable successful content, while driving new editorial themes and ideas altogether.

Data has also allowed these teams to optimize how they serve up content to their audiences. One example from Poshly provided People Magazine with the insight that their magazine readers prefer flat iron hairstyle content, while their digital audience prefers blow dry hairstyle content. As a result, brands can apply this insight and begin to optimize which channel is being leveraged to push out specific key messages.

In the afternoon, I headed over to a session that focused on the future of YouTube for content creators and brands. Given the low barrier point of entry, YouTube has tons of different content formats and verticals that have proven successful. As brands look to develop relevant videos online, often times the credibility and authenticity of the talent comes into question. Once again proving that everything is science, talent manager Sarah Weichel argued that YouTube as a digital platform has been built to provide metrics for its content and talent. Which then allows a brand to project engagement and ROI for the branded message that they're trying to deliver.

Additionally, as consumers engage with digital video content more and more, the distinction between Hollywood developed content and YouTube content becomes irrelevant. The key to content creation then becomes connecting the brand story and key messages with videos optimized for success - content that provides your target audience with entertainment or an educational service.

In efforts to summarize the countless insights from today's sessions, I've boiled it down to two intertwined themes on the keys to content development:

  • First, we must leverage the technology available to develop data-driven content to ensure success.
  • Additionally, we must remember that we as consumers delight in engaging with great content, regardless if it's branded - when it's providing a valuable service.