The pandemic created many challenges for some brands and content creators that rely solely or mostly on third parties for their storytelling and production work. This, despite the absolute necessity for organizations to invest in strong owned content and home base properties — websites, e-newsletters, podcasts, text messaging, publications, etc. — for strong long-term branding, positioning, marketing, sales or donations, relationship building, and more.
Paid media’s targeting potential allows for augmenting and amplifying of your stories and messages and for reaching audiences you can’t reach as easily organically, but great brands are not build primarily on advertising anymore, and many organizations don’t have the resources necessary to break through the clutter on the back of paid promotions.
Yes, earned media is an important foundation, and often low-hanging fruit, but with media fragmentation, skeleton teams that are stretched thin, and massive transition, you can’t rely on third parties to carry your message and connect you with your key stakeholders.
And don’t get me started on shared media. Social media channels are important as outposts, but brands that staked their claim on platforms owned by those with a for-profit model are paying the price, because shared channels tricked too many into thinking they existed for the benefit of individuals and brands, and then they morphed into the paid media model.
Our team started building a creative asset management library (we use Canto) seven years ago. When the pandemic hit, we had thousands of photographs, thousands of hours of video, a new podcast, a solid base of newsletter subscribers, and thousands in our text-messaging system. Plus, we had built strong relationships with various stakeholder groups that allowed us to curate content when we needed something.
Before COVID hit, a couple members of our team had become licensed drone pilots, which offered us another way to capture content without having to worry about social distancing considerations. Finally, we used the current zeitgeist as a creative opportunity to juxtapose archived content of crowds in schools with newly shot footage that captured empty hallways, playgrounds, classrooms, and cafeterias from the same schools to showcase what was now missing.
Our efforts over the last seven years allowed us to continue producing new creative despite all of us operating remotely from home and not having access to many spaces available prior. Our productivity never waned — in some respects, we were more effective. We had so much to draw from, so much to recycle and repurpose from our digital asset management system, edited, categorized, and tagged for times like this.
Just like the professional counsel about financial investing … yesterday was the best time for you to invest in your own content — today is the next best time.