Content Marketing & Strategy for Clean Water
This is perfectly illustrated in the “Flex Fencing” project overseen by the Shenandoah Resource and Conservation Department (RC&D). Challenges here are applicable to many online and offline content projects.
- Collection and organization of content is not enough if it doesn’t convert.
- By necessity, content must be presented with marketing objectives and audiences in mind.
- Not all content marketing strategies should (or can) rely on social media as a cornerstone.
The Flex Fencing project is an excellent example of managing data – content – which starts offline and merges online. My ongoing role is taking this “real world” collection of data and distilling it into a usable form for various stakeholders: program funders, the organizing group (Shenandoah RC&D), and the general public.
This is where the offline world of content meets online strategy.
First, the collection of data. Consider, briefly, the river of information necessary (pun intended) for a project that includes farmers, scientists, environmentalists, NGOs, and private investors. Most projects contain similar levels of diverse audience members. To communicate to each effectively one must present different, yet relevant, portions of the collected data to each audience.
A tactical measure is to use a tool such as Google Docs where each of the groups can access specific information.
Next, consider how you’ll transform this information into action. Data collection and organization is vital, but, this alone won’t embolden your audience – whether farmers or private investors – into action. That takes content marketing – even if, in this example, what you’re “marketing” is progress on, and continued enthusiasm for, a shared goal (clean water). So, to be successful the collected content must explain benefits and demonstrate concrete results in a way that speaks to your intended audience.
What about Social Media?
Social media is a cornerstone to many content marketing strategies. Therefore, it’s easy to forget that some audiences are prevented from accessing social media. No, we aren’t discussing the farmers themselves – some farmers are very savvy here.
Rather, the infrastructure: the RC&D is located in a governmental building that blocks social media sites such as Facebook.
So how to work this into overall content marketing strategy? A single web page and Facebook presence are a start. But, they can’t be the only tools because a large segment of working group is blocked from accessing social media. The alternative? Communicating across counties with tools that aren’t explicitly marked “social” but can function in a shared sense, such as Google Docs.
Side Note: Restoration Economy
This particular project is a great example of what author Storm Cunningham covers in his book, Restoration Economy. The book’s premise is that one of the biggest future economic trends involves private-public restoration projects of the built and natural environment. Can’t you see these projects demanding a combination of online/offline content strategy and marketing?
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