5 Things: Five best practices for creating effective content

Sept. 21, 2011

by Kim Sarubbi

President/CEO, Saddle Ranch Productions


Digital place-based media is potentially one of the most effective forms of customer engagement and brand promotion. Too many companies get excited about the technology and forget about defining a targeted content strategy. Effective content must strike the right balance of being relevant to the environment, venue and audience within the dwell time, while ensuring it supports the goals of the specific business model.

Here are five key drivers that can help define the right content mix for your business:

1. Objective

The first step is to know the intended message, or what the objective of the digital signage solution is to be. The intention may be to enhance the consumer experience and entertain, or it may be to educate the viewer while building brand awareness. The key is to start with a clear understanding of what the network aims to do, so that content can be created to achieve those goals.

2. Reach

In order for content to be effective, it must be created to captivate a specific audience. Have you ever noticed how British humor isn't necessarily a hit in the United States, while American comedies don't do well in England? That is because different audiences are captivated and entertained by different programming or content. The location of the digital signage and the audience dictate the best style and content for a given network. Effective content messaging starts with defining whom it will reach.

3. Relevance

To capture the audience's attention, content must be relevant to the environment. We already have mentioned intended message and target audience, but there are other important factors to consider. Environment and dwell time are equally important. For example, a patient sitting in a doctor's waiting room may be exposed to digital signage for 10–20 minutes, while a patron at a sporting event may pass by a sign within seconds. Content duration should repeat itself accordingly. The specific venue will also dictate the type of content to created.

4. Engagement

Once the audience begins to notice the screen, they need to be deeply engaged by the content. It must connect with the audience on some level. This is where the real strategizing begins.

A content strategy that clearly identifies messaging, tone, playlist, length, etc., and creates the right mix of the elements, gives customers what they want, which is what ultimately drives results. Consumers that are entertained and educated by digital signage are more easily motivated to purchase.

5. Call to Action

A call to action is the final piece to the puzzle. Knowing the goals or objective of the digital signage network, it is trivial to create a call to action. Consumers need to know what businesses want. It sounds obvious, and it is. Effective content will engage, entertain and educate the audience; and yield an opportunity to impact a sale with a specific call to action. An effective digital signage network will not leave the audience in doubt. Content should clearly communicate how the consumer should respond/act.

When content is created to deliver a specific message, to a specific audience, in a specific venue, the customer experience is optimized, which creates a positive impact. 

For more on content in digital signage, visit our Content research center.

(And if you would like to send in a submission for "5 Things," with five pieces of advice or best practices for digital signage deployers and end-users, please send it to christopherh@digitalsignagetoday.com.)

Topics: Content , Content Design and Aesthetics , Content Management , FAQ

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