Years ago, we were responsible for helping write and edit a magazine for a Fortune 500 company that it mailed to its employees all over the country. Back then, we called it internal communications (or external communications for more outward-facing work).
These days, we’re writing an online magazine to celebrate Swedish-American lifestyle. Today, we call it content or brand journalism.
What’s changed – or stayed the same – over the past decade or so?
One thing that hasn’t changed is developing relevant content. Whether it was for an internal magazine or annual report back in the day or our online magazine or blog posts today, the content has to be relevant to our audiences to have a chance of breaking through the clutter they endure each day. Capturing the voice and tone that’s right for our readers remains as important today as ever.
The delivery of our messages, however, is one of the biggest changes. For one, we have far more platforms to shout our message, whether it be on social platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook or blogs – this often requires us to tweak our content so that it is a best fit for each platform rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. For another, we have far more ways to share our key messages: While the media still is important to raise awareness (that third-party endorsement is always crucial), it’s probably a smaller slice of the communications pie than it was a decade ago.
Another big difference is having the ability to better ensure that more of your audience sees your content. Whereas it was difficult to determine how many employees of that Fortune 500 company took the time to read our printed magazine, today, for instance, it’s become common to boost content with a little bit of social advertising and then track analytics to gauge traffic, interactions or leads.
A lot has changed over the years. At the same time, the song remains the same.