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17th November 2016 Rebecca Moore

What’s On Our Menu? #DMA

Rachel Williams, Content Marketing Executive, Barbican shares her involvement as a Digital Marketing Academy (DMA) Fellow.

One of the most beneficial things that has come out of our time as Fellows with the DMA is developing a new way of thinking that our mentor DK has instilled in us. This is by no means a way for us to compensate for the fact that we didn’t manage to achieve all our experiments (we’ll be blaming missing kit, lack of adequate lighting and unreliable WiFi for that).

But nonetheless, what we did achieve was the benefit of having someone outside our team, and indeed our sector, to explore our digital production processes that have become ingrained in our campaign planning (see our first blog post here). Someone who made us question why we did things but also why there was sometimes resistance within the organisation to our ideas. Ultimately, a lot of this came down to a lack of internal marketing for ourselves – letting our immediate colleagues and other departments know what digital offers are available to them.

From this, we have started to develop a ‘Menu’ of content types. The need for a menu stemmed from one too many conversations with team members who were impressed with content created for another team, exclaiming ‘I wish we could do something like that’. To which we’d always reply, ‘Well…you can!’ It was this that led a no-doubt baffled DK to suggest we lay out all the content formats we’ve previously worked with (blogs, long form features, video, apps, interactives, podcasts etc) and encourage colleagues to feed into the decisions about what would be the best content format. But also, adding their respective ingredients – curator time, money, copy writing, platform development, design, testing etc – to the menu for a full disclosure approach to commissioning.

By doing this, we hope to not only be able to increase our output but also improve our content’s success by continually thinking about why we want to make this particular content. What are it’s aims? How much money/time/input will it require? And perhaps most importantly, is this what our audiences want from us?

This is something that often gets nudged down the priority list when it comes to commissioning content – what/who do we have access to? Let’s do a video/podcast/interview! Do our audiences want that? How many tickets will it sell? Do we need it to sell tickets? Will its lifespan exist beyond this one moment?

Questions like this prompted us to write a Digital Strategy, wherein we break down exactly why we do digital and how we do digital as a means of evaluation at every stage in our content process – from briefing to production to publication and promotion.

But there’s no point in having a great Digital Strategy available for people to read if they don’t know what we can actually do as team. So that has to be Step 1 before we can start to roll out the new strategy to the wider team.

With this content menu, the aim is to evolve this into an accessibly and functional ‘Communications Toolkit’ to be shared on our Intranet, letting people in on the processes of how we work, how we commission and how we create content to support their campaigns and projects.

This day-to-day document will sit seamlessly alongside our Digital Strategy, resulting in a digital focused approach we all understand, enjoy and can utilise to ensure every piece of content, no matter how small, will excite and engage our audiences.

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