ack in the old days, when stores were closed on Sundays and offices were filled with the murky haze of cigarette smoke, you’d ask someone for information about their product or service and they’d slap a fat brochure on the desk in front of you. “Everything you need to know is right here,” they’d say, tapping their finger on the glossy cover. “Have a read and then we can talk.”
You may be sipping whisky during this conversation, I’m not sure. Anyway, the point is that companies in the pre-digital age only had a few options for sharing detailed information about their products and services. Content marketing had been around for hundreds of years, sure. But most companies were getting by with a few ads in the local paper and the good ol’ company brochure.
That brochure was their single source of truth. Everyone in the company would rely on it to make operational decisions, from sales and marketing to finance and management. In fact, the very definition of ‘single source of truth’ (which is an information management term) is an information structure in which data is stored only once. You can imagine the benefits of this approach—less duplication and errors, more accurate metrics and a consistent message to staff, customers and stakeholders.
These days, companies share information about their products and services on an ever-increasing range of channels. Websites, intranets, landing pages, social media, advertising, content marketing, public relations, whitepapers, ebooks, videos, apps … the list goes on. With each channel, there’s a risk of straying from the truth and creating silos of content that each tell a different story. Not only does this dilute your message, it creates a barrier to closing the sale.
Creating a content hub for your brand
Every company needs a single source of truth, no matter its size. Ideally, it should be your website. The information on your website should be the most accurate and up to date information available—the home base for all your marketing channels. Using the hub and spoke model, you would then take the information on your website and share it across all marketing channels.
This not only supports your SEO efforts by driving traffic back to your site, but also gives your audience an opportunity to discover new ways of engaging with your brand. For example, so many brands have amazing YouTube channels that you’d only ever discover through a one-off share on social media. Why not embed key videos within your site? That way, new visitors can discover your video content and existing fans can continue exploring your site once they’ve watched it.
Promoting your website as your single source of truth isn’t difficult. It just takes some clear communication with your team and a few changes to your internal workflow. Here are some tips to make sure your website remains a trusted source of information about your company:
- do a content audit on your existing site, to determine what content you already have and where there may be gaps
- work with an SEO website copywriter (that’s me) to make sure the content on your site is up to date, accurate and in the right tone of voice
- make sure everyone in your team is aware of the new direction and takes a ‘website first’ approach when creating new content and campaigns
- review your website on a regular basis to see where changes, updates or improvements can be made
- keep an eye on your metrics, so you understand where visitors are coming from and how they’re engaging with your site.