Your organization has a problem.
You’ve recently invested in digital signage, seeking the highly-engaging and flexible solutions it provides. You’ve created a few content templates, deployed a few screens, and have begun to see its benefits in action. However, after a few months of success, your growth stops. Your content has grown stale. Viewers are familiar with your messaging and they don’t engage with it as much as they used to.
The obvious answer, of course, is to start producing some fresh material! But unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many businesses who deploy digital signage as a channel for content marketing end up running out of material at some point and are unsure of how to get more. With this in mind, we’ve devised a step-by-step guide for generating content for digital signage.
Step 1: Inspiration and Research
The first step of your content development is inspiration: researching what you have and what your audience wants to see. You likely already have some content on display for each of your digital devices, so your first move is to assess this content and see how well it stacks up.
There are a few key questions to ask during this review:
- Does the content solve a particular problem?
- Do you write and deliver engaging content?
- Does each piece of content have a call-to-action?
Before you start developing a new content strategy for digital signage, make sure that you optimize your existing materials. For example, digital menu boards in restaurants won’t provide many benefits if the content templates aren’t strategically designed to draw attention to high markup items and special offers. Similarly, all the content planning in the world won’t matter if you don’t place your digital display devices in optimal areas for content distribution.
This “pre-creation” stage of digital signage content sets the foundation for everything to come. Assessing the health of your current content strategy will not only improve the value of the content you’ve already created but will guarantee that the new marketing strategies you employ will provide value over time.
Step 2: Content Creation
With the above questions answered, organizations can begin using what they learned to develop fresh content for digital signage. They should base this on a framework that has outlined the overall strategy for the digital signage content, the target audience for each piece of material, and the necessary steps to get it in front of viewers.
The idea here is to take the information above—the answers to our three questions—and use that data to determine what content is at your disposal and what you need to create to achieve the desired results.
Market Research Is Key
Of course, market research is necessary here to determine what pain points the target audience is facing. This will provide valuable insight into what types of material will best drive action:
- Customer feedback via surveys, performance evaluation cards, or focus groups.
- Online reviews on social media, Yelp, Facebook, or other industry forums where customers are talking.
- Research on the competition, including a thorough review of what your direct competitors are publishing, advertising, and promoting, both in-store and online.
This data is where topic brainstorming and content ideation begins. Content marketing excels at direct promotion of goods and services, and this research allows brands to directly address the needs of their specific markets.
For example, a hotel may aim its basic digital signage content strategy at upselling room packages, describing available services, or educating guests about nearby events. However, if that hotel performs market research via online channels and customer feedback, they may learn that a common challenge their guests face is finding affordable transportation after check-in.
With this knowledge, the hotel can leverage their digital signage to advertise their transportation schedules and concierge services. These include partnerships with local taxis, Uber, Lyft, or public transit shuttles. Hotels can easily incorporate this type of information into a digital template and provide direct value to those who view it.
Any industry employing content marketing via digital signage can use the same methodology. Backed by this ongoing research, brands will have plenty of options for their digital content templates.
Step 3: Content Distribution
With a stockpile of relevant topic ideas at the ready, organizations can begin work on step three: The content distribution strategy. This step entails how to present your content for digital signage most effectively to your audience. Of course, this means ensuring that all physical signage devices are in optimal locations where users will see them. But, the decisions don’t stop there:
- Should the content be delivered through interactive kiosks and touch screens that let users explore? (An effective choice for retail digital signage in electronics markets, where customers will want to explore product specifications on their own terms before buying.)
- Should the content be static and automated to guide users through an experience? (A common choice for digital signage in educational environments that want to inform, such as museums or schools.)
- Will the content be best served by a single screen or multiple screens? (Individual screens are more suitable for digital signage in calm environments, such as medical offices. However, multi-screen options, such as video walls, can be highly engaging for retail and hospitality organizations.)
There are numerous aspects to consider in this phase. Organizations should optimize each piece of content for the screen displaying it. The text has to be clear, concise, and easy to take in at a glance. Images must be visually balanced with on-screen copy. Transitions from one screen to the next should be structured and organized.
These design considerations can be challenging to bring to life; businesses that are unsure of where to begin can look for free digital signage templates to get them started in the process.
Content for Digital Signage
At the end of the day, digital signage is all about storytelling. Marketers must use the tools at their disposal to engage your audience, describe the product or service, and explain how these solutions will make their lives easier. It’s a tall order for sure, but the process can be approached one step at a time.
Begin with a thorough assessment of your existing materials. Follow up with some market research and internal brainstorming about what topics may interest your audience. Afterwards, determine the best way to present this information and remember to make each piece as visually accessible as possible.
With these steps in mind, you can guarantee that your digital signage campaign will be fresh and relevant to your audiences.