Turn It Up: Expanding Audience Reach with Content Strategy for a Digital Music Service
“More music to more people.” That was the goal of a major digital music streaming service when they came to Portent. It was time for them to revamp their entire content effort. But to do so they needed to understand their audiences and get data to support a major direction change. To support this goal Portent conducted deep user research and created a multi-stage content strategy to help them streamline content production.
User ResearchContent Strategy
Content for All Channels
To revitalize their entire content effort this music streaming service needed to better understand their audience segments and provide crystal-clear strategy to the organization.
This digital music streaming service came to Portent because of serious difficulty engaging their audiences. They had no formalized audience research or established personas. They did not know how to consistently develop and populate an editorial calendar, how to distribute content, or how to allocate resources to content projects.
They needed to widen the top of their funnel and create more relevant content. But they knew that the content they had been publishing—infrequently and without clear goals—was failing to attract, engage, and retain their audience. Our internal contact needed to make a case to the rest of the team to change directions in their content efforts.
- They struggled to clearly identify and segment their audience.
- They lacked direction on what kind of content to create.
- They struggled to keep up their content schedule or cadence.
- They needed a clear plan to align and leverage their internal writers across the company.
The Customer Journey Content Funnel
Portent developed a strategy to help this music streaming service focus both on top-of-funnel interaction and on driving audiences through the decision journey via a content funnel.
The content funnel includes three types of content: Inform, Answer, and Educate. It was the overarching theme for our work. The model supports the customer journey of awareness, consideration, decision, and the loyalty loop.
Over our 6-month engagement, Portent produced a series of assets to help this music streaming service better understand their existing and potential audiences, the competitive landscape, best practices for the types of content they produced, and tactics to improve editorial workflow and effectiveness. Beyond in-depth analysis and written guidance, we provided training and workshops for their internal teams over several sessions to prepare them to act on the documentation we developed. Much of this strategy focused on top-of-funnel improvement, which was the client’s self-identified biggest challenge.
Based on the music streaming service’s needs and as an outcome of deep audience research, Portent:
- Developed user journeys and personas for three main audience groups.
- Created a strategic plan and specific content types to target each audience.
- Designed multi-month editorial calendar, theme and topic guide, specific recommendations for content production.
- Created workflow, trained writers on personas, trained internal content team on workflow process.
From Guiding Framework to Actionable Strategy
So that they could turn the overall framework into an actionable strategy, we divided the music streaming service’s audience into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and expert. Each audience inspired different content themes:
- Beginners: What’s New and Now
- Intermediates: Inspirations and Connections
- Experts: Anthologies, Artist Backgrounds, and Deep Cuts
We created a user survey to learn more about how listeners integrate music into their lives, what they want from a music streaming service, and how they choose music services. From this, we teased out data about three groups—generations Z, Y, and X—and developed user journeys for each group.
A Content Plan to Grow Audience
The goals: Reaching more people with more content about music to attract and retain a wider audience. Creating better lead generation through content.
The challenges: Different audience groups with different priorities, limited audience knowledge, muddled workflow, an inadequate calendar, and lack of insight into what types of content succeed.
The solutions: User research and persona development, content plan with types to target each audience, topic guide, new editorial calendar, new workflow mapped to calendar, and training for internal teams.
Sequential, Actionable Content Strategy: Each stage of the content strategy built on the previous one: audience research and personas came full circle to creating an editorial calendar and teaching our client how to create content to attract those audiences.
While this music streaming service would unfortunately go on to be acquired too quickly to implement the content strategy outlined here, the feedback from all stakeholders on the impact of the content strategy work was glowing.