6 key ways to rethink your content to be more sustainable

19 Jun


Written by

Louise McNutt




6 key ways to rethink your content to be more sustainable
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For companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint, all parts of their business must be looked at and actions must be taken across all activities to ensure that an ESG (Environmental Social Governance) strategy is upheld. 

Marketing and communication teams are also being impacted by a new sustainable way of working, particularly in a context where the growth of new technologies and innovation has consequences on the carbon emissions released into the atmosphere. 

From the devices, software and practices used by marketing and communications team, there is much to be done to reduce a company’s digital footprint. 

Here we look specifically at how content production can help support a sustainably focused marketing and communication strategy and how even making small changes to content production, can make a significant difference. 

Slow down and stop snacking

One recent trend in content production was “snackable content”. Short, easily digestible pieces of content were churned out by brands in the hope of piggybacking off of new trends and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) keywords. 

In order to keep up with a “snack content” strategy, brands were locked into producing a constant stream of new pieces, which were published across their various platforms: websites, social media and newsletters.

Publishing such large swathes of content means storing data (text, images and videos) on cloud storage and has a clear impact on a company’s carbon footprint. 

It may as such be time to rethink how content is produced and switch to a “slow content” method. 

Slow content is the idea that “less is more”. Instead of a stream of articles, in-depth articles are published regularly but less frequently. 

Focusing on quality over quantity, slow content is an approach which works to unearth the subjects your audience are interested in and go into detail about them. In this way, you are taking the time to understand your audience and deliver the content that they are looking for.

Slow content is also content that is more evergreen. This means that your content will still be relevant in the future, meaning that even if your web article stays on your website, it is drawing in traffic and taking up space that is useful and optimal for your communication strategy. 

Slow content is therefore about adding value to your communication channels, such as your website or social media and standing out from your competition. 

Slow content may come in the form of: 

  • Long form web articles
  • Guides for certain subjects
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Interviews
  • Webinars

The idea of slow content is to carefully consider the subjects that you are going to work on and spread them out across a year. Working to understand your audience through tracking KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or even running focus groups, interviews or workshops means you are able to deliver the content they are interested in and can’t find anywhere else. 

Establish a clear roadmap, and stick to it

Instead of adding content to your various channels as and when you feel like it, an established roadmap helps you understand the content needs of your company. 

By setting out the key moments in a year (your events, significant days in the year etc.) you can understand how much content you need to produce. 

Working in this way involves setting limits to how much content you will produce and gives you the opportunity to better understand which content you will publish on each of your channels and what format it will be in. 

As well as allowing you to prepare better, it also means that you control content production and the amount you will be publishing, helping to mitigate carbon emissions. 

Carefully choose your communication channels

Nowadays there are a plethora of different communication channels that can be tapped into. Should you share a video on TikTok or instead create an editorial piece for LinkedIn? Whilst there are a multitude of platforms to choose from, it doesn’t mean that every brand must be present on all of them. 

For example, an investment banking group is unlikely to communicate with its audience on Instagram and influencer content about a fast fashion brand doesn’t really have a place on LinkedIn. 

In this way, you can reduce the content that you are publishing by making strategic decisions about where you will publish. Take a look at the channels that work for your brand, and on a larger scale for your industry. By tracking your KPIs, you can see where you get the most interaction and as such where your audience is interested in hearing from you. 

By choosing the optimal channels for you, you are able to focus on creating highly relevant content, that is adapted to your audience, instead of a one-size fits all approach to all your channels. 

Your content is more than a one-hit wonder 

If you’ve spent time working on a long article or building an e-book, it’s a shame to publish it once and never come back to it. This is particularly true if you’ve had to photograph images or travel to interview people, activities which are all generators of carbon emissions. 

Instead, make your content go further by recycling it or adapting it into different format. A webinar for example can be transformed into a podcast episode or an article into a short social media video. Take your content further and as such reduce the amount that you are producing. 

Share third party content 

Just because you didn’t produce the content, doesn’t mean it’s not any good! Content from third party sources shows you are aware of the trends and events that surround your business and that you are not only promoting your own work. 

What’s more, sharing content produced by others means you don’t have to use up storage space or have to add images to your own website. This helps you reduce the content that is published on your own channels but means that you are still active and engaged with the type of content that your audience is looking for. 

Collaboration is key

In a large organisation, teams from across the company may be publishing the same content without even realising it. Added to that, in a company that has multiple parts to the business, it may be the case that different teams have their own channels (social media, newsletters etc.)

This way of working clearly adds a significant amount to a business’ digital footprint and could mean that your audience ends up receiving the same information from different parts of the business multiple times. 

By consolidating your content and streamlining the amount of accounts you have, you not only optimise the content that your audience is receiving but you reduce the weight of your communications and their associated carbon emissions. 

By collaborating with teams across your business, you can create content that speaks about your whole business and therefore more cleverly targets your audience. 

It may seem that content production is a small part of a digital sobriety strategy but when you consider how much storage space is taken up as you add text, images, videos and audios to your various channels, you’ll understand that taking the time to reduce and rethink your content is a clever way to reduce your digital footprint. 

From slowing down to recycling and collaboration, how you produce content may have to change a little but in doing so you are more astutely targeting your audience and in helping to contribute to a new sustainable way of working. 

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