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Your Guide to Creating a Comprehensive Digital Signage Content Strategy

How do you fight the ‘set it and forget it’ mentality when it comes to content creation? You come up with a strategy. Our 8 steps will make sure that your content strategy is goal-based and hits your organization's targets.

ScreenCloud Post

Digital signage is perhaps one of the only marketing mediums where the “set it and forget it” mindset can creep in. You wouldn’t let your website or social media get outdated, so why, when we put screens on our walls, do we think less about what they’re showing?

When creating a super clear outline of your digital signage content, it can be useful to start from the top and plan what content you will show and, most importantly, why. If we think of digital signage as a long-distance run there are two main hurdles. 

The first hurdle to digital signage content is technical setup. Luckily, there is a simpler way that doesn’t require leads, expensive media players or break-the-bank hardware to showcase your videos, images, and social media on screen.

The second is updating content. With digital signage there comes a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality, where you may agonize over your first batch of content, but after you set it up, you never look at it again. The same content stays up on the wall, on loop, showing the same videos or images which eventually become mediocre to all watching, if not out-of-date completely. However, don’t fall into this trap: digital screens contain huge potential for reaching your audience in a way that you can’t on the web or social media. 

The need to create and develop a proper digital signage content strategy is vast. Just a few of the benefits include:

  • Improved brand perception
  • Content that your audience actually wants to see
  • A solid foundation for great communication
  • More audience engagement
  • More user generated content on social media and feedback sites
  • More traffic to your website or other owned channels
  • Improved internal communication
  • Content that is easier to update and manage

If you need help setting up your digital signage display then head to our hardware selector tool. Once you have your hardware decided, then you can get started on how to build a powerful digital signage content strategy.

Ask questions to set goals

When we don’t have clear communication goals, our digital signage content will falter. To avoid this, the first question to ask is: why are you using digital signage? Common digital signage content objectives could fall into the metrics camp:

  • Increase web traffic (send audiences to a specific URL from your signage)
  • Sell more products (in the case of restaurant promotions and upselling)
  • Increase signups to an event or mailing list
  • Gain more social media followers or user generated content
  • Build more community with customers

Alternatively, objectives could aim to drive viewers towards more desirable behavior:

Author of The Coaching Habit Michael Bungay Stainer’s “And what else?” strategy can come in handy here. The AWE question is used to stay curious about what your goals are and why because the “first answer is never the only answer—and rarely the best answer.” Once you clarify what your digital signage goals are, then ask, and what else? so you can continue growing your strategy.

Let’s take an example of this in action.

Lenovo, PC and tablet manufacturer, needed to increase the awareness of specific products within their physical store locations. To do this, they needed to find a way to get customers interacting with them, to learn who Lenovo are and what they do.

Lenovo #expressyourselfie selfie digital signage social media wall example

From these goals, Lenovo’s digital signage strategy was twofold. Firstly, they created a digital signage ‘selfie’ wall in-store with the #expressyourselfie tagline, which utilized a series of backgrounds and allowed visitors to use Lenovo’s tablets to take images and push them to social media channels.

Lenovo’s first goal was achieved: visitors were learning about the products and helping spread the word to other potential users across social media.

Secondly, Lenovo ensured that they consistently pushed new messaging to their digital signage screens, updating promotions and providing key product releases. This kept visitors engaged with the brand and its developments, rather than simply pushing the same advertising content over and over again.

Set measurable growth targets

There are different ways to measure the effect of your digital signage content. You can measure return on objectives, looking at specific business results and how digital signage can help. There are numbers you can monitor, such as social media followings or hits to a specific webpage URL. You can count how many times a unique promo code is actioned, or even rely on qualitative data by asking your audience their thoughts.

These are all great measurements of the success of your digital signage content. Whether or not you use them, knowing what you’re trying to achieve will make your digital signage content more effective by default. 

Whether it’s by dollar, number, referral, follower count, web sessions, or even ice cream sales, the metric is your choice. Don’t let this overwhelm you, it’s simple! Set a goal, choose a key performance indicator, then repeat that until every piece of your content strategy has a start, middle and end. 

This doesn’t need to squash your creativity either. Simply adding a unique URL, a promotional code or a call-to-action will help tell visitors what to do and will ensure you get your measurable analytics. 

Remember how successful the Coca Cola ‘Share a Coke’ campaign was?

Share a Coke campaign

It seemed simple: Just print names on a bottle. Yet it led to millions of user generated content on social media, uploads of fan images and a real alignment where people began to identify with the drink again.

This is a powerful example of how the right content can bring measurable change with a simple metric such as ‘get people sharing more.’

Don’t think creativity is just for B2C either. With a B2B brand, you could achieve the same goal by using company polls, dashboards and private social media channels that encourage staff to share more.

Define your audience

There are a lot of questions you should be asking to narrow in on your audience, and we wrote them all in this guide to discover your digital signage audience. On top of this, it’s important to sense-check your digital signage content.

If you haven’t already, you need to create buyer personas. Hubspot has a great buyer persona guide that can help you dig deep into who your customer is, what their personal goals are and how you can help achieve them.

You can see how one of our digital signage customers has defined their audience in the diagram below. Mamuska is a Polish restaurant based in London that made digital signage a core part of their content marketing strategy. By doing this, they are able to connect what’s happening on screen to their core business goals of increasing profitable peaks and enticing new audiences into the restaurant.

Mamuska digital signage audience analysis

From this outline Mamuska has identified:

  • Who their core audience is
  • What their typical day looks like
  • What their typical day looks like during the week vs the weekend
  • What they are interested in at each peak time (breakfast, lunch, dinner etc.)
  • What their objectives are for these core groups (encourage them to return more, buy more desserts etc.)

Once you have your audience personas, it should be much easier to choose and design content.

Pick content for personas

Digital signage should solve the needs of your buyer personas and wider audience. This is when it becomes super useful, can’t-tear-my-eyes-away content that your audience will appreciate.

To get there, think about the pain points of your audience. Perhaps they’re bored with your queues, are nervous in your waiting room (if for a surgery), or want to see content that excites them on their lunch break. Identify the pain point and then think how you might solve this with content.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with your digital signage content. If you already have marketing collateral that you think would work for the big screen, then start with that and grow upwards. There’s nothing worse than putting off your digital signage attempts because you’re waiting for the perfect display.

Scan through images, videos, websites, social media feeds, dashboards, project boards and anything else that you have available to see what might work.

Example of digital signage wall

Some of the content forms you could use for display on your digital signage displays include:

  • Social media: If you already have social media streams that you love and nurture why not put these out into the world? We have a ton of apps and dashboards which allow you to create beautiful social media signage that can easily help fulfill goals of increasing followers and even directing more traffic back to campaign pages on your website.
  • General information: If one of your goals is to make patrons linger longer over their coffee, why not use information of general interest such as news feeds, weather and currency rates? This can also be used with digital signage zoning as a way to attract attention to your screen. We all want to see the latest headlines, so why not set up a zoned display that shows the news, a Twitter feed and your latest product or showcase? 
  • Visuals: Videos, images, infographics and dashboards are all great ways of displaying information in a more visual format. You only have to look at Go Pro’s Instagram account to see how dynamic and emotive their visuals are. The pace is exciting, the shots led by events. They’re selling cameras designed for action and who wouldn’t be inspired to try or buy one after seeing that?
  • Video - our instincts that once helped protect us from danger ensure that movement attracts our eye. This is why video is becoming such a popular format for disrupting the viewer’s glance within social media feeds and across other mediums. This is a powerful way of displaying content to your audience via the medium of digital screens. 
    Notices and humor - how many times do you see people Instagram the quirky messages pubs put on chalkboards to entice people inside? Certainly more than once or twice. Knowing your audience means knowing what you can do to surprise, delight or make them laugh. Humor and emotive messaging is a great way to inspire them to act and share your message with friends. 

Lastly, give your content a ‘sense check’ before it gets displayed on your screens. This ensures you cement your digital signage content with your viewer’s behavior. As a viewer, there would be nothing more annoying than being shown an advertising reel, but not being able to find the toilet. Your digital signage content’s primary goal is to help, inform or impress your audience.

If this means creating a display that shows the way to the toilet, cafe or exit between every slide then so be it. The content needs to be interesting but shouldn’t hinder the experience. Basically, it needs to be worth the watcher’s time.

Segment your content times

Once you have your content you can segment it in order to create the optimal display for your audience. To work this out you may want to think about:

  • What type of audience will be passing by and when?
  • Who are my customers and how will they be feeling when they see my displays?
  • Are my customers different in the morning compared to the afternoon?
  • What information is going to be most useful/relevant/interesting to my audience at any given moment?

You need enough content on your digital screens to keep your audience engaged, but this may be a lot less than you think. Creating the perfect playlist to tell a story or ‘anchor’ your digital signage display only really works if your audience is going to be watching the content for more than a few seconds. Figure out their viewing times and adjust the amount of digital signage content accordingly.

Try to get as targeted as possible. If your screens are placed at the entrance to the store, you may want your messaging to be generic, but if they’re placed over a hot counter in your deli, make the content super relevant to those items. As you can see for our restaurateur client, the more relevant information that’s broadcasted closer to the point of purchase, the more effective it will be.

In an office, reception, restaurant or hotel bar, your audience is likely to linger longer. You can use this opportunity to create one full piece of content (such as a video infused with client testimonials, action shots, interesting stories and case studies) or you could create lots of short pieces of information, perhaps led by a theme or with introductory slides.

Once you have created your content and set it up into playlists and schedules this is a great way to check that the narrative makes sense. Could you simplify your messaging for those who will only catch a glimpse? Is there too long a pause between each slide? Watch it back as if for the first time and try to condense your messaging and format.

Build for engagement

How many times do you think a brand has jumped on a social media channel without realizing that their audience doesn’t actually use it? An Instagram display wall would look awesome on your digital screen but if your audience doesn’t use Instagram, they aren’t going to know what it is and you won’t receive any additional social traction as a result.

Some of the digital signage content tactics you could try include:

  • Competitions
  • Social media conversations that ask for audience participation
  • Voting and polling
  • Product competitions 
  • Live data - website hits, sales metrics, conversions
  • Team insights
  • Customer storytelling
  • Points of interest
  • World events and commentary

For example, Virgin, perhaps one of the biggest and most successful brands in the world, conducted a study in order to underpin its future content strategy with data-led insights.

They looked at:

  • What people search for
  • What they follow on social platforms
  • The views and interests they express online

From this they were able to create a strategy for how the website could use content to drive higher engagement.

One insight was that space travel was promoting the most buzz around the brand, as opposed to fitness, travel or any of Virgin’s other verticals. This was then used as a key theme through which to generate conversation and showcase insights.

Perhaps you don’t have as much data or research to hand as Virgin did but I bet you could still work out what gets the best engagement with your audience.

Review and Adjust

ScreenCloud, like many digital signage CMSs, will offer you the ability to preview your content and review your playlist before setting it live. But you won’t truly be able to assess your content until you get it up on the big screen and give it the mom test.

Grab a few colleagues or friends, get your playlist running, and then step back and try to see it through new eyes. Is the text easy to read? Does the content stay on screen long enough? Is there enough of it?

You’ll be amazed how many tweaks will be glaringly obvious once you get your content up and running in an audience-facing environment.

Create an evolving strategy

The true benefit of cloud-based digital signage (like ScreenCloud) is that your content is never set in stone. Unlike print, static signs or old digital signage displays powered by USB sticks, there’s endless potential to create content, test ideas and refine your offering.

Perhaps you want to try a fun way to sell more desserts by creating a distinct promotional code, hiding it within a video and telling every viewer who finds it that they can grab a free ice cream. Or maybe you want to react to Pokemon Go, or the latest Presidential elections by popping up a slide or image that gives your insight to the topic. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

As we mentioned earlier, the purpose of a digital signage content strategy is to ensure your content doesn’t get stale. Don’t spend time and effort setting up your digital signage then let it rot away like an unloved website or weather-tarnished static sign.

This guide can be revisited at any time. Your measurables can be tracked at any given moment. We become much better marketers and our money is better spent when we review and adjust our digital signage campaigns and uncover what really works for our audience.

About ScreenCloud

ScreenCloud helps teams in 9,000+ organizations around the world communicate with those who matter most, using the screens on their walls and the content already in their systems. 

ScreenCloud’s digital signage can inform employees on corporate information like social media feeds, data visualizations, emergency alerts, and live broadcasts – or even simply the news, sports scores and weather. 

Sign up for a free demo and see how digital signage can work for you today.

 SC Gradient

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