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Building a Robust Museum Digital Content Strategy

For the past couple of years, MuseumNext summits have reinforced the idea that the most thriving museums are those where digital departments do not exist in isolation. They highlight the necessity of synergizing the efforts of programming, marketing, digital, and commercial teams for the successful orchestration of both online and real-world experiences.

At the nucleus of a museum’s digital content strategy lies content creation. It becomes crucial here to pool the talents, insights, and creativity of professionals from various disciplines. This cross-pollination can shape a dynamic and influential digital content calendar that promotes engagement and displays the museum’s finest offerings.

In recent times, digital platforms have allowed museums to forge a deeper bond with their audiences, typically through groundbreaking content. A case in point is The Black Country Living Museum’s 2020 TikTok campaign, which featured concise, historical educational videos. Amassing over 1.3 million followers, the campaign illustrated the tremendous power of a holistic digital content strategy in propelling a museum’s long-term success.

Formulating a Museum Digital Content Strategy

A museum commencing the development of a digital content strategy should first examine available resources. This involves identifying opportunities from current exhibitions or collections. Understanding what resonates from existing assets is crucial in guiding future content creation.

In addition, museums must consider their current audience base. It is important to understand who the content targets and what kind of content resonates with them. However, museums should also keep in mind that past in-person visitor data may not align with future digital engagement strategies.

Research necessitates teamwork, needing the concerted efforts of the entire museum staff. This process works synergistically with goal-setting and assessing what the museum seeks to gain from their content. This could entail targeting younger audiences (which would favor video content and platforms like TikTok) or forming more business-to-business partnerships (which could require LinkedIn and other professional networking platforms).

Once data and goals are in place, the next step in a museum’s digital content strategy is ideation. Open dialogue, competitor analysis, and trend spotting provide essential insight for museums to broaden their audience base with engaging and pertinent content.

Outlining a Museum Digital Content Strategy

While every cultural institution will have a unique digital content strategy, Laura Stanley from Charity Digital proposes seven crucial steps for crafting an effective plan:

  1. Define goals and condense into three main objectives.
  2. Identify essential content areas.
  3. Specify required technology and skills for content delivery.
  4. Determine content costs and timelines.
  5. Select key metrics to monitor, such as followers count, YouTube views, Twitter impressions, etc.
  6. Delegate tasks to appropriate team members.
  7. Designate next steps and evaluation methods.

These steps assist museum leaders in setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely) goals for their teams, creating clear expectations and roles within the strategy.

The Advantages of a Museum Digital Content Strategy

An astutely planned social media campaign can boost both online interaction and on-site visits. For instance, Musée d’Orsay in Paris initiated a weekly Instagram series in 2020 featuring its artist-in-residence, Jean-Phillipe Delhomme, which gained a significant following.

museum instagram

A comprehensive museum digital content strategy provides a clear roadmap for growth and audience expansion goals. It offers a transparent framework for all team members, facilitating smooth decision-making, especially when some employees are working remotely or on a hybrid basis.

In conclusion, a well-planned digital content strategy is instrumental for consistency, which enhances engagement by ensuring a regular influx of carefully curated, influential content. Evaluating the effectiveness of a strategy allows museums to refine their content plans over time, continually enhancing audience interaction.


MuseumNext offer online learning for museum professionals striving for engaging, relevant and flexible professional growth content. Learn more about our virtual museum conferences here.

About the author – Tim Deakin

Tim Deakin is a journalist and editorial consultant working with a broad range of online publications.

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