Friday, 2 March 2012

Your Content Must Die

Your Content Must Die. 5 Ways to Bring it Back to Life

WiredbigIf you read blogs and even mass media, you probably have come across at least one headline where something must die. Blogs are dead, PR is dead, marketing is dead, the Web is dead, social media is done and is being replaced by real time, and so on.
I was joking at a panel I moderated a couple of weeks ago at the New York Times small business summit that wheneverBrian Halligan speaks at a conference, something dies (it was marketing's turn this time).
And, let's face it, we need to get past semantics. While this war of words is going on, people of the world are all over the map when it comes to the way they use and find information.
Trends take you only so far, before you need to crawl back to talking about stuff others care about.
However, there is something to the way people consume content that speaks to how differently they're stumbling on or finding information about you.
Anderson at Wired writes that the Web browser is only one of the ways we use to get content, and not even the main one. The ubiquity of iPads, iPhones and other smart phones created a whole new way -- and market with it. We now use apps to check in, read the news on the go, catch up on what our network contacts are doing, find information, and broadcast updates on what we're up to.
While developing content for these media and for new ways of interacting comes natural to the individuals who spend a lot of time online, it is still very difficult for marketers and businesses to make that transition -- conceptually and practically.
How should you think about content, then? Is there a single unit of content you should build from? Do you need more content now that your company has outposts or accounts in more places? Can you find ways to generate lots of content inexpensively?
Take heart, your content may be dead. Yet, there is a lot you can do about bringing it back to life. And it doesn't need to be complicated or too time consuming, if you're willing to play ball. Start by thinking about the following:
(1.) how can you convey your message using stories and narrative that is suited to the different kinds of media available? For example, are you starting to explore video and podcasts? Both forms can be downloaded and consumed on the go.
(2.) do you invest in quality visuals of your products and to document real interactions with customers to utilize both on your site and in outposts around the Web? Think creatively. I once organized a photo shoot for a copper-based natural product to make it look like luxury chocolates.
(3.) do you tell a story, or are you relying too heavily on the stories you hope your customers will tell about you? Remember that you are still in charge of your message, and that it is not your customers' job to take the initiative.
(4.) do you provide conversation starters? At the same time, there are ways to elicit feedback an information that are easier on the customer. If you're familiar with the blank paper syndrome, you will know that people prefer to react to something.
(5.) do you leverage the tools capabilities to your full advantage? Many of the tools we re using today do have their limitations in how we can use them. For example, tweets for chats become tweets for games. In other words, could you be providing a better experience through content?
The myth of needing a ton of content to stand out must also die. Maybe what you need is to rethink the way you package and propose the content you already have. Dust off what's in your archives, mash it up creatively, and see what happens.
Is your content still stuck in the '90s?

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