Interesting how it takes just a switch in emphasis to go from "content" as in "information or creative material" and "content" as in being happy.
Because, let's face it--sometimes when you have to research, write, and distribute content, especially in this 24/7 world, you are not happy.
What to do? Here are some pointers from Ahava Leibtag, content strategist, principal of Aha Media Group, and author of The Digital Crown, who spoke to DC Web Women on March 18 on "Overcoming Content Fatigue." With her permission, I am summarizing some of her points.
Content, Leibtag stresses, is a conversation between buyer and seller (broadly defined). Gone are the days, if they ever existed, of simply pushing out your (the seller's) message without regard to the audience's (the buyer's) needs or preferences. A decision about what content to share involves:
- The piece of information
- The format, based on the audience (article, video, etc.)
- The distribution channel (Youtube, website, etc.)
For example, consider the campaign in which a young woman talks about the effects of smoking on her skin. That's a very different way to discuss the effects of teenage smoking than a white paper.
All that content swirling around your organization (conference presentations, research, new products, etc.)? As Leibtag urged, "break it apart and use it in different ways."
Use a filter to decide what content to share:
- Does it align with your business goals (whether to get people to purchase, sign up, support your issue)?
- Does it help your audience accomplish a task or goal?
For example, she noted--a bank might share pointers about mortgages, college savings, or retirement on its website to draw people there. Why would it put on a widget with the weather?
Six Rules of Success
Her six rules of success to overcome content fatigue in your organization:
1. Teach about the why: Help people understand the value of providing quality content. Depending on their orientation, you may want to stress the quantitative metrics (traffic, shares, links) or more relationship-oriented advantages (interaction, engagement).
2. Follow the rule of 4: Ideally, with one item, you can plan for text, video, audio, and photos, which you can then use in different ways. That can't always happen, but plan for repurposing from the get-go.
3. Stalk for content: Very few people will leap with delight when you request they write a blog post by Friday. Instead, show people examples so they have an easy model, set up casual get-togethers like brownbag lunches to brainstorm ideas, and ask questions to elicit ideas and make the process easier on everyone.
4. Build multidisciplinary teams: We're all into smashing silos these days. A small content team across departments, even an informal one, will help ferret out interesting stuff.
5. Listen to social media: Pay attention to what others are talking about, especially your customers and competition. Then see how you can join in the conversation.
6. Prune your pumpkins: As gardeners and fans of giant pumpkin contests know, pruning some of the little ones allows for fewer but more impressive products.
While it varies by organization, Leibtag suggested about 50% of content be original. That leaves space for "curated content"--the subject of a future newsletter and some great tips from a curation guru.