Note: This is an updated post that was originally posted in June 2012
Ok, I think we’ve got it now. Content is important. Really important. Everyone needs it. Everyone wants to know how to create it or where to find it, now more than ever.
That’s a good start.
Now it’s time to make the transition from knowing that content is important—just as it always was when we used to call it stories or articles or news releases. Going forward, you need to view content like CNN does. Content is just as much a product for you as…well, as whatever it is that you hang your hat on.
You’re a channel now
When you want news, you go to CNN. Sports, try ESPN. You get the picture. As a consumer of information, you have an expectation of the type of content you’ll receive from a given provider. You expect that content to be consistent, to follow a pattern, and above all, to be useful.
If anyone follows you in any of the digital media—web, email, text, Twitter, Facebook, etc.—you have created a community. You have an audience. You are a channel. And unless you’re just playing, you need to ask yourself some questions about the content you’re creating.
Noted social media expert Chris Brogan puts it this way:
“You are creating information every time you post something on your blog, on YouTube, on Facebook, on Twitter, on FourSquare, and everywhere else. You might not think of it that way, but you are. You’re also sending a signal: ‘Here’s something new. Here I am poking at your attention.’ You are also creating or missing the creation of an opportunity, such as whether to take a further action, or whether to elicit a response, etc. You are also contributing to, or detracting from the interests of a community, even if that community is fluid or overlapping. You are also blessed with the opportunity to entertain, educate, and maybe even compel someone.”
What if you look at this as your responsibility? What if you looked at all we just outlined with an eye towards making something bigger than just noise?
- I have created information. What was my purpose in sharing it?
- I have sent a signal. What do I want that signal to be?
- I have or haven’t created an opportunity. What is it, or why not?
- I am contributing to or detracting from my community. Which is it?
- I am entertaining, educating, or compelling with my information. Which is it?
Useful content is intentional
As a media channel, you can’t afford the luxury of letting content happen to you. Content that is useful to your audience, and is therefore beneficial to the community you serve, must be intentional. It has to be coherent, more like a body of work than a series of random statement. Intentionality and coherence require planning, strategy, and execution.
No doubt your company has a mission. If it doesn’t, it surely should. It’s likely that mission involves serving your customers, your audience, your community. The time has come to determine how your digital message stream supports your mission.
Creating useful content in support of our clients’ missions is what we do. Content writing services is just part a of what we do, if you’re looking for guidance in creating a channel that serves your community and advances your mission, talk to us at 866-752-7707 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We get it.