8 easy steps to optimizing the value of content in the digital era

February 20, 2008 at 5:37 am | Posted in Digital thinking, Segmentation, Strategic planning | Leave a comment

Regardless of what type of content that you produce (PR, Advertising, Entertainment, Journalism, Art piece etc), the dynamics and process for constructing and analysing content are largely the same. The following steps / dynamics will hopefully give you a better understanding of what is / what is not functioning so that you can optimize the potential distribution & connect of your idea with your desired audience.

      1) CONSUMER / CUSTOMER:

        Start with an in-depth understanding of your target. A segmentation of who they are and the types of messages / experiences that we need to lead them to an interaction or purchase. many companies are using personas to dimensionalise the similarities and differences between these various prospect groups.

      2) IDEA:

Develop a connection idea or insight that will act as a Trojan horse and can be leveraged to convey a piece of brand communication. Ideally it should be based on a behavioral, attitudinal, cultural relevance to stimulate an emotional response and spark a conversation. This traditionally has been the ‘turf’ of the creative, writer, journalist. We are finding though that data analytics and research can uncover hard insights that help unlock the once mysterious connection process.

      3) ENGAGEMENT MECHANIC:

Employ an engagement mechanic to aid in involving the audience with the idea and provide a platform for an ongoing conversation / continuity. E.g. It could be a story, a puzzle, promotion, event, stunt, feedback mechanism etc. traditional mass communication is being challenged because it normally starts at this part of the process and assume mass generic insights.

      4) CONTENT FORM:

Then explore the various content forms in which the idea can come to life. This is usually the point where innovation fails and preconceptions dictate options e.g. a magazine journalist will automatically think of his long form text article to a predefined wordcount.

As business models change and content syndication (to other 3rd party vendors and delivery devices) becomes the norm, content production processes and development structures will have to be rebuilt to explore the potential of an idea to live in as many forms as possible to optimise an ideas value (and return on investment).

      5) LENGTH:

Explore opportunities for expression using varying lengths within content forms e.g. :

A) a short form headline e.g. for use in RSS feeds / lead generation,

B) a 1 minute lead paragraph that acts as sound bite to lure consumers (similar to how a newspaper treats the first paragraph of an article)

C) the long form / full experiential content piece.

The objective is to lead people to the richest communication forms available to connect people with the idea and optimise the potential amount of time of interaction with content piece.

      6) INTERFACE:

Then develop a user interface that meets the targets expectations. Many traditional interfaces are programmed i.e. someone else decides the content standards. They also have standardized duration pods and technical specifications (that have evolved over time) to facilitate easier commercial inventory control. The emerging interfaces give the control to the consumer and by nature provide a free navigation that allows seemingly limitless interaction. Once we reduce the limits placed by programmed interfaces, we find that consumers are happy to invets more time to have a more immersive experience.

The keys to good interface design include: Design, intuitive architecture (content and navigation)  etc.

       7) DEVICE:

        Choose a delivery device (contact vehicle) that is consistent with the context and interface expectations. E.g. right hardware specifications e.g. chip processing speed, storage capacity, software capabilities.

       8). DISTRIBUTION:

Allow your content to be delivered on a relevant pipeline that meets your customers value expectations e.g. right cost proposition, sufficient access speed, timely content delivery, reliable performance.

A lot of planning conversation focuses on points #7 & #8. We argue that these are largely irrelevant if you don´t have steps #1 to #6 nailed.

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