Content Rules

The Days When Content Was “What You See Is What You Get”

Content is no longer locked into place.Technology has taken content and turned it upside down. Content created by brands was once locked to the medium. Newspaper editorial remained in the newspaper, television ads were viewed on TV and the airwaves delivered radio content to car and in-home stereos. Brand created content remained the way the brand intended, and consumers could either consume it or ignore it.

Now, a new dimension has been added to consume and ignore. That dimension is transform.

The New Element of Content Interaction: Transform

Consumers can take in content in multiple formats and in multiple ways. Whether it’s reading a book on an iPad, downloading a television show or watching a Netflix movie on Xbox LIVE with friends, content is no longer defined by the medium. Consumers can take it, mold it and consume it the way they find brings the most value.

Don't Forget the Content.

You have an awesome microsite or an incredible company blog, and you’ve spent a lot of money making it look great. All of that is important, especially because it pulls consumers in and makes them interested in giving what you have to say a chance, but the most integral piece of all isn’t always the aesthetic, look and feel. It’s the content, and sometimes that’s forgotten.

Brand created content must stand on its own. It’s impossible to tell how content will be consumed, and that’s actually a good thing. We, as marketers, should want our content spread around the web. We want consumers to add our blogs to their RSS readers, embed our YouTube videos on their sites and interact with us on third-party social media applications.

The ability to take content and consume it in environments that we can’t control means that it must stand on its own. Ask if what you are producing is engaging enough to keep consumers coming back for more. Is it the design and environment, or is it the content that lives in that environment?

Many brands have the environment but forget the content. They have a great Twitter background with tweets made up of spam, their blogs are essentially print ad copy and their branded YouTube channel consists of videos no one cares about.

A Content First Mindset

The element of “content transformation” matters because if content can’t stand without the intended platform, it loses its power. One thing is for sure—consumers will transform content, so having the content piece figured out is key.

Before creating an environment, brands need to understand their strategy, which should consist of engaging content that combines the right story with the intended audience.

Content should be easily accessed and equally effective through multiple channels. It shouldn’t matter that a blog is read on the website or an RSS reader, a Facebook post should be as engaging on the user’s wall as it is on the actual Page and so on.

Content that lives outside of its originally intended environment is content that people will want to consume, share and engage with because it’s still valuable even though it’s been molded to fit into their lifestyles.

It’s not the environment. It’s the content, especially when it comes to social media.