Friday, November 8, 2013

Content should open doors - not keep them ajar

We all love a good bit of content. We must do as we produce enough of it. Given most organisations struggle to maximise the impact of much of what they publish, I’d suggest we all produce more than is strictly desirable.

This move towards quantity is a problem on many levels. While every individual piece clearly has taken time, thought and application it doesn't always mean that the usefulness of that content has been given due consideration. Having something as a "leave behind" is an oft heard mantra - and one that is rarely challenged.

But at the same time the real point of most content is its ability to help open doors not keep them wedged open for later.

These two functions are rarely complimentary. Which is why we need to think about what we produce, what we say, how we say it and how we make it available. The classic idea of content as an inert substance that is left lying around in people's office (or desktops) is thoroughly outdated.

We should be providing information that informs not clutters. Content that doesn't help our clients to understand issues, or persuade them of something they need to be aware is rarely worthwhile. It doesn't have to always answer a question as its often more useful to ask a question to encourage collaboration.

How often does do these challenge come when planning content projects:

  • how many meetings will I get off of the back of this
  • how many clients can I share it with and follow up with a discussion
  • how can we begin collaborating around the ideas contained within it

The answer I suspect is not often.  Until we start thinking more carefully about what we produce and how we produce, content is going to be dismissed as a commodity with equally low value.