Work That Content!

Got a great story to tell? Think big! Think beyond your usual print options, beyond your newsletter or brochure. Think about repurposing that story for multiple channels. Could your CEO use it in a presentation? Could you develop a few Facebook posts from it? Tweets? Could it become a video? Is there an infographic lurking in all those numbers? Repurposing content originally developed for longer print articles allows you to make the most of your investment in great writing. The key is to envision the bigger picture before you start.

  1. Identify all the possible channels your organization regularly uses, along with any new channels connected to current events or opportunities. Create a matrix that includes all the channels across the top, and leave the left hand column open to plug in key elements of the story so you can track options. For example, the story of a great customer experience might include quotes from the customer (repurposed as website testimonials and included on the employee intranet), third party endorsements (repurposed in a presentation) and explanatory information about a newly implemented customer service feature (repurposed as FAQs). By separately identifying the elements of the story, you can direct key pieces to the right channels and keep track of everything.
  2. Share your plan with the people who have responsibility for the channels you identified. Add to the plan delivery and/or go-live dates when they can expect content from you, and when you expect it to be distributed.
  3. With the list of likely channels in mind, plan your interviews and other information-gathering steps. Draft a few questions likely to prompt shorter responses that can be turned into tweets or Facebook or other social media posts. If you’re conducting research, gather the data points you’ll need for a graphic designer to create an infographic for the website or Facebook. If you’re talking with experts, look for ways to “chunk” long or complex information.
  4. Probe for visual options to enhance social media and web content. Find out if a customer is able and willing to be in a video when you conduct the interview. Shoot video that enhances the print story without repetition, but do link the two channels so people can connect to the other channel if they want to.  Ask expert sources for visual ideas to help explain hard ideas or important concepts, and work with a graphic designer, photographer or illustrator to capture them.
  5. Using your plan to guide you – and allowing yourself some flexibility to accommodate the actual information you’ve gathered – rewrite, edit or call-out the components of the main story you’ve identified for repurposing. Add visuals or make the visual the centerpiece of the content, and include a link to another channel where a viewer could find more information. As you massage the content for each channel, you’ll be able to see and apply the “content thread” you’re using to help audiences make connections.

Repurposing content is more efficient than writing for separate channels, especially if the writing team is working in silos, and it’s a more effective way to share a robust message. Get your team together, talk through the plan and enjoy the journey. After your first excursion, you’ll be ready to repeat it!

Are We in a Social Media Burn-out?

Let’s skip straight to the answer: Maybe. It depends.

While some people are definitely cutting back on social media consumption, it’s clear social media as a whole isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. What IS changing, though, is how people choose to interact with it.

In short, they’re becoming more selective. That means they’re doing a lot less surfing and a lot more focusing on what’s the most relevant to them personally. Instead of checking Facebook and Twitter hourly, scanning their favorite blogs, posting to their own blog, updating their LinkedIn status and drooling over the latest recipe pics on Pinterest, they might only do a quick update to Facebook and scan Pinterest once a day. The rest go on hiatus.

Or, more likely, the consumer continues to monitor all channels but only pays attention to a select handful of posts. Audiences in general are tuning out greater amounts of social media “noise,” including most posts that seem advertising-heavy or pushy. Savvy communicators must learn how to earn those coveted social media impressions and interactions. It’s not enough to simply be present.

Here are a couple tips to get you started:

  • Be genuine
    Don’t force yourself to meet a certain number of posts if you feel your content or your “voice” is beginning to grow stale. If you’re noticing it, your followers will too. Instead, stick with a pace that feels natural and to topics that authentically draw your passion. 
  • Know your audience
    Some audiences are more likely to use social media than others. Similarly, some groups will engage, respond, like and retweet, while others will simply monitor feeds without any two-way communication. Some might respond best to an image and others love an insightful article. Knowing how your target audiences use social media helps you set appropriate expectations, craft the kinds of posts that will stand out for them, and decide how much time and energy to invest, where. 
  • Share about in-person activities
    People scan social media. They don’t spend a lot of time on any given post. There’s no way around that. However, you can encourage long-term engagement by using social media to invite followers to in-person events where they can create a lasting connection with your organization. 
  • Make it fun — tie it to a game
    When best-selling author Patrick Rothfuss joined Twitter last year, he hosted an elaborate contest to build buzz and excitement. He asked a handful of fellow authors and friends to start accounts with some variation of his name, and challenged would-be followers to discover which feed was the REAL Patrick Rothfuss. The game itself drew a lot of attention, so people were primed to follow Rothfuss’ account afterward. A win-win!

 In the end, people are realizing it may not be possible to be on all channels, all the time. The wise move to avoid burnout (for you and your followers) is to find the channels most suitable for your audience and where you feel most comfortable.