Have you ever read, watched or listened to something you thought would be interesting and informative only to discover it was anything but? Of course you have. And how about the warm feeling you got, knowing you had just wasted irretrievable minutes of your life, while likely destroying a boatload of brain cells in the process?
We all send and receive communications on a daily basis, primarily to inform, persuade, inspire, express feelings or entertain. And, regardless if you’re using a screen or other electronic device, a printed piece, oral or visual presentation, a display, billboard, some form of entertainment, or any of the hundreds of other media that can be used to transmit messages, all share one HUGE challenge…
Getting people to read or listen to your message is difficult. Getting them to actually focus on, and assimilate it is very difficult. Burying your messages in heaps of irrelevant, boring garbage with no route map or directions makes the goal nearly impossible.
We’ve all zoned-out while someone was trying to deliver a message – at work, school, church, at a movie or a play – to the point of almost falling asleep. And it’s likely that part of the reason was that the content of the message wasn’t strong enough, or presented in enough of a logical, prioritized sequence to hold your attention. And if you’re the one sending the message, and allow your audience to drift…guess what? They will!
Creating content that’s informative, interesting, concise and effective is an art – one that requires a thorough understanding of what’s truly most important to convey, and how to convey it. This requires knowing how to keep it as brief as possible without diluting the message, and, most importantly, the ability to put oneself in the position and mindset of the end user – i.e. to understand the audience. This is the exact opposite of the most commonly used “throw everything we’ve got into it, make it look pretty, and they’ll figure it out” approach. (There are tons of websites that are amazing to look at, but give you zero idea as to what the intended messages are. Kind of like expensive kaleidoscopes, only on screens. Duuude!)
Content strategy and development is kind of like the 90% of an iceberg that’s not visible – but critical to acknowledge, analyze and properly manage if you want to successfully “navigate the course.” Given the ever-growing list of communications tool choices, and the costs associated with these, presenting content that people will actually absorb is crucial to obtaining returns on investment. And, for most, “Likes” or “Retweets” by themselves are not sufficient enough as ROIs.
Since content strategy, development and management is such a critical part of what we do, future posts might occasionally address other aspects of the subject. Thanks for listening.
Me: You’re joking, right?