4 Clear Facts About the Future of Digital Content

 

My clients are pretty cool cats, not easily rattled–and yet many of them are deeply, insanely worried about the new media “future” and the apparently all-consuming need to become business blogging/marketing gurus, on top of running their businesses day-to-day.

Between the terrifying predictions (Google+ is the future! No Facebook! Back to blogging!) and marketing-soapbox declarations (This email marketing software is best! This approach to blogging is superior! You’ll become obsolete if you don’t ___!), it’s almost impossible to avoid a paralyzing bout of noise-induced inaction.

So here’s the deal, at least insofar as content is concerned: Yes, I believe content is the future. From blog posts to Facebook updates to user-generated content, to articles to email to…etc.

And I DO believe that sales today can hinge on the trust, information and access that this wealth of content creates for clients and buyers. But I don’t believe you should sweat any of this; it’s not as complex as the “experts” would have you believe. (Remember, you’re a buyer too–you know the behavior and what works.)

Four (clear) facts about the future of content online

  1. Consistency matters. You do not have to be on every social network, no matter what anyone says. You do not have to blog if you don’t want to (have you asked your other team members, though?). Dispersal is good, but only if the content you’re dispersing is worth reading. It’s better to stick to what you’re good at consistently than to inconsistently be bad at a lot of stuff. “Jack of all trades, master of none.*”
  2. Being dumb will hurt. Refer to the recent ChapStick hubbub for evidence of this. In the new media environment, your footsteps are public and LOUD. Let the people talk. The people have the money. Also: use common sense. If you wouldn’t like your favorite brand to delete your Facebook comment, don’t delete your fans’ comments either.
  3. You need to plan whatever your “strategy” is and stick to it. Don’t throw yourself into (or at) something new willy-nilly, whether it’s a new blog, guest blogging, a new social feed, video, whatever. You will either avoid it, hate it, do it badly, or stop doing it. If you can’t help yourself, the next point is for you!
  4. Content is (still) king, even in the future (John Jantsch says so)–maybe it’s time to hire a writer. The thing is, not everyone’s going to do content right, whether it’s evergreen blog posts, advertorial, or even content for other sites or publishers to hawk a product or expertise. So this provides a way for you to excel, no matter how big or small you are. Most normal small business people are not that good at content yet, probably because they have a business to run. Hire a content specialist writer with experience in marketing communications AND blogging who can help you create, if not actually produce most of, your content. Many who do what I do are not that expensive. I could charge more, but I like what I do–and what I mostly do is take people’s great content and make it better. It’s not a matter of “outsourcing” it; I communicate my clients’ messages and missions, in their voice. It’s an act of translation, let’s say. That said, you don’t need a communications department for this either (unless you’re CEO of a large company and can afford it, in which case, go for it). If your business is worth it, so is the (minor) investment. This goes for technical work too.

Having a business that’s partly or fully online today is both powerful and intimidating. But every business is different, and presumably, YOU know yours best.

So be focused, use your common sense, communicate what matters to YOUR customer in a sensible and direct way, and as for the rest? Surround yourself with advisors and people who know more than you. Trust me, it works.

25 Comments

  • Wonderful advice. Thank you!

  • You’re welcome Denise. I hope it helps. More thoughts on this to come!

  • Hi Lindsey,
    I am new with online business and your right it is very intimidating, I am always asking my self if i am doing it right. Thanks for your wonderful advise. So lucky to stumble upon your post. Looking forward for more from you.

  • This a great post. Very well written! It really is intimidating at first when you start an online business but mainly because there are still thing you need to learn about and figure how to do, Rachelle. But with some tips that Lindsey put here, you can start by using it a reference to what other questions you have.

  • [...] The Future of Digital Content and Content Marketing … [...]

  • Hi Lindsey

    Thank you so much for the valuble advice, I have enjoyed learn from you and looking forward reading more of your writing. Also Thank you for shareing your knowledge.

    Warm regards

    Li Baoying

  • It was lovely to see ChapStick get it raw. How ironic.

  • A fresh spin on timeless concepts. :) Thanks!

    Consistency is a cornerstone of branding, and it is brands which are truly successful.

    Don’t be dumb, well… heh.

    ‘Content’ is just another word for ‘value’, and value has always, and will always be, important :D

    An ounce of planning is worth a pound of execution.

    Love this article, thank you.

  • Content, consistency, quality…got it and thanks for the great post. I am definitely into digital products, but never thought of hiring content writers until now.

  • @Jason, I agree with you completely.

    In fact, that’s the concise definition I failed to convey: content = value.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • I agree with the above comment that content = value. Otherwise there’s no point bothering. Maybe good freelance writers will start getting paid more! I looked into doing it at one point but blog/site owners were more interested in people they could pay a buck an article to. Wonder where some of those blogs are going to end up in the long run?

  • consistency on social media outlets is a great point. On the other hand, it’s often helpful to have slightly different content since some people can get turned off if you’re simply running your Facebook feed through Twitter

  • Interesting article. I really liked the idea of hiring a writer to manage content. Especially when you consider that many content generating actives are normally handed off to people without a strong background in writing.

  • The first one was for me. Better be expert in your core subject than try to embrace a world without consistency.

    Tks!

  • So many people just don’t get that it’s much better to focus on one or two social media sites than to be everywhere.

  • Great tips! Thank you so much for sharing! Keep up the good work!

  • Very well written.Your article is quite informative.Thank you for posting this out.

  • We writers thank you for #4!

  • [...] 4 Clear Facts About the Future of Digital Content Common sense rules here. Number 3 is the killer in my book. [...]

  • Amen Andrea. Happy to help. The world needs content that doesn’t stink. And good writers are everywhere, if you know where to look!

  • I am so thankful for this tweet/truth: “We don’t have to have it all figured out. We can still have something to say through our brokenness & struggles.”

  • Your post was very helpful keep up the nice function.

    That declares because adhere to I\’m certain this may get

    around.

    You make a fantastic stage very helpful

    information.

    It is a fantastic atmosphere for the purpose you write about.

    Solely those which pay close consideration can get this particular.

    Let me yourself on a pleasant publish.

    Many will succeed with this information.

    An individual clarify my way through a really apparent

    file formatting maintain the good function.

    Discussing being held by the hand this is really easy

    to digest.

  • I agree with Mike it makes sense to focus on one social media site rather than trying to conquer all

  • This is a topic that is close to my heart… Best wishes! Where are your contact details though?
    I need to to thank you for this very good read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you book-marked to check out new stuff you post

  • I am so amazed with the creating of your blog, such a nice information and very presentable, thanks for making this one, I will definitely bookmarked this one.

Join the Discussion

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>