The Internet Is A Swimming Pool
In the age of Digital Transformation, Social Engineering is KING.
Imagine the Internet is a swimming pool. In this swimming pool, you have a number of different flotation devices like pool balls, floating loungers and different accessories. Items that clearly serve a purpose and can be accessed when needed.
Now, imagine you’re having a pool party and a group of friends are tossing pennies in your pool.
Not a big deal, there’s a swimming pool vacuum.
After the pool party, you see all pennies at the bottom of the pool. But do you really want to grab them?
That is the human nature behind the Internet. We are all searching for value and when we come across content that doesn’t serve a purpose.
That content sinks and doesn’t float.
That is the Internet, you have content that floats and you have content that sinks to the abyss. In simplest terms — the Internet is one big massive pool party.
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You have content that is there for you to access, utilize and produce value. On the other spectrum, you have pennies that sink to the bottom.
To paint a picture — imagine if those pennies continued to pile up. Eventually, you could drain your pool and have the pennies removed but the Internet doesn’t work like that.
In this article, we will discuss how you can join the pool party and bring your own rubber duckies.
That is, rubber duckies being content that floats versus being apart of the penny crew.
All content has its place on the Internet. Creatives need to create content that is ready, accessible and viewable for your audiences.
In Ahava Leitbtag’s book The Digital Crown, she discusses how to properly construct conversations around your content.
These schemes can be applied universally across the board and a carefully constructed conversation can result in more time and more sales.
Below I am going to deep dive into some of Ahave Leitbtag’s prized systems.
Captivating Content: Turning Pennies Into Millions
As an artist, musician and content creator your content needs to serve a purpose and create value. You need to create content that captivates your audience and satisfy the needs of your fan base.
The Internet offers that opportunity. At its basic level of production, content is knowledge. Once you make a decision on how you’re going to hold that knowledge, this is called a content format (website, song, video, podcast, press release, Tweet, advertisement, etc.), after that there are two more bricks to lay:
- Substance: What are you trying to communicate? What will your content say? What formats will you use (audio, video, text)?
- Structure: How are you going to organize your content? How will it be displayed? (Structure includes linking strategies, data modeling, metadata, information architecture, etc.)
Mastering Substance And Structure
Knowledge is the subject of your content and substance is the vehicle that is being used to deliver that content: semi, two-seater or mini-van.
When creating content, think of it as writing one article and touching on one subject (two-seater) versus doing a two-hour interview where you discuss the philosophy behind your content (semi).
Keep in mind, this content can still be delivered in a two-seater or semi, it’s ultimately your choice and your strategy that makes that decision. The delivery-method changes over time, so for your current audience it might feel a little different, but still address the same issues.
You have people that primarily consume content through reading articles and then you have people that consume content in the form of audio. This naturally occurs when we switch up the delivery-method of the content.
We can compare structure to the vehicle we decide to use and where we choose to display the content. Content being delivered in a mini-van has a very different feeling from a semi pulling up and dropping content off.
Theoretically, it’s the same content — it just has a different delivery system in place. On the Internet this is comparable to a billboard serving a rural town versus targeting that same rural town through Facebook and Google advertisements.
These metaphors are a great example about how knowledge becomes flexible once it transforms into content.
Constructing A Content Framework
From a business standpoint, your overall content needs to line up with your goals or objectives that you are trying to achieve. There is a lot of noise on the Internet, especially when you are creating content.
The real question is — how do you create content that grabs your audience’s attention and fulfills a need at the same time?
This is where a content framework comes into play.
A content framework is a way construct your content based on these three questions:
- How and when does your content help you achieve your business goals or support the sales cycle (tickets, goods or product sales)?
- How does the different content formats support the story you want to tell? How do the different formats relate to each other? (Ex. Semi — Abundant, Two-Seater — Limited & Mini-Van — Moderate)
- How will this content create conversations? How do I see this content floating across the Internet? Who are my end-users? Who am I creating value for?
Creating content for consumption, at its basic level is the sum of knowledge and credible assets that allow you to reach your target audience. This is called an “interconnected system of assets” (Wachter-Boettcher, 2012).
Inside of your content, there is a wealth of informational assets surrounding your brand. Overall, this content is connected and relates to the whole and in-return this system paints a picture of your brand’s overall make-up.
Given the caliber of your content, the assets that you create should create conversations and facilitate transactions.
THE CONTENT FRAMEWORK
You will need to build a content framework to create content that supports your brand. A content framework will help you in constructing the right content formats that will facilitate and drive your sales cycle.
When creating content, always keep in mind that you will need to create value for your target audience in achieving or meeting their needs.
To accomplish this, you need to: create the right content, facilitate the right conversations, in the best way, at the best time.
Content Is Where Information Gets Stronger & Faster
Content is a section of overall knowledge. A seed that is planted in a content format and is waiting to be consumed by your target audience. Content is a way for your knowledge to grow and become fruitful.
At content’s ground level, we begin with knowledge. We then choose the appropriate content format to address, or feature this portion of knowledge; then we deliver the content.
Determining the distribution method for your content will provide a distinction when choosing the delivery method to your target audience.
Getting them the right content — at the right time — in a format that is most familiar to them.
THE THREE COMPONENTS OF CONTENT
It is imperative to recognize the distinctions between knowledge, content format and distribution because each one holds its own: at the same time, each one needs to work in conjunction to meet your audience’s needs.
- Knowledge: What do you want to convey to your audience.
- Content format: The way you introduce, or display, the knowledge.
- Distribution: The platforms and channels where you decide to float your content on the Internet.
FLEXIBLE CONTENT FORMATS
Believe it or not. We make decisions about content formats we actively choose to engage on a daily basis. For example, let’s say someone sends you a text. You open it and realize that it would make more sense just to call whoever sent the text and respond.
You wouldn’t send them a five paragraph text, when you could just have a conversation and simultaneously get your questions answered. This is an genuine reflex; you most likely aren’t aware of how you are flexing from one medium of communication to the next, even during the middle of the interaction.
This is how content formats and the overall consumption of content works. Your audience will choose the platform and technology that overall suits their mode of communication best.
In this instance — which content format performs the best? Text or audio?
Noticeable Formats Draw Attention
When we are the ones choosing the format, we apply this same flexibility. For example, the difference between audio and text is the format that your audience chooses to consume.
People who listen to music are more apt to listen to podcasts versus reporters who more likely to read a blog or press releases. The content indiscriminately communicates with the desired audience because the content format is designed for them.
As humans, we have thousands of content formats that draw our attention: Job applications, customer reviews, medical forms, report cards, traffic signs, etc. These are content formats that are designed to immediately catch our attention.
Keep this in mind when your are creating your content.
You can design your content around certain formats that facilitate smoother interactions. Imagine for example, the Internet without content formats (all analog), it would be by design legible, but for the most part unrecognizable.
THAT is the ultimate goal: You want your audience to instantly identify your content, understand it is for them, understand what to do, and then do it.
The last thing you want is for your conversations and content to feel like the pennies at the bottom of the swimming pool.
You want your content to be the rubber duckies floating at the top.
The overall goal is to create content that provides an experience, creates value and addresses a need. Pushing your target audience to make a predetermined decision when it comes to your brand.
CONTENT: CHANNELS, PLATFORMS AND FORMATS
When it comes to the Internet there are hundreds of formats primed for consumption. For the sake of this article and creating your content framework, lets discuss the following segmentation:
When you discuss content with fellow creatives, be sure to differentiate between content that lives and grows on your website versus content that is floating around on the Internet.
As we have determined, your content is not just your website. It is the knowledge that makes up your website, this same content can be consumed in a press release, news article or featured on a blog in a video.
As an artist, musician or content creator you need to separate the idea that content is in the same format as the way it’s distributed to you. Content is not just a video, article or a TV Network. These are simply the channels in which you experience the content.
With this in mind — realize that your target audience can experience your content anywhere on the Internet. You must also disassociate with the fact that your content is attached to a certain point of contact, like your website.
Rather, think of your content as a rubber duckie floating around in a swimming pool, just waiting to be picked up by your target audience.
Creating value and fulfilling a need.
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