So you see, the story is not quite as you were told. - Maleficent
Every day thousands upon thousands of new articles, slides, infographics, opinion pieces, engagement pieces, and micro-blogs are published by countless publications, corporations, startups and small businesses. The Huffington Post produces at least 1,200 pieces of content a day, and Forbes produces 400 (with 1,000 contributors). Although completely accurate counts are hard to come by, around 92,000 articles are published daily. That’s roughly 64 articles a minute!
Content has truly become the fuel by which the business of the Internet runs.
But simply posting new, unique content regularly on your site is not enough. Content, by itself, can’t lead an organization to success. There is simply too much of it available. Moreover, more posts doesn’t necessarily equate to creating more value for your readers. In fact, and more often than not, it proves to be less valuable in the long run.
As a publisher, content creator or editor what are you supposed to do? Do you ramp up your posting schedule? Saturate your content calendar with “sure bet” articles? Simply aggregate the day’s most popular posts from other sites? Although content may be the fuel that’s driving your organization, content for content’s sake, just isn’t enough. These types of strategies almost always fall flat.
Today - where your readers are more exposed and aware than ever before – it is vital that any content works with the emotional and evolving needs and expectations of its audience. This means viewing your content creation through the lens of the relationship you are forming and enhancing with your readers – your brand.
A brand is the relationship between an organization and an audience. Relationships are about trust. They are how we as humans naturally engage with the world around us, and branding is very much apart of our world. So to view a brand as a relationship – one in which both parties are actively communicating and engaging in it’s maturation – is a vital step in creating a successful brand and creating successful content to support it.
Although the language of branding is important for understanding how meaning and emotion should be conveyed through the participants, a brand derives its true meaning from the connection between the company and it’s audience. This connection is achieved through a harmony – a give and take relationship – that allows both parties to better comprehend each other's goals and aspirations. Both the audience and the organization are simultaneously participating in a shared effort to attribute meaning to the relationship. To build value with your brand, you must see the relationship you form with your audience as the synchronicity between who you are and who your audience wants to become.
As publishers, content creators and the editors of content, you are the charged with understanding, deeply, what role the content you choose to create and send live plays toward building and enhancing that synchronous, trusting relationship.
Just like a chef orchestrating a meal meant to nourish, please, and satisfy their hungry patrons; content publishers must orchestrate the right content at the right time to nourish and enhance the relationship they have with their readers. Each piece of individual content is like an ingredient in a 5 course meal. No one ingredient is necessarily more important than the other, but together, they can create an incredible meal.
If publishers, content creators and editors start to view their content calendars as veritable “menus” by which the relationship with their audience is built; the chance for having an engaged and passionate audience increases dramatically.
So how does the next post on your content calendar nourish your audience? How does next week’s article work to build trust with your readers? And how are both of those connected to who you are as an organization, who your audience aspires to become, and the relationship that already exists between your company and its audience?
These are the types of questions that can lead to success. When content is connected to something much bigger and much more meaningful than the content alone (brand), that’s where the magic happens.
Jeremiah Gardner is the author of the book, The Lean Brand. He works with entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and Fortune 500 companies to help them discover, iterate, and develop their emotional-value. Follow him on Twitter@JeremiahGardner.
[Photo Credit: Maleficent via Disney]