It wasn’t long ago when we could COPE with adding new media channels to our distribution mix. By COPE, I mean Create Once, Publish Everywhere. There was a time when you could create one video and distribute it via TV, VHS, DVD and, then, streaming. But consumers now demand that we distribute our content over multiple channels, each with different publishing parameters.
Twitter is only 140 characters, but support URLs and displays images and videos. Vine is only a 6-second video, but YouTube allows videos up to 15 minutes (unless you pay extra). Facebook limits you to 5,000 characters, but it works better if you post an image with a caption, than a wall post with a link. Pinterest pins must have a caption with up to 500 characters. To send via SMS, your max is 160 characters. Send email? Some people like HTML email, some do not. And Tumblr works best with bright shiny pictures.
Create All, Publish Everywhere (CAPE) has replaced COPE. Publishing content is a lot more complicated than it used to be.
To deal with this new multi-channel obligation, you need a solid content strategy. It must identify your target audiences and what channels they use. Then you have to develop effective messages and content packaging for each channel. And you have to do this while effectively managing the time you spend monitoring those channels, creating content for them, and distributing content through them. Oh, and don’t forget you have to engage your audience about your content throughout the process.
(As an aside, I would like everyone to note how many people it will take to do what I described above to handle the content your organization produces and distributes.)
Last week was the return of the Internet Advocacy Roundtable. Created in 2005, the IAR returned after a couple years’ rest to feature a panel of experts to discuss what makes good content strategy in a social world. We assembled some pretty sharp folks to discuss this. Suzanne Turner kicked off the panel by discussing the big picture of communication strategy and content’s role in it. Beth Becker followed, discussing the connection between communication strategy and social media. Adam Headroom (played by Adam Mordecai of Upworthy.com) joined us via Google Hangout to share some of Upworthy’s secret sauce for finding great content that has a chance to go viral (5%, if he’s lucky, says Adam). And Riché Zamor brought us back to the task at hand, mapping out a process for managing all this content through all those channels.
And then the fun begun. A hallmark of the Internet Advocacy Roundtable has always been an hour-plus long discussion following the panel presentations. The panelist rolled up their sleeves to dig in deeper at the prompting of several great questions from the Roundtable (about 45 people in the packed room). There were a lot of really smart people in the audience with directly and indirectly related experience. As you might imagine, that made for some good Q&A, filled with lots of insight. I always say social strategy is about how you work with the conversation among your audience and their audiences; and you could see how it is supposed to work from the offline-world back and forth we had in the room. I think everyone had at least one “aha! Moment”… I know I had a few.
So, enjoy the video of the Internet Advocacy Roundtable and join us next month at Care2 or online via our YouTube Livestream and Twitter (hashtag #IAR).