I was thinking about the various statements we hear and make these days about how engagement is king, content is queen, context is the umbrella that makes it all happen, etc. It all sounds fairly complicated. Let a person with a long corporate history tell you: simplicity works.
Think about it:
- clarity of purpose simplifies what you want to transmit
- putting your message in plain words creates a stronger signal
- storytelling and simplicity go hand in hand and make content more sharable for that reason
A week ago, we talked about social content. Does all content need to be social to be effective?
Content that works drives conversation because it is emotionally compelling, tells a story, and for that reason is easier to transmit, to pass on. It also does something else. Greek mythology, for example, is filled with simple, memorable stories that are easy to remember and tell, and teach us something.
Once when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up and down upon him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him, and opened his big jaws to swallow him.
“Pardon, O King,” cried the little Mouse, “forgive me this time, I shall never forget it: who knows but what I may be able to do you a turn some of these days?”
The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted up his paw and let him go.
Some time after the Lion was caught in a trap, and the hunters who desired to carry him alive to the King, tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon to carry him on.
Just then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts.
“Was I not right?” said the little Mouse.
What was he right about? I bet you could finish the story without the help of Google, and explain what Æsop teaches us -- his call to action.
Making the content "social" is not a special kind of voodoo you do to words. It's not putting a "share this" widget next to it, either. It means reaching out and connecting with a deeper need and inspiring the conversations and actions of others. What else does effective content have that drives action?
- it's relevant -- speaks to us, right now
- it's realistic -- thus motivates us to act
- it's substantive -- it's got something in it for us
Do you believe there's no money in content creation?
[illustration by Jerry Pinkney]