“Content is king” has become a mantra for many social media marketers and website creators in today’s online environment. While this has become an undisputed point, two questions inevitably follow: what kind of content is best? How do you create content about which people will care? Here are the top two discoveries social media evangelist Ron Ploof made at 2011’s Confab: The Content Strategy Conference when he asked the 60 content creators in attendance for their top-three things they wanted to learn:
- Storytelling is top – When asked what they wanted to learn from the Confab session “Content Rules: How to Create Content People Really Care About,” the No. 1 response from attendees was “Finding and Telling Stories.” Combine those votes with the ones for two additional story-related categories – “Connecting Stories to Business” and “Voice: Brand/Content Balance” – and 61 percent of the attendees wanted help with storytelling. This is no great surprise. People are wired to connect better with stories than with abstract principles. As Ploof’s said before, people have the attention span of a gnat online. However, if you find a way to present your company’s story that will captivate the audience’s attention and imagination, connecting with them in a real, personal way, then you can extend that gnat-like attention span. “The best online content creators combine the power of storytelling with education to tap into a reservoir of dormant attention,” Ploof said.
- Executives need educating– Those in social media circles tend to think that by this point in time, the benefits of social media are a given. However, the audience’s desire for help with convincing executives that social media is an opportunity instead of a burden shows there’s still a need to show why it matters – it was the second-most requested topic from attendees. The questions they asked are enlightening as well. Ploof lists a few, including how to “focus execs so they/we can prioritize which story to tell” and “how to get execs to respect content development as a skill (and non-execs too)?” Content creation is a craft and skill that requires patience and creativity – it can’t be churned out, but it’s worth the wait when executed well. A large part of content creation is storytelling, as mentioned above. It seems like executives will either say they have no real story to tell or they’ll want to tell too many stories at once – famine or feast, so to speak. Help them learn to pace the process, prioritizing on what story is most important to tell the message and get the results they want right now.