Hold on for a moment. Take a pause and let’s go time travelling. Don’t worry, you’ll be safe–as long as you do exactly what we say.
Sit back–okay, you can take a sip of your coffee, first–and ask yourself seriously:
If at this moment, you find yourself on September 13, 1981, and you’ve gotten out of bed, and are about to have breakfast: how are you going to access your Facebook News Feed?
Of course, you can’t. Facebook began as a Harvard University online social network in 2003, registered its one millionth member in 2004, and only became available to the public in September 2006.
Now that we’ve warped backwards 38 years, you only have three options to access news media content: the television, the radio, or the newspaper. As you are preparing and then actually having breakfast, you will likely simply turn the TV or radio on.
You need to get breakfast quickly because you’d still have to go to work. Turning the TV or radio on lets you listen in to the day’s major news and events while eating, having coffee, then brushing your teeth and then getting dressed. No, you don’t just sit down in front of the radio or TV–you don’t have time to pause.
All along, the producers and editorial teams of TV and radio news are doing their job: they’ve written and produced headlines that will catch your attention, news ledes that give you all the important information that you can absorb while you are doing other things.
If you have a bit more time, and you are subscribed to a newspaper, then all right, you’ll have that newspaper at your front door. You pick up the newspaper, sit down at the table, and, while eating your scrambled eggs and having coffee, you’ll be reading the front page. If you have time, you’ll look at the stock market page.
And oh, if you’re the type who likes to read more, you’ll just bring the newspaper with you so you can read it during your commute. Did you notice something? We had to describe all of this in a lot of paragraphs–simply because today, everything you’ve read so far might as well be ancient history. Practically no person you know consumes news and media content in this way. It’s all practically gone.
What’s gone and what stays? Now we’re back in the present day. Whew. Back to normal, which means you are most likely reading this on your smartphone. TV gone. Radio gone. Newspaper…what’s that?
The point is, what disappered is not “format”. We still have TVs, we still have radio and newspapers–but we no longer consume their content in the same way as in 1981.
What disappeared is our old, obsolete experience of news and other media content. Nowadays, when you create a website or a Facebook account for your hospital, your insurance company, your brand of seafood products, or your bank, you are not simply creating “digital content that you want to go viral”.
Instead, you’ve created, either effectively or ineffectively, a content experience for your audience, your market, your customers. That’s what happens when we took at our smartphones, laptops, or tablets: we don’t just read posts, stare at images, or watch videos.
Rather, we plunge ourselves into a virtual world, an experience that, during the moments when we are within it, is just as real as the physical environment around us. This is why mobile digital games are so addictive. Whether it’s Minecraft or Mobile Legends, the users or players become so absorbed, so mentally and even emotionally immersed in a powerful experience. They are lost in a virtual place that we, non-gamers, are excluded from.
This is true even when we consume content of Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Just look at how we can laugh, cry, get enraged, get annoyed at whatever content we see there. Notice how we comment, how we react, how intense we can get. It’s an experience that we become invested and involved in. It is, if you think about it, a kind of world-building: building a world of experience where your audience is transported to.
If an agency offers to create digital content or undertake digital marketing for you, they’re not giving you enough. Why? That’s because they are not looking at the total architecture, the total structure that needs to be created.
On the one hand, there’s messaging that your own marketing people probably set already. Then the creatives (in-house or outsourced) come in to render that message in graphics, images, video, animation, etc. Ask yourself: at this point have you already created a total, compelling, an powerful content experience? No.
The missing component is an effective, reliable, agile, and future-ready Editorial Team. Experts say that when it comes to marketing, content is king. But what makes or breaks content? Storytelling. And storytelling is an Editorial specialty. There’s more to that, though.
Interesting and relevant content plus storytelling don’t cut it anymore.. What turns them into a total, compelling content experience is the overall content experience architecture and strategy that Editorial provides. Editorial, by knowledge and experience, knows what story to tell, how to tell it, in what format to release it, and to which audiences to release it.
Furthermore, Editorial’s job is to help your company create an overall strategy that turns disparate content and elements–social media posts, advertorials, TVCs, radio guestings, print ads, etc.–into a connected, coherent whole (a “world” where your customers get immersed in, if you will) that will solidify your brand’s connection and relationship to your audience.
An agency that cannot do that for you is not giving you the entire package. It is not giving your brand the total, compelling, and powerful experience that is the only way for you to be noticed and become relevant to your audience. Content experience is what we need to strive for simply because there are hundreds, thousands of other content competing for your customers’/audiences’ attention.
If the content experience your brand provides is not compelling, not powerful, not relevant, then say goodbye to any relationship you wish to establish with customers. They have so many other content experiences then can immerse themselves in.
The old news and media content experience of 1981 may be gone but what stays is the need for competent, agile, and effective Editorial teams. And in today’s media environment, such Editorial teams should create immersive, powerful content experiences. Anything less won’t be effective. Look for that in the next digital content/marketing agency you work with.