You Give Good Content, But Do You Give Good Context?

October 21, 2013 by

You give good content. But do you give good context?How many times has one of your children, a young adult or perhaps even a colleague asked you the following question: What does [insert word of your choice] mean? How often has your initial, immediate response been “What is the context?”

Several, I bet. One needs the context to deliver a satisfactory answer. Context can, and does, change meaning, twist emphasis, and enforce or undermine relative value of that meaning to the audience.

Content needs context. It does.

Whether your gig is in content marketing, content curation, thought leadership or marketing collateral, the truth remains: Your audiences need to know how and why your message(s) are relevant to them, valuable to them and how they, as an individual or organization will gain some benefit, value added or insight as a result of reading or, say, downloading your content.

Let me give you a parallel, because I love analogies and I like this one. It’s the weather. Something close to my heart (as I live in the UK, God, it’s close to my heart all right).

I love a weather forecast. I like to know how the weather is going to affect my life in the next 24 hours, the next week and maybe even further. It affects what I wear, what I can do with my kids, how I get from A to B – it affects me in many ways. I get benefit from a good, accurate and relevant forecast.

So how much value – to me – is there in a global weather forecast? A forecast that has no real context for me to hang my plans? No value at all. Really, none.

Back to business, then. Let’s put context in context.

You are a marketing man or woman, and have successfully teased out of one of your highly qualified professionals a terrific tale of how they applied expertise, innovation and lateral thinking to deliver a stunning solution to one of your/their clients. It saved that client money; it improved that client’s business, and it is delivering value and benefit to them now and it will keep doing so because it is a durable solution. That’s a heck of a good story, is it not?

If this piece doesn’t warrant fulsome promotion through your content marketing channels, your newsletters, your web sites – whatever channels you use within your marketing mix – then what on earth does? So you can confidently plan to do so. To the relevant audiences. Crack on! Easy.

But… but… does it deliver the same value to all your clients? Is it relevant to all the industries or business sectors you service?

Maybe, maybe not.

If the answer is “maybe not,” then there is work to be done to deliver that story immediately to those to whom it is most relevant, and more work to be done to make it relevant to others – to find benefit for others by finding a new context that will enable them to apply it to their landscape or business horizon.

Repurpose That Content

Even if your great content is not immediately applicable or relevant to all your target prospects, sectors and audiences, there are ways that you can sweat the assets to make them work for you across your channels. Here are some tips to bear in mind when repurposing content.

1. Look for a theme or a big idea. Is there another dimension to the story that you have overlooked in the excitement of the innovation? Maybe there is a theme that is developing in front of your eyes: a similar story some months ago? Similar problems overcome by a different but equally clever solution? I have written about the importance of spotting them before here.

2. Go back and find similar examples from previous articles, where your organization has cracked problems with innovation, then draw these pieces together and share an article about, say, “problem solving in the XXX sector” or “how we solved the unsolvable in XXXX.”

To do this, one must have a decent hope of ensuring you are already catching all the good content your team is creating. I have discussed this before here.

3. Share the completed article with professional colleagues, and ask them what it sparks in them. Do they know of another example? Use the experts to continually add to your own business and sector knowledge.

4. Get out there and build an event! Look, you don’t have to just rely on digitally publishing content. True leadership of thought and sector needs another important facet to work effectively, and that is the capacity to create and deliver an event.

When was the last time you held a seminar, a breakfast briefing or a business lunch that covered a topic of growing and future importance? They can be win-win situations – you get to present your ground-breaking knowledge and experience, and offer reminders of past successes and alerts to future issues, and your audience gets to meet your experts face to face and network with their peers.

5. Work with your PR team. Is this one big idea/solution strong enough to warrant submission to a journal as an article in synopsis for them to develop alongside you?

These are just some solutions to help you make the most out of what your teams spend their days doing: solving problems, meeting objectives and delivering value and benefit to your clients. Let me know of any others you think I should have mentioned.

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