Must-Read Marketing: Will Your Content Adapt, Or Will It Become Extinct?

by LaurenTivnan on

I love content. (Shocker, no?)

I love creating content, reading about creating content, and tracking content. And when I came across Garrett Moon’s article, “Will Your Content Adapt, Or Will It Become Extinct?” I laughed out loud.

No, I didn’t laugh at the article–it’s a great piece which is why I’m posting it here–but I laughed at a memory that popped into my head as I read it. See, when I first started out writing online articles, a former mentor (and boss at the time) would repeatedly tell me, “Good article. Now ‘chunk’ it out.” (Meaning make sure it’s able to be reused in various platforms and formats–without losing its value.)

Now ‘chunking’ is called “Adaptive Content.” Who knew? I sure didn’t (at the time). So, here’s a great article the right way to create adaptive content to make sure it’s living up to its full potential online. Enjoy!

Will Your Content Adapt, Or Will It Become Extinct?

I was in a meeting with a potential client describing adaptive content.

“Basically adaptive content means that your content is stored in a centralized location, in usable chunks, that allows you to easily share it with a variety of devices,” I said.

After understanding that this was harder than it sounded the client asked, “Is there anyone that is doing this well?”

“Sure,” I said. “National Public Radio.”

But they don’t have to be the only ones.

The Sad Story Of Content Marketing
Creating content is one of the most valuable activities that any business can undertake. Blog posts, videos, podcasts, or even Facebook messages can hold tremendous power for those willing to create and utilize them properly. We all know this, and it is why content creation can be so hard in the first place. Things worth doing are often harder than they appear.

But what happens to all of that content once we actually start creating it? Where does the effort go? Most of the time, it ends up like a blip on the radar, there for a moment, possibly ignored, and never to be heard from again. This is a shame.

Most content deserves more than one appearance at the top of the page. Most blog posts die (or get buried) before they are allowed to see their full potential, fading away before audiences get a chance to fall in love with them. This is discouraging to new content creators and it is the problem with most content marketing efforts. It’s why blogs die after three months without seeing any results: “All that work and nothing happend?! Forget this!”

It’s true that it is actually pretty darn hard to create the content in the first place. When we feel like we aren’t getting anywhere we lose hope. We quit. Our content becomes extinct.

We lose hope and quit if we feel we’re failing. Our content becomes extinct.

Getting More From Your Content
Let me tell you a different story about content marketing, the story of adaptive content.

This content is created to last. Topics are chosen wisely and categorized properly. Care and attention has been paid to the SEO properties of the headline and subsequent post. The reader has been considered. The post is well structured. Things are in order, but this is more than a blog post.

This is a post for the world to see.

The post goes live on a happy little blog. Google is notified. Bing takes notice. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and all the other major social networks are put on high alert: There is new content in the air!

That same post seamlessly adapts to the mobile website. This isn’t some tacky or clunky plugin, mind you. This is a state-of-the-art mobile experience, an immersive one. Mobile users on iOS, Android, Windows, and even a few on Blackberry receive immediate push notifications through a native app. “New content is here!” it says. Eyeballs rush to read it.

The content is syndicated – sent to the masses – via RSS and other advanced protocols. It also appears on sister sites throughout the web, and it hasn’t even broken a sweat yet.

You’ve got mail, too. The content is nicely packaged in an email, and hand delivered to your lucky subscribers.

How is this possible? Simple. This content has adapted itself to to the world. It seems like it fits everywhere, but wait – there’s more! After a few weeks on the shelf, this content is repackaged and repurposed, formatted into a happy ebook, added to an email auto responder course, placed inside of a killer keynote, or turned into classroom style curriculum.

Content is king, especially when you use it properly.

More Adaptive Before More Content
The moral of the story is fairly obvious: adaptive content goes places. Content that doesn’t adapt becomes extinct. It’s important to note that this has nothing to do with quality. Whether your content is good or bad, if it isn’t used wisely isn’t won’t do what you need it to do. This is why new bloggers fail. They don’t put enough trust in their content. They forget that some content changes the world. They preach a gospel of more content over a gospel of farther content.

Sometimes more is just more. Less content works, if you give it the ability to travel farther. There is no sense in killing yourself over five blogs posts each week if you aren’t getting everything from them that you can.

The 5 Elements of Adaptive Content
Karen McGrane is an adaptive content superhero. If you haven’t heard her speak, or read her book, you should. She can articulate the power of adaptive content better than anyone. Karen outlines five elements of adaptive content.

  • Reusable content — Content that is used on multiple platforms and in many formats.
  • Structured content — Small chunks of content that adapt easily to other devices.
  • Presentation-independent content — Raw content without pretentious or over-wrought formatting.
  • Meaningful metadata — Secret or hidden data that describes the content for easy interpretation.
  • Usable CMS interfaces — A complete system that allows us to do all of the above.

In a simple way, adaptive content is the content marketing version of the popular adage ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle.’

  • Reduce your workload with smart content management that puts your content where you need it.
  • Reuse your content and broadcast your message to every channel, everywhere. Make it go places.
  • Recycle as much of your content as you can. It doesn’t need to be a one trick pony. Repurpose old content and keep it useful.

When content is used to its full potential, it is called adaptive content. When content marketers learn to think adaptively, they are called brilliant.

Or, so he says.

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