The best way to get your big idea into the mind of your target audience is to deliver it in a small package. The human brain only can absorb information in small doses, so packaging your content is critical to being seen, read and rewarded.
Social media blogger Jay Baer asked in a recent post whether it is more likely for someone to view a 90-second video or a 32-page e-book. In the 140-character world beget by Twitter, Baer said bet on the video to attract more viewers. The same can be said for presenting your big idea in a stuffy white paper instead of a neatly organized package of information that catches your viewers' attention and allows them to discover your idea in the level of detail they want.
It is really a numbers game. More people are likely to read a tidbit than a tome. The more eyeballs that read your content, the more likely you are to generate a response, be found in an online search or have your big idea shared with an even wider audience. However, it also is about quality. You may get noticed then dismissed unless you offer real value.
Complex subjects demand richer explanation. Luckily, digital media offers many options to accommodate that need.
1. Links – Instead of digressing into detailed explanations, you can insert links that allow the curious to click and check them out without impeding the flow of your concise narrative.
2. Layers – You can create an architecture that enables the dedicated reader to probe deeper into your subject matter, layer by layer. This avoids bogging down the narrative for the reader in a hurry, while feeding the appetite of viewers with deeper interests.
3. Layout – You can highlight intriguing aspects of your content with sidebars or pull-outs that complement, not distract from, your main storytelling. This collateral content can be in the form of video, infographics and slide shows.
While digital media has made content management more prominent, the basic idea isn't really new. The tobacco industry was adept as achieving "prevalency" — the practice of being seen in as many places as possible to create the impression of normalcy. That's why you saw tobacco iconography on race cars, billboards and gas station windows, and cigarettes in the hands of movie stars in all kinds of roles.
The content management challenge today centers, perhaps paradoxically, on catching someone's attention, much in the way Don Drapers have been trying to do for ages. But content managers must go further than glossy or entertaining come-ons to provide information of value, organized in logical, convenient and visually appealing ways for viewers to discover.
Recognizing the truth of Mark Twain's famous quote, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one," it is little wonder that many companies have hired content managers. Putting big ideas into small packages takes hard work, curiosity and creativity.