Much about content has evolved in the time since we all started writing about it. Entire books have been dedicated to the topic, many tools and services have cropped up to support the need to create content and, generally speaking, most marketers have come to accept and expect content production as a necessary tool to drive awareness, interest and conversion.
The next evolution of content marketing is a move to a more active state of what we consider to be content. Instead of using the term only to describe the act of producing words, pixels and frames, I believe it's time to talk about content in the all-encompassing manner in which we actually use it. I am referring to the act of simultaneously producing, sharing and networking as a form of an active cycle of content—not implemented just once, for today, but for multiple uses for days to come.
A Content Evolution
Today the term content has grown to mean:
Producing written, spoken and recorded words and pictures
Sharing filtered, curated and aggregated written, spoken and recorded words and pictures
Networking with the producers of written, spoken and recorded words and pictures
The effectiveness of your marketing efforts depends on seeing these three things as one act, and adopting this mindset as you plan and carry out your editorial activities.
Every press release, blog post, video, article and presentation must have intended uses beyond its obvious initial outlay, and it must be an interchangeable element in the total body of work you share.
It’s simply too costly to produce content with any other view.
I once had a conversation with Josh Waitzkin, eight-time National Chess Champion and author of The Art of Learning, and he told me that he got to the point where he no longer saw a game as it was, because to him the game always looked as though it was going to be many moves ahead.
I think that’s how content must be viewed—not as something just for today, but for moves ahead.
The process starts with questioning, which must evolve into an unconscious way of thinking.
How can I expand this blog post as a series of posts?
How can I rework this content into other formats?
What will make this content worth paying for?
How can this content be reworked for real-time consumption?
What did I learn while creating this presentation?
How could I package this content to share it with a different market?
If I were writing a book, would this content belong in that book?
What content have I already written that could form the basis of an e-book?
How can I share this content in a way that helps me learn?
So, that blog post you planned, researched and typed into WordPress isn’t complete until you amplify it, share at least four or five related blog posts written by others and debate the merits of a particularly insightful aspect of the post with peers in a Google+ Hangout.
Read more posts about blogging.
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
Photo: Getty Images