By Jinnean Barnard

One thing I've recommended to clients is creating “evergreen” content – content that answers questions that people always ask about your brand, product, or organization, or that provides useful information that doesn’t quickly go out of date. The great thing about evergreen content is the number of ways in which it can be parceled out. Evergreen content can be leveraged and repurposed within your digital social ecosystem – as tweets, Facebook posts, short edited versions of longer videos, infographics, etc. – all linking back to the original evergreen piece. To be successful, evergreen content must be credible, interesting and genuinely useful to users.

In November 2012, Digital Agency 360i published a Content Marketing Report I recommend reading. The report describes the importance of a “solid content marketing strategy that factors in both low and high-investment content” -- flow and stock. The authors quote media inventor and theorist Robin Sloan, who says:

Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist. Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today.”

The 360i report goes on to explain how to achieve a balanced content marketing strategy that includes both stock and flow, via curating and creating content.

Whether you call it evergreen – connoting freshness, or stock – suggesting quality and tangibility, good content with a long shelf life is a significant element of your content mix.

 

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AuthorJinnean Barnard

In my last post I talked about an interview I’d heard on CBC radio’s Spark with June Cohen, Executive Producer at TED. In addition to the concept of taking “ideas worth spreading” to developing countries via TED’s new Open TV Project, the other topic Cohen was jazzed up about and that interested me was what she called “radical openness.” (Or as it’s also known, “radical transparency.”)

And radical transparency has become a LOT more interesting in the wake of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP is intent on getting its message out. The company’s tweets are frequent, as are its status updates on Facebook (it looks like the same feed). The BP website is up-to-the-minute with video, claim information and more, featured on the home page and the “Gulf of Mexico Response” page as well.

And, in a May 21 press release, posted on its website, the company reiterated its commitment to its oil spill response transparency.

Still, it feels a lot like “push PR.” And organizations like The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Greenpeace are demanding “more footage and documents from BP to assess the true situation of the oil spill.”

(Interestingly, the original push for transparency from BP on its website may have come from the White House, rather than BP itself.)

The really big question for me is, where is the conversation?

BP is managing its messaging very well, but that’s all it is – messaging. BP asks, “Do you have ideas to help us?” and lets visitors submit enquiries on its website, but those questions and answers aren’t visible on the site. Similarly, the BP America Facebook page shows posts ostensibly by “BP + Others” on its wall, but every post is prefaced by the BP logo. There are no posts under “Just Others.” (BP’s failings here are skewered in a great fake twitter feed – see BPGlobalPR).

So the critique is taking place publically on the web, but it’s running in a parallel line to BP’s carefully crafted “response” messaging – and two simultaneous monologues don’t make a dialogue, folks.

There’s something radical happening, all right, something that will affect our oceans, marine life, water fowl and much more – but transparency isn’t part of it.

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AuthorJinnean Barnard
CategoriesDigital


When I was a kid I lived in a 100-year-old log house lovingly restored by my parents and filled with antiques. My favourite piece of furniture was an ornate Victorian pump organ. You might know it better as a “church” or “reed” organ. (And yes, I am a bit worried about keyword search here…) Musical instruments are obviously interactive. But the reed organ is more interactive than most. It has stops that you pull out to create certain sounds, and while you’re pulling the stops and playing the keys you have to pedal with your feet to operate the bellows that force the air over the reeds.  Our organ also had wooden “arms” that you levered out and pressed with your knees as you played. That was to produce some aural effect I never achieved because that last step pushed me over the edge of my multi-tasking abilities.

So I was thinking about the reed organ the other day when we were tasked with creating a template for a client’s website. The point of the template was to make it easier for users to write a letter online, and there was some talk of making a “fill-in-the-blanks” style template. And it might have worked for some of our visitors, but it struck me that writing a letter, no matter how convenient you make it, still has to be genuinely interactive. You have to be able to push the pedals and pull out the stops in order to make an emotional connection with the person you’re writing to. You can’t just fill in the blanks. The best online experiences are those that engage you. And oddly, the best way to successfully take an offline experience online is by reproducing some of the traits that define the offline experience, and adding enhancements. Online Scrabble (formerly known as Scrabulous) is a good example.

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AuthorJinnean Barnard
CategoriesDigital