The Internet was still exciting and new for many back in 1996. See just the first minutes of this video, Discovering the Internet, which was produced that year.
The announcer, smartly dressed as some kind of anthropologist and holding a fossilized bone, talks about the wonder that was sweeping the world then. He gushes, “There is nothing in the history of the human race that compares to the impact that the Internet will have on how we communicate.”
While many would still place their bets on the printing press winning that comparison, there is no denying that the Internet has indeed trumped the movable type model for the speed and volume of content delivery. With every Tweet from the swift moving fingers of Twitter’s users and with every blog — whether published by an amateur cook in Topeka, Kansas, USA or a corporate marketing rep in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With so much content spinning together the threads of the World Wide Web, our little blue planet is ever more networked.
Does your own business have something to say in this? Absolutely. Indeed, if what the Discovering the Internet announcer says is true, “The question is not whether you will be a part of that action, but when.”
So how can your brand make that leap from the promised future of 1996 to the waiting arms of today’s Internet users?
Know That, Yes, You Can
Among the excited voices of 1996 was Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who said this about content and the Internet:
One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create. In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience.
While your company’s reputation will mean that your content deserves a bit more thought than “photocopying” suggests, you should feel just as easy about the decision to publish. All businesses can and should publish materials that highlight their products, services, and industry.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
In the photocopier sense, the content that you deliver to your brand consumers does not have to be created from scratch. It is a fact that every industry is producing an enormous amount of materials: white papers, press releases, opinion and analysis pieces, blogs, and more. Moreover, the content creators within the industry are as diverse as the content itself: marketing department staff, professional bloggers, industry journalists, and consumers themselves.
Because of that, content curation — the practice of sorting through, organizing, and presenting thematically connected information in a coherent manner — is itself considered content creation. For example, if you were at an industry conference and you wanted to publish what attendees tweeted about the conference’s highlights, not only will your curation help define your brand’s take on what those highlights were, you contribute to the shape and direction of the conversation.
One important note on content curation: Just remember to give credit where credit is due by attributing sources properly!
Speak the Language of Jane and Joe … and Ji and Jao
The Internet does not stop at your country’s borders. Neither should the content of global brands. So while you are writing to the everyday man and woman of your own community, consider that your brand may be speaking to an international community rather than a national one.
So if, for example, you have decided that, yes, you should translate your company’s website, consider whether your content marketing should also be localized for the customers you have abroad.
Do you already have an office in a foreign locale? Great! Pull someone from that team into the content creation strategy.
If you don’t, there is always the content translation route. And, well, that’s what we at Moravia do.
Share your comments and questions below.