The Recipe for Future-Proofing Your Content
Conferences give us the chance to nerd out with other marketers, get inspired, explore trends, and get a new perspective. Not to mention socializing with a sea of makers and doers.
This year’s INBOUND conference by HubSpot brought together 26,000 marketers and it gave us plenty to work with. We walked away with a stack of notes, lots of ideas, new connections, and a really bizarre video that shows off some shocking dancing skills.
The above video features Andrea Steffes-Tuttle, Think Better founder and CEO, Rachel Bush, a fellow marketer and entrepreneur, and me. I know—it’s ridiculous. We need to work on our under-the-sea themed moves. But it was all in good fun as INBOUND was encouraging the attendees to use Instagram installations to share their experience. And who doesn’t love an awkward dance party?
I want to share with you some ideas from one of my favorite workshops from INBOUND; Making it Last: How to Future-Proof Your Content. This workshop was taught by Elizabeth Giorgi, an inspirational leader who founded and runs not one, but two internet production companies in two different cities; Mighteor and SOONA .
As marketers who work with B2B SaaS companies, we often come up with new content to educate our audience. Good content takes time and time is a limited resource. Because of this, we like to get as much out of each piece of content as possible so future-proofing whatever we can is a must.
Since time is so precious, you also have to accept that not everything is going to be a huge success. Not every video will go viral and not every blog post will “break the internet.” Don’t waste time on tedious perfection. Our society is too obsessed with instant gratification for that. Give it your best try and then let it go. Your success will happen when you invite your audience into the then and now.
That brings us to Elizabeth’s first point:
Don’t Focus on the Future.
Talking about the future is the fastest way to make your content decidedly dated. And your seemingly confident predictions can’t always be right. Elizabeth isn’t saying you can’t make observations about what is to come, but relying on the future too heavily not only makes more work later on, but it is often is harder to connect with. Your audience isn’t in the future, they’re in the now!
Reflect on the Past.
Reflecting on the past and our shared culture truths are the most efficient ways for a brand to both tell its story and transcend our content ecosystem. Learn from the past and use that to talk about the present.
Use Your Unique Voice.
Your voice is the one thing that never goes out of style. Identify your brand high points; what makes your brand what it is? Those are your “moments of genius” and should be proudly shared whenever possible.
Share the Good, But Also the Bad.
Share the bad? Yep, you heard that right. Brands are made up of people and people make mistakes. Owning them and learning from them instills transparency. Low points give us the upturns that change a business for the better. If you can find a way to talk about the hard times and share how these low points made your business better, you’ve got your hands on some great, future-proof content that says a lot about the character of your business.
After you’ve identified some content your audience will love and ensured they won’t expire soon after posting, Elizabeth suggests three additional steps that you use to vet each piece of content.
FIRST: Are you being TRANSPARENT?
Trust your audiences. It’s more important that your content is honest than perfect.
SECOND: Is your content BRAVE?
It’s not a one-time decision. It’s a day-by-day commitment to your vision. Stop saying the same thing in different ways, use your vision and be brave.
FINALLY: Did you add a pinch of BADASSERY?
Are you using your unique voice and story? Because that’s how you will authentically stand out from the trends and the hashtags.
So, let your brand shine, stop boring your audience with future predictions, and show the good, the bad and the ugly for full transparency and compelling content.