Do You Create, Imitate Or Liberate Content Ideas?

January 21, 2020
January 21, 2020 Kate Neale

Do You Create, Imitate Or Liberate Content Ideas?

Here’s a question: Lets say we spend around 4-5 hours a day online and we’re exposed to around 5,000 commercial messages a day, so if we add up all the money spent by all the suppliers, services and people trying to get the attention of the same people you’re targeting, how much is one digital media minute of their attention worth?

Of course there are many ways to put a value on the answer to that question, but it clearly identifies the value of a strong creative idea that gets the attention of your target audience.

When it comes to content, are you creating the new and original? Are you imitating and emulating what you see everyone else doing? Or are you liberating the new and original ideas from others on your behalf?

If you’re marketing through content – and you should be – it better be good, because every business is in the business of creating content, which means you’re competing not just on product, but on your marketing skills. The skills you need go far beyond understanding marketing, to understanding the value and mechanics of each possible medium and the psychology of human behaviour.

And when I say good content I mean effective ie. the message and energy of your content resonates with and connects to, your target people to elicit the desired response. But the ability of a business to be very good at what it does and have the ability to tell and sell its story, doesn’t always go hand in hand.

While it’s never been easier for a business to create it’s own version of content from ‘How To’ pieces, coverage of news and events, testimonial and influencer driven UGC, to bespoke, commissioned or sponsored series, it’s never been a bigger challenge to make compelling content that’s on point by multiple measures.

Just like the movie or TV business, if your content doesn’t find and resonate with your audience – it’s a flop! News flash – since marketing turned to content creation for social and video platforms, we’re all in the same business!

A business can become its own production, media and advertising machine and the digital medium provides a most efficient medium, but do you know the fundamentals of creating content that drives an emotional connection with your audience? Do you know how to create the strategy, execute a compelling campaign and maintain connection with your audience?

The first and most important thing to know is your audience – what and how they think and feel generally and in reference to your product category and market space specifically. From there you can begin to understand  where to place and what to use in your communications to stimulate connection and engagement.

It’s really important to understand at this point, that as everyone is clambering onto the digital highway, digital as a communication channel is reaching saturation point. People have a finite amount of time to find and engage with content online and that’s why GREAT content, content that resonates and generates connection, has such high value. To begin with the sheer randomness of discovery that is inherent in social media, makes relevance, relationship and referral essential.

So generating content that is relevant and valued is the goal and there are a few ways to go about that. The next question is: Do you Create Custom Content, Imitate Other Content or Liberate Ideas?

Custom Create Content: If you have the ability to discern what your audience needs, the creative talent to translate that into content ideas on a regular basis, a distribution and possibly monetisation strategy and the resources required to do that, you are among the lucky ones.

If you don’t, you’ll need the time to teach yourself or the money to hire or engage competent talented people to do it for you. Marketing podcasts abound spruiking about getting content out there, but they tend to gloss over the realities and logistics of making and creating “good” original content.

You’ll need:

  • a great web development partner who keeps their very broad knowledge current
  • a sound SEO and link back strategy to maximise the value of the content you’re creating
  • to understand the peculiarities of each of the social media platforms to identify which are right for your content and audience
  • an original creative idea that is considered relevant and valued to your audience
  • an idea that will be episodic or ongoing while remaining authentic to your brand values and message (sometimes creative inspiration can see an idea run away from commercial objectives)
  • a full understanding of any legal vulnerabilities you may have in publishing the content
  • a full understanding of any cultural vulnerabilities you may have in publishing the content
  • commercial storytelling craft ie. the ability to put your ideas in a format that has continuity and consistency in its commercial objectives
  • a modest array of equipment and production facilities eg. tripod, lighting, audio etc.
  • graphic design and video editing capabilities to present your ideas as you envisage them
  • a strategic content plan that works to a schedule of idea development, production and posting
  • a reliable, flexible digital content management and archiving service or system
  • a commitment and resources to reliably interact and engage with audience response

When you have command and capability in all of the above, you can seriously embark on your custom created content for your business or brand.

Imitate Other Content: Entrepreneur magazine once published a long time ago something like this: ‘R&D doesn’t always stand for Research & Development, sometimes it stands for Rob & Duplicate’. I take it the comment was meant philosophically not literally, to mean it’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel, ie. If you see a something working for others, it might be something you can re-calibrate to work for you.

One example of this is how the sentiment expressed in the lyric of a well known, emotionally charged song – ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree’, inspired the idea of wearing a red ribbon to drive awareness. It’s an idea now used widely, in different colours, by advocacy groups to raise awareness.

TV formats are another example eg. First there was Masterchef, then there was My Kitchen Rules, first came The Block, then there was My House Rules. With little effort we can recount many such examples of similarly inspired shows. This formula might work for TV formats, but I’m circumspect on imitating the original campaigns of others as a strategy.

It might seem easier to edit other creative ideas to reinterpret them in your own way, but there is always the risk of being seen as ‘an also ran’, inauthentic or unoriginal. But you can be inspired to an original take on an existing idea, to reinvent it from a different perspective.

A great example of that is how Celeste Barber reinterprets the social media posts of others, with a kind of ‘anti-selfie-culture’. Celeste imitates contrived posts with an interpretation of the same execution in her version of reality. It’s a funny, original content concept that continues to be inspired by the content of others.

The saying goes that ‘imitation is the highest form of flattery’, but it can also be the easiest way to find yourself in legal hot water. A name, a logo design, jingle, product design or marketing, there are very strong rules around intellectual property that you need to be aware and respectful of – no matter who creates your content.

That said, there are ways to use the music or other art and intellectual property of others legally, you just need to know how and what to do.

Liberate Ideas: Liberating ideas can be briefing others to create your campaigns for you; it can be commissioning or sponsoring a series that fits with your commercial objectives or it can be (legally) curating content to create new bespoke content.

Liberating ideas might be one of the best ways for business to generate content ongoing. Traditionally only the big companies could call upon the services of advertising agencies to help with their marketing, but everyone can now build their own bespoke version of agency services using the talent and services of freelance consultants, creatives and production people – and their apps!

When you liberate the ideas of others to create commercial entertainment and marketing content that’s paired with your business objectives and produced by skilled people, that can be a most compelling content strategy.

If you’d like to create, imitate or liberate a content strategy that works for you, contact Wanted Consulting – Reward Offered.

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