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Getting "IT" Right With Media

You ever download a podcast/audio file that sounded more like a 1920’s radio show instead of a new age audio file? Or have an expectation of what you will get in a video, only to be disappointed because it did not meet said expectation?

Or how about read an article in a magazine that is just a simple waste of time, because it read more like a blog post? Here's the skinny—this is very likely because the content you are expecting is not in line with the context of the media vehicle you are interacting with.

For example, I am a podcast geek—I am one of those people on airplanes that save the “cool” podcasts for the cross-country or international trips to help pass the time. For me, I am into astrophysics/astronomy, logic, theoretical physics and Roman/Egyptian history (listen: I told you I was a geek…fortunately or unfortunately, this is the real me). Back to the point at hand, when I download podcasts my expectation is that they will be relatively deep in content, with smart people and interesting topics—essentially, stuff that will make me think and that I can learn from. Realistically, most of them suck. Primarily they are not good because the author/speaker does not understand the context of the audio-cast and what the user expects to get. Some try way too hard for production value, others just rant on and on with no real points being made, while still more are just simply boring as hell because they do not have any experience in keeping people interested. The trick with these is to think of them in terms of “what people want to listen to” not “what you want them to hear.” We are in the b2b space, so it is never going to be as interesting as a gossip-cast, but it can be cool.

With the intense pressure on the business technology audience to be the IT gurus of their company, it follows that they would want to have the easiest form of knowledge gain as possible. Enter an audio file that offers a deep dive on a specific technology and its application to business. Think in terms of an audio book more than a pod-cast, and it will go miles in your ability to relate with what this audience is actually looking for, and what they will expect from this medium.

I know many of us dig You Tube—and for good reason, it is cool as hell. But unless you know exactly what you are looking for, it can be somewhat brutal. For example, I knew I wanted to see this scene from Old School, so I went and got it—but if I just search for Luke Wilson movie, then I could likely still be searching today. The other thing is, most of the homemade video stuff is crap—because people do not know what the hell they are doing. Don’t get me wrong, that makes it fun, but it can also get pathetic, weird and annoying as hell.

Further, as many b2b publishers (like me) and IT vendors start to get into video, you see some pretty crappy programming. The fact is, much of this IT stuff is sort of boring and does not really play into the context of video, and is better communicated in text or graphics. However, it can be cool if you use it for information that cannot really be clearly explained in text (like a tutorial or a review)—or content that is “point in time” like an event or something similar where the content can be “broadcast” out to a larger group of interested people.

As you do video, think about what video can be really good at—not applying what you used to do in print (like a branding message) and throwing it into a video file…no one will watch it.

So I am using these examples and thoughts to get the point across of content in context—as you do your marketing messaging and build your marcom plans, you have to think about what the audience is expecting from each medium. When you think about it this way, you can actually leverage the medium for your message—for example, I use the web way differently that I use the magazine, while I use live events way differently than I use content that sits behind a registration gate online. If you want to go deeper on this stuff, give me a shout—happy to talk it through with you.