Can content strategists study the current screen trends and predict how the form and delivery of content will evolve?
Some of my recent posts provide tips and best practices to non-profits on how best to leverage their web presence through social media, online outreach and management strategies. These best practices guides are a snapshot of the current strategies that content managers deploy, across the Global North and South.
What my guides haven’t yet focused on is how do content strategists, digital marketers and web editors ‘future proof’ their web content strategy? What will be the everyday tricks that the digital communications professional of 2020 will employ to reach out to her audience and get them to sign-up and signed in? Be it the late 1990s or 2020, the goal remains singular: reach your target audience. The incidental outcome: a loyal demography. Loyalty still reigns and will continue to be seen as the number one benchmark to measure and evaluate the worth of a company, product or service.
History shows us that some of the most popular social networking sites and communications channels that were in vogue 10 years ago have sunk out of plain sight. How do we ensure that content strategy stays current in 2020?
This is an important question and one that is being raised by content creators and strategists with the advent of wearable computing and technology.
By 2020, however, all of us will be grappling with a totally unique form of medium: wearable devices. Wearable technology is making quantum leaps and in another half-decade Google Glass, Apple smartwatches, digital finger rings will be the norm rather than the hip + geeky gadgets they are now being marketed as. These are the kind of platforms that users across the age demography will have strapped on to their eyes, wrists, arms, ankles, and other body parts. Information, news, messages, photos, and videos will be consumed – not talking about creating or editing, only consumption and dissemination – on tiny screens.
Here are a few expected outcomes:
1: Content will be live streamed, 24×7, and will resemble the figures of a stock market digital bulletin board. Keyword: ephemeral
2: Content would continue to be device dependent. Keyword: RSS still rules.
3. Content would need to be immersive, with elements of augmented reality embedded into every text, image and video, depending on the device. Keyword: interactive
4. Content structure would be atypical. Information won’t resemble a structured layout on a formatted white space. Keywords: Responsive (not web) content interface design. To expand on this, content could be voice-dynamic or video enhanced depending on the device. On a small smartwatch screen, would you rather watch a video or just receive alerts? But on Google Glass with in-built screens, you could watch videos or read a report. Keywords: customizable content
5. Content would need to be easily shareable. Right now, it’s too clunky and Neanderthalish for me to view a blog and go through the 10 drop down options to share a post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Keywords: Interface has to be intuitive.
Can we really future proof content strategy? Short answer: Perhaps. The Truth: not really.
Long answer: I would say, content strategy would be forced to move the Snapchat way in the next 5 years, as we understand and embrace the ephemeral nature of web-enabled digital content. Data will be live streamed 24×7 in the majority of the world. We would have faster browsing speeds and easy of access across the devices. All this would influence the kind of content that is produced and how it’s shared. Bottomline is this: if you are in the business of producing content for profit, you will have a tough time trying to segment your audience base and creating customized content for them. So, content itself will have to be pared down, simplified and made relevant to the device it’s going to be consumed on.
There was a time when content was produced, directed, disseminated and marketed by specialists. Right now content is user created, edited, marketed, and consumed. Perhaps, by 2020 and later, content would be auto-generated, auto-edited and auto-disseminated. Content Crowdsourcing might become normative. Who knows, our very jobs might be non-existent in a couple of decades.
I would love to hear from my readers and content strategists on this topic. Do you have any future-proof techniques on how content strategy should evolve? – Nilofar Ansher
IBM Reveals Radical Email Interface That is Touch-Enabled; Slated for Release This Year – read the news.
Agency Shuns Traditional Job Applications in Favor of Snapchat Resumes – read the news.
Generation C: A Group That Deeply Cares About Creation, Curation, Connection, and Community – read the post.