If something is modular more pieces can be added to it, or replaced, yet the thing still functions. Think of lego bricks that can be used and reused to build everything from a pirate ship to the Death Star to an the Art of the Brick. Some companies have made a business model out of this, it is exactly how Fairphone have designed their phones to be made up of interchangeable, replaceable, components.

What about our content?

Very often traditional communications departments separate teams by the audience, so you have media relations, internal communications, external communications, investor relations, sustainability, corporate branding. Each team produces their own content, even though the stories have the same facts behind them and need to be somewhat consistent.

Modern communications departments are transforming and the new approach is called a newsroom approach, where all potential stories are discussed and assigned to a communications expert – a reporter – who is responsible for the creation of all the content relating to the story for all audiences. So one person might lead the production of a short video interview with an expert and a post for the company’s internal collaboration platform for internal audiences, a press release for the external channels, and an FAQ for media enquiries.

But lots of content is evergreen, meaning that a manufacturing company knows they’re going to say something about safety every month, a consumer brand knows they’re going to campaign around father’s day every year, and a listed company knows there will be quarterly reporting on company performance.

So what if we turned the content around and produced assets that could be combined into content, essentially content becomes data.

There’s a line in Steve Krug’s excellent book “Don’t make me think” that talks about creating content. Someone stole borrowed my copy so I’m going to misquote him… “we write content for the web like we’re creating great treaties, but people read our sites like they read billboards on the highway”. Content that gets consumed easily is short and clear, content that gets shared is short, clear and visual – we need to build that into our content plans.

The only way we can do that and meet the ever shrinking timelines for content generation is to take a modular approach and build teams around skill-sets rather than audience. Think of your content in micro chunks and build up from there.

  • Think of your company’s top five products or services and the need they answer and build infographics for those needs, but leave the text editable (use Canva, it’s cheaper than photoshop and your team can collaborate).
  • If your company provides services, think of five themes that would be relevant to those services and build micro content, images, quotes 2 minute videos that relates to those themes

Think about how your modular content could then be repackaged into a presentation, or an article, or an e-book. Think of how much easier it would be if you were building up a warehouse of re-usable items, rather than a library of articles.

image: source unknown (translation: I found it ages ago and don’t know where)

 

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