Thursday, May 5, 2011

Writing Makes a Comeback!

There’s no doubt video has been the hot on-line medium for the past few years - so much so that YouTube is now the world’s second-biggest search engine. But right now we're seeing a resurgence of (gasp!) the written word.

There are four reasons why ...

1. Content marketing

Smart businesses know they need to become trusted advisers, not pushy salespeople. And they can’t do this just by being friends on Facebook, tweeting regularly and connecting on LinkedIn. They need to create valuable content as well, and it’s easier to do this in blog posts, articles, e-books and special reports than to create video (Actually, creating high-content video is easy, but there’s a perception that it’s not).

2. Re-imagining content

The word "re-imagining" comes from the book "Content Rules", by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. The point is, there’s so much existing text material that is just so easy to publish - for example:
  • a printed book that can be delivered as an e-book
  • a series of articles that can be combined into a special report
  • a blog that can be published as a book
  • old newsletters that can be published in your blog
  • a chapter of your book that can be published as a special report

3. Consumer technology

E-readers have finally come of age (for example, Amazon.com recently sold more e-book than print versions of its top-selling titles). Amazon.com is leading the way with the Kindle (and their Kindle app for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, PC, - i.e. everywhere), but there are others as well.

And it’s not just about e-books; it’s also about ease of reading other written content - e.g. blog posts using Google Reader or Read It Later. Fast Company magazine wrote recently about how tablets have increased reading among consumers.

4. Distribution

Fourthly, we now have solid ways to connect content producers with content consumers - for example, Amazon.com, the iTunes Store, the Android Market. This means it's easier for consumers to buy stuff, which helps producers make money, which of course encourages them to produce more content.

This is great news for us!

The good news is that the resurgence of reading is perfect for most of us as Differencemakers ... if we take advantage of it.

The even better news is that you don't have to write a lot of new material!

Of course, you can produce new material if you wish. But you don't have to. Just have a look around your hard drives for material that you can take and re-use - for example:
  • Half-written book chapters in that book you never got around to completing
  • Full book chapters you've written for that book you did publish
  • Articles you've written for industry magazines, printed newsletters, etc.
  • Old e-mail newsletters you've sent in the past
  • Tip sheets, booklets, handouts and other bits and pieces of content you've used in the past
Now just take that material and "re-imagine" it (to use Handley and Chapman's word) as an e-zine article, blog post or special report.

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