By Mark Hanson
It was only recently that we were reminded by a client of ours how content can be the motor oil that lubricates the communications engine.
In a meeting with agency colleagues, the client stated what was profound to some but obvious to many: “[Great] content beats most everything else.”
Time was when a well-crafted, 900-word feature story was considered great content but there’s a continued shift towards online content that is visually (as well as verbally) engaging. The quintessential example is, of course, the “epic” narrative that’s told through an HTML5, scrolling experience.
For all the merits of such an experience, there’s a legitimate question as to whether the relative impact will justify the additional cost. (And let’s face it, after seeing a few versions of this, doesn’t some of the novelty begin to wear off?)
Journalists face essentially the same challenge in wanting to tell stories that are more engaging or interactive but lack the necessary resources.
Each year, ONA brings together producers, content editors, technologists, programmers, designers and newsroom decision-makers from around the world. The intent is to advance digital storytelling expertise, which boils down to advocating broader use of data visualization, multimedia and web development.
To that end, a handful of organizations have developed some great tools to help digital content creators become more than purveyors of words. For example, the Knight Lab has released Timeline JS, SoundCite and StoryMap JS, each of which brings its own interactive experience:
Google has also invested in providing journalists with tools to tell better stories (Maps Engine Lite, Fusion Tables and Google Earth), and they’re not alone in their efforts. Soundcite, Soundcloud, Timeline JS and many other tools like them can add an extra dimension to any news story. As practitioners of PR and marketing we can just as easily put them to use on our clients’ behalf.
Rather than settling for the status quo, the Content team is here to help push out the boundaries of what’s possible, to use tools like these in telling stories that are more engaging, immersive and compelling.
Isn’t this what great content is all about??
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