Written by Jason Francis
Content creation is a skill. It’s a skill that goes deeper than just writing about random things and occurrences. Content can be viewed as a seed that, depending on how much attention and care you give it, can grow and last for weeks, months and even years (or it can bloom and flourish for a few days then die.) Within the current age of shortening attention spans, it’s a constant challenge to keep eyes on your work for lengthy periods of time. The mind doesn’t always allow for brand new ideas for you to write about but fortunately there is a way to breathe new life into existing material. Learn the Art of the Follow Up.
The Follow Up is the ability to revisit past content and address it again in a manner that adds additional information and substance to it. Here are examples from a social/event viewpoint and then from a brand marketing position.
Covering events that take place in society is a high speed reactionary job. It’s a 24/7 news cycle where something can happen and claim the attention of the masses at any moment. Afterwards, that celeb story or business scandal gets lost in whatever that newest issue may be. Put on your reporter’s hat and dig deeper. In 2013 when the planned partnership between Hip Hop mogul Jay Z and high end retail store Barney’s met claims of extreme racial profiling, my views skyrocketed on my initial posting. After about 48-72 hours, I saw the attention swing to the next story of the moment. In the meantime there were ongoing investigations, reports and updates on the Barney’s story that would go on over a 2 month period. I set continuous personal page view records with each update post. The goal is to keep the conversation going beyond mere sensationalism. Initiating talks on race, capitalism and celebrity without baiting became a hot button matter and I saw my content shared among people who never shared my work before. Overall, identify something that hits with your audience and flesh it out. Few stories are ever finalized quickly so make a point to stay with it over time.
You can apply this similarly to brand marketing material. When we get opportunities to review products or create narratives for lifestyle blogging, it often ties into a larger marketing plan on the side of brand. Yet, it’s important to keep in mind that after our social sharing obligations are met, these companies are still active and they are still watching. If you’re true to the lifestyle you are writing about, then go back and reference products or services that you still use. I’ve worked with shaving products before that I still use. When writing about my work traveling and being presentable on the road, I’d incorporate that previous content. On the imagery side of things take a present day picture showing that you still use what you promoted months ago. I turned 3 respective grooming posts I did into a triple shout out while covering an event in Canada. That breathes life into those older posts and also connects you more to your reader as someone truly living versus merely posting for pay (Not to mention the shares from the brands themselves who love to be mentioned.)
There is a lot of creativity needed to get the most out of what you write and post. With the speed of social media, it’s easy to overlook things once it’s up and published, but try to make a point to revisit what you write and look at what new spins and fresh energy you can interject into them. The more you do the better you will become at this art.
About the Author: Jason Francis is a Writer, Blogger and Social Media consultant. He specializes in connecting the rapidly growing world of digital media and entrepreneurship via social media. His site www.TheSocialMediaSamurai.com speaks on a number of social, technical and professional issues that affect the lives of young business people. In addition to this, he manage the social media for the Nomadness Travel Tribe, an international collective with 10,000 members worldwide.