In the early 2000s the buzz was: “everyone wants to blog“. Once the blog fad took hold the buzz was: “everybody writes“. Today the buzz is “everyone wants to go viral” (with their writing). The internet promised to be the great democratic publishing solution: a brave new world where everyone can speak their mind and be heard by anyone. The idea is great, but reality is harder, complicated and most of all takes real skills. Not just technical skills (programming, operation), but writing, editing, publishing and promotion. What very few have been doing until now, is an absolute requirement from each and every one of us. Yet most of us have not written, edited or published on their own to support our business. We have not been able to write for ourselves even when business requires it. This is the opportunity we face with a challenge of content’s prominance today. There are many great successful examples and there are also cautionary tales from fantastic failures.
The approche (or perspective) in this post is a personal one. In a sense of how each of u deals with content. Essentially what does it mean to bring an individual from average college writing and editing level to a business level. How does someone with knowledge in a specific field masters today’s publishing world. This applies to writers and editors as much as executives and business managers. Even if you are not going to write and edit your own writing, as a busines (or product) owner you need to master the knowledge of today’s writing professionals. You need to know something of the technology and the technical specialties. As traditional advertising managers needed to know the world of buying media, how creative professionals work and how they deliver, so do today’s managers.
Learning to Write, Photograph and Promote “Soft Skills”?
Today’s technical side builds better ways to get our writing published. From blogging platforms to advertising networks there are better platforms and tools available. But filling the pages with our own messages and getting them out to people is more competitive. We are at the beginning of a shift in technology, media, business and political thinking. A shift of more focused writing, and less “branded” glitzy content which rely on symbolism. As consumers get easier access they demand more solutions for specific needs. This shift means more specific “domain knowledge” tailored to the subject and exact situation. Simply having experience or academic degrees in business, management, science or technology is not enough. The good news? Learning how to “become digital” and apply today’s skills to your specialty domain area is not hard.
More than training, it’s the dedicated individuals and their management’s direction who are practicing new skills and enabling this new shift. In middle and executive management circles the shift in understanding and ability to learning new skills is more critical. There is a tendency to think of new technology and consumer behavior as simply “upgrade” or “electronically-digitally enabled”. Yet this is not the case in most specific fields. The same goes for the specialists in new technologies and their skills. My experience in marketing, advertising and publishing, is a cautionary tale. Working with company executives, advertising managers and many marketing managers (retail, leisure, services) has been difficult. Retraining older executives with new technology and products has not been successful. This is almost across the board with many different products. Even older executives in the electronics and IT sectors still cling to older media use such as catalogs, trade shows and printed newsletters maild globally. More on my experience in future posts.