An audience-first approach

I want to nudge the conversation in what I hope is in a healthy manner, and hopefully along the way spur a five minute strategy session, even though that has become a dirty word it seems.

There is a lot of talk, actions and decisions being made at the media company I work at in Iowa because of the tactical and organizational approach of separating content from product.

The vision that spurs the strategy of the company is clear. Organize and act for speed and flexibility. We want to reach people where they want, how they want and when they want. We want to enable users to tune a device of their choosing to find information and engage with communities. We must play a focal point in the local information ecosystem, and a key part of that is creating and participating in many nodes within it.

The network is not one of stages but of tribes, and this is a better metaphor for new media. Tribes have leaders (or many leaders), and it is the leaders themselves, not their stages that give them authority. – Terry Heaton, March 2009

I am in no way implying that separating content creation from product development is a faulty approach. Quite the opposite. Collecting content in the first instance with key elements tagged to easily find relationships that can contribute to the nodes is one tremendous step in the right direction.

Information architecture for news by Stijn Debrouwere

But I want to nudge the conversation toward  a newer focus: collecting content for audiences. For example, media company A wants to participate and engage with audience and community B. How can the entire organization take a high level solution view to use our resources, skill, technology and the known and unknown platforms, products and devices to accomplish that goal? (Read a few lessons learned from an audience-first approach.)

But that’s only one piece, I admit. We ultimately want to have fun and make money, right? So we must look from the enterprise level at content as a way of doing business.

What would happen if a content strategist, content collector or information designer, user experience guru, influence marketer and product manager all got in the same room to tackle the example above? Five skilled people spending five minutes and are empowered to make decisions who then deploy, listen, adapt, deploy, listen, adapt, and so on.

Now that would be fun.

What do you think?