Monday, May 05, 2008

say how-do to how-to: tips are content king

Everything old is new again: Turns out that nuts-and-bolts how-to instructional content is as sought-after on the web as it has been in magazines, books and less interactive media, if not more so. Sometimes called "service journalism" in print, instructional content on the web may take the form of downloadable documents as it does on, a new venture of Barnes & Noble. (Note that Quamut publisher Daniel Weiss is quoted as saying “We actually don’t believe in the wisdom of the crowd...This is the old-fashioned publishing model.”) For those who want more action, online how-to videos are attracting viewers by the millions (and making money for some of their producers) on topics as diverse as folding towels, chilling a Coke in 2 minutes or feeding poisonous dart frogs.

The common element? Expertise, and easy access to it, driven by the user. If you haven't mined your organization's content for ways to demonstrate your expertise, take a look at customer-service questions from consumers or members, product sales or returns, applications, even repair manuals or FAQs for content you can recast as a how-to product. At a minimum, consider using this approach to help your customers better complete applications or forms. Already posting how-to's online? Make them come alive with simple, bulleted tips or a helpful short video. Extra points if you use social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and YouTube to cross-post your next instructional content.

No comments: