Ask Amanda About Marketing – Episode 19: What’s in the Cards for Content Marketing?


There’s definitely a time and place for reflecting on the past, but for now, let’s focus on the….

The future of content creation, of course. I can’t tell you how many kids you’ll have or whether George R.R. Martin will ever finish writing…

Kristin Tynski and Ryan Sammy, Fractl’s creative strategy experts, join me this week to answer the question: What is the future of content marketing?

The most important takeaway is to make sure whatever content you’re producing is easier to consume. Not everyone spends five to six minutes reading and understanding content anymore. So, you need to make sure your content is efficient in doing so in as little time as possible.

Audiences now require simplicity, ease of understanding, and speed of understanding. If something catches attention fast and is easy to understand without any kind of analysis on the reader’s part, there is more of chance that the reader will share it.

Nowadays, with new trends coming out by the second, keeping up is the key. Kristin says being able to produce new and original content (10x content) is the way to stay ahead. This then furthers the advancements of infographics and blog posts continuously.

Rebooting and enhancing content is also seen and often yields better performance results, added Ryan.

For specific tips, check out the episode!

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Watson

Two Minute Papers [YouTube]

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Have any additional insight on the future of content marketing? Post it in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Full Transcript:

Amanda Milligan: Welcome to Ask Amanda About Marketing, a podcast in which I, Amanda, or occasionally a special guest, answer your questions about inbound marketing. Straightforward, right? If you want to submit a question, email me at amanda@frac.tl. I’d love to hear from you. Let’s get right to it.

This week, I have the pleasure of having two Fractlites on the show for the first time. We have Kristin Tynski and Ryan Sammy, who are two of our best creative minds of the company. So I’ll let them introduce themselves.

But the reason they’re on the show this week is because we’re answering: What is the future of content marketing? The question that is constantly throwing around every single year, but we were asked it and you know, it’s always a good opportunity to take some time out of your day-to-day work and think about what’s actually going to be the most effective in the future. So I’m enjoying it already, kind of brainstorming for this episode. I’m looking forward to seeing what they say. So just to start, you guys want to talk about what you do at Fractl.

Kristin Tynski: Yeah. Thanks for having me, Amanda. This is exciting. My name is Kristin Tynski, I am one of the founders of Fractl and I’m the SVP of Creative. So I lead our whole creative team here.

Ryan Sammy: My name is Ryan Sammy. Thank you for having me. I am the Director of Creative Strategy. My job is to basically help the team come up with great ideas for content and choose ideas and then help the clients select them.

AM: Awesome. So going to be honest, probably some of their ideas are going to go over my head because they’re so good at this and are so forward thinking that I don’t even know what some of these things are. To start, let’s talk about maybe some of the content that already works today, that we think is going to continue to work going down the line, and maybe what’s going to change about it. What tweaks are going to make it better and more appealing to audiences in the coming year. So for example, you know, what do you think blog posts are going to look like, infographics that are right now effective, long-form stuff’s really effective, it’s what everybody’s doing. Do you think that’s going to continue to be kind of a staple of content marketing?

KT: Yeah, so I think that there is a trend that’s been happening probably since the inception of content marketing, but it’s an increase in value being provided by any individual piece of content. You’re not competing just against other brands creating content, but you’re also competing against individuals. Content lives forever online. So there’s somewhat of a content quality arms-race happening. That I think, if anything, will just continue to accelerate as more and more people come online as more brands become interested in aware of the benefits of doing content marketing.

The evolution of content really just has to do with the evolution of the quality of the content. The exact way that it involves depends on a lot of different things which types of technologies emerge and then can be leveraged for creating more useful more interesting more emotionally compelling content. So what we’ve seen over the last five years especially is going from long-form infographics that were essentially just you know, Wikipedia articles translated into something slightly visual—which you know at that time I guess we would call 10x content, 10 times better than anything else it existed at the time, and now they are dime a dozen. So the bar has been set much higher than it used to be and content marketers that want to keep up will have to kind of stay on the cutting edge of figuring out how to leverage new and existing technologies to create content that is 10x better than anything else that exists on the topic that’s being talked about.

RS: Yeah. I think a lot of times you’ll see content that already exists. Like you’ll see something three, four years ago, being rebooted again, and a lot of times, the reboot performs better because the first original version might have been like tables or like a really long form layout or something like that and then somebody came along use one of the visualization tools and just made it simpler. So to sort of having to take five, six minutes trying to figure out the concept, get the takeaways—TLDR, you have the ability now with visualizations to take that information and consume it in like 30 seconds and again, it goes to your point of competition.

There’s so much content competition out of there. So you want to make sure that the content you’re creating, even if you’re rebooting other people’s stuff, it’s easier to consume. It’s easier to understand. People can pull takeaways quickly. Like, I read like a hundred articles—not even read. I skimmed a hundred articles today and that’s what I do. I look and see what I can learn very quickly. If you’re the resource that teaches me that, I will bookmark it, I will save it, I will share it. But if you’re not, if I have to sit there and like dig through data or look through analysis and try to determine like, this is what you’re trying to say, I tell you to move on and not save or share. The way we consume data is changing the way we consume content changing and I think they just need to keep up.

KT: Yeah, I think that’s actually an incredible point. Attention spans are shrinking people are becoming more, I guess—in demanding more visual content in terms of data visualizations there, they want, you know, simplicity, ease of understanding, speed of understanding, all these things are becoming more important as the level of competition increases. You could have two really, you know, almost identical visualizations and one could be, you know, 10% easier to understand and that one’s going to do much better potentially than the one that’s you know, slightly more difficult to understand. So there’s competition in terms of how things are presented in the ease of use of consumption as well.

RS: Yeah. We think the goal is just finding what’s the next best way to get people to consume content quickly, Facebook videos all that kind of stuff where you went from having the Facebook videos autoplay. Now nobody plays it with sound. Now people are starting to put subtitles and like half the videos I watch or silent and just with subtitles on because I’m too lazy to go to the page and read the actual article, but I still want to know about the information. There’s so much to keep up with, so much information to take in. Those videos were what was great last year and now just need to figure out where it’s going to go. Is it going to be like apps? These apps are going to push a different way. They’re going to push information. Like there’s a lot to think about or know what the answer is.

KT: I think it’s really fascinating whenever you see like a slight fundamental shift in the way that things are presented. This especially happens through social channels, but like Ryan just said, you know, a tiny little advancement like realizing that you could get way, way, way higher engagements by putting the subtitles on it or like Tasty videos are great example, too—they’re just really quick, right to the point. They don’t include a lot of extraneous information. It’s all based around visuals, quick to consume. Those sorts of advancements are really interesting to watch because after one person does it and it works really really well it just cascades across, you know, the entire internet of people who are savvy enough to realize that it works better. It’s really interesting.

AM: Definitely. So I really like the point you’re making about how it seems like social media is going to continue to dictate or influence how people are consuming content. I think the video example is really on point because I did literally the exact same thing. I’m just reading subtitles now, like I don’t think I’ve listened to a video in a long time. So do you have any ideas about what might come, in terms of more restrictions and maybe algorithms with different sites that are going to become influential and how that might shape the type of content we’re creating for them? I know it’s kind of hard to predict how they’re going to mess with the feeds on Facebook or Twitter. But anything like that? Because video just blew up. It seems on Facebook it appeared to be almost overnight and everybody keeps talking about video, but is there anything else?

KT: Yeah I think live video is something that we should be watching and learning and seeing how it evolves. You know, I’ve seen some interesting implementations, especially with e-commerce. So, people basically bootstrapping from nothing, just doing live videos everyday and showing off whatever product it is that they have. It’s almost like what unboxing was in the earlier days of YouTube, but now doing similar things with live streaming and then kind of like hacking the way that Facebook is used to actually create a sales funnel out of it, like allowing people to comment that they want to buy something but you’re live streaming.

I think that’s going to grow a lot, actually. It’s going to be interesting to see how Facebook and other platforms that have live video will attempt to monetize those things and what sorts of tools they’ll provide that will create a link between what currently exists and an optimal way for people to buy through that format, you know, really impossible to predict exactly where it will go but I think in the future you’ll have this whole slew of people who are basically just influencers that do live video and sell things, like live salespeople.

RS: QVC is moving to Facebook.

KT: Essentially. Yeah, but also not in like a corporate way, like individual people who figure out they have a passion for a certain type of product. You probably see it in fashion first and then other areas as well.

RS: Yeah, when you go to Facebook and you go there, you click on people’s content, you share a piece of content I click on it because I have a social trust with you. You shared that piece of content, I kind of believe in it, if you had me to live video about some product or something you share, I have more trust in actually looking and listening to that video. And then that point of where the social media network is kind of going, I’ve been getting involved in a lot of Discord, it’s a live chat software. A lot of gamers use it a lot but it’s become a new place to kind of go hang out for a lot of clubs—I use it for a car club right now.

There’s a lot of different communities and people talking about different things. Marketers are on there. It’s also something called Slack—like everyone knows what Slack is. So companies like Slack, tools like Discord, WhatsApp—those smaller social connections and that kind of stuff. I’m noticing people are sharing a lot of content like those. So getting into some of these groups—like, I’m in a BMW-only Discord group where like if you’re selling a BMW product you better be in that group and you better be highlighting your brand in that group. It’s only like three thousand people but these are the people who are buying your product and they might sell like a hundred manifolds of the year or something like that, but about 50, those people are probably sitting in this like niche group talking and chatting every day.

I think people just focusing on Facebook and Snapchat and all this kind of stuff and there’s more channels to get your content out. There are more places to go and interact with your potential buyers and that kind of stuff. I think like Discord, Slack, and those similar networks—you’re going to need to find a way to take advantage of that and create content. One of the big things from years ago was to create content for multiple channels, right? You create content that can be linked to, create content that can be shared on Facebook. You create content that actually shares across Twitter that kind of stuff. I think it’s going to change so you’re going to have content that you need a little bit.

You’re going to need content that will allow people to share on WhatsApp easily, shared on WhatsUp, content will appear and that kind of stuff. It’ll be shared on Discord and it pops up properly on Discord. You will see a sample of it so it’s not hidden away. So start exploring those kind of like alternative networks and seeing what those people are doing and try to get into those communities and groups and just listen and learn.

KT: Those are awesome points Ryan and I haven’t used Discord, but I have a good amount of experience in private Slack groups for different emerging topics. So like some Bitcoin technology or blockchain technology stuff. There are some incredibly active super engaged groups of really like, trendsetters and tastemakers, people at the cutting edge of different types of new technologies and different types of marketing that you can really get a great feel for the pulse of that industry by being a part of those groups. And there’s a lot of them are open or require a little bit of information to become a part of. But these exist on LinkedIn, they exist on Facebook. They exist as private Slack groups. They exist as a million different things.

I think another new potential trend related to this in content marketing is having people who are domain experts or business owners integrating themselves into communities personally and leveraging those communities as platforms for spreading their message but in a very value-added way. On Reddit through AMAs. On Slack groups, it’s either by being the originator or creator of the Slack group yourself or starting a Slack channel that you moderate essentially. Or that you’re in every day to answer questions for new people that are coming into the system.

There’s I mean, there’s some really interesting companies that are basically like building brands just by doing those sorts of things.

RS: Yeah, and it also gives you an opportunity to listen to your potential audience with people who consume those infographics, those videos, those podcasts—that kind of stuff, just getting an idea of what they shared and are watching. Maybe the community you’re trying to target doesn’t share visual content like an infographic. They love YouTube videos. So maybe your best route is to create something YouTube related. So I think content is going to change but not so much that we’re not going to be using video and infographics stuff like that. I just think it’s going to change in the way we present it to the audience we’re trying to target.

KT: Yeah, I think things are becoming increasingly fragmented. I think Ryan’s totally right. You have to find the platform that fits best with whatever you’re trying to market and maybe that’s Facebook. Maybe it’s LinkedIn. Maybe it’s a private Slack channel. The needs are different depending on the channel and the technologies are different for enabling you to provide different types of value. So something important to think critically on.

AM: It’s interesting when you guys were answering the question one of the things I noticed it had in common was whether we’re talking about Facebook live or talking about a Slack channel to me, it’s an intimacy that doesn’t necessarily exist on other social channels. I know when I’m in Slack and I’m talking directly to somebody live, it seems so much more personal than even a Tweet would or a comment on a form which they couldn’t literally respond immediately on Twitter, but it doesn’t seem as engaging as live-chatting with somebody or looking at somebody talking to me.

So I think that’s an interesting commonality to what you’re talking about. Maybe the more channels that exist, there’s more opportunity to directly, closely reach out to those target audiences and those niche communities like you were saying that are becoming so much more popular.

KT: Yeah, and if you’re able to develop those communities yourself, they can be leveraged to enormous effect. So like say you had a private Facebook group or private Slack channel or whatever, you know, a few of the others that we’ve discussed. You put out a new piece of content, a nice long-form piece or another piece of 10x content or your data-driven content marketing—whatever it is—leveraging that audience that you’ve already built to help you spread the word about it or using those people to helped popularize that content on other platforms. That can just give you such an enormous advantage over your competition.

AM: Awesome. So we’re already halfway through this episode and there’s a lot to talk about. So just to backtrack a little bit. You mentioned some concepts that apply now and will continue applying in the future, like 10x content. That’s still going to mean—even though the competitions really high, people are going to be using technology to make it even better. Now, there’s a pretty decent quality to what’s out there. Everybody’s playing catch up, they’re all creating quality things. So what are some of those new technologies, new tools, new ways of communicating that you think are going to become influential?

KT: My gosh, there really are so many. The need for 10x content plays into what I was talking about when it comes to this “content arms race”—measuring the content you’re creating against the next best thing. It needs to be ten times better to attract the attention of new audiences and be compelling enough that they need to engage with you on a regular basis and take you seriously.

There are a lot of ways to differentiate your content and make it 10x content. You could take the approach of going “deep.” So, fleshing out a topic in its entirety with as much depth as you possibly can. So really long-form content, whitepapers, super detailed, granular how-tos, explaining things visually in ways that haven’t been done in great depth. That’s certainly one way and people have been doing that.

Another way is to uncover hidden insights. Big data is a huge part of this. Basically thinking how you can take valuable resources and make them easier to understand or finding things that haven’t been found before or applying data to tell stories about things that people already think are true but have never been quantified before. There’s a lot of opportunities for doing those sorts of things.

AM: So I was talking to you earlier about some of those machine learning and AI type of tools. Can you talk about some maybe you’ve used recently that you’d recommend other people check out, depending on what kind of content they’re creating? What are you personally finding fun to work with?

KT: Yeah. So there are so many new AI and machine learning-driven tools coming online, like literally every day. This field is advancing faster than I think almost any other field and the great part about it is it’s almost all open source. Then, even better than that, some of the leading companies in the world that are engaged in this sort of thing, that people doing the cutting edge stuff are externalizing the tools that they’re building and allowing anybody from anywhere to leverage them in any way that they want and they’re being leveraged by machine learning people and AI people to do anything from cancer research to sociological research.

As content marketers, these things are not really being leveraged yet to create interesting new types of stories. Some of the coolest ones that we found so far are the fleet of Watson AI tools that exist. So they do interesting things like personality detection, really advanced natural language processing for like sentiment analysis or text analysis work that you can combine with massive data. So either big data existing datasets from the government or data sets that you’ve scraped or what we call as “social media exhaust”—scraping Twitter or Instagram or LinkedIn or you know, a whole host of other potential communities insights that can be mined for data to tell interesting stories that are enabled through these machine learning technologies.

So yeah, IBM Watson is a great one. Google has some really interesting machine learning driven APIs that can do things like pull out the objects in a photo and tell you what they are or scan through video and tell you what objects exist at different points or do things like facial recognition and emotion recognition—a million and one different creative things between IBM Watson and Google’s Vision APIs and some of their other machine learning APIs and then there’s dozens of other third-party tools that exist as well that do lots of different interesting things. The content marketers are deciding with the limits of these technologies are applied in two data sets that already exist or that can be gathered.

RS: Yeah kind of what I found is I guess camping GitHub a little bit, looking at r/dataisbeautiful, and kind of following the people who are doing the visualizations. I think our machine learning is a separate part. There’s a lot of like communities you can join and see what people are experimenting with, what they’re doing. A lot of times, they’re open to letting you try out their tool so they can be part of a campaign that gets like picked up or it shared by a bunch of people there super interested to be part of it.

So all the times we want to find a new way of doing an analysis or like a new tool or kind of what Kristin mentioned, we’ve been playing with a lot of at IBM Watson APIs—just going to those communities, hanging out and try to be friends with people and just kind of learning about what they’re building and how they’re building it and then trying to apply it. So maybe somebody has already done a specific analysis of your industry and they did a text analysis using a tool from two years ago. There might be somebody who’s running an even better tool who has a better way of doing the analysis.

They might have a way to look at the words used and how that reflects the person’s speech. IBM Watson can look at the words you use and give you personality traits of a user. So if a person has a speech of four, five thousand words, you’re able to tell the personality traits of that person. So you can take that stuff and reapply it to your industry. So maybe looking at employees or CEOs in your industry or something like that and trying to determine their personality traits based on speeches. Look at the president’s, maybe it’s a good example project. Taking all the presidents ever in the United States and doing a personality analysis and that’s an easy project. No one’s really done that yet. So that’s kind of like taking these new tools—people talk about presidents, people have looked at their speeches, people have done analysis of Donald Trump and all those things, but no one’s actually used IBM Watson’s tool to apply it there.

That’s just one example. If you have a lot of text, if you have a lot of words, you have video, you have the opportunity to create a lot of different things—don’t just stick to what’s already out there. Don’t stick to what’s already popular. Start digging into these communities and finding the small things everybody’s working on and how can I leverage this to create content that doesn’t already exist or look at a piece of content a different way with their tool.

KT: Yeah. So there’s just one thing that I wanted to mention because I’ve maybe learned more from this about emerging machine learning technologies than anywhere else—our machine learning on Reddit is really active community and really great and there’s a lot of cutting edge stuff going on there. But it’s a YouTube channel called Two Minute Papers and it’s twice a week and—I forget the guys name who puts it on—but he basically just within two to five minutes describes a new machine learning technology.

I’d say probably like a quarter or a third of them have implications in content marketing could be leveraged in some unique and interesting way for content marketing. So that’s that’s really cool place where we found some new ideas.

AM: It sounds like with these new resources, like you said, if something’s even been done, there’s probably new fresh perspectives on it. And I think it’s probably going to build authority of content as well. Because like you said, you already had an idea of what some president’s personality was and now you’re going in with a tool that is now available to you and basically proving it to your audiences—which I’ve always found that kind of concept really fascinating and and how that sort of content shares.

I mentioned this earlier—I’m curious as to how fake news plays into how people consume content now ever since this past election and all the controversy with how Facebook filters things are, what your feed looks like. How much more important is authority going to be when say, a client comes to us and we create content now that people might be a little more skeptical about where data comes from or how information is perceived? How important is authority going to be in the coming years?

KT: That’s yeah, that’s a great important question. As content marketers who create content that we also apply publicity techniques too to build links, I think you can’t really talk about it without talking about journalism in general and the state of it and kind of the financial incentives that exist within those systems that create an incentive structure for low-quality content and content that lacks authority or lacks, I guess journalistic integrity. I think what you’re going to see over the next five years is an increasing demand for those things and consumers deciding to put their attention on outlets that are more reputable rather than less. I mean, I think you will always have the lowest common denominator stuff that will make fake news like an ongoing problem but savvy users and increasingly viewers and content consumers that matter, the people who are the tastemakers, will demand higher-quality more authoritative content.

So, you know, the writing’s on the wall at, how long it takes to get there, is I think pretty unclear but as an agency owner, it’s something that we think about a lot. One of our biggest initiatives internally is figuring out how we can improve our content creation methodologies, especially as we begin to do more experimental types of content marketing, more advanced types of content creation with things like we’ve been talking about earlier, leveraging machine learning, leveraging big data, doing more advanced forms of data analysis and data science.

Doing it right is is increasingly important and it makes it easier, you know, if you can become known for creating high-quality content and the publishers and writers that you’re pitching to know that your content is better than most, it can create a unique advantage.

RS: Yeah I think it’s something that we’ve really focusing on ourselves. After fake news of kind of came out in the last year or so, we’ve been trying really focusing on making sure their methodologies are credible. It’s really important that when somebody does call you out or something, that you can back it up. You have the raw data, it’s transparent. That’s kind of stuff that publishers are gonna be looking for to make sure that they’re not making crazy calls or they’re making that making crazy stats or headlines.

One of the things we like try to veer away from is just saying certain things that we can’t correlate, any of that kind of stuff. We don’t want to write the headlines for publishers. We don’t want to like give them be sensationalized headlines and they’re like our client came up with this or something like that. I think with the fake news stuff, you’ve got to be more careful and make sure your content is credible because you don’t want to ever be called out and then labeled as fake news.

Today, any small mistake, everybody makes, no matter how good your intentions were, you make the tiniest mistake—they will call you fake news and then lose credibility. It takes a lot more work to come back from that than it is to do it right the first time.

AM: It sounds like a major takeaway of that whole breakdown is that it’s an investment, you know, this isn’t like a one-person show to be putting out content that’s going to compete with what’s already out there and have a really solid data foundation and you know, amazing analytics done to the data and presenting it really well.

Do you think that content teams are going to continue to expand over time or maybe what qualities do you think you’re going to become more valued as time goes on when you’re building out a content team? As people who hire at an agency or people who are hiring internally, what do you think about that?

KT: I think it depends on the type of content you’re talking about. The pace of content creation is going to accelerate for content marketing agencies in the brands that work with them. But also for individuals who aren’t really held to any standard at all. So it’s not just like, you know, this more authoritative, better methodologies, better overall content is going to proliferate on its own. It’s going to be within a larger expanding universe of crappy mediocre content as well.

So if you’re creating, you know higher level content that demands more rigorous analysis and oversight, you have to put the structures in place that allow for that. So at Fractl, that means growing our editorial team, growing our fact-check team, bringing on people who are experienced in more technical aspects of statistical analysis and data visualization work, coming up with best practice guides for avoiding common errors that can be made especially when it comes to data visualizations, creating training programs so that our creative strategists—the people creating the content—are aware of the potential pitfalls and can avoid them even before they get to fact checker QA.

So those are all things that we’re trying to do but as you create more and more sophisticated content, those demands get greater and greater.

AM: So I just want to close out in maybe a fun question which is, what are you most looking forward to in content marketing in the coming years? What are you excited to see evolve or what predictions do you hope comes true or what do you think would be the most fun or exciting thing to happen in the industry?

KT: I think the most exciting thing is that brands are finally realizing that they can push the envelope a little bit when it comes to content and that keeping a focus on like brand integrity is an important thing but that brands can stagnate very easily and keeping your eye focused on keeping a brand like very true to its like very specific routes or being really tightly controlled is really not the way to go and that connecting with audiences on an emotional level in a way that aligns with your brand’s values is more and more important. If you focus on that instead, you can become more creative you can potentially do things like brand activism, where you’re combining content with brand value with consumer customer goals and things that are important in their lives and topics that resonate with them on deep emotional levels or even things that could be potentially controversial.

So things like LGBT rights or animal rights or peace in the world or you know a whole host of things that you could basically call brand activism. I think you’ll see more and more brands deciding to do content around those topics and showing their customers that they care about those things and that they want to contribute to them in meaningful ways through content.

RS: Yeah. I am more focused on technology stuff of it. I’m really excited to see what’s coming with like the machine learning stuff that we’ve been playing with. I think it’s just the cusp of what’s to come. Some of the crazy stuff we’re seeing and I call the Two Minute Paper person that YouTube channel shares a lot of really good stuff coming. I really want to see augmented reality. I know we’re very far away from that much my dream of having that kind of stuff and creating content for that kind of stuff, but I don’t know. I think what’s going to be the same stuff we do for a while, like the infographics, small static graphics, GIFs I think GIFs are going to continue to become a huge thing.

Even though there’s videos that exist, people love that silent content with subtitles and at this point, it’s GIFs. GIFs are something you can embed link to it. You can generate more links through a GIF than you can through YouTube. So I’m hoping to see cool stuff like, you know people using augmented reality and virtual reality and using apps and stuff like that to like push their content, create their content, but I think it’s just gonna be the basics and it’s just how well you’re able to create content that people are going to consume.

I think it’s just gonna be better versions of infographics, better visualizations, and I think people are just going to get better at making them. I think in the old days it was just, here’s an infographic, slap it together, let’s get some links today or something like that. Now, it’s more like, let’s run a survey first, build our own data set, and then we’ll put together an infographic.

I think that’s kind of where it’s moved since I started the industry. It was more like we found this random thing on Wikipedia, now let’s turn this into an infographic. Now, it’s become more like, all right, let’s go for a cool thing, we’ll show people photos. It’s become more of doing studies, I guess. I don’t wanna say studies, but it’s more stuff where you’re doing a little more serious data collection, you’re creating your own data sets. Like we have people renting scientific tools and doing interesting analysis, like one of our big things we did was we did germ analysis.

So we just found a random lab here in Florida and we asked them if they did germ testing and they sent us to the kit and we send someone to test germs on planes. So people are swabbing planes and that was just a different way of collecting data like yeah germ data out there, but why not find a different way to collect. I think it’s just the out-of-the-box concepts of yeah, collecting stuff with germs, doing mold analysis tests.

It’s boring stuff people are doing but if you’re a real estate company or something like that and like you do mold analysis of a thousand apartments and try to show people that you need to change your filters or do stuff like that. I think that’s kind of where we’re going to head and that’s what I’m excited for, just different. Less taking tables and more finding real-world data and then compiling through different sensors and different methods and creating new content that just doesn’t exist.

KT: Yeah. That’s a really great point. I think we’re at somewhat of a turning point because prior to this time period, the incentives for going out and collecting data on obscure topics—unless there was a business need for it—it really wouldn’t get done. Why would anybody go swab the germs on an airplane? Like it’s something super interesting that people should probably know about but now that you can connect business goals to content marketing like that that provides some level of value to the end consumer, you’re going to see thousands and thousands of people trying to create and execute on these interesting, fascinating questions that people have that up until now had no answer to them. Now we can start looking at and figuring out what those answers are and even better than that, the tools that are emerging to allow us to do so are incredible.

Whether they’re actual, physical tools like Ryan was mentioning or being able to leverage existing companies like labs to do to create data for you from things like a germ swap or using your phone or Fitbit data is really interesting thing that you can use. All of these internet of things and quantified life devices can all be leveraged to collect and aggregate data and then tell stories about that data.

So, you know in the far, far future, you know, you can sort of imagine a world where any question you have, somebody’s created an in-depth piece of content on that and can basically answer any question you have. It’s a really really detailed analytical way based on collected and analyzed data. It’s kind of a pretty magical vision of the future but between here and there, all of that value creation will be creating value for brands, which is a really cool thing to think about.

RS: Yeah. I think it’s just more explore, keep exploring, trying new things. Like I think our motto here is we try everything. Like if it’s silly, we will still try it to see if it will work. If you have no idea—our germ thing was just a whim, we did it on a whim. We just bought these kits. Went out and did it. And it turned into one of our largest projects that year and we’ve replicated a couple more times since then.

So I think I would just go out there and try to find new ways to collect data. Find relatable things, try to find ways to measure things that people can relate to. Germs was a thing we found people relate to. Everybody’s scared germs, everybody’s washing their hands every day and using a hand sanitizer stuff, like abusing it. So just finding something that’s really to that and then finding a new way to look at it and that’s kind of what we did with that. We’ve been trying to do that more and more and more with new campaigns.

KT: Yeah for an agency like ours, it’s really important for us to have a certain portion of the work that we do based on things that we know work really well and then maybe five to ten percent of the work that we do be based on things that are entirely experimental, but we don’t know what the outcomes are going to be. But if they work well, could pay huge dividends down the line because they’re extendable to lots of different types of projects.

AM: Awesome, well thank you both very much for being on the show today. That was extremely insightful. If anyone’s listening right now, and they’re thinking no, I completely disagree or that’s the best idea I’ve ever heard. Please comment. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to relay it to them. It’s personally been so much fun working at this company with so many highly intelligent people with amazing Ideas. So totally understand if you have questions or want them to follow up on anything, but thank you both for being on the show.

KT & RS: Thanks for having us.

AM: Thanks again for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, click subscribe. Don’t leave me with the realization that I’m talking to no one and please rate and review on iTunes so I can keep making this podcast better and your lives easier. Take care.


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