Capture, Curation and Cognition: 3 Things to Consider in a New Era of Content

new era of contentI read a paragraph of an article the other day, followed by three paragraphs of a second article, two paragraphs of a third article, two minutes of a YouTube video, and four minutes of a podcast. I was hooked, my attention span limited, my access to tremendous, related content overwhelming.

We’re living in a new era of information…and it affects everything.

As writing, marketing, and communication professionals, content is key. How we create and use it is key.

Here are three things to consider in a new era of content creation—capture, curation, and cognition.

1. Capture

It’s a process.

Content comes in, content goes out. To produce anything worthwhile, we need a process for collecting information. This is where data management systems could possibly come into play, like a customer relationship management system. Reports loaded onto these systems provide a vast resource for information your customers need. Use these for leads. Look for topic trends.  

Integrate with teams internally (sales teams, product managers, customer relations teams, etc.) to find reoccurring subjects within your niche that need content. Essentially, establish you and your team as in-house journalists–the go-to’s for generating needed information.

Ultimately, all content should be used to accomplish overall business goals.  

2. Curation

As writers, as designers, as content creators, we gather relevant information related to our focus, producing multiple forms of this content for multiple channels. Additionally, we need to consider how this content will be curated via algorithms.

Every era in history has some sort of organizing principle, some sort of main information platform. Take for example the novel, newspapers, television, and now…. algorithms.

Algorithms determine what content, what information, a user consumes. This includes industry, social, and personal life. Social media channels assume which posts we want to see, online shopping suggest additional products we may buy, hiring agencies find qualified applicants, and loan applications determine the likelihood of future payback.  

Assumptions, suggestions, finds, and determinations are all accomplished through algorithms—an automated recipe that saves time and money. Consider how algorithms will impact your content, and optimize accordingly.      

3. Cognition

It’s never about you. It’s about the audience. This is where human behavioral science comes into play.

The better we know our audience, the better we are at crafting content and hosting platforms. Knowing what content categories resonate with our audience, along with understanding the preferred consumption access points all contribute to more effective, impactful content. Consider the personality of audience subsets (i.e. amiable, analytical, expressive, driver buyer types) and how to best reach with the ultimate message you’re pushing. Find out what prospects do when they start their search for information. Where do they look? What do they ask? This becomes an opportunity to fill the void with information, and to become more visible as a company.

Monitor cultural shifts. The environment for information consumption is a living, ever-changing entity.     

In my professional life, I work for a global engineering and manufacturing company focused on water, fuel, and solar technologies. My team is tasked with the process of collecting, generating, and housing product marketing educational content. The categories of content (capture, curation, and cognition) have all come into tremendous play as we develop this new initiative.

As communications industry professionals, content capture, curation, and cognition are all areas to monitor and consider as we work in our respective industries.

Content is powerful.   

Let’s use it the best we can in this era.  

Rachel Batdorff is a Technical Content Specialist within the Product Marketing organization of Franklin Electric, based in the Fort Wayne, Ind. area. Franklin Electric is a global leader in the production and marketing of systems and components for the movement of water and automotive fuels. Rachel is a member of the PRSA Northeast Indiana Hoosier Chapter Steering Committee, and the PRSA Hoosier Chapter Social Media Committee.