Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ten Things You May Be Doing Wrong When Creating Content - Part 2

"Ten Things You May Be Doing Wrong When Creating Content & Presenting Programs" is a series of brief blogs you can use to make yourself more valuable and more memorable to your clients, and to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. These are in no particular order; they all are important.
 
#2 Not Being in "Continuous Content Collecting Mode"
 
Your programs will become stale unless you create new content from time to time. Depending on your situation, you will want to refresh and update your content more frequently.
 
You should be looking for possible content everywhere and all the time. When the time comes, you will have created a rich resource for relaxed researching in plenty of time. You'll have lots to choose from to find exactly the right content.
 
It will be even more helpful if you organize it for future reference. Use 3-ring binders, standard manila file folders, or make digital folders on your hard drive. Arrange them alphabetically or by topic, or by topic alphabetically.
 
If you file future content possibilities digitally, be sure to name each file with something you are likely to remember, or at least might find easily using you computer's internal hard-drive search engine. You might think now that you'll never forget it, but... I'm just saying.
 
When you come across a quotation, an article, a research report --anything that might have potential to relate to your topic and make it more memorable or easier to understand or interesting, snag it and organize it!
 
Trolling and Snagging For Fun & Profit
Having the right material to present at the right time becomes part of your brand. It makes your programs more valuable and more popular.
 
"We still need Guam!"
Our 5 year-old grandson, Isaac, has started to collect the US quarters that commemorate states and territories. We are all doing our bit --er, actually make that 2-bits-- to help him by checking our spare change for a coin he might need. He is lucky to have grandparents so dedicated that they pore over coins every time they receive change in a transaction. And, they go the extra step of specifically asking for change in coins!
 
We get the coins. We check them against the collection list. We snag the ones that match. Soon we will be on to pennies, nickles, and who-knows-what.
 
You should do the same thing to capture and collect content for all of your talks, keynotes, classes, PowerPoint, blogs, whatever.
 
Read newspaper and magazines with your eyes and a pair of scissors. Clip, tear out the part you 'might need someday.' ASAP, get it organized into a topical file.
 
You can scan almost anything from any printed document with your combo-printer, and even carry a portable scanner in an App like "Genius Scan+" right on your smart phone.
 
Realplayer and other programs now make easy for you to download video from almost anywhere on the Internet.
 
Have you seen a related motivation or informational poster, cartoon, or video on Facebook? Snag it! Then use other software to trim, edit, or otherwise enhance the video or image, and even convert to  a variety of viewable formats such as mp4, wma, wmv, mov. And, you can even extract just the audio for an mp3 file.
 
You should be trolling for material all the time. To paraphrase an old Tom Lehrer song satire, don't shade your eyes, let no one else's work evade your eyes, but do not plagiarize. Always give proper credit and attribution. And snag, snag, snag.
 
See an interesting sign in a store? Or anything happening anywhere? Use the camera in your smart phone to snag it! Send it to yourself via e-mail for future editing and incorporation into a program. 
 
Hear a clever phrase while at dinner in a restaurant? Write it down on a napkin; file it later. Or, use your smart phone to record it as a message to send to yourself. Try audio messaging Apps like Tango and Heytell, too.
 
Always be on the lookout!
If you usually wait until you get a booking or, worse, until the last minute, to look for material, you might still be able to do some quick trolling & snagging content using any of the great search engines, if you know how to do it. That reminds me of my grandmother's advice about being prepared, "If I had some peanut butter I would have a peanut butter sandwich, if I had some bread."
 
Keep your programs refreshed and powerful with material you find everywhere!


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