Oh, my fellow creators of content, I’m sorry to break it to you, but they don’t love you for your content. They love you because you make using their device better.
As our content gets distributed over multiple platforms and devices, the relationship with our audience gets VERY complicated. The first choice the audience makes is to sit down with a flatscreen and a box or to pick up their phone. As a content creator, you have to be part of that relationship FIRST if you’re going to get people to love you for yourself.
You have to think about where people are consuming it and why they are there in the first place. Not only in the sense of Norman Lear’s “What is the audience seeing?” but “Why are they here?”
In his book “Simplicity,” John Maeda says that the first principle of design is that a device should say to the user: “I know why you’re here, and I know what decision you need to make next.” Your content has to appear within that “chain” of decisions on any device.
The clue to “Why” is in the device and the platform. Are they killing 3 minutes in line? Do they have a half-hour to check up on friends and family? Are they in the middle of catching up on the world? Are they in the mood to share and connect?
That means you need to think about where they are, when they’re opening their device, and what they need.
Ask yourself: “How can I make their use of this device more fun? How can I make the phone / tablet better?” The audience will share and return to your content more often if you fit in with the primary relationship and give them reasons to share, connect and consume on a particular device.
I have a long career spanning almost every kind of media, from long-form to short-form digital. I think a lot about what it’s like to work creatively today and how to manage creatives. Often, I “think out loud” on this blog. Everything I write here is a “work in progress.” I’d love to hear your take; Please leave a comment below.