The Active Cycle of Content

Some five years ago I wrote a post with a similar title and extolled the virtues of producing content strategically and in multiple formats.

Much about content has continued to evolve in the time since I started writing about it. Entire books have been dedicated to the specific topic, many tools and services have cropped up to support the need to create content and, generally speaking, most marketers have come to accept and expect content production as a necessary tool to drive awareness, interest and conversion.

The Active Cycle of Content

The Active Nature of Content

What I see as the next evolution of the concept is a move to a more active state of what we consider to be content. In other words, content in the context of marketing is now a verb.

Instead of using the term only to describe the act of producing words, pixels and frames, I believe it is now time to talk about content in the all-encompassing manner in which we actually use it.

Today when I talk to clients and audiences about the need for content I am referring to the act of simultaneously producing, sharing and networking as a form of an active cycle of content that has entered every aspect of what we do as marketers.

Today the term content has grown to mean:

  • Producing written, spoken and recorded words and pictures
  • Sharing filtered, curated and aggregated written, spoken and recorded words and pictures
  • and, Networking with the producers of written, spoken and recorded words and pictures

The effectiveness of your marketing efforts depends on seeing these three things as one-act and adopting this mindset as you plan and carry out your editorial activities.

This is how you use content to

  • Create greater awareness
  • Generate ideal leads
  • Build real trust
  • Educate and position
  • Develop strategic partnerships
  • Convert social to sales
  • Drive traffic and attract links
  • Enhance referral generation

So, you see that blog post you planned, researched and typed into WordPress isn’t fully alive until you amplify it, share at least four or five related blog posts written by others and debated the merits of a particularly insightful aspect of the post with peers in a Google+Hangout.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • exlinkevents

    This is very informative John. I like the call to amplification it means the content is not yet successfully completed if we fail to amplify it. Therefore, the process extends after the content whereas other think that content is everything, in this case it is not, which should be the right way to appreciate content.

    • ducttape

      I think the notion of extending is so key!

  • Freeman LaFleur

    Great post John. Content really has become a Verb. I love that as a way to sum this all up. Btw great side redesign as well. It’s very inviting. The Genesis team is doing great work these days. Cheers!

    • ducttape

      Thanks – I think it takes the idea of writing and turns it into something that pays off if you do the follow through.

      Thanks also on the redesign, yes they did a great job – I even like visiting now :)

  • Blair Warner

    Your stuff is always good and to the point. I appreciate the quick read in today’s world of content overload. Keep it up. I I agree with exlinkevents below that I especially appreciate your emphasis on amplification..

    • ducttape

      Thanks Blair – the idea of producing quick reads really plays into the notion of useful content.

  • jeffabram

    Good post, John. Liked the concept of cyclical and recyclable content. That vision helps shape the actual production of content. If I think about sharing others similar content, I’m more intentional about what I write and I don’t think of my content in a bubble. The fact that content as published is not really content unless someone consumes it should continue to keep us focused on producing content in varied forms and with the user/reader/consumer always at the top of mind. Good stuff.

    • ducttape

      Jeff – that’s so true – when you think about this as a cycle it impacts every element – you’re more intentional in your own writing because you recognize the other elements of the cycle as important.

  • Crazzy Kylex

    I really believe Building trust should be the first in your goals list. Credibility and Authority is the dire need of the time. After all, people are not robots.

    By the way, great post, John!

  • Alyson Button Stone

    A trend we’re moving on now is “repurposing content.” An ebook is excerpted in the blog; a blog article (or articles) can become an ebook or guide. Everything is promoted socially, and syndicated where possible. Sharing video, linking everything.

    Great post, John!

  • Enterprise Mobile Hub

    Excellent post! Sharing is key of driving traffic…

  • cherylpickett

    Sorry, but I have to disagree here. Do we really need to confuse the issue by changing “content” into a verb? And a verb that essentially is already represented by other words?

    Content is a noun and needs to continue to be used that way. We create content, we don’t do content like we do marketing. Once we have created content, we do different things with it. We may share it, post it, hand it out, package it into a book or video. There are hundreds of options that are already covered under other terms-marketing and promoting being two over arching ones.

    I do fully agree that people need to have the big picture in mind as they sit down to create a blog post or article or book. But there are separate steps that need to stay separate so that the process does not get anymore complicated than it already is.

    • ducttape

      Actually I believe the issue is already confused – what I’m doing here is giving it clarity. Content that is lifeless serves little value – the idea of a verb isn’t so much to try to give anything a name as it is to give it an active sense – forget the word and focus on the metaphor – but separating the doing from the acting is the big mistake that most make – this doesn’t complicate it makes it clear what you really need to be doing.

  • Jeff smith

    Brilliant observation – treating offline networking and promotion as both an extension of and feedback toward online content generation is exactly what some of the most successful marketers are doing right now. I also like to take a chunk of the “networking” tab and make that “social networking” where you can get discussions going (like this one) that both help grow your network, grow your SEO (dynamic content) and inspire new ideas for content. Great post!


    • ducttape

      Thanks Jeff – I agree it’s not so much a trend as an evolution I think – this is so important for businesses that actually conduct most of their transactions offline.

  • JD

    I apologize if English is not your first language, but this article is very difficult to read to do the mixing of tenses and the misplaced commas. The second paragraph specifically is kind of a mess. I apologize again if that sounds really critical, but I would expect a marketing blog to be clear, concise and coherent.

  • JD

    example! I should have proofread my comment. *difficult to read due to the mixing of tenses.

  • Nicholas Maddix

    That’s a great breakdown. Stimulating debate with people or blogs of similar interest can take your content a long way. Providing multiple types of content, beyond just articles and ebooks, can be a great helps too, sort of like diversifying your content portfolio.