Content development Do You Trust Me Now? Content in the age of social media

Published on September 5th, 2014 | by Rahel Bailie


Do You Trust Me Now?

This is the first of a series of articles about some of the issues that content professionals are facing in the age of social media and social business. The impetus for these articles was a presentation developed in 2014 in response to demand for a framework in which to consider strategic directions for producing, delivering, and maintaining content.

The presentation topic is about not so much about delivering content as it is about trust. Companies want it; consumers are cautious with it; and its role in social business is significant. Social media, social business, social collaboration – these are all aspects of digital maturity within an organisation, and increasing important in a hyper-networked society. The connection points have become numerous, and the expectation ubiquitous. Organisations have embraced social media, and to a lesser extent, social business. Occasionally it has led to great success, sometimes less so, and often the bumps and scars that are part of a maturing discipline. Along the way, consumers have matured, as well. The tell-tale signs that lead a consumer to build trust, or mistrust, are also changing. What doesn’t change is the underlying principle of trust, and the role it plays in interactions between companies and customers.

What happens when social business confronts multiple engagement channels, particularly the areas traditionally protected from public exposure? Can the collision create a lucrative combination, like peanut butter and chocolate? Or is social and business content closer to chalk and cheese? Perhaps the answer is neither to assume a dichotomy nor throw ourselves into it, but to go boldly, with the occasional backwards glance over our shoulders.

Professionals in the interactive digital space – designers, user experience professionals,  content strategists, usability engineers – have increasingly complex circumstances to consider when producing content. To ensure that content meets the needs of content consumers throughout the customer journey, can be delivered on multiple devices, can be personalised, it must be created and stored in a content management system in a way that the system can identify the right content at the right delivery point. This is no small feat, and challenges us to write differently, chunk our content differently, and use more sophisticated tools to allow us to do so.

But before we even get to the stage of creating content, we have to recognize that what we are creating is a trust environment; our content is an important conduit for trust to take root. The articles referenced in the coming posts were a strong influence in the creation of the Do You Trust Me Now presentation, and included here to be a thought-provoking backdrop to the idea of constructing a trust framework.

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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,

One Response to Do You Trust Me Now?

  1. Andrew says:

    Great points, and the importance of business brands building trust with users is only going to become more important as social networking services continued to seek ways to monetize. Facebook has drastically reduced organic reach in favor of selling space to advertisers; Twitter is also struggling for revenue and will likely expand beyond sponsored tweets to fill people’s timelines with possibly-not-all-that-trusted posts from big brands.

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