Containers, Aggregators, and Editors

I recently got asked to write a couple articles for various websites and publications. I said no problem, but then I kept putting them off. I just handed in one today and did not get feedback yet, but I am uncertain how well it went. Yesterday I handed in one and the editor was less than impressed. Then it sorta dawned on me, that I am a bit spastic and random in nature, and without using those words that is sorta how my article was described (in a nicer way though of course).

Some people do well with containers and other people driving them, but I have been so (searching for a word here...maybe undomesticated) that it is quite hard to fill in the box or create something that is exactly how someone else wants it. I got so focused on random abstract thoughts that I am only really good at doing something if it is something I really want to do when I want to do it.

I have a PowerPoint presentation and speech to put together and am hoping I do well with it. The biggest benefit to it over the articles is that the request for it came after I put together something similar in nature but in another format.

So I guess my (semi?)relevant marketing thoughts on this post are:

  • I think the closer you are to your audience the easier it is to be successful (at least for me).

  • The more passion and interest you have in a topic the easier it is to be successful.
  • It is definitely worth focusing on what you are good at, but it is also a good thing to occasionally try different containers or formats. I suck at many containers and do well with others. Respect the container, or throw the container away and try something new ;)
  • For most people publishing format (so long as it is legible) likely the format has little to do with your personal credibility level. Everyone is different and probably has their own best way to express themselves. I don't think mine is in 1,000 world least not at this point!

What have been your most successful publishing formats? Do you think the structure of the web will drastically change media consumption habits?

Published: July 7, 2006 by Aaron Wall in publishing & media


July 7, 2006 - 3:02pm

Concerning your question about media consumption - I think it already has changed.

We used to be on the receiving end of a media with high entry fees and a few firms competing; listening was the only choice.

The cost of Editing and Distribution is rapidly approaching zero.In addition to the vertical distribution system the web has enabled a horizontal one - Individual to Individual.

But it will not replace the top down media comsumption; it's just not the only game in town anymore.

Tom Curley, CEO of the Associated Press once said:

"The users are deciding what the point of their engagement will be — what application, what device, what time, what place"

July 7, 2006 - 10:47pm

Hi Arron,

Liked your blog post about different writing styles - I personally relate to it.

I really have to think in a different mindset than I at when I write for my newest blog, Also, because I write fro, and it's not my blog - I can't just write whatever I feel like - it has to be specific to the topics the blog deals with.

In fact, I notice I am a different persona depending on which blog I'm writing on. In ArtNYC I'm a fine artist and art critic, on I am a Search and Web Analyst with innovative approaches to Buzz Marketing, and on SmartMobs I am a social commentary reporter. All of these "containers" represent parts of me.

July 9, 2006 - 9:47am

I'm a big believer in the importance of 'containers'. For me personally, I need some kind of structure or I get too 'scattered'.

For example, with poetry I've always preferred rhyming schemes or syllabic patterns like Haiku as it enables you to fill a container as creatively as possible without having to also worry as much about inventing structure.

I think in many ways the psychological comfort provided by containers is behind much of the mass appeal in blogging and in social sites like MySpace. Both blog entries and MySpace profile pages have fairly structured formats.

When creating content-driven websites it's a good idea to think specifically about what kind of "containers" would be most effective in maximizing your performance, reaching your visitors an attain your goals.

July 10, 2006 - 5:41am

Hi everyone!

I just want to say something which I think most writers for lease forget before they submit their work for perusal.

One thing you must remember as a writer is try to establish a keen distinction between ADAPT AND ADOPT. As a writer, if you are asked by someone or a company to write about something, learn their 'politics.' Maybe your personal style or 'container' don't work with them.

I also experienced this same downtime, because my writers were once asked to write a bunch of articles. Thinking that the deal was on, I offered the service for FREE! Little did I know that the client was already doing a side-deal so in the end, he called the deal off but with some mocking views towards my writers.

After some time, I found the same articles uploaded in some sites that I have visited, and -- not to brag about my writer's capacity -- the articles were just poorly written.

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