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The Lean Content Movement

Martin W. Smith February 11, 2013

Guillaume Scoop.it CEO via Atlantic BT blog

Scoop.it Leading The Lean Content Movement

Listening to Scoop.it CEO Guillaume Decugis discuss “Lean Content” on Blog Talk Radio it felt like they are on to something important. The Scoop.it team defines “lean content”  on their #leancontent Scoop as, “Resources, tools, tips, and tricks for the most efficient use of content with the minimum use of resources”. This definition echos one of my most viral posts 5 Magical Do More With Less Curation Tools. I tweeted into the broadcast to ask if “lean content” also meant creating less content that does more.

Yes, the Scoop.it team confirmed. One dimension of “lean content” is creating a deeper message faster with less effort. Seth Godin’s blog is very lean, usually only one idea at a time and rarely more than a three hundred words. Godin’s latest book, The Icarus Deception, isn’t really a “book” as much as a series of threaded vignettes.

Trends driving the lean content movement include:

  • Content explosion even as available attention remains constant. 
  • Advanced visualization techniques and skills. 
  • Video gamification of everything. 
  • Mobile tsunami. 
  • Rise of Content Curation
  • Nature of human attention.

The Content Explosion

Eric Schmidt tagged the content explosion at the 2010 Techonomy Conference when he said, “Every two days we create as much content as from the dawn of man up to the year 2003″. Schmidt also correctly identified the content explosion’s source – UGC (User Generated Content) flooding in from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. UGC isn’t the only content driver these days. Velocity Partners, in an excellent SlideShare, notes how 9 out of 10 marketers plan much more content this year (2013). Here is Google Trends for the phrase “content marketing”:

Content Marketing explosion via Google trends on Atlantic BT blog

The content marketing, or “inbound marketing”, worm has surely turned. When I preached content marketing in 2003 no one cared. Now everyone cares, but few know how to create or support great content. This means, as Velocity Partners in the UK noted, CRAP content is exploding too. Now your GREAT content will need to be twice as good to cut through the clutter.

Advancement In Visualization Techniques – Infographics

Have you noticed the Infogrpahics explosion? Some say infographics are over killed by their own success. I disagree. The visual representation of complex ideas will increase in value as content continues to flood over the dam. Lean content means lean presentation or gaining as much understanding from as few words as possible.

Video Gamification of Everything

Everything Bad Is Good For You on Atlantic BT blogSteven Johnson correctly speculated that video games have many benefits to managing contemporary life in an information age in his book Everything Bad Is Good For You. You don’t have to reach far to see “video gamification” whether it is in becoming the Mayor of Starbucks via FourSquare or how LinkedIn is using crowdsourced tagging to clean its records and set its algorithm via “recommendations”. What are smart phones if not amazing video game consoles.

Mobile Tsunami

We are connected 24/7/365. Most people have their phone within ten feet most of the day. Phones are the curators of our lives. We fill up every moment of “free time” with email curation, texting and watching video of crazy cats on smart phones, iPads and other mobile devices. The “Mobile First” movement suggests to begin any content marketing journey mobile and work backwards. I agree since to NOT use mobile devices as any content or campaign’s first view is to deny an important trend. Mobile also brings additional needs for lean content such as:

  • Need for speed on the slower more densely packed mobile network.
  • Different ergonomics as typing becomes a pain and visuals become critical.
  • Need for arresting and informing visuals in less space and with less depth of field.

Rise of Content Curation

When I saw the Google Trends chart for “Content Curation” below in 2011 I created Atlantic Bt’s Content Curation Contest. Our contest would be followed by a flood of books, ideas and blog posts about the benefits of curating content such as: more efficient to create more reach, reinforces brand and SEO authority and plays well with Google’s “Quality Deserves Freshness” changes in their Panda and Penguin algorithm updates.

Content Curation on Google Trends chart via Atlantic BT blog

Nature of Human Attention

You don’t have to look far to see confirmation of the, “No one reads anymore”. Facebook pictures generate 35% more LIKES than other post.  A picture is worth a thousand words especially when discussing how much more visual we are than textual:

Circle Graphic vs. Text Demonstration Atlantic BT blog

Lean Content Movement’s Three Legged Stool

The lean content movement is is about writing less but saying more, using curation, fast feedback loops and tools such as Scoop.it to live up to the promise of “less is more”. I’m a big fan of movements not campaigns and think my friends at Scoop.it are on to a big one with #leancontent.

Lean Content 3 Legged Stool on Atlantic BT blog

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