By Loretta Di Vita
With spunk-to-spare, Jeff Lee delivered an informative presentation peppered with tongue-in-cheek humor, called “Feeding the Content Monster”.
The presentation centred around the misguided practice of organizations spending “big money” to establish platforms such as magazines, blogs and video channels and then obsessively force-feeding them content, simply because the platforms exist.
Lee described how some businesses are the masters of their own misery, creating content-guzzling monsters that—in a vicious circle—”keep growing and thereby require more and more input.” Ironically, efforts to beef up platforms leave in their wake ever-expanding monsters bloated full of token content. And if “monster” were not enough of a disparaging term, Lee warned how these platforms become more burden than asset—or as he calls them, “money holes”.
Okay, so what does he suggest an organization do to tame the vacuous, high-maintenance, money-wasting beast? Rather than throwing out the monster with the bath water, Lee suggests a no-nonsense approach toward optimizing platforms and keeping their content lean and mean (or rather meaningful?).
To help his clients avoid the monster trap, he consults with them, using a nine-step exploratory tool (why go for the arbitrary ten-rule, when you can stop at nine?) which covers all the key bases—from “determining an organization’s uniqueness, to practical content-strategy considerations, such as budget and resource allocation.”
Lee has lots of smart field-tested advice to offer. Foremost, he recommends that an organization look inside its own walls to “identify and dedicate development resources and then create links with relevant external platforms for maximum, cost-effective visibility.”
If it were ever more fitting to use the quality-over-quantity rule, now’s the time according to Lee. In his view, it’s important to limit output and be more thoughtful and discriminating when determining if-and-what-and-when content merits dissemination. His personal ethos for content development is that it must be “premium or nothing,” maintaining that brands should concentrate on premium content and not just click bait. “People neglect premium content in this era, but all the stuff we actually like is premium—from House of Cards to Red Bull.”
And, yes, premium material can be created on a shoe-string budget. Speaking from his right brain, he says: “It takes creativity. Content is everywhere. It’s just about how you leverage it to maximize business.”
Lee’s own preferred formula for content development is grass-roots oriented. “I believe that content should occur and be created organically by the people. That’s why it’s important to install and display triggers and incentives on site, in order to facilitate a content-creation reflex. Instagram pictures, tweets and Facebook posts can be invited if you give the people a fun and clever opportunity.”
Looking at his personal creative output, Lee’s latest brainchild is Tower Trip—a digital niche magazine showcasing the crème de la crème of real estate in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver. In characteristic functional agility, Lee occupies both a creative position plus a business one, as contributor and editor-in-chief.
The idea to develop the magazine struck when he embarked on creative work for real-estate developers and met a new breed of rising brokers representing ultra-exclusive properties. Lee—who could find a needle of opportunity in a haystack of possibilities—quickly realized that he had privileged access to places that most ordinary mortals never get to visit (never mind live in) and immediately knew he had stumbled on a golden idea.
“Most of us can’t afford such upscale places, but we can definitely appreciate their beauty and dream of a bigger life. I wanted to document and share this access with my friends and network. That’s how Tower Trip was born,” he explains.
Bubbling over with ambition, he admits that he’s reaching for a slice of the very same pie in the sky that he captures in the magazine. Evidently, the enterprising Lee is on an express elevator to the penthouse and won’t let anything get in his way. Not even monsters.