Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Remembering your orphaned content

I have a bunch of orphans to look after.

Not long ago, I worked on a series of video podcasts. Created them, actually, with the help of some very talented video professionals. Our videos profiled professional photographers (see the screen shot below), many of whom championed the virtues of film and digital photography.

No one called our work "content creation" at the time. But we produced online material to help build the reputation and brand of a company struggling to re-imagine itself for the digital era. Digital eventually supplanted film, and the company filed for bankruptcy reorganization.

Our videos, however, reflect the company's view at the time: that film gave photographers creative latitude that digital cameras did not. (View the series at this link.) This view, in 2014, has changed.

The podcasts -- including this one, profiling British photographer Jocelyn Bain Hogg -- live on as created in 2011. Frozen in time. I would have forgotten them altogether, had I not received messages this week from YouTube that someone had found the Bain Hogg video and shared it with online friends.

Online content is plentiful, but it ages more rapidly than we realize. Bain Hogg's concepts are still valid, but the company that created it has all but left the business of pro photography, licensing its brand and products to another company. The content has become orphaned.

So, add to your list of PR job responsibilities: content curation. Someone needs to remember that content ages, and doesn't always synch with the organization's current objectives. 

If your PR programs include podcasts or other online content, it's essential to audit this content. Compare it with the company's current product portfolio and business objectives. If it's no longer relevant, consider removing the material, or perhaps make it available as archival content to the subjects in the video. If the content includes copyrighted material, it may compel you to remove it in order to comply with your licensing agreements.

Just don't let it become orphaned.