The Future of Content: Tolani Shoneye
“The death of the gatekeeper isn’t a challenge. It’s an opportunity. Sure, there’s more competition for attention, but there’s never been a better time to get your message heard.”
Last week, the first of our #FutureOfContent series from Creative North explored the ways in which it pays to be authentic. Inspired by the thoughts of Senior Copywriter, Peter Stephen, we looked at why audiences now seek out the ‘real’ over the ‘fake’, and investigated some of the white noise we’re faced with day in and day out.
Speaking of authenticity… next up was our girl, Tolani Shoneye – a Digital Content Creator and Podcaster, Tolly was as real as it gets. Energized and inspired, we all left the conference ready to start our own podcast (no really, stay tuned for this).
Exploring the concepts of alternative facts and voices, as well as the ways social media opened up the internet for a whole host of new expression and content, Tolly began by diving into the history of her career. Speaking of one of her first major career moves, she exposed the carte-blanche approach to writing at BuzzFeed; an avenue which opened up a entirely new world of content to her.
Taking an alternative stance, Tolly divulged that as a writer, she was encouraged to write just as she would speak. From this, she learned that the ‘alternative’ allows for story-telling, and story-telling allows for niche content.
Think about it… when you consider story-telling, you’ll probably find yourself in varying and sometimes elaborate realms of freedom. If loads of people all told the same story, each version would be unique. Tolly describes this as ‘niche content’. She reasons that there’s actually no right way to do make content; it doesn’t need to be polished, which is refreshing to hear in a world full of do’s and don’t’s.
Which brings us to our next question; what do you think of when you think of ‘niche’? Weird stuff? Warhammer games? Vegan things? It turns out niche is all the range now, but this becomes problematic when it inevitably develops into something everyone else is trying to tap into. Facebook, for example, are now developing Facebook TV as a way to find niche voices in the online community, and use them to create powerful content.
Just as Buzzfeed encouraged their editors to write how they speak, they also gave them the freedom to write about whatever they wanted to. Such content is constructed (or deconstructed) to evoke emotional responses from an audience. This writing style taps into a rare vulnerability so that audiences can feel connected.
Tolly finished her talk with a few really good points, explaining that good content creators know how to give niche content legs. They don’t just know how to tell the story, but they know how to tell a story that only they can tell. Good story-telling has a unique voice and depicts passion; if it really has legs, it’ll relate to those beyond your intended audience.
She left us with five key points of content consideration:
What story am I telling?
What voice am I saying it in?
Who do I want to listen?
Who else will listen?