LavaCon 2014: Nick Kellet & Content Brevity

Editor’s Note: Nick Kellet, co-founder of Listly, shared some brief, powerful thoughts on content with Al Martine in advance of his talk at LavaCon 2014.

For those people out there who have never met you, what’s Nick Kellet’s elevator pitch?

Nick-Kellet-225I play with the future and it plays right back.

I love new challenges, jumping domains and changing hearts ‘n minds.

Today, I’m co-founder of Listly. We’re elevating the role of Lists to be on a par with Slides and Videos. We’re creating social a destination site for list-content that anyone can then embed on a blog. It’s a new collaborative way to create, curate and share ideas.

We are building on the fact the people love lists.  We make lists more awesome and you make more awesome lists.

Your presentation at LavaCon is about mastering short-form content – why do you think short-form is so successful online?

I can’t give a long answer to that can I :)

We just don’t care to go deep on anything that we’ve not heard of. So brands need to earn  incremental segments of attention.

Publishers need to make it easy for people to consume ideas in short soundbites or info-snacks. Then people can get your value, slowly, over time.

Fighting this trend will just hurt you. You need to think like Buzzfeed.

For those who aren’t attending LavaCon – this year – do you have a few tips you could share to help content creators master short-form content?

You need to plan for it and design short-form content and the option to transform your ideas into each of the core forms of content – slides, videos, graphics, lists etc. We call it Hybrid media.

You then need to think about reassembly and designing your content in the smallest unit possible and then reassemble them into larger units inside blog posts etc.

You need to make it ridiculously easy to reuse and share your ideas.

People don’t share big things, they share the germ of an idea. They share things that spark their passion. Small/simple ideas are easier to digest and connect to. It’s a fact.

This links back to my first point – Your content needs to earn small incremental deltas of attention.

What tools are a must for this style of communicating? Is one type of content professional likely to be better at it than another (e.g. content marketer, blogger, journalist, technical writer, etc.)

Twitter is obviously a great format to master brevity, but you can take that same mindset and apply it to your content.

Slides, videos, images, lists etc – These are the tools we need to master.

These are the building blocks of sharing and embeddability.

These are the things people share via social. These building blocks let you grow your proportion of earned and shared media. If you haven’t heard the acronym POEM (paid, owned & earned media), you’ll learn all about why it’s key to thriving in the digital ecosystem.

We have a running joke at TechWhirl that we’re going to propose that all help move to Vine but they never get past the introduction – when is short content not good?

When you don’t believe it.

You can talk yourself out of short, but people don’t have the time of inclination to go long (not unless you have earned the right).

That’s why you need to think about content and the stage that your “would-be-buyer” is in their purchase cycle. Short will hook newbies. Fans can/will consume longer forms of content, but only once you’ve earned the right.

So if you embrace short and incremental and multi-step communication then you can make it work. People still take time to absorb ideas, they just do it over time – piecemeal and step-wise.

We skim. It’s a fact. If you don’t embrace it, then you cede even more control to the reader.

Couple more questions …

We think everyone should attend LavaCon – what else will people attending your session learn?

The power of brevity. How to design for brevity and to leverage all forms of media and the impact of POEM. We also need to remember everyone has their own learning style.

We don’t need more content, we need the content that works in more formats.

I’ll explore and explain why Content Networks are distinct from Social Networks and how and why you should design for this reality.

I’ll also share some tools to explore how to visualise and benchmark your Social Graph vs your Content Graph.

Shameless plug question – any books, upcoming webinars or events you’d like to promote?

I’ll be speaking at (2nd October) , i.e. before Lavacon.

Your session references Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so the question is which book is your favorite?

I’m currently re-reading, so for now the answer is 42!


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