As a content marketing agency, we often find ourselves caught between two conflicting trends. On the one hand, the spread of smartphones, tablets and similar devices has let to an increased demand for multimedia content. On the other, the ongoing financial crisis is squeezing budgets across the board, including those of our clients’ marketing and communications departments. As a result, we are frequently challenged to produce more for less.
For example, one of the B2B magazines I work on now has an accompanying iPad app, which has created a demand for additional content beyond that which appears in the printed publication. One way of providing this content is to ask journalists conducting feature interviews to record them and then send us the recording for inclusion in the app.
On the face of it, this is a straightforward request. The vast majority of journalists – even those with fluent shorthand – already record their interviews to ensure that they don’t miss a word. Then again, some writers may be horrified at the prospect of having to share the recording of what is, after all, a private conversation, with the rest of the world. Even the best interviewers occasionally ask a stupid question, or tie themselves in knots trying to follow up a particular line of inquiry. Until now, those passages could be safely omitted from the finished article and no one would be any the wiser.
So it’s interesting to see how different journalists approach this challenge. This morning I was listening to the recording of an interview conducted by a writer who’d never been asked to do this before. I hadn’t told her to approach the task any differently, but she had anyway; she started by introducing the interviewee and summarising his job and career, just as if she was presenting a live radio interview.
It’s a simple idea, but a brilliant one. Together with the contributions of an engaging and witty interviewee, it makes for a far more entertaining and cohesive recording than I’d expected – a genuinely valuable extra item for the app that will enhance the reader’s experience of the article.