Pick your content flavor: How do you choose the ‘right’ format?

@CSNewEngland (a great resource!) just Tweeted about a new event: Content Strategy – Understanding Context and Deciding Delivery Methods. Timely, too, as I was musing today about the very topic.

We work with a lot of ‘defaults’ in content. Maybe it’s because we’ve found the best format for certain information. More often than not, it’s because we get a little lazy. It’s tough to take information that, say, has always been in the written form and figure out how to make it better and even more useful to visitors. But what’s the use of translating your product’s tech specs into a video if it’s just shovelware of a datasheet? Why would anyone want to watch that? What would they get out of it that they couldn’t in print?

If no one’s clicking on that heavily-promoted whitepaper, maybe its information — with some tweaking — is best delivered as a presentation? Or a blog post? Or a video? Or a __(insert your brilliance here)___. *Insert cheezy content version of tree falling in woods metaphor* Metrics are a must here, of course.

But let’s back up. What about before you hit the Big Red Publish ButtonTM?

Sometimes the information has a clear Content Destiny. Great! But it often doesn’t.

How do you get it there? How do you choose? When you’re just drafting up a creative brief or a project proposal, is it just Gut + Experience that helps you lead your information arrive at its Content Destiny? Rule of thumb? Or just curiosity to try a new approach?

I’d love to go to the conference to hear what the experts have to say. Unfortunately I can’t attend as I’ll be away on vacation (oh cruel fate!)

BTW, if you’re in the greater Boston area, please join the Content Strategy New England group on Meetup! I’ve been really impressed by the events I’ve attended thus far. A great crowd, too! :)