Are You Timeless?

One of the things I fear most about our on-demand, disposable media age is the lack of timeless pieces likely to spring up — or a lack of future “classics.”

There’s a new story every week. Several thousand+ word pieces going up every hour about every thing under the sun. Does anything have staying power anymore?

When the quest is for clicks or mass quantity consumption, the answer is usually “no.”

Seth Godin touched on this topic — and the entire entry is worth a read. For job communicators , this passage jumped out at me:

It’s no longer possible to become important to everyone, not in a reliable, scalable way, not in a way that connects us to people who will read ads or take action, not to people who aren’t already clicking away to the next thing by the time they get to the second or third sentence.

But it is possible to become important to a very-small everyone, to a connected tribe that cares about this voice or that story or this particular point of view. It’s still possible to become meaningful, meaningful if you don’t get short-term greedy about any particular moment of mass, betting on the long run instead. And we need institutions that can reach many of these tribes, that can bind together focused audiences and useful content creators.

 

Institutions are often late to the dance on this, so I want to focus on individuals. If you’re fortunate enough to communicate for a large conglomerate or public official that commands attention, congrats! This doesn’t apply to you. The rest of us have to revamp the way we think and do business.

One of the things I’ve learned communicating for a small, but prestigious arts school, is that everybody isn’t going to care — and that’s okay.

YES, I think my kids are the greatest, our faculty are worthy of front page headlines and our alumni list — which includes recognizable faces in Hollywood and Tony Award winners — is stellar.

But that’s because I live in a bubble.

I recognize that not everywhere will think as highly of the school as I do.

I don’t have to reach “all,” I have to reach “enough.”

Enough reporters that care about education. Enough parents that want to send their children here. Enough legislators. Enough alumni. Enough people that care about the arts.

What does that have to do with being timeless? It’s simple. When people care, they will help you create your memories. I could fire off press releases until the cows come home and the roosters crow. And so could you. You’ll get some mentions. And maybe your supervisors will be happy.

But when you take the time to target the writers who care. The writers who see the beauty in your or your client’s story, you get magic. You get timeless.

Like these pieces that appeared on The Atlantic’s website.

Sometimes we have to do things for mass numbers. BUT, when you get the opportunity, be timeless.

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