In my last post, I started to discuss the question of where digital signage (DS) content can be found. At first glance it really does seem as though there is an unlimited supply of information on the Net, but when you really start to examine it, things get murky quickly.
Let’s start with a real-world example. If you’re looking for reliable news, you can count on the New York Times, Associated Press or The Wall Street Journal. Once you get away from those top tier publishers, it gets more questionable. For example, are you 100 percent certain about something you read in the supermarket tabloids? Maybe you think some are a little more reliable, some less. Some occasionally do break a “for-real” story, but then what about the ‘Obama-is-an-Alien’ stories? Doesn’t that taint all the other news? If you needed hard, reliable news you would probably steer clear of that neighborhood.
Sourcing workplace communications presents the same dilemma. There are the rock-solid sources, such as the American Red Cross or OSHA, but their content is most likely not in the right format for use on DS. And you don’t have permission to use it. Do you even need permission? Would they give it to you if asked? These are the types of considerations that make digital signage content sourcing get tedious very quickly. I know firsthand because we produce several hundred pieces of fresh, original content every month.
So what’s a manager looking for DS content to do? Start with a list of five basic considerations.
1. What is he trying to communicate?
2. What is the source?
3. Is the information accurate?
4. Can he get permission to use it?
5. How does he get it into a format compatible with his DS system?
Looking at the first consideration, he needs to start with the problem to be addressed. For example, maybe his company is having customer service issues, so he needs to try to modify his employees’ behavior when in contact with customers. He Google’s “excellent customer service” and gets the predictable 120,000,000 results. I just did the search, and here are the top five sources:
Recognize any of them? I don’t. Are you willing to use information from their websites? I’m not, and most likely our fictional manager isn’t either. Those websites may be great, but he just doesn’t know. He wouldn’t risk putting up unvetted content in front of his employees, and he again runs into the issue that he’d be lucky if any of them had DS-ready content.
Of course if he’s willing to spend the time and do the research, he will eventually find a reliable source, such as 7 tips for excellent customer service found on Microsoft’s site via the Google search above. He assumes the information is good, otherwise Microsoft wouldn’t have posted it, and I’d tend to agree.
So far I’ve addressed the first three points from the above list. Next time, I’ll tackle #4, getting permission to use content (or not!).