Symbiotic Content

1. interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.
2. mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups.

Symbiotic Content:
“The adaptation of individual types of content, which use a Blog as the “host organism” in a mutually beneficial series of relationships.”
-M. Hector 2014

Recently while brainstorming ideas for an upcoming presentation in my Content Marketing class at St. Lawrence College, I decided I wanted to determine a completely abstract, yet fun concept for describing best practices in the field of Content Marketing. This is a good time to mention, that while preparing for this project I have been extensively reading Ann Handley & CC Chapman’sContent Rules – (which is the required text for the course.)

One chapter in particular suggests using a blog as the central hub of one’s content strategy.  Specifically, Ann and CC also introduce the idea of reimagining content.  It was then, for reasons unknown that I began to think about the Egyptian Plover. (Bear with me.)

To avoid turning this post into a nature lesson, the Plover is a small bird which is essentially the most daring dentist of the Animal Kingdom. It literally hops into the massive and terrifying jaws of a crocodile, and pecks meat, and uneaten food from between the giant reptiles teeth. Astoundingly, the crocodile does not instantly chomp its jaws closed on the feathery little snack, and instead gratefully allows the Plover to go about its job.

This, is the perfect example of symbiosis.  And symbiosis is all about relationships.

At this point, I envisioned blogs as big fat crocodiles, and all the individual types of content, as an entire flock of Plovers – hopping about keeping the blog healthy, its teeth spotless, and its smile flawless.  When you observe this cooperative relationship (and others) in nature, it becomes easy to apply it in the form of a Symbiotic Content Strategy.

This begins by taking the way we look at individual types of content, and alternatively seeing a multitude of opportunities to transform them into a broad spectrum of items which all attach to the blog as the “host organism.”  It is not enough to look at content pieces as singular items, but rather a plethora easily adaptable, and multifaceted resources for a blog.

For example, instead of “Just an E-Book” think:

  • Podcast Series
  • Infographics
  • Video Series
  • Forum/Community Discussions

Or, instead of a Case Study think of it as a fun community challenge in your posts call to action.  The audience will appreciate the opportunity to chime in with their strategies and solutions thus breeding a collection of user created content which you can feature in future blog posts by showcasing the most outstanding entries.

The entire point, is to augment your blog with a vast collection of content options which will keep it consistently fresh, and engaging.  This creates a direct symbiotic relationship between all the various types of content, and your blog as the central platform from which to launch your overall strategy.  The smaller, adapted elements within core types of content almost become a healthy immune system for the blog, resulting in a robust environment for communicating with your audience.

Anyway, this is the basis of the idea I am trying to transfer from the innermost depths of my mind, and into a tangible framework for enhancing audience engagement, and participation.  I was inspired by similar concepts introduced in Content Rules, and wanted to develop a creative way of applying them.  Am I onto something?  Am I insane? Do you find this concept useful?  Hit up the comments section below, and let me know!

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