When I examine the craft of the creator – or the storyteller, the producer or whatever other term you want to use – bridge building comes to mind. What we are, essentially, trying to do is build a bridge. It’s a bridge that is constructed between the stories and the content we’ve come up with by using our imagination and our experience and the people we want to reach, influence and engage with that content.
Where a builder of a real life bridge would study the surrounding area and test the bedrock for the most suitable place to start building, we do audience research, examine their habits, their needs and wants and their preferences.
Where a builder of a real bridge starts constructing with the help of blueprints drawn up by construction experts or architects, we construct our content and distribution plans according to audience engagement strategies, strategies for social media and so on.
We need to use the material most suitable for reaching the intended audience – some that we want to reach can only be so by using a bridge built predominantly of Instragram content. Another has to be reached by traditional TV content. A third has to have everything built on Facebook. We need to know who we want to reach, and how we best reach them, or our bridges will falter.
We do wisely to create bridges that allow for two-way traffic. Whereas the builders of yesteryears could content themselves with fewer bridges, and one-way bridges at that, the builders today know that they need a steady stream of traffic going both ways, in order to keep the precious audience connected to their own content, in the fiercely competitive environment this content exists nowadays.
Another complication in comparison with the builders of yore is the people we want to reach. Whereas these were inhabiting a few, large islands back in the day, nowadays it’s a sprawling archipelago that calls for the construction of a great number of bridges, only to reach the same amount of people one bridge would cater for earlier.
Luckily, bridge creation has never been easier. The cost of material has plummeted, as has the amount of time needed. And funnily enough, we’re not the only ones creating bridges anymore. If our stories, our content, is engaging and exciting enough, the people around will happily create their own bridges, in their own fashion, just to be able to connect with what we have to offer them.
Then again, as Isaac Newton said, and which I regard as a challenge for all of us – ”We build too many walls, and not enough bridges”.