Thus far we’ve covered quite a lot of aspects in this journey. We’re moving towards a better understanding of how we need to view our projects and what questions we need to ask. What we want to arrive at is a better understanding of how our projects can reach and engage people, either long or short term.
Today we’ll take a look at the topic of longevity with regards to a project and how (and if) we can hope to see our engagement play out over the long term. This goes for the projects themselves, i.e. how their innate ability through topic or approach can hope to keep engagement and interest going in the long term. It also goes for the projects as a part of the larger world, i.e. how will the topic stand up to the test of time.
Why is longevity of interest? Since we’ve already invested time and resources into getting our projects off the ground, my opinion is that we would be wise to get all the mileage we can out of our efforts. By keeping our project current and in front of people and encouraging them to engage with it over longer terms, we not only keep in touch with them for information, dissemination, marketing and awareness, we also increase our possibility to have an active audience available to tap into for future projects.
Some questions to ask yourself about your project in order to arrive at greater clarity regarding this:
- Is the project about a one-off thing or something that is or can be longer term? This is probably the most natural place to start thinking about longevity. If what your project is about is a true one-off it’s one thing, but if what your project is about depicts a reoccurring event, either physically or as a part of the zeitgeist, it will be possible to revisit your project in due course.
- Is the topic something that affects a smaller or larger number of people? The more people that can feel an organic connection to your project and the topic you’re talking about, the better chance of longevity as new people and new audiences discover your project, raising it up into the larger awareness over and over again.
- Will people be able to identify with my project? Artistic freedom is a must, naturally, and the viewpoint of the creator, director or producer is crucial in order for the project to find its own voice and its unique presence in the world. At the same time, it pays to keep in mind that there is an audience out there that should ideally be able to identify with if not all, then at least a sizeable part of what your narrative is about. The more people that can identify with aspects of your project, the more voices you will have to carry the message forward, thus increasing longevity.
- Will people be talking about the same thing five years from now? What will they be saying – and what would be like them to be saying? It’s of course impossible to predict the future. That said, a plan for how our project will stand the test of time and remain a crucial part of the discussion around our topic years from now is a good thing to have. If we are aiming for an impact with our project, envisaging how we influence talking points and discussions years from now is a step in the right direction. We might not get it right, but we do increase our chances by planning from the get-go.
In the next chapter we’ll look at something I like to call Flash vs Slow Burn!