Content, Content Everywhere: How to Get Audiences to Care?

November 23, 2020

In a time when bidding for the world’s attention through content has become highly competitive, mass communication professionals are recognising the importance of maintaining timeless values such as trust more than ever.

Roberto Gerardo Calleja, Chairperson of INTI’s Mass Communication Community of Practice and Mass Communication lecturer at INTI, sharing his thoughts at INTI’s Mass Communication IAB

At INTI International University & Colleges’ (INTI) Mass Communication Industry Advisory Board (IAB), several industry professionals along with INTI’s Mass Communication academicians, discussed the importance for fresh graduates, particularly those in content development, to hone these values before entering the workforce.

In her opening remarks, Dr Jasmine Begum, Director of Legal, Corporate & Government Affairs for Microsoft ASEAN & New Markets, shared that as a result of IR4.0 and the pandemic, the acceleration of innovation and digital transformation has allowed anyone with access to a smart phone to produce content. She states that this, coupled with Microsoft’s study which revealed that the attention span of the modern consumer is less than 8 seconds, makes it more challenging for marketers, filmmakers, editors, and other content development professionals to maintain a consistently engaged audience.

Hence, Dr Jasmine stressed that with the competition for the mass’ attention and the need to maintain continuous engagement, it is important for future mass communication graduates to learn the values of an organisation and relay it in their content in order to build or maintain trust with their audience.

“Whether in offline or online communications, trust has become the new currency of today’s economy and the value of trust is the return of influence for organisations today,” said Dr Jasmine, a development communications graduate herself.

While discussing how organisations, media outlets and other content development professionals can build trust with their audiences through content, Wayne Lim, Group Chief Editor of the Malaysian Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Media Group shared that as a representative of the media, he builds trustworthy content through providing accurate information to his audiences.

“For instance, during the pandemic, we gave detailed explanations to SMEs and their employees that explained how each organisation can continue operating while adhering to the government’s guidelines. Since each SME differs in size and capacity, we shared thorough information after discussions with government officials and relayed them in our communications,” shared Wayne.

A group photograph of INTI’s Mass Communication industry partners and academicians

Roberto Gerardo Calleja, Chairperson of INTI’s Mass Communication Community of Practice shared that as someone who has been in the industry and is currently an academician, he also teaches his Mass Communication students to fully understand the different fragmentations of target audiences and develop content that caters to their needs.

He explained, “We teach students to understand the different demographics they are creating content for, such as race, religion, gender and age, including the different sentiments that each of these groups have towards a product and service. Only then will they be able to build reliable and trustworthy content that sits well with their audience.”

Agreeing to Roberto and INTI’s industry partners’ sentiments, Tan Lin Nah, Chief Executive Officer of INTI, shared that apart from honing digital competencies, Industry 4.0 has hastened the need for the development of soft skills in fresh graduates and employees today, making values an important lesson in higher education.

“We cannot build trust without developing proper communication, listening, and interpersonal skills. Recognising the importance of these skills, we work hard at helping our graduates hone these skills through our employer projects, INTI Leadership series, clubs and societies, and so on,” shared Lin Nah.

“This IAB is one of our efforts in ensuring we understand the needs of industry leaders today and to provide them with graduates that have the relevant skillsets needed for today’s ‘new’ workforce. It is our way of relaying our trust to both our students and industry partners,” shared Lin Nah.