THE KEY POINTS
- Audio version available at the bottom of the page.
- How are you supposed to know what people mean when they talk to you about “content”?
- Ideally, content is wanted. It’s not forced on anyone.
- Content is made for an audience the creators know very, very well.
- Telling yourself you don’t need this expertise will doom you to ongoing content chaos.
What is “content”? It’s any media you make that’s intended to communicate something.
There’s very little that’s not content or calls for content. Content can be a vital component of products, services and customer experiences. There are many things you can and may want to do using content; entertain, inform, teach, provide a resource, make people laugh, make people cry, make people think, challenge, inspire, motivate, create concern, make people want more, learn what people think, help, cheer, uplift, create suspense, provoke, win trust, deepen the relationship, make people ask questions, unify, give people something to share that makes them look good, help people make a decision, celebrate, remind people of something, and yes, even sell.
I reluctantly mention the last one because there are similarities, differences and nuances between content and ads. But we cover this more thoroughly in the “How Content Marketing is Different from Advertising” post in the Content Marketing for Very Busy People series.
Even “Game of Thrones” had to earn its loyal audience. So do you.
Ideally, content is wanted. It’s not forced on anyone because it doesn’t have to be. Like watching a new show on Netflix, the idea and promotion makes users curious enough to sample it, then if they appreciate what they see, they keep watching. Once you’ve built a reputation with your audience for always putting out quality, appreciated stuff, they make a habit out of reading, watching or listening to your content. Even Game of Thrones had to earn its loyal audience. So do you.
Ideally, content is enjoyed. Entertainment can be enjoyable. But so can information. For it to be enjoyable, there has to be something gratifying about it. There must be some emotional reward for having consumed it. It can’t be bad. It can’t be boring. It can’t be useless. And it can’t fail to deliver on what was promised. By the time they’re done, your audience must be glad they invested their valuable time in your content.
Ideally, content is relevant. That means it was made for a specific audience and the content creators clearly knew that audience very, very well. Why would you throw an emo thrash metal party on a cruise ship dominated by people 60+? You wouldn’t. The best thing you can do is deliver content about what your audience thinks about most, cares about most and seeks out the most. Everything else risks falling into “who cares” territory.
You’ll want to look for people with entertainment and journalism backgrounds that never fear the blank page.
Ideally, content is social. It has such an impact that the user is compelled to talk to others about it or make sure they saw it too. They want to know if others reacted similarly and have a conversation about it. Or, as mentioned earlier, they want to be the ones who get credit for sharing something their friends appreciate.
Content can be presented in any number of formats, for distribution on any number of channels, and for any number of communication purposes. The creative options are so vast it can frankly be intimidating without go-to talent to help execute on today’s rising content creation demands. You’ll want to look for people with entertainment and journalism backgrounds that never fear the blank page. People who can bring quantity and quality to the table.
But for now, you’re at least empowered with a clear grasp in your mind of what that word “content” means whenever it keeps coming up. And it will.
Is filling out a form content? In a way yes, because it’s something we definitely asked for and want to get from you. That way we can start some non-committal, useful conversation. Fill it out or hit that email or phone number to the right.