Your Content: Does It Matter?

Content, content, content—it’s everywhere, all the time. But is it content you need or want? Is it content that’s presented in an easy-to-consume manner? Is it content that is up to date? Is it content that matters?

We all want to transmit content that matters. Likewise, we want to read, watch and listen to content that matters. I am speaking here of content that tries to communicate ideas and information, not content that is generated just to load in a bunch of keywords. (Not that there’s anything wrong with SEO, but if that’s your only purpose, this is not for you.)

We cannot always know which articles, videos, blog posts, podcasts or emails will resonate with an audience. But we can start by sharing content that is appropriate to its venue. You don’t expect a sports columnist to drop in a movie review. You don’t want to read my thoughts about a new music artist on this PR blog.

You and I can deliver content in small helpings. Videos that run 2 minutes, not 12. Podcasts that run 11 minutes, not 59. Emails that can be read in a quick moment. Blog posts with brief, non-threatening paragraphs. It’s a short attention span world and many of us are skimmers. (FWIW, a St. Louis advertising agency posted a 668-word entry on its blog this week—all in one paragraph! Not good.)

We can indicate the gist of the content early on—one of the basics of Journalism 101—to entice the interested and dismiss the uninterested. A headline, subject line or opening paragraph that misleads can be counterproductive.

We can provide content that is up to date. Sure, archived content can be useful. But when we want the latest info (and we know that it is available), it can be distressing to have to depend on old info. (And if you haven’t uploaded a new post to your blog since, say, November, 2009, you may want to just give up and delete it.)

No matter which medium you are employing, provide content that deals with a popular topic and/or a common concern, but offers a slightly different take on the issue. If you are targeting an extremely narrow specialized audience, try to hit their major sweet spots,

If yours is content that matters, readers/viewers/listeners will check back for new content. Let them know when they can get it. Does your column run weekly on Wednesdays? Are you posting new videos every Monday morning? Can I look for that email in my inbox on Thursday afternoons?

In a world with content cascading upon us from print, broadcast, the web, the classroom, the pulpit, family members, neighbors and other sources, you and I must work hard to make all of our content… content that matters.

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