Content is never born great

Greatness is determined by quality, value and usefulness.

As a content provider, and as a digital marketer, I`ve been asked this question quite often, “Can you create great content for us?” I have to dig deep within to stop myself from screaming in response, “There`s nothing called great content”.

Seriously. If you could show me the one definition of great content, I will show you the Holy Grail.

I shall explain in one sentence - it`s people who make a piece of content great, not the creator.

Think about it. The word “viral” in the world we live in today is used to describe content that has been appreciated by a large number of people/end-users. A movie, an advertisement, a 2-minute video, a social media post, a news report, a blog post, a painting, a recipe…..what makes it stand out from the rest? Why is it liked, shared, commented on by a large number of the populace? Why was it amplified? Because that piece of content stirred emotions or touched a logical chord in those many human beings.

There`s poorly crafted content, and there`s content well-done. But I repeat, content is not great at birth. It`s people who take it and make it “great” because of its value or use. Sometimes, even deficient content becomes extraordinary, thanks to people`s vote; the unfinished Mona Lisa with her missing eyebrows is a case in point.

Content has come to represent a whole lot of things in our lives today. It`s the flyer you get as snail mail or in your Inbox, it`s somebody`s post on a social network, it`s that ad for multi-colored socks on YouTube or Vimeo, it`s even the “story” that a cola company “sells” you to make you buy a bottle, or the spiel that an “influencer” pitches.

Every type of content has an industry-accepted structure for the (perceived) targeted users (then again, you are free to experiment with form. That`s called creativity.). We live in an era of marketing so almost every piece of content needs to be distributed using the “relevant” channels to reach as many people as possible.

So there it is. I`ve laid out the two factors that decide the fate of every piece of content - relevance and resonance.

The R&R of content.

Today`s newsletter is not about measuring the RoI of content; I shall leave that for some other week. I limit myself to the adjectives that can be used to describe content.

Compared to resonance, relevance is a bit difficult to quantify. In the world of business, in the B2B and B2C communities, it`s easier to judge a piece of content for its intent and appropriateness. In other circles, it may be not.

Here`s an example: I may not be interested in knowing about events from the Victorian era so I am not the intended person to be targeted for that type of content. At the same time, there`s the slim chance that a book or work of art from or about that era may get my attention, thus making it relevant to me. It may be 1% or 10%, but there`s the chance, however, small. It represents a degree of difficulty, right?

Resonance, on the other hand, can be measured better. Metrics range from vanity metrics such as ‘likes’, ‘shares’, ‘re-tweets’ to engagement metrics like clicks, views, comments, backlinks to your piece of content, downloads (in case of a whitepaper or a slideshow), and so on.

Relevance is linked to a person`s interests. The latter could be personal or professional. As an IT engineer, Sam is interested in the latest developments in coding, and he is also a fan of Hip Hop music. Serving him content around Pop music or about developments in the world of bio-technology will not get any traction, though.

So here goes: high relevance + high resonance = great content (as readers of this newsletter will be aware by now, I love using equations to underline my point of view.)

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