Content: People @ work or tech?

Once it used to be only about creativity. Today, it's also about 'techxpertise'

What is the definition of content creation today? Is it the same as a decade ago? Is the process still being driven by creativity alone?

Anyone who’s working as a content provider will reply without hesitation, “No”.

A content trends article by Omar Akhtar, a digital marketing analyst at Altimeter Group, a Prophet Company, underlines this observation. Quoting extensively from a survey on digital content trends, Omar says, among other things, that data analysis is THE MOST DESIRED SKILL for new content hires, followed by program management, marketing automation expertise, content editing and writing, and coding or development.

I agree that surveys sometimes are not the right barometer to gauge a situation.

But when a study is backed up with more than ample confirmation on the ground, and your personal experience, you tend to agree with its results.

A few months ago, one of my newsletters had touched upon the rising influence of technology over content, its creation and its marketing. To quote: I used to be a pure content provider once. Now I am a half-baked coder, marketer, amateur data analyst, too. The list of “additional skills” keeps increasing.

Omar’s article, too, is about the changing definition of content marketing. He writes, “…….this form of marketing has evolved, from being a highly creative process, like advertising, to a practice that today is commercially focused.”

Although this newsletter All About Content is about content matters and not really about digital marketing, it does occasionally switch between (content) development and (content) marketing. Content is the umbilical cord.

So if you want to get updates on developments from the intersection of content, technology and marketing, you need to subscribe. Now.

Content providers have been resisting the onslaught of technology. Obviously. They are the “creative guys who can’t be bothered by all that tech stuff.” After all, Science and the Arts do not mix well.

But, as I have said before, the Math Men have gate-crashed the Mad Men’s party.

The question that practically everyone in the content world seems to be grappling with today is - are creativity and content creation skills losing to technology?

My answer would be no. This is not some kind of race where there has to be a winner. Like everything else in life, what’s needed though is a synergy between these two worlds.

Standalone content providers, the creative people, need to get some techxpertise - acquire some of the tech skills, at least. You can’t work in a vacuum anymore, folks. If you do, you will perish, that’s for sure.

Similarly, the tech people, including the SEO experts, need to get sensitized to the ways of a content provider. The reason why I say that the two sides must work as a homogenized unit is because of content marketing.

Again, like I had said in an earlier newsletter, it’s no longer enough to create content. You need to beat the jungle drums. Once you do that, you also need to understand who in the jungle heard it. Did the message reach the intended target? What kind of impact did it have?

Once, content providers would say, and rightly so, “Hey, that’s not my job”. Today, they can’t afford to work in the silo they built, in the interest of marketing. With its increasing influence, reach and re-worked definition, content cannot afford to be about the intangible or the abstract. Businesses want concrete evidence of their content at work.

With the advent of technology like data analytics, that is possible now. Content efficacy can no longer wear the cloak of invisibility.

So, if you, the content provider, cannot beat the drums nor produce evidence of your content “working”, a business will then be forced to employ others to do the task. Which means the marketer and the Math men. The content provider is quickly pushed to the last rung of the supply chain, while it will be the Math men who will call the numbers. (No amount of “creative” reasoning" will be enough to explain the “failure of not meeting targets”.)

Multi-tasking, which includes having at least a working knowledge of analytics or other forms of content-related technology, is what gives content providers an edge over the others.

In the world of content, neither creative skills nor technology are superior to each other. Both, however, have become an indispensable part of the content procurement and supply business.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay