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Content that works (7 min to read)

David Hunstone
by David Hunstone31/01/2020

I recently came across an excellent infographic published on the World Economic Forum by Jeff Desjardins from the Visual Capitalist. It’s about the volume of data created in a 24-hour period … and the numbers are barely comprehensible. For example, 4 petabytes of data are being created daily on Facebook … what does that even mean? It actually equates to 350 million photos and 100 million hours of video footage … in one day … on one platform!

That is staggering. But now think about including all the social media platforms, tweets, videos, e-mails and newsletters that are produced, plus all the direct mail that comes through your letterbox and it’s fair to say we are being hit by a content deluge. 

But why is this happening? What is driving this enormous increase. Looking again at the afore-mentioned infographic, you can see that content is playing a huge role but this is being compounded by the connectedness of the world in which we inhabit. The internet of things means everything is talking to everything else. People, machines and businesses are all communicating in ever-increasing volumes. With the advent of 5G literally upon us, this growth is only going to accelerate even more.

As a founder of a content marketing agency, this realisation is quite daunting. I understand that there is so much content and data being created on a daily basis but, in all reality, how much of it ever sees the light of day. As a content agency owner, we make our living out of contributing to this. We create content for businesses to help them communicate with their customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders. We have been needed more and more by our clients as they have struggled to adapt in a rapidly changing business environment. 

Going back to the World Economic Forum,  it was only four years ago that the annual summit was about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, namely digital disruption. The CEO of Accenture, Pierre Nanterme, called it the biggest opportunity and most significant threat to companies that many CEOs had ever faced. That warning rings true when you realise that only 50% of the companies that were in the Fortune 500 twenty years ago are still there. That is a ferocity and speed of evolution that would have made Charles Darwin himself tremble.

The digital disruption is led by data and is fuelled by content. Customers demand more interaction, more personalised experiences and in less time. If one brand or company doesn’t deliver, there is a host of competitors who will. Average doesn’t exist any more. 

Within this digital content and data maelstrom, I feel a level of responsibility. I don’t want to be adding content junk that floats around the web endlessly swirling around in some digital equivalent of the Pacific garbage patch. The world does not need more content junk. I do believe, however, that what it needs is stuff that works. If less stuff was created but it actually did its job better, maybe there wouldn’t be quite the volume of this constant inflow. Maybe there wouldn’t be a need for quite so many petabytes uploaded daily. That’s when we had a really simple idea. 

Why don’t we dedicate ourselves to a really simple proposition: ‘Content That Works’. Let’s focus on quality over quantity. Focus on making sure that we spend time on really considering the content that actually needs to be created in the first place. Taking the time to analyse the role that an individual piece of content plays in a wider business strategy and how if contributes to the overall user experience and perception of the brand in the wider competitive market. How about we focus on making our clients better equipped to deal with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

So that’s what we decided to do. We now have a process where we look at what a company’s primary objectives are. What is it trying to do, where is it heading and how well it is doing that. Of course, no company exists in isolation. It has competition from its rivals. The ones that are looking to take the vacant seats on the Fortune 500. So we take a look at competitor sets. We look at what content is being created across the whole marketplace to get an understanding of the dialogue and the needs of businesses and customers that are part of the interacting digital eco-system in which the business operates. 

Only then can we really take stock. Once we have seen the entirety of the sector and the role, position and strategy that a company plays, we will then have the level of information that is needed to start thinking about the right type of content that could work and support a business on its journey to deliver on its chosen direction in the timeframes they demand.  

We call this our Content Strategy Framework. If you’d like to understand more about the process, please get in touch with us direct or send me an e-mail on david@hub.tv 

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