Content is the Truth
Truth is defined as being in accordance with fact or reality. To say that something is “the truth” is a way of saying that a particular thing is all of fact or reality, which is to mean that it is: everything.
Imagine the coming VR internet — panning across the universe with notes, or viewing macro-economic trends, or researching your next purchase with layers of consumer feedback data. The content necessary to make that possible is where the arrow is pointing. Is that where your brand is headed? Or is content a last minute consideration… something hurried onto a page so that the “real” business can be done?
Content is King, right?
We apply this concept on many levels to the web, but this concept is so incredibly true that it is actually not saying enough.
Content is everything, and that statement reaches toward fundamental changes in our society happening now — changes that brands need to recognize as the new “real world” of life, consumer experiences, and the relationships with our audiences.
In short, content is substance. Content is value. Any lack of substance or value in a brand’s messaging, imagery, or even their very product itself, is movement toward the wrong end of the “BS” spectrum.
We are becoming a mass of open-minded skeptics.
We are bathed and spoiled in an effortless ether of data and answers — and this pertains to everything from global events to choosing the right product to buy.
Though sorting through this ether still requires an LCD screen (and usually fingers), we are quickly heading toward a world of Virtual Reality interfaces to browse the internet. How quickly will you answer to the quality of your content then?
We have no patience for time wasted, and we ignore marketing tactics of only a decade ago.
The banking operator who talks to us as if he or she is a robot will be regarded as such.
We expect value.
We want to be notified when someone has something interesting to say. And knowing whether we’re going to find a message interesting isn’t our job, but a burden belonging to the announcer. We want usable info, we want organized info, and retrieving it should be a delightful experience.
We expect substance.
A pundit or politician’s avoidance to answer the question is not lost on anyone. The banking operator who talks to you as if he or she were a robot will be regarded as such. The marketing website with stock-photography and social media links will be closed (that’s shortcut: CMD+W).
We will avoid all effort
Access to content continues to occur so naturally that this “accessing” happens with less and less effort or is so immersive and enjoyable that it removes the feeling of “effort” all together.
Imagine a future internet on VR Goggles, panning across the universe and interacting with cellular biology, or viewing macro-economic data, or researching your next car purchase. The content necessary to make that possible is where the arrow is pointing. Is that where your brand is headed? Or is content a last minute consideration… something hurried onto a page so that the “real” business can be done?
We’ve come a long way with content
Monarchies and Religious Institutions have lain victim to content’s true power in the world. Content is a moving vessel of value and truth. And so it should be no surprise that with increasing content of all sorts available online there will also be increased expectations for brands who want to have a sincere connection with their audience and be regarded as trustworthy or valuable.
We are a generation of Do-it-Yourselfers, figuring our way through almost any problem with a handful of youtube videos we impatiently skim on our way to the next video or [CMD+F] text search.
We clearly recognize corporate sponsored politics, entertainment-based-tv- news-medias, marketing noise, and junk mail — and more people, especially of younger years, are avoiding all of these.
These same folks find themselves turning to podcasted, on-demand, content rich, deep-dives and ted talks. They’re turning to non-fiction audio books and free online documentaries.
Value is at the heart of it all
Every person with a job is paid a wage because they are doing or producing something of value. Sweeping the floor produces a lot less value than programming a self-driving car to stay in its lane — and the payment in exchange will reflect this value disparity.
Doing any task, or creating any product, is literally creating value out of thin air — and this is what our entire economy is based on. Real content — content that has substance — is so important because it is quite directly: value.
Now you’re speaking my language
Brands can no longer cut corners on a valuable contribution to the market. Products themselves are a type of content, so for those companies that produce a physical product, it is easier to show tangible value, but even so how can a product’s value be conveyed without marketing content that is sufficiently compelling and useful? For brands of service, the challenge is even more obvious.
When users visit or experience a brand, every touchpoint should 1) Foster a path toward revenue, and 2) Be helpful to the user in some way.
So the next time your brand is publishing a blog post, or a product description, ask yourself:
- Does what we’re saying have substance and value, or is it just meant to fill space?
- How much time have we spent creating this content relative to other efforts on our team?
- Are we just trying to get attention, or are we trying to provide something useful to our audience?
We would be best to ask ourselves these questions regularly and answer them honestly, because our audience will not be fooled. In an online world where real content is so necessary and valuable as to be considered the truth of brand experience, we must do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and that is the truth.