“Content is king.”
How many times have you heard that phrase? I’ve heard it a lot.
Presumably, the “content is king” insight formed because content is the crux of any project or presentation; it is the substance that gets people engaged, involved, and coming back again and again. It has been deemed a purveyor of success: the right kinds of content will ensure consumer engagement and loyal relationships. It is no surprise then that content has become married to adjectives like “relevant,” “valuable,” “exclusive” and “personalized.”
In a nutshell we’ve created a formula:
Content (relevant + valuable + exclusive) = Engaged and Loyal Consumers
Yet, the very fact that a formula is involved raises a red flag. Here’s why:
A formula is a procedure; it tells you to do A and B to achieve C. In terms of science and math, once a procedure is established there really is no room for deviation or innovation. I am not saying that a procedure can’t be creative; it very well can, however once that procedure becomes protocol, it then becomes the norm. It no longer exudes creativity. With this in mind, a formula seems to be the antithesis of creativity.
This therefore has led me to question: has creating content become so formulaic that we’ve pigeonholed our creativity?
Our obsession with making content relevant to consumers has left us thinking small. It limits the way in which we can innovate, because it immediately confines our imagination to certain topics. We might think that if our target audience is millennial females, we should provide them with links to social feeds of the top female celebrities and bloggers, direct them to websites of common retailers, and provide YouTube videos on how to apply makeup. All this content would be generally relevant, but it most certainly is not creative, and therefore maintaining consumer interest will be more challenging. Instead of aggregating the content, we should be thinking of new ways to deliver and create it.
Much like the above analogy of math and science, social media, news outlets, and other platforms that create content should not be the end to our means. Utilizing such sources of content to obtain consumer engagement is low hanging; it has become “entertainment protocol.” Just think: people browse Instagram or YouTube while waiting in line, on a subway platform, in a waiting room — areas where they are looking to be mildly entertained until they become engaged with a real task.
Thus, we should not allow ourselves to rely on ready-made content that is relevant and valuable. Instead we should take the time to reimagine what has already been proven to interest a subset of people, and deliver it in innovative ways that only increase the value of that information.
Director of Communications