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The Reign of Content

12 Jun 2017 by Jeremy Sweetman

The continued reign of content online is undisputed. It remains central to any online patronage. It motivates engagement, drives purchases and creates connections between individuals and brands. Think about it. When was the last time you visited a site because they used a certain CMS or technical infrastructure? I’m guessing, never! Although if you’re more technically inclined <cough>geek</cough> like me, maybe you do on occasion. 

Arguably, sites are visited because of an article, or video, an animation, a meme, or a blog… etc. etc. etc. Don’t get me wrong, the platform or the container is important. Just not important to the people visiting your site.

Clearly, content matters! This is not a new concept by any stretch. Not even one I can lay claim too. In 1996, Bill Gates coined the phrase ‘content is king’. He predicted that the internet would eventually make money via content, as it does in broadcasting. Fast forward 20+ years, and many notable individuals have gone on to endorse Bill’s sentiment. Arguably, his predictions not only hold true today but are central to developing rich user engagements and loyalty.

"Good content allows us to tell the clearest stories."

Good content allows us to tell the clearest stories. We use video to make the complex simple. We deliver interactions that engage and surprise. We contextualise to add meaning. And we wrap it in brand to create a connection and deliver an experience.

The digital landscape continues to change – with new technologies, frameworks, tools and methodologies to enable us to maximise how we engage with our users. Through this transformation, the value of content has been a constant, and with new tools & technologies, we’re able to create (and deliver) even better content than ever before.

However, given this transformation, we must now balance a new set of challenges. Challenges like understanding how people navigate, search, scan and engage with content. These components must then be reflected against supported devices (i.e. mobile vs desktop), with consideration placed on the content pace & structure - potentially offering things like a tiered content structure to allow users to drill deeper – where relevant/interested.

"Users visit sites because content has meaning. But they can also leave, due to lack of it."

By wielding these new tools, we can create more meaningful and engaging online experiences. We can contextualise content based on location, device and/or previous user engagement. We create intimacy by providing relevance and conversation. We use functionality to amplify (the content) – because we understand that people don’t visit our sites because we’re using WordPress or Drupal or {insert CMS here}. They visit because our content has meaning. And (sometimes) they leave, due to lack of it. Content truly is still king.

So, if content is king, how do you encourage engagement, drive purchases and create connections with both your users and brand? How do you deliver a memorable experience?

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