Ask Alex @ Orndee: Understanding Content
Alex, I have been writing a lot of blog posts and twitter comments, but I don’t seem to be getting any traction. You say that content is king, so why isn’t my content helping my business?
Thanks for the question. Before I explain why some content works and other content doesn’t, I think that it makes sense to define content.
Content is essentially the narrative or story that is used to connect you or your brand with potential consumers.
Media, (in all its forms) is the mechanism used to deliver that narrative to people. So, in order to be effective you need to have content that inspires the media to promote it so that consumers can find and connect with you.
Many people believe that if they are the best singer, or have the best product, or if they are the most attractive or they are the best baker or whatever, they will be successful. But that isn’t necessarily true. In fact, the world is full of terrific shower singers, amazing story tellers, potentially ground breaking architects and amazing cooks…almost unbelievably talented people in every discipline really are everywhere. And it isn’t simply a matter of getting out in front of people. We have all seen amazingly talented people on viral youtube videos or even televised talent shows that are never heard from again after their 15 minutes of fame.
So what makes the difference between that amazing singer on youtube who disappears and a singer who is able to capture the audience and create a career? It’s content…it’s the narrative, and it’s the ability to deliver that narrative.
Think about those televised talent shows for a moment. Did you ever wonder why the shows don’t just let the contestant sing? The audience always gets some backstory of hard luck or sacrifice or tragedy. This is an American tv phenomenon, but the backstory or content is presented in the hopes that it will resonate with empathetic audiences who will then rally behind that person.
Since she is so extreme, let’s look at Lady GaGa for a moment. If you only had her voice to go by, she is a fine singer with some clever, but largely pretty standard pop songs. She is internationally famous however because of her content. The photo ops in shocking outfits, the stories “leaked” to the press about early struggles with bullying, the articles and twitter seeds positioning her as an anti-bullying and LGBT advocate, these things connected with many young people who were also struggling with body and self esteem issues, sexuality, and bullying. Her brand was focused on embracing and accepting the “little monster” in teens. This content resonated with millions of young people around the world and the media, in the form of paparazzi photos, videos, social media, interviews, website distribution, and all sorts of news coverage delivered that content.
As she and fans have aged, her content has changed. In order to stay relevant, she will have to either convert current fans to her new persona or create a new fan base, but either way, this is accomplished through strategic and thoughtful content and clever media distribution.
This is the same for Lady GaGa as it is for any personality, professional, business, or brand. If you sing a catchy tune, a few people will clap but for real, lasting success, you have to have engaging content and the mechanism to deliver that content to your target market.
- Alexandrea Merrell