What On Earth is Content?

What On Earth is Content?

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the word content in the last 5 years. From vague Instagram profiles where ‘content creator’ is used as a bio space filler, to LinkedIn profiles where the word content is used to embellish other familiar titles such as strategist and producer. Let’s just say content has had its fair share of popularity and notoriety in the past few years.

The question that begs is where this seven letter word sprang up from and why it has taken a top spot in the world of media, business and marketing.

The truth is the word content has always existed — think back to when the word was merely used to describe matter or the feeling of being satisfied. These days, the first thing that pops into my head when I see this word is the context in which it is now most popularly described.

So, what exactly is content?

I’ve been asked this question by a lot of baby boomers. For some reason, millennials seem to have all the answers when it comes to content. Don’t quote me on that, I strongly disagree with that statement and would address this in subsequent issues of The Content Paper.

With Instagram, Snapchat, and all the other technology baby boomers have to keep up with, it only seems fair to educate them on what this whole content business is all about. This of course doesn’t apply to all baby boomers; come to think of it, a lot of them actually know their stuff. I just might continue this never ending age gap debate in a subsequent issue but for now, let’s back to the meaning of content.

The easiest way to define content is by saying it is anything you can consume, and rightly so; if a glass of water is placed before you, you would most likely consume the water and not the glass. Therefore, the glass of water is the content.

Similarly, if a book or a DVD is placed on your lap, you would read its text or watch the video. So when asked what content is, the simplest way to describe it is — anything you can read, watch or listen to. What you consume (read, watch or listen to) usually translates into an experience.

Content comes in various forms — written (blog post, newsletter, whitepaper), visual (videos, images), and audio (podcasts). With the continuous evolution of technology, the way in which content is delivered to an audience will keep on taking different forms. However, one thing is constant — all content is made to be consumed and experienced. Good content must serve a function and elicit a reaction from its audience. I really cannot wait to delve deeper into what differentiates good content from bad content. So stick with me as I share observations, case studies and attempt to enlighten you about the amazing world of content.