Copy, Articles, Blog Posts, Novels, and Tweets: What is Content?
There are so many different types of content appearing in so many different places, that it can become hard to keep track of what content actually is. What, for example, is the difference between Shawshank Redemption and Katie Hopkin’s newspaper column? Are they both content?
It’s important to know where content starts and stops so you can be savvy when it comes to publishing it on your website or blog. For freelancers especially, this can be vital when you’re trying to make your break in the business world; one step wrong could prove fatal when trying to impress a new client.
Why Don’t We Call It Content Anywhere Else?
When you’re at school, you don’t refer to your piece of homework as content. At University writing becomes assignments and essays, yet is still homework. Wouldn’t it save an awful lot of confusion if you just called everything content and had done with it? Just think how much easier it could make everything; “Mummy I have done a drawing of Moggy” “Oh what a wonderful piece of content dear, we will display this information on the fridge for other audiences”.
Outside of education, there are films, songs and art that could all be described as content. It seems then, that content starts getting called content when it is no longer put in front of others to be marked, judged and criticised. Although you encourage people to write on your blog post, it’s merely to engage and offer their opinion on the topic, rather than critique the quality of the writing.
Putting one word next to another can significantly change the meaning, so how different is content marketing to plain old run o’ the mill content?
The main difference between the two is simply that content may be an individual piece, designed to communicate information (well) to customers. Content marketing is the wider concept of using content to attract customers to the brand and build a platform of communication, with the hope that they will become a loyal customer.
This point of communication is key for building customer trust and turning readers into customers. Although content (good content, anyway) doesn’t sell a service directly to the audience. Instead, content gains a common ground with a customer that can be developed into a relationship. Content changes how a company is perceived and rated by customers, so getting it wrong could even mean losing clients.
Content isn’t just appealing to your potential customers. Get your content viewed by thousands and you build your company’s brand simply through recognition. Producing content will also put you higher in the rankings for SEO, as well as being seen as a more reputable company.
Information vs Content
All content includes information, it’s vital to make your reader click on it! But, information isn’t always classed as content (it’s confusing, we know). Although all content should include information, sometimes information is just information that is being shown to customers. Shouting irrelevant information that isn’t valuable to your audience does not create a wonderful piece of eloquent content – unfortunately.
So at what point does information become content? Normally, when it starts getting interesting. This is a pretty vague definition considering the arbitrariness of what is ‘interesting’ to each person. You might think your low low prices are interesting, but if you’re scrolling through your Twitter feed, are someone else’s low low prices interesting to you? Probably not. Think about what information you find useful and interesting, and the content will follow.
What actually is content? Businessdirectory.com defines content as:
[Text] matter of a document or publication in any form. Content is both information and communication: the sum of total freshness, readability, relevancy, and usefulness of the information presented, and the manner in which it is presented.
We’re pretty happy with this to some extent. The only trouble is this “[Text] matter” business. Content doesn’t have to be just text anymore. The growth of video content means text isn’t necessary at all in the creation of content, and images are becoming more popular.
So, here is our definition of content:
A means of being able to communicate with an audience by providing valuable and relevant information through any means. (Even contemporary dance, if you feel it is necessary).
What’s your definition of content? Have you struggled to differentiate content and information? Leave your comments in the section below!