Jamie Riddell: Unlocking the value of content

Jamie Riddell

Jamie Riddell - Credit: Archant

This article is content. The photo you shared on Facebook yesterday is content. Your company newsletter is content. The presentation you shared last week is content.

Everything is content - and content is valuable.

Why?

Because content is a currency that is worth billions of dollars.

Did you watch that guy skydive from the edge of space? Eight million people watched that live on YouTube. It was called Red Bull Stratos and was the pinnacle of Red Bull’s media activity over the past decade. The energy drink is now equally synonymous with extreme sports as it is with energy drinks.

Red Bull Media House was formed as a spin off business in 2007 focused on creating premium content that reflected Red Bull’s ethos and brand proposition.

The value of Red Bull Stratos is already tens of millions of dollars of exposure, from live streaming, global news coverage and online engagement.

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Google too can see the value of content. From their start as a conduit (search) between users and content, Google has steadily invested in content creation because it understands the value of owning that content, not just hosting and sharing it. In London, YouTube has created its own film studio to support young content makers, some of whom are making thousands of pounds every month from their YouTube channels.

Facebook is set to launch a new layout of your personal page to promote content.

All of these global companies are focusing on content and you could be too.

Now, I know we can’t all organise a space jump or create our own movie studio but we do have content that is valuable.

Look around your desk or workplace right now. What content have you got? Maybe a recipe you have written out, a guide to back stretching exercises. If you are sharing them with your customers, you could be sharing them with a wider audience.

So too that visit to a suppliers or to a fashion show for the next season’s look. As a business expert you have an insight and valued opinion that you could be sharing to a wider world.

Online, both search and social are two major drivers of business. And both are connected by content. Google and Bing like to index content on your site so if you can regularly add content that promotes what your business does, then the search engines will like you.

At the same time, consumers want content and they want to share content. If you can give me a recipe for Sourdough bread then I may share that with my friends on Facebook. They might share it with their friends and off we go.

Similarly if I need to find some back exercises I would expect to find them on my physio’s website. If not I turn to Google and find someone else’s content which may then push me to look at a competitor.

Two great examples of this symbiosis between content and commerce can be seen in the fashion world. Conde Nast the publishers of Vogue have invested 20 million dollars in fashion etailer FarFetch.com. So now Conde Nast will sell as well as write about fashion. At the other end, Net-a-Porter, the highly successful fashion etailer has announced a new media division, poaching the editor in chief of fashion bible Harpers Bazaar to edit it. The output will be more content which powers their weekly emails, Facebook updates and exclusive magazines they deliver to premium customers.

All of these elements have a value - whilst the content is sometimes given for free, its value can be made back from company name recognition, traffic to your site and a reason to update your Facebook page.

In previous columns we talked about tools to create content so do check that out (see, the value of content!) and remember that a picture is worth a thousand words so don’t just think of content as written word. A great photo or image will get more likes on Facebook than a wordy update so mix it up a little.

Jamie Riddell. An expert in digital trends, Jamie Riddell is a director of Suffolk-based V4 Technical, one of the leading developers of websites and mobile apps

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