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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Content, Even When its Meaning is Twisted Out of Context, is Still King!

Content Marketing must be
mastered to sell your
books/writings

I read Greg Satell, a contributor to Forbes magazine, often enough - due mainly to his often less-than-mainstream approach to his subject matter. He is an interesting writer I enjoy. 

I agree with his outlook sometimes and disagree sometimes.

Tonight's post deals with the subject of 'content' and why I believe it's the main ingredient in successful writing and publishing no matter what the genre, niche, format or mission of the particular written word (print or digital) actually is. 

Whether the purpose of your writing is to advertise (to sell), to entertain, to teach, to research, to inform or to inspire --- the creative writing you use to accomplish your desired mission (the creative content) is the only determining factor in its success or failure.

Is content king? You bet it is. Always has been. Always will be.

Now, in my research source article tonight, written by Greg Satell in Forbes, I disagree with his disparaging and definition of the term 'content'. In my opinion, he is simply splitting semantic hairs and blurring words that are more commonly used by some present day publishers from different business fields/backgrounds than he is used to in the traditional publishing industry  --- Terms/phrases such as 'content strategy'.

Key excerpts:

His title "Why Content Marketing Fails" is inaccurate. If done right, the opposite is true.

"The reason is that content isn’t really king.  Content is crap.  Nobody walks out of a great movie and says, “Wow!  What great content.” 
  - Here he is confusing a niche type word that could mean the same thing as 'story' or 'storyline' in common speak. 


"In a famous essay written in 1996, Bill Gates declared that content is king.  He presciently foresaw that faster connection speeds would make content the “killer app” of the Internet, creating a “marketplace of experiences, ideas and products.” - Yet unfortunately, Gates mistook the transaction for the product.  While his vision of the future was correct and he moved quickly to create and acquire valuable content assets, he largely failed.  Today, almost 20 years later, Microsoft MSFT -1.54% has no significant content business."   - Bill Gates was not in the content business, per se, but in the content delivery and discovery business through software and other technologies. 
Now, here is Greg Satell from Forbes magazine:

Why Content Marketing Fails


In a famous essay written in 1996, Bill Gates declared that content is king.  He presciently foresaw that faster connection speeds would make content the “killer app” of the Internet, creating a “marketplace of experiences, ideas and products.”
Yet unfortunately, Gates mistook the transaction for the product.  While his vision of the future was correct and he moved quickly to create and acquire valuable content assets, he largely failed.  Today, almost 20 years later, Microsoft MSFT -1.54% has no significant content business.
The reason is that content isn’t really king.  Content is crap.  Nobody walks out of a great movie and says, “Wow!  What great content.”  Nobody who produces meaningful artistic expression thinks of themselves as content producers either.  So the first step to becoming a successful publisher is to start treating creative work with the respect it deserves.
A Mission Is Not A Transaction
Henry Luce was not a fan of mainstream media.  He saw it as made up of dry and dull daily newspapers on the one hand and sensational tabloids on the other.  He wanted to create a new breed of product—informal and concise—which would prepare people to discuss the issues of the day.  Time magazine succeeded beyond his dreams.
Later, much like Gates, he presciently saw that photography would change publishing forever.  In his prospectus for Life magazine he wrote:
To see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events; to watch the faces of the poor and the gestures of the proud; to see strange things—machines, armies, multitudes, shadows in the jungle and on the moon; to see man’s work—his paintings, towers and discoveries; to see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to; the women that men love and many children; to see and take pleasure in seeing; to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed;
Thus to see, and to be shown, is now the will and new expectancy of half mankind
To see, and to show, is the mission now undertaken by a new kind of publication, THE SHOW-BOOK OF THE WORLD
Luce is arguably the most successful publisher the world has ever seen.  TimeLife andFortune became not just magazines, but icons.  Later, People and Sports Illustratedcreated—and dominated—new categories as well.  Even today, Time Inc. is the largest publisher on the planet.
The contrast between Gates and Luce is stark.  Gates, while he insightfully described the forces that would shape the new “marketplace of ideas,” expressed no special opinion about it, except that he thought people should pay for content.  Luce, on the other hand, saw not just an opportunity or a task, but a mission.


  


  





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