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In a world of smartphones, what constitutes good content?

By Tracey Rimell

What does content creation mean in a world where everyone has a mini content-generating device in their pocket?

Once upon a time, making good content required expert skill, technical ability, and access to fancy equipment. But those days are long gone.

From TikTok to Instagram and a rainbow of platforms in between, people are submerged in a sea of content all day every day. Younger generations are fluent in content creation and coding is becoming a standard second language. Anyone with a smartphone can be a photographer, videographer, or influencer, and you can shoot a movie with just a little determination, access to a phone, and some basic editing ability.

So where does this leave content creators and what constitutes good content nowadays?

In the world of communications, we are forever encouraging people to tell a human story and to be authentic. People do expect to see decent quality, but sometimes technical quality is eclipsed by something more important. Shiny professional looking content has flooded the market, and amidst the noise people are searching for truth. They are searching for something real.

Just like fashion trends come and go, we often see a resurgence of the old and gritty. Like vinyl regaining mass popularity after decades of digital dominating the music industry. Like bushy eyebrows gracing the covers of magazines the world over after years of being taught to tweeze. Like mullets making a comeback among teenagers in recent years—though that last one remains questionable in my mind. Once popular culture becomes over-saturated with something, people tend to push back against it.

Drawing on experience…

I have worked for a couple of large brands, and the content that performed best was employee-led, grassroots, raw, and sometimes unedited. There is obviously a huge tie in with brand trust here, but that is a separate blog post. Trust is a huge factor, but we also crave connection. Especially after isolation has become the norm thanks to the pandemic.

No matter the amount of technology at our fingertips, creating authentic content and building trust with an audience takes a degree of old-school talent. The innate ability to tell a story. The imagination to visualize. The skill to be at ease, or put someone at ease, on camera. The empathy to understand people and what will reach them on an emotional level. This cannot be easily simulated by tech.

One thing that creating my own content has taught me, is that any natural flair I have, along with the story I am telling, is what people will react to far above any amount of slick editing. That does not mean that content should revert to being out of focus, badly shot, or poorly written. Rather it means that good content requires expertise to make what is highly edited seem natural and resonate on a personal level.

Ultimately, content is a medium through which we are trying to connect with people. Technology is an enabler for this but it cannot do the job on our behalf. We need to understand how to connect with others in order to create good content.

Be a human being and have fun!

So use the platforms and have fun with the creative world of technology at our disposal. But first and foremost remember to be a human being, tell a good story, and prioritise substance over appearance. Minds are quickly distracted, but hearts are for keeps.

A few content creation tips…

  1. Show don’t tell
  2. Take the audience on a journey
  3. Bring your authentic self into whatever you create
  4. Use technology but don’t rely on it
  5. Never use Comic Sans

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