The future of work

Why content is king – especially now

Why Content is King – Especially Now
Oliver Pickup
Oliver Pickup
December 2, 2020
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If business leaders have learnt one thing this year it is that good, authentic communication is critical – both for employees and customers. Trust is essential to attract and retain staff, consumers, and other stakeholders – including investors – alike. And to drive good communication and build trust you need excellent content.

Much in the same way many companies have had to pivot – or at least adapt their business strategies – in 2020, the content needs to evolve to keep pace, and celebrate those changes. It’s all about storytelling, and being honest – don’t try to be something / someone you are not, as when you are found out it will erode that all-important trust. It’s also easy to see through. Equally, if there have been bumps in the road it would be of interest to people to learn how you overcame them.

Thankfully these days there is a range of content you can utilise to tell your story, set out your goals and articulate your purpose and key messages – and none of it is expensive, if you know where to look.

AspectEmployeeIndependent Contractor
Control and supervisionDirect control over how, when, and where to workFreedom to set their own schedules and methods
PaymentRegular wages; taxes withheld by employerPaid per project; responsible for their own taxes
BenefitsHealth insurance, retirment plans, paid leaveMust arrange their own benefits
TerminationOften requires notice and may include severanceCan usually be terminated at any time without benefits
Tools and equipmentProvided by the employerTypically use their own tools
great content drives communication and engenders trust

Often a variety, or suite of content works best, and this might include ghostwritten thought leader website blogs (which can be filleted for social media platforms, including LinkedIn), videos (the rawer, the better), infographics, roadmaps, data-driven articles, listicles, newsletters, podcasts, and much more. And content can be proactive and reactive – the main point is to keep the content tap open, so that people want to keep coming back.

Good content can help you find your voice and your business’ voice, and trigger change by uniquely expressing ideas and showcasing your goods or services in a way that interests, [informs], influences and inspires readers (or viewers).

However, often it is tricky for business leaders to whip up winning content in-house. There might be time-commitment issues, and usually the process of telling the business’ story to an outsider (with expert content production skills) can help articulate the important messages and unearth the nuggets that will appeal to a wider audience. This is true for companies of all sizes – indeed, the biggest businesses certainly understand the value of outsourcing content to freelancers.

Many times I have been parachuted into a business when there was a clear goal: to produce better content. But they no real idea of how to reach that point. And that’s fine – and understandable. It takes some time to research and interview key stakeholders and perform a kind of content audit, to understand what has already been produced (and what can be reused / updated) and tease out the interesting use cases and stories.

Indeed, content production is often elevated by freelancers whose task it is to better understand the business and ask questions you might have not thought of, or think of ways in which the content might be presented.

Ultimately, great content drives communication and engenders trust, and together those two factors are paramount to business success in 2020 and beyond.

Multi-award-winning writer, journalist, content editor, ghostwriter, and TV and radio commentator (and occasional illustrator), specialising in technology, business, blockchain, startups, sport and culture. Interviewer of death row prisoners, legendary athletes, influential leaders, tech trendsetters, and cultural pioneers. By-lined in every English newspaper. Contributor to dozens of multinational publications.
Oliver Pickup, Multi-award-winning writer, editor and content creator
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