I was at my friend’s house in Leicester the other night, and he did what he does most frequently and best – destroying the relevance of (much of) the PR industry in seconds. He does this all the time, which is why I love him.
He was musing over digital content, citing some ad commentator’s piece on why business blogging and social media was pointless as ‘no one gives a shit what you think’. To some extent, I am inclined to agree.
I have worked in London, Nottingham and Leicester PR agencies, and a good deal of the commercial user-generated content I have ever read online makes me cringe. I would add that this was not our content! Simply rehashing someone else’s idea and presenting it as original thought, is not only damaging to brands, but it leaves you feeling as the reader (of the beginning at least) that someone has stolen valuable minutes of your life.
You can’t get too precious about this though, as original thought is hard to find. We’ve all been around for a long time now, and most of what we come up with, was probably the intellectual property of the druids or something. As many of us don’t prioritise reading the factually accurate big history or business books any more, we’re inevitably going to have to consume mis-quoted, out of context snippets from the strategic masters as expressed by some surveyor’s marketing team.
So to avoid that, good content should start with a few questions: Would someone beyond you be interested in this? Is it useful to someone beyond the Leicester PR agency issuing it for you? Does it entertain or inform someone? If you can tick one of these – then it’s most likely relevant for the audience.
Being a PR agency full of journalists and publicists, we talk to clients about story-led content. This is the type of content that works best across today’s media in all its forms. In a nutshell, as a business in Leicester, you should ideally produce content that someone wants to read, share or if they are a journalist, blogger or social media gatekeeper, publish. Do all of this and even Google will like the content more, even without the links (as folk are starting to suggest ‘could’ be the future).
The bar for judging this? Could you tell the story to your mate in the pub? Perhaps Google’s next algorithm shifts will be named as such.
Back to my friend in Leicester then. Ironically, he read this in a blog, making the whole affair some kind of post-modern tragedy, where art (but in this case marketing) consumes itself.