Yes, I know: “Content” has become something of an overused buzzword. In fact, Content has been King since 1996, the year in which Bill Gates first popularised the term. Given this fact, we find it curious that the industry is still grappling with how to define content, who creates it, how we measure it and how much brands should invest in it. That’s why – as The Content + Connections Agency – we at MediaCom still have a lot to say on the topic.

Let’s start with what it is. Our definition of content is “any form of messaging that connects a consumer to a brand”. While there is good and bad content, what we’re interested in is the good content that will help our clients’ businesses grow.

At MediaCom, we like to say that content needs to do one, two or all three of these things: inform, involve or entertain. That might be a detailed print advertorial, a branded Snapchat filter, or – as my son showed me – an average teenager complimenting Daniel on his shoes, watched more than 13 million times and which inadvertently sent sales of white Vans soaring.

However, simply creating good content isn’t enough. Content works hardest when you create it with the connection in mind.

This means respecting the relevant user behaviour and creative conventions of the platform – as demonstrated by Buzzfeed. It can be as simple as planning for “no sound” and “vertical video” on Facebook, or as sophisticated as understanding the more personal but less “polished” content required for “Dark Social” channels – as revealed by Jox Petiza.

Whatever you do, content needs to fulfil the marketing purpose it is designed for. Even if you succeed in making a video “go viral”, AOL’s Jimmy Maymann explains it may not help your brand. A clear understanding of your brand, what it can and can’t do, and the role it plays in consumers’ lives are the bedrock in which great branded content is built – as emphasised by Nick Palmer when explaining the need to put the “brand back in branded content”.

What makes this world even more interesting is that what constitutes our definition of content is always evolving. It can even be represented by this magazine cover, which we’re asking you to “make.” No, we’re not taking this co-creation trend a little too far; we’re just emphasizing the point that with the recent craze in adult coloring books (12 million books sold in 2015), content that entertains, involves or informs can come from anywhere.

So enjoy this issue of BLINK: we hope you find our take on the theme informative, the cover involving and some of the articles more than a little entertaining.

Stephen Allan

Five Steps to Making Social Work
Looking for Love Online? Here’s How to Find it