This is an appeal to all of you out there who create content. We need a better word for our work, one that reflects not only the effort and skill that we put into it, but the value of how it performs in the sales and marketing chain. To call it content is a reductio ad absurdum to the point where it’s assumed that anyone can be creative because it has a name that appears to hold no value.
I suppose what I’m really saying is that the content creators of the world should unite, stand up for themselves and the value they provide.
Now, I’m not complaining about the money and I’m not looking for acknowledgement from my peers or my clients because I’m perfectly at peace with myself that what I write is valued and valuable. The people that I am really concerned for is the new generation of writers who are perfectly happy to refer to themselves as content managers. I think the word really puts them into a servile bracket where they are never likely to reap the kinds of rewards, or indeed to get any kind of acknowledgement from their organisations, and from their clients.
Content simply becomes wood to throw on a fire, so much chaff, while it is language that can make or break a brand, and increasingly does. Who might, following a public misdemeanour, still be in post had they used appealing language to explain their behaviour? How might a politician get voters on their side by using language that does not appear to make them sound entitled and out of touch? How might an IT company attract attention by avoiding the use of words and phrases including resonate, collaborative, unprecedented, synergistic, game changer, pain point?
I’ve written content for companies that are now well-established brands, large and small and I’m proud of that. But I see how us writers have perhaps been overwhelmed by the demand for content from an ever-increasing number of channels, each demanding that style and clarity are sacrificed on the altar of optimisation. Sure, optimisation expands the number of shots, but does it increase reach. Did the horse that was led to water actually drink. No of course it didn’t.
Clients have been led to put up with less and many writers have followed suit. Let’s be braver at calling out bad content and writing better content, otherwise AI is going to do it all for us. You wouldn’t want that now would you?