The body content: why words and writers matter in business
How do you think about content in your organisation? A product to be designed, created, packed and shipped (or ‘pushed live’)? Is it a tool, a means to the end of converting leads into customers? I think of content as the living, breathing part of organisations with an uncanny tonsil-like ability to act as an early-warning system when something’s not quite right. Here’s how investing in content can improve your organisational health.
Content touches everything
If your organisation is a body, your content team are the red blood cells carrying oxygen around it. They go around asking difficult questions, breathing life into old ways of doing and being. No one is left out because there is no business function that’s outside the content remit. And content people spend a lot of time asking questions and curiously listening — as Braintraffic’s Kristina Halvorson says, content strategy is therapy for organisations.
What does this mean for decision making? Well, if you want a view from the ground level on how healthy your organisation is, speak to someone with their finger on the pulse. Speak to content for their insight. If they’re having difficulty engaging a particular department, look into it further and don’t ignore the pain signal.
Content is a living, breathing thing
Lots of organisations treat ‘publish’ as the ultimate goal of content production. But it’s a lot more about maintenance — like all organisms, content has a natural lifecycle. It needs regular input to stay healthy, or relevant. If it’s not nurtured then it withers and dies. If you’re not giving your content the attention it needs, then you’re a garden centre where half the plants are dead. No one’s going to buy anything from you because you clearly don’t care about plants or your customers. Or you’re out of your depth and don’t know what you’re doing.
Content isn’t all about the big showstoppers and the SEO hits — and you can’t get a full picture of how engaged someone is based on what they do immediately after finding your website. You want your customers to be the friend you invite to your wedding, not someone you bump into in the street.
Content health is always worthwhile
We get caught up a lot in output. In life, this means we often focus on the goal (new house/car/holiday) rather than the process (our beautiful, fragile, emotional, complex lives). But equally, how often do we become aware of the folly of this kind of thinking? It’s a deathbed cliche to feel like you failed to live in the moment and enjoy the journey. Or a less morose example is you start exercising regularly because you want to lose weight. But then you keep exercising because you realise the massive impact it has on your mental health. You learn that the process actually is the point.
And that’s the thing with content. You won’t always be able to get a clear cost-benefit analysis because you won’t ever really be able to say where it starts and ends. But you’ll know when you’re doing it well because everything will just work right. Your organisation will feel better and live a longer, healthier life without so much churn.