It fills your instagram feed, your news outlets, the radio, this blog. Content is everywhere and we are constantly absorbing and engaging with it. But the purpose of content is elusive and measuring its success even more so.
I am not referring to the global clickbait, or to the number of shares for an online article. These can be translated into digestible data. I am referring to the content created for an immeasurable purpose. The content that is wishfully sent out into the world with no way of recording its reception. This could be anything from an internal email, an online newsletter or the photographs in print media- it is still consumable content.
With content such as this, there is the fear that your audience will be unreceptive to its message and, even worse, you will have no way of knowing if they are. In a content saturated environment it can often appear that the shinier and the brighter the content, the more likely it is to succeed. At Seenit, we often see customer’s footage and get asked to smother it in bells and whistles (or more specifically graphics and special effects) but experience has shown us that this will not make people care more.
Seenit helps people generate content around the world every day. We understand that having clear measurables for success is not always an option and it is in these instances you have to remember that the content can be the success. If you cannot measure its reception in numbers then you have to rely on emotion. It might sound like just another quota of elusive data, but it is actually the one we, as humans, have the most experience in.
Think of Apple Music’s billboards featuring nameless dancers vs the Spotify billboards featuring real life stats of users. One joined the sea of endless, unremarkable content, while the other become a viral sensation. Spotify shone a light on the real people behind their brand and in doing so, generated emotional reactions (which could be one of a few reason why they have more than double the amount of premium subscribers than Apple.)
It is lazy of us to rely on technological bells and whistles to do the one thing we are better at than the technology. Human content is the most appealing, and it gets the most engagement because your affinity with a company, a place, a product or a brand is not from its technology but from its effect on other people. This is demonstrated in the research declaring instagram posts with location tags are engaged with 79% more than those without. This is this because those posts are anchored to the real world and we know that people trust their peers more than any other form of recommendation or marketing.
Often the content we see, especially in the corporate world, is anonymous; from stock photographs to actors sitting in front of green screens telling you how great it is to work at GlobalCorp.Inc. It might not represent real people or situations and this turns your audience off and ensures a lukewarm response. But if your content is good enough, by which I mean real and human enough, the data will follow (just ask Spotify).