Even now that pictures, videos and animations are all the rave when it comes to promotion and marketing, written content is still very much needed. It does not compliment moving pictures or images that may tell a story all on their own, it adds to them because words do things that images and videos cannot; they allow the reader or listener to form their own ideas and feel more in control.
Content can also set the record straight without letting ambiguity linger – they are truthful that way – or they can be playful, smart and make the reader stop and think for a minute or two. Words can either give you the whole story, the back-story, a story within a story or set-up a scene so readers can use their own imagination and connect more with what they are reading.
Take the Mona Lisa for example, for centuries we have be wondering what she is smiling about. If Leonardo da Vinci had been a writer instead of a painter, he would have let the cat out of the bag and we would know if she was flirting with someone, if she just heard a joke, or if she was just doing what we all do; smile for the camera – the then paint brush.
But let’s bring things into the here and now and see why content is so important.
- Content adds value and depth and can move us – sure, pictures are powerful, that is why the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest is so popular and we all love to see the year in pictures. They enable us to go to places we have never been to before and experience that fact that no one single second is like another. But what about the Nobel Prize in Literature and how it was awarded last year to Bob Dylan for his lyrics? There is just this thing about words, perfectly stringed together that no one can put their finger on. When done right, words are building blocks that build the most beautiful of castles or reflect the ugliest of nightmares. This is the value of words, the fact that they can stand alone and speak to a range of people.
- Words can persuade – some of the greatest leaders in history have won votes, won over populations and gotten their way with their words. True, it also had to do with how they said it but, acting aside, they wouldn’t have paid speech writers the big bucks if words weren’t a means to accomplishment.
- Words can be remembered – we have all quoted something someone else said at least once in our lives to prove a point. Some of us have even flung words back in someone’s face when the timing was right. Words linger, they just have to be catchy enough.
- Words are organic – with words you do not need to have the perfect lighting, the perfect angle or run to photoshop for a quick tweak. Words come naturally to us, we pick them up as we grow, we learn how to use them in sentences, we learn which ones are appropriate for certain situation and we do all this naturally. Words are our basic means of communication and we will always go back to what feels natural.
- Content holds attention – this is not always true, just like anything else, if it is not done right, interest will be lost in seconds. Good content, either on a webpage, a social media platform, in an article, in a blog, in a book will keep a reader interested and hooked so they will reach the end and feel that they have taken something away from what they have just read. Plus, the fact that they are more involved and feel more in control also helps to make them keep on going until the final full-stop.
- It goes hand-in-hand with technology – believe it or not, in a café in San Francisco, there is a machine that dispenses short stories. With a push of a button, the machine prints out a short story free of charge. This Short Story Dispenser has been a big success over the last year and half and instead of visitors going on-line while they drink their coffee, they read a story. Social media also needs content to function, company websites are nothing without content, advertisements on television, on the radio, on your mobile phone as you surf the net need content to grab attention.