Digital Media: What is Content?

Newspapers, magazines and online content on a tablet showing the types of digital media content available

After speaking about “content” one day, a colleague remarked: “I hate that word ‘content! So vanilla. I mean, what does it mean anyway?”

Good question. Maybe.

There was a time when people simple wrote and that writing took printed or spoken forms. They were authors of books, newspaper reporters, magazine writers or playwrights. Some were commercial writers or copywriters for advertising, et al. Then came radio and people wrote for that, and television followed. Journalists wrote news, comedy writers comedy. Scriptwriters wrote screenplays or TV shows. But never did those things wind up on the same “page” at the same time.

The production of that work didn’t end with the writers. Photographers and designers contributed. Video and film teams contributed. Promotions teams contributed. There was overlap but even the overlap–a commercial on Nightly News or the news story itself–still had clear parameters.

But that’s no longer the case. Now we create “content” to fill endless “pages” for digital delivery. And in that sense, everyone is a publisher of multiple streams of content which all must live and play together.

Content begins with the initial parent story from which many clever babies come.

So for a digital property or brand–content can be defined as the umbrella over all delivery forms or platforms. It begins with the initial parent story from which many clever babies come. Storytelling takes on the form of a text piece (or series), custom images which may be used in list or slideshow form, snaps, pins or grams, infographics, a series of videos, tweets, blogs, vlogs, live narrowcasts, live broadcasts, live-streams, slide-shares, conference curriculum, talking points for a panel, roundtable or hangout. The checklist is different for each “publisher” but the lists are long either way.

And the phrase content is king is truer than ever.

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