Are you content with your content?

Are you content with your content?

Jonathan Arnold on why well crafted, long form content can make all the difference for businesses looking to influence key audiences

Excuse the laboured pun. But the question remains: is the content you are creating doing the job it is designed to do? That is, does it create engaging relationships with readers/customers/staff/suppliers – you name it – in order to further the cause of a brand, organisation or product? Is it intelligent? Is it influential?

Much so-called ‘content’ – and it’s a term used with abandon these days, often without proper explanation, by people who have never ‘written’ professionally in their lives – is piffle: Poorly written, badly edited (if at all), often cursory and under-researched. Some might argue that it doesn’t matter. That short form content – aka tweets or other ‘here today, gone later today’ content – is all about the instant. Get something out there and some of it might stick. And with the move to what might be termed ‘visual’ content – video, images, infographics – the written word is being pushed further into the background. Or at least counts for less.

We established Orwell because we were disillusioned with the way the use of language, the ability to write deeply researched, finely crafted, long form content – oh bugger, let’s just call it copy – has diminished to such an extent that it is in danger of dying out altogether. Writing – professional, well thought through writing – is not about tweeting something en route to the office, while stuck on a broken down commuter train. Whatever happened to long form content? The Guardian at least has recognised the need for considered writing by (re) introducing its ‘long read’ section. Many thousands of words of the highest quality writing that actually makes you think.

Perhaps the so-called ‘death of print’ is to blame for all this. But then again, I noticed in a second hand bookshop the other day a book published in 1999 called, inevitably, the Death of Print. Of course it’s poppycock to think that print is dead. Take a look at, say, the magazine section in Selfridges in London and then tell me print is a thing of the past. I make this point because what print does is allow copy to breathe. And by definition it’s permanent. Ink on paper stays there. It isn’t ‘Snapchatted’ (to coin a phrase) or yesterday’s click-bait.

We made a conscious decision to use the word ‘content’ for what we do at Orwell. But it was a decision made after much debate. We do create content, but only content that passes rigorous tests. Is it accurate? Is the language used appropriate? Is it properly sub-edited? Does it meet the brief, engage the reader and hold his or her attention for more than 30 seconds? Our tag line – Influential content for intelligent organisations –isn’t a throwaway phrase. It is meant to challenge clients who believe that the written content they produce – or outsource – should be of the highest possible quality. If you are intelligent you will know that really high-end content can influence millions of readers and create a virtuous circle.

We make no bones about the fact that our expertise lies in the creation of long form content. If you want a social media campaign then we’re not for you. But if you want engaging copy – oh, bugger, let’s call it content – that does so much more than a tweet ever can, then Orwell is the place to come.