What is Content?

I have been frustrated recently with the tendency to refer to content types as “content.” Images, videos, text, PDFs, Flash files — these aren’t content; they’re content delivery mechanisms.

Content is an idea made consumable. Ideas evolve into creations which are then delivered via a variety of asset types. These assets are not what’s important; they’re just the vehicle to deliver the idea.

If you write a brilliant article on the debt ceiling, the article isn’t the content; your thoughts and ideas put into words is the content.

If you have a photo gallery on Flickr of owls with stupid expressions on their faces, the gallery isn’t content. The photos aren’t content. The content is the concept: the idea of curating the photos, captioning them, and creating a new way of looking at them.

So when we are creating a content strategy, let’s not focus on what assets there are, but let’s look at the ideas. Are we delivering the right ideas to the right people at the right time and place?

What do you think Content is?

Yellowish owl eyes


2 responses to “What is Content?”

  1. This is fantastic! I’d never really thought about content types as “idea delivery mechanisms” but that’s exactly what they are.

    Content is ideas. Content types are languages for expressing them. Seem right?

    1. Thanks, Jen! Yes, seems right — that’s a nice way of putting it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *