[Part 1 of a Series: See: Introduction. See: Links to other posts in this series.]
Business people do lots of things on the internet other than read or watch or listen to content. So when I say that only two kinds of content matter to them, I don’t mean web-based applications and email.
I mean the kind of content we typically think of as news and information and advertising and the stuff now called “post-advertising” — the kind of content that marketing people and journalists and bloggers and Twitter users create and add to the internet. The kind of content that companies hand over millions of dollars to Google so that business people will click through to see it.
I’ve given these two kinds of content that matter most to business customers the following names:
1. Chronological content
2. Research content
(In later posts, I’ll write about other terms being used to describe these types of content, but since this is my essay, I’ll explain my terms first.)
Chronological content is any content that is valued by a person because of its time stamp. And typically, it is valued for how fresh or recent its time stamp is.
Chronological content can be a tweet or a story appearing on the front page of the New York Times or a breaking news story on CNN or a blog post or anything else that comes in rivers, streams, flows, updates, subscriptions, blasts or other metaphoric words implying constant movement.
People in business need chronological content in order to stay on top of the information and knowledge they need to understand the ever changing context of their jobs. Chronological content helps them comprehend and navigate change. It helps them see opportunities and learn who is doing what in their industry. It makes them aware of new products and new processes. It helps them learn of new suppliers and new customers. It helps them impress their co-workers with how much they know about who got fired at every company in their industry.
Chronological content is necessary and addictive — and it keeps business people coming back for more.
Research content is any content that is valuable to a business person because it helps them shorten the “time to result.” That term, “time to result” is a term used by Google engineers to describe the time it takes for a user of Google to get to the information they are looking for. I had never heard that term until reading this blog post about music search — Now I use it whenever I can drop it into a conversation — and by my unofficial estimates, I’m up to 2-3 times per day. Heck, I loved that term “time to result” so much I registered the domain TimeToResult.com because I thought it would be a great name for a book or blog or to sell to someone who realizes it captures the essence of their well-funded startup company for which they need to purchase a domain name.
In business and online content, the concept of “time to result” typically refers to the time necessary for a busy business person to get to the information he or she needs to answer a question, make a decision or re-order the filter for 300 Acme-55-AA Gizmos.
This content is some of the most valuable content your media company or business-to-business or business-to-consumer company can provide. It’s the kind of content that is “mission critical” and that is “worth paying for” because it shortens a person’s “time to success.”
Unfortunately, it is some of the worst content most companies provide online. It is often crap. And if you care about the future of your business, or you want to provide content that people will pay for or if you want to have a future in marketing, then you need to learn to appreciate more the value of this type of content.
(Note: a version of this post also appeared on RexBlog.com.)
Next post in the series: Everything yöu’ll ever need to knöw aböut research cöntent can be learned in this wiki entry