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Focused Content Matters

September 29, 2009

Perhaps all content is the same? Maybe everything is relative? Why can’t all media space be the same price? Why can’t a cheap package holiday be the same as a villa in the south of France? Having been off for a few days with family and catching up on magazines, newspapers and websites has made me realize that not all media and not all content is equal. In cold, hard reality there is a great difference between great content and great media – and the mediocre rest. And  unfortunately there is a lot of the mediocre rest to get through.  Sure, the internet is full of little back roads and alleys, nooks and crannies and sometimes wondrous things. But blimey, so much of it is like being lost in one of 234,654 tacky, noisy, repetitive seaside resorts. At first glance, the cheery welcome sign and promise of sun and fun looks inviting and interesting but the more you explore, the more you realise there is no originality, little depth,nothing to enrich or enliven you and very little you have not seen before. With poor content, you cannot rely upon it, you cannot trust its opinion. Reading The Economist this afternoon highlighted why certain destinations online and offline are more expensive than others. I am not the first and will not be the last to comment on the little weekly newspaper’s qualities but when you dip into once every few weeks as I do (and after spending a few days being lost in mobile phone review hell on the web) it struck me how really valuable great content is. It is crafted, concise, informative and relevant. It has a sense of style, it knows what it is, who its audience is and where it appears. I am sure the same can be said of great titles in other sectors too, in sport, fashion, music and news – but hey, it was The Economist today. There is a great test of how you define quality and professionalism that one of my wise old law lecturers told me when I was struggling through my studies. If you were in a plane where the engine had failed, if you were on the operating theatre table with your heartbeat struggling, if you were in the dock being accused of rape after a drunken one night stand – what kind of knowledge and skill would you need? How would you know the person who is going to save you knew what they were doing? How expert would you want them to be? We all know the answer. The pilot, surgeon and lawyer all share something with The Economist – they’re experts and focused in what they do. Good things do happen when we narrow the focus and in media, Focused Content Matters.

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