The Battle for Content

Joey Fung  

April 14, 2011

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Fast Company had an article yesterday, why no amount of money can make 3D TV successful, describing how the industry has lost money as the novelty of 3D hasn’t overcome the limited supply of good film-making. This is yet another example that the real thing that drives people to engage is meaningful and valuable content.

We’ve done a number of website redesigns and refreshes that make sites easier to digest, more intuitive to navigate, or more pleasing to look at, but none of this does anything in the long term to increase engagement or conversion if the content a visitor wants simply isn’t there. The most common criticism of Twitter is people don’t want to hear the minutiae of their friends’ everyday lives, and it’s very true. If there isn’t anything valuable in your Twitter feed, you’ll stop listening. A flashy site design might lure visitors, just like 3D attracts movie-goers, but without meaningful content it’s like a really impressive bridge to nowhere.

When the goal is to make the user experience seamless, the desired effect is for people to retrieve the information they need without ever noticing the design or technology. If all the fluff and hype is removed for an experience like this, then there is no novelty, and any lack of content becomes apparent immediately.

We understand that good content takes time. It takes resources. It takes talent. But ultimately it’s what people are after. Some people enjoy flashy visuals, this is true, but it’s like people who watch movie trailers for fun, because they’re better than the actual movie. Those people don’t make the studios any money. When the novelty wears off, it’s the meaningful content that keeps people engaged.