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Content is Imperial
By Ricardo Carvalho, Managing Director    May 18 2020
In the last decade the expression "content is king" has become a mantra to highlight the importance that Google's all-powerful search algorithm attributes to identify the ranking of institutions and brands on the Internet through the relevance of their texts, images and videos. An entity that intends to build a relevant online presence must necessarily position the production of content as the central axis of its strategy.

If until now it was a kingdom, the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic has made the importance of content on the Internet an "Empire". The confinement and social distancing have made the world wide web the only window we have to the world. It has brought us closer to family, friends, reinvented the way we work with colleagues, clients, partners, and allows us to continue to evolve, inform ourselves, and... consume.

The exponential increase in data and voice traffic - especially since schools closed - is the digital response to real distance. The challenge of standing out in this tidal wave of information is immeasurable, and never before recorded since the emergence of the Internet. Otherwise, despite the additional time we spend in front of our computer, the stimuli we receive to consume different types of content are enormous. Brands have to compete with each other and have to compete with services that have replaced outdoor leisure time.

As you have guessed, I am talking about Netflix, HBO and other streaming on-demand services, with an emphasis on the all-powerful YouTube. The COVID-19 pandemic and the practice of binge-watching are a somewhat morbid but effective match in this dystopian period we are going through. As far as access to information is concerned, many households have news channels on permanently from morning till night. In the United States of America and the United Kingdom, a survey developed by the Global Web Index shows that 68% of respondents (regardless of age) are looking for news about the new coronavirus more than any other topic. The situation is more than understandable, if there is a miracle that frees us from the virus, we want to be the first to know.

As a result, brands reacted with the impetus to occupy their spaces. Some of the largest world conferences such as Adobe Summit, IBM Think Digital, or Content Marketing Conference now have free access, exclusively online, featuring top-notch keynote speakers to capture and, most difficultly, fix our attention. Webinars spread like mushrooms changing forever the industry of events and business tourism.

The amount of information available is such that it is difficult to manage our viewing agenda. How many of us have already lost unmissable lectures from Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuck, or Andrew Davis, because despite automated alerts, on our email or social networks, we have been distracted by other content that seems even more unmissable.

What's the solution? In times of enormous disruption, doing futurology can be too dangerous an exercise, but more than ever, these are times to think strategically about what we want to communicate in the medium term and be consistent with the vision and attributes that can distinguish us from the competition.  

The process of defining the message maps for each product or service should analyze in detail and in real-time what your audiences are looking for. The state of emergency can, overnight, change the desires and concerns of those who search. Brands must be consistent in their responses without losing their identity.

In an era where many seek peaks of attention (more likes, more followers, more tweets), the brands that produce the best content and clearly identify for whom they produce it (buyer personas) will probably succeed in the medium term.

To be relevant when writing a text, producing a video, or publishing a photograph, it is imperative to know what message we want to convey, but also to validate whether the target audience shows interest in the subject. The time of "imperial content" is here to stay. Those that do not realize this will lose relevance until they disappear.  

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