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Is content the new black?

Having recently ventured out from behind my computer screen to my first web gatherings – I’ve not been sitting here for years without seeing daylight you understand – I can now make two observations:

  • Web folk do like to mingle – contrary to popular belief they can make conversation (not all of it about code).
  • Revelation number two was that content (I mean web content, folks, in case you missed it) is very much in vogue. OK, en vogue if you want to be picky. To continue the fashion metaphor, it could very well be the new black.

Despite my fears, my forays into ‘there be dragons’ web territory did not leave me either a) dumbfounded by geek-speak or b) unable to strike up a conversation with monosyllabic techies.

The conversational buzz ahead of the recent dConstruct web conference in Brighton and after the Port80 pow-wow in Newport, proved that web techies do like to mingle. And chat. In real life – not just online. They even came from across The Pond, not just London, to do so in Brighton.

For me networking at dConstruct was about asking questions and learning (as a former journalist, sticking my oar in is what I do best), but also for getting a feel for where the web is going.

Scott Jenson’s talk on the future of mobile apps was the most thought-provoking for my conference money (check out Scott’s take on mobile apps: they must die!).  And even a non-techie like me could appreciate the art that was the digital fireworks (Seb Lee-Delisle thank you for entertaining us, I haven’t a clue how you did it).

Although content wasn’t officially on the agenda at dConstruct I found plenty of people wanting to chat about it – from UX researchers to New York content queen Erin Kissane and British content strategist Relly Annett-Baker.

Happily for me content took centre stage at the Port80 event (did I mention content’s my thing?) with an interesting talk from Rob Mills who’s walking the content strategy walk with agency Bluegg in Newport plus UX talk from Ollie Wells of Cardiff’s Sequence.

As if that wasn’t proof enough that content is firmly on the web community‘s radar, this month .Net magazine has a five-page ‘perfect your content’ feature.

Strangely, content strategist people (not software doing the job of actual people) seem to be largely missing in action from most of this piece (except for a brief mention for Kissane and Karen McGrane). Hey ho. Perhaps they were too busy persuading clients not to add mission statements or elevator pitches to their web pages to talk to .Net.

Whatever. All this content talk is grist to the mill for me.

My only worry is that because content is so on-trend right now it will end up being next spring/summer’s fashion no-no after its moment on the catwalk. Let’s hope the web community isn’t quite as fickle as the fashion world.


About Nancy Cavill

Journalist. Copywriter. Web content specialist. Social media addict. Internet strategist. Jargon-hater, coffee drinker...

4 responses to “Is content the new black?

  1. Hi Nancy,
    great article and thanks for the mention of Port80!

    I honestly don’t think this fascination with content is a flash in the pan with the web community. What has happened is that the whole industry is growing up and is getting more aware of the actual problems we are trying to solve.

    For years we got side tracked with the technology – which was all too easy todo when some much of it was broken & so many technical bridges needed to be built.

    And, instead of a sole “webmaster” (remember them?) we discovered all the different roles we needed to get the job done; front end, back end, UX, UI, copywriters, marketing, project mangers, designers, marketing etc etc

    I have to admit that I kick myself for not realising the importance of content earlier; well, obviously I recognised the importance of it but i didn’t realise how I (from the web perspective) should guide clients & should not let them get away with taking the path of least resistance etc. A beautiful website with crap content is a crap website.

    I for one am loving this content focus and am looking forward to working with web saavy, content strategy, freelance types to help on upcoming projects.

    Bring on the content!


    p.s. sorry for the long winded reply 🙂

  2. WebOnTheWebb ⋅

    We’ve all seen too often beautifully-crafted websites, aimed at bright, design-loving people in order to raise awareness of superb products… that were simply ruined by the liquid poo the client poured into it.

    I say ‘huzzah!’ to proper, considered content… (with decent punctuation)

  3. Thanks for sharing this stuff.

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