Resources > News & Features

News & Features


The triumph of (quality) content

Three unconnected media-related “events” caught my attention in the past few weeks. Let me list these, in no particular order.


Watching ‘The Post’

Katherine Graham & Ben Bradlee fought for the independence of content

I happened to catch the Steven Spielberg-directed, Meryl Streep-Tom Hanks’ starrer ‘The Post’ on a Frankfurt-Singapore flight.

Movies based on real-life stories and historical events fascinate me; the cast and the storyline of The Post had already gotten this flick on my to-watch list. To find this movie on-board was a pleasant coincidence.

Based on everything I had heard about previously, I presumed the movie was all about Watergate. I realised later that the movie was about something closer home, something that I have a stake in professionally.


Netflix’s ‘blockbuster’ valuation

Netflix’s push to create original, data-driven content is paying rich dividends

A WhatsApp message doing the rounds duly landed on my phone as well. The story was interesting: Neflix’s offer to be acquired by the movie-rental company Blockbuster for about US$50 million.

Ah! The irony of it all. Not for the first time- nor will it be the last- had one decision irrevocably shaped the destiny of two companies. Opportunity and threat come incognito and success depends on the ability to blow the disguise and treat them appropriately.

Well, I digress. The story surfaced around the same time that Netflix’s valuation reached a whopping US$180 billion (approx.). A former DVD-rental company with that high a valuation? Obviously, the company’s success and astounding growth is due to two transformative changes- or ‘pivots’, as these come to be termed- the company undertook in the last decade or so.

The company’s future direction has been quite well spelt out. Right?


Series A funding for The Ken

The-Ken.com’s success is a boost for publishers focusing on content quality rather than quantity

I doubt if a lot of people really know about The Ken like, say, The Huffington Post or to a lesser extent, TheWire.in. I myself came across it accidentally a few months ago. What caught my attention was that the reporting was comprehensive, and the writing, refreshingly good. It combined style and substance in its writing, such a rarity these days, and I was hooked.

There were three other huge differentiating factors too:
a) the site carried just one story a day, only on working days (though they have recently introduced a story on weekends too)
b) you had to pay a decent chunk of change in annual subscription to read the stories.
c) you’d be hard-pressed to find any advertising on the site (they don’t rule out advertising in future).

A US$1.5 million funding (by the Omidyar Network) is not huge; however, I thought it significant for a few reasons. One, this was a media play without the staggering numbers of readers/users that get investors salivating; two, it seems a rather niche kind of site whose appeal may remain rather limited i.e. there are question marks over ‘scale’.

Yet, the impact-investment firm saw “something” in this venture that prompted them to shell out US$1.5 million. That “something” is of great interest, and what makes it pertinent for this article.


Time for a new king

Across these three ‘stories’, one common theme stands out. Whether it is the story of Katherine Graham standing by Ben Bradlee, even as she looks to raise money to invest more in high-quality reporters, to publish the Pentagon Papers in “The Post”; or, Netflix’s transformation from a DVD rental company to become the most-valued media company in the US powered by its production of original (and often, data-driven) content; or a niche website getting financial backing on the basis of its content, what comes out loud and clear is that high-quality will triumph. Irrespective of the medium of format of content, there is an elevated place for original, high-quality content.

We are living in the time of an unprecedented proliferation of content. There is a deluge of fake news and trashy content. More often than not, quantity gets precedence over quality.

When the business model is advertising-- reach, impressions and click-throughs- it is understandable why publishers focus so much on putting up content the quick and dirty way, without enough rigour and diligence; without substance or style, or a voice and tone.

What we also see from the examples above is that there is there is a cost to be incurred by content creators for high-quality content and there is a price that the audience is willing to pay for such content.

‘Content is king’ is repeated ad nauseum. It is time this cliche is rewritten to say “Quality content is king.”

An experienced search & content marketing consultant, Manoj Aravindakshan is the founder of On Target Media, a well- known SEO service provider and SEM agency in Singapore.

He is also the Editorial Director of AsiaBizToday.com, a business portal focused on showcasing people and stories in innovation & entrepreneurship across Asia. This column was originally written for AsiaBizToday.com.




Recent articles:

The five attributes of SEO-friendly content
Singapore SEO & Content Marketing Consultant Manoj Aravindakshan lists the 5 key attributes of SEO-friendly content i.e. content that has the greatest probability of reaching to the top of Google’s search results. Remember the acronym ‘FOCAL’ he says: Fresh, Original, Comprehensive, Authoritative and Localised.

Top SEO mistakes to avoid
While many SEO pros would like you to believe that it is a perfect science with accurately predictable outcomes for every action, I contend that it is an iterative process...

On Target to conduct full-day training workshop on "B2B Lead Generation with Search & Content Marketing"
Content & search marketing company On Target Media & Marketing, is organizing a full-day training workshop focused on business-to-business lead generation using search engine...

10 Google Adwords campaign management tips for best results
I’ve had the opportunity to manage several small-to-medium budget search advertising campaigns, both on the Google AdWords and Bing platforms. While some have been short-duration...

Lessons from a PR/ guest blogging outreach campaign
Over the 13 years that we have been in the online marketing business, we have evolved from being purely focused on SEO to be a content marketing company...

Content Marketing Summit Asia 2017 to be held in Singapore on Oct 10, 2017
The Asia edition of Content Marketing Summit will be held in Singapore on October 10, 2017 at the One Farrer Hotel & Spa. The event will bring together well-known brands, content publishers, technology enablers and...

Content marketing: What content marketers need to do and what not to do
As a marketer of a product or a service, reaching out to your target audience and engaging them towards a purchase is your primary goal. This is easier said than done especially with limited marketing budgets.

More News & Features