What is Content? Learn from 40+ Content Definitions (2023)

What is Content? Learn from 40+ Content Definitions (1)With all of today’s hype about content marketing, taking a step back and looking at what content is in the first place might bring some signal to all the noise.

Defining something as broad as “content” is a bigger task than you might think. You’re probably thinking of a definition of content now and it’s likely a bit different than mine.

Content is many things to different people and situations due to context. Fundamentally, content = information. Content = experience. Content = nothing specific. These are all observations shared with me by digital smarties ranging from Avinash Kaushik to Joe Pulizzi in a poll I ran on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook last week.

From the 40+ responses a few themes emerged. I hope they provide you some insight into what content is and where it fits in your business. They might even offer perspective for answering an even bigger question: what is the future of content?

Content is Information (practical, functional, tactical)

@ MeetTheBossTV – Content is: engaging, relevant, reliable, interesting, entertaining or enlightening in the form of text, image, video or audio.

Heidi Cohen G+– Content is high quality, useful information that conveys a story presented in a contextually relevant manner with the goal of soliciting an emotion or engagement. Delivered live or asynchronously content can be expressed using a variety of formats including text, images, video, audio and/or presentations. When used for marketing purposes, content should incorporate the organization’s branding, be void of any form of promotion, and use a call-to-action to be trackable.

Scott Hepburn G+ – Information designed for consumption, seasoned for enjoyment, and packaged to share.

Bryan Eisenberg (Facebook) – Think of Web content as the public conversation that happens between you and the visitor, whether the conversation is one-way (from you to the visitor), two-way (between the visitor and you), or conversation among visitors.

@ derekhalpern – Content comes in any form (audio, text, video), and it informs, entertains, enlightens, or teaches people who consume it.

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Courtney Ramirez G+ – It’s the stuff you publish – which covers writing, visuals, video, presentations – etc. It can be published on blogs, webpages, social accounts, etc.

@ dogwalkblog – words, photos, video, sound

Kevin Cain G+ – Content is a compilation of information, ideas, and messages that are translated into some kind of written, visual, or audible format for others to consume.

David Erickson (Facebook) – Relevant, compelling, timely and valued knowledge and/or entertainment.

Evyenia Wilkins G+ – Content is anything you produce that your audience can consume with its senses.

@ bigboxcar – Content is anything produced & published either sporadically or planned. And this content can be used to then create more content.

Sarah Webster Worsham (Facebook)– Content is something that provides information to the viewer/reader/etc. Good content provides value.

@ MjGlobalCom – foto, video, blog, infographic, interview, article, montage, editorial, review, mashup, meme, story, song, how-to, lists, tips

@ contenttribe – Information that is useful, has a context, easy to consume, device agnostic, shareable and non intrusive.

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Todd Greene G+– Simple: Information. Good, or bad

@ _nicoleespears – Original and opinion-charged copy with a focused message and personalized voice.

@ scotcarlson – Information –designed for consumption & further distribution across the web (ideally includes multimedia and sharing elements).

Charlene Burke G+ – Content fills a space. The space defines the type of content.

@ derekedmond – any medium designed to execute a message. Could be text, video, image, audio, etc

@ lifewithlevi – Quality words that make sense. Whether humorous, informational, or advertorial, content needs to be relevant AND engaging.

@ brettasnyder – Content is any form of authentic communication b/t a business owner & audience that serves to solve a problem/help the audience

@ JLBraaten – I’d define content as information presented on the web

Content is Experience (Useful, Purposeful, Outcome Oriented)

Avinash Kaushik G+ – Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life. It can add value by making them smarter, making them laugh, making them do their job better, rush to their child to share the video, make a contribution to a charity.

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Vincent Green G+– I am content on a warm summer’s night with a roaring fire in the pit and some cool beer. Some scotch & cigars to close. Content in the fact that my content is generating. Mmmmmmmmm

Mike Grehan (Facebook) – I wish we’d stop talking about content – manure is content and so is cold porridge… not many people want to consume it though! How about creating an “experience” as opposed to content?

Kathryn Aragon G+ – Content is any information that builds trust and authority among your ideal customers.

@ jillvan – Think of your brand as having legs. The left leg, content, makes people care. The right leg is delivering on your brand promise.

Joan Damico G+ – Content is any communication in any medium that serves a purpose, whether it be to influence, educate, inform, warn, express one’s self or spark conversation within a given context.

Joe Pulizzi G+–Compelling information that informs, engages or amuses.

Chris Baggott (Facebook) – An element that engages a person

Lyndon NA G+ – Anything on a URL that can be used (be it read, looked at, downloaded or interacted with).

Brian Massey G+ – My definition of content is “information with a purpose for a targeted audience.” Information may be text, video, audio, photos, etc. Purpose might be to educate, entertain, or persuade (convert).

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@ connell_vs_life – Relevant information – whether it be written or auditory or visual that someone wants to digest, and dissect and experience.

Dan Bischoff G+ – Such a broad question. Could be spam, could be some technical writing on the back of a product, could be ad copy, etc. In marketing, what it should be is: anything that creates brand advocacy, leads potential customers down the conversion path, or nurtures leads and current customers.

@ brianhalligan – Content: units of visual or auditory info that drive reactions by telling stories, asking questions, or supporting conclusions

Kevin Dugan G+–Content is broadly defined because it’s changing. I think the definition is the issue and the opportunity. It’s also defined differently based on your background.Content is the monkey in the middle of the audience and the outcome.Yeah, Zen, right?

Barry Feldman G+–I’ll simply say: the answers to customers’ questions

Andrew Johnson G+ – Content is anything created to be engaging, clever, insightful, beautiful and intelligent, and should fundamentally connect with your target audience.

“Content” is Too Ambiguous to Define

Matthew T. Grant G+ – Lee – your question, and many of the answers, highlights what is problematic about the term “content”. If one can reasonably begin a response with “Content is anything…” then content isn’t anything in particular. “Content,” in the end, is the generic binary term to “form,” where form could be a physical form—a box, a jar, a bottle—or a conventional form of media—a video, a show, an essay, a blog post, a play, a novel. Thus, I like the definitions above that basically say “content=information,” in the sense that content is the stuff that goes in various forms.

Olivier Blanchard (Facebook) – The thing about the term “content” is that it’s just vague enough to mean everything and anything, which is to say it doesn’t mean anything at all. It’s essentially a word that means “stuff to fill an empty space with.” It could be photos, video, marketing copy, thorough analysis, poetry, farts, vacuous nonsense, cat hair or cheese cubes. The only thing it hints at is that there is a finite volume of the space it must fill. Ironically, the word itself is a vessel for more content: Here’s an empty word. Now fill it with meaning.

Tom Webster (Facebook) – I’ve always hated the term, to be honest. It reminds me of the eternal cereal box disclaimer: contents may settle due to handling.

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How Do YOU Define “Content”?

Clearly, content is a necessary part of business and consumer communications. It is through content that the people we’re interested in discover, consume and act on brand information. Content leads consumers to brand experiences and are often the experience itself.

With a firmer understanding of what content is, I think other key questions worth answering involve how content is structured in organizations, what’s a good model for unifying content and finally, what’s the future of content?

How would you define “content”?

FAQs

What is the best definition of content? ›

: substance, gist. : meaning, significance. : the events, physical detail, and information in a work of art compare form sense 10c.

What is content in your own words? ›

If you feel content, you're satisfied and happy. The content of a book, movie, or song is what it's about: the topic. This word has two main meanings. The first has to do with being pleased and satisfied (feeling content) or making someone else feel happy and at peace with things (contenting them).

What is content and example of content? ›

The definition of content is someone who is satisfied with what they have. An example of content is how a person feels after eating the perfect meal.

What are the 3 types of content? ›

Developing a Content Approach

The best way to look at the kind of content you're using across your digital landscape, including social media and email marketing, as well as social media and your blog, is to divide it into three types. They are: Creation, Curation, and Creative Curation.

What is a example of content? ›

Some examples of content include blogs, emailers, newsletters, social media posts, case studies, and more.

What is the purpose of content? ›

The matrix illustrates the four main purposes of content. Content should either entertain, educate, inspire or convince, depending on the stage of the funnel your buyer personas are at.

What are the 4 content words? ›

Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are content parts of speech. Function words are words that exist to explain or create grammatical or structural relationships into which the content words may fit. Words like "of," "the," "to," they have little meaning on their own.

What is content for learning? ›

Learning content is broadly defined as the topics, themes, beliefs, behaviors, concepts and facts, often grouped within each subject or learning area under knowledge, skills, values and attitudes, that are expected to be learned and form the basis of teaching and learning (UNESCO-IBE, 2013).

How do you write content examples? ›

37 Content Writing Examples and How-To Tips for Website Articles
  1. Convey much with few words. ...
  2. Nail down your headlines. ...
  3. Focus on clarity when you write. ...
  4. Know your audience. ...
  5. Win your readers over. ...
  6. Get visitors to take action. ...
  7. Length depends on the context. ...
  8. Ensure your content can be scanned.
Feb 28, 2022

What is difference between content and content? ›

People often confuse “content” and “contents“. These words are used differently in English. “Content” is the stuff you read, see or hear through some medium. “Content” means the words on a page, or the ideas in a book.

What are the four main purposes of content? ›

This diagram represents the four main purposes of content, which include to entertain, to inspire, to educate and to convince. Failure to create content that aligns with these criteria could result in missing out on attracting your potential audiences.

What is common content? ›

The grey box at the bottom refers to "Common Content" - items such as menus or navigational phrases that typically appear on most or all of your pages, and are therefore not usually considered to be duplicate content. Search engines can penalize your site for duplicate content.

What is the most popular type of content? ›

Blogs, ebooks, and video content are the three most popular forms of content according to HubSpot, but they don't need to be all you have.

What are the four elements of content? ›

Good content has four elements:
  • Relevant. People want content relevant to their interests. ...
  • Intellectual. People want content that introduces them to new things. ...
  • Sensorial. Good storytelling is all about the details. ...
  • Emotional.
May 24, 2022

What are the steps of the content? ›

7-Step Content Development Process (Summary)
  • Gather Information.
  • Blog Topic Analysis.
  • Strategize.
  • Write.
  • Optimize & Publish.
  • Promote.
  • Review & Repeat.
Jan 12, 2023

What are the parts of content? ›

6 Essential Parts of the Content Writing Process You Shouldn't...
  • Study Your Target Audience. Writing content without a target audience is like writing a letter without a recipient in mind. ...
  • Pick the Right Tone. ...
  • Brainstorm Topic Ideas. ...
  • Research Your Chosen Topic. ...
  • Outline Your Article. ...
  • Edit and Proofread.

What are the 4 steps of content strategy? ›

The content marketing process consists of four steps: strategy, content creation, distribution and conversion.

What are the five important attributes of content? ›

5 characteristics = impactful content

Making sure that your content is readable, engaging, consistent, findable, and translatable will go a long way to getting you there.

What are the 3 components of content strategy? ›

Industry experts will tell you that an effective content strategy must have three core elements to be successful: brand focus, user experience, and content distribution.

How do I create content? ›

If you want your content creation strategy to include infographics, keep these best practices in mind:
  1. Choose the right data for your target audience.
  2. Choose the right graph or chart for your data.
  3. Do your research.
  4. Tell a simple visual story.
  5. Don't add too much data.
  6. Make your main points easy to read and remember.
Jul 1, 2022

Why is content first important? ›

By creating content models early in the design phase, you can create a realistic sense of what content will be needed, and can give content authors a head start — instead of delivering them a built website and telling them to come up with some copy that fits.

What is the power of content? ›

You Have the Power

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing digital materials (graphics, videos, blogs, social media posts) to stimulate interest in a product or service. In 2020, the world saw unprecedented digital advancements. As the 2020s unfold, you can expect to see much of the same.

Why is content a key? ›

Similarly, content will play a huge role in creating a seamless user journey, which is essential for providing great customer experience, nurturing leads and encouraging repeat business. If there's friction along the way, your customers are less likely to make it to conversion, and even less likely to come back.

What are content word GIVE FIVE example? ›

Nouns, main verbs, adjectives and adverbs are usually content words. Auxiliary verbs, pronouns, articles, and prepositions are usually grammatical words. 'We flew over the mountains at dawn'. There is an important difference in pronunciation between content and grammatical words.

What is another name for content words? ›

In English grammar and semantics, a content word is a word that conveys information in a text or speech act. It is also known as a lexical word, lexical morpheme, substantive category, or contentive, and can be contrasted with the terms function word or grammatical word.

Which is not a content word? ›

In English grammar, a function word is a word that expresses a grammatical or structural relationship with other words in a sentence. In contrast to a content word, a function word has little or no meaningful content.

Why is content learning important? ›

Because the main purpose of education content is to assist in high-quality instruction. The content a student is given is the vessel to their comprehension and mastering of a skill. It's also the way educators communicate with students. In short, students need content to learn and educators rely on it to teach.

What is the purpose of content based learning? ›

Content-based instruction is a teaching approach where learners study language through meaningful content. It motivates students to learn because the subject matter is interesting, and allows them to apply their learned language skills in a different context instead of rotely memorizing vocabulary.

Why is content knowledge important? ›

Our own content knowledge affects how we interpret the content goals we are expected to reach with our students. It affects the way we hear and respond to our students and their questions. It affects our ability to explain clearly and to ask good questions.

Where do I start with content? ›

Content Creation Checklist: 7 Steps to Get You Started
  • Start with an idea. Each and every piece of content starts with an idea. ...
  • Do your research. You know your industry like the back of your hand, probably. ...
  • Determine the direction of your content. ...
  • Create your headline. ...
  • Write. ...
  • Grab a drink. ...
  • Proofread and publish.
Jun 25, 2017

What are the 6 steps of content writing? ›

  • What Is the Writing Process? ...
  • The 6 Stages of the Writing Process. ...
  • Prewriting. ...
  • Planning. ...
  • Drafting. ...
  • Revising. ...
  • Editing. ...
  • Publishing.
Aug 23, 2021

What are the main types of content writing? ›

11 essential types of content writing for a successful business
  • Blog posts.
  • Website copywriting.
  • Social media posts.
  • Advertising/sales copywriting.
  • Technical writing.
  • User manuals/documentation.
  • Ebooks & white papers.
  • UX writing.

What is content or message? ›

A primarily informational message, typically intended to be explicit, literal, and unambiguous and reflecting an instrumental communication style. See also informational communication; instrumental communication; compare relational message. From: content message in A Dictionary of Media and Communication »

What is message and content? ›

Message Content means that information contained within a Message or accompanying a Message. This information includes, but is not limited to, Protected Health Information (PHI), de-identified data (as defined in the HIPAA Regulations at 45 C.F.R.

Are content and content the same word? ›

Content and content are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms.

What are the 5 steps of content development? ›

5 Vital Steps for a Successful Content Development Process
  • Set Content Goals. Before you even think about topics or audiences, consider what you want your content to accomplish. ...
  • Perform Audience Research. ...
  • Hone Your Content Strategy. ...
  • Write. ...
  • Publish and Distribute.
Feb 28, 2022

What are the 3 S's of successful content? ›

The folks at Skyword have summed up how to develop a content strategy that works by ensuring your content has 3 key elements. Your content should be searchable, snackable and shareable.

What is the most engaging content? ›

Content Types with High Engagement
  • Case Studies. A case study is a type of original research that is its own unique content type in that it conveys specific information about a brand's successes/failures. ...
  • Infographics. ...
  • Memes. ...
  • Book Reviews. ...
  • Videos. ...
  • Guides. ...
  • Opinion Posts. ...
  • Personalized Content.
Nov 7, 2022

What does content mean Bible? ›

contentment means to be satisfied or pleased. We have also seen that discontentment will result. in a pattern of turning from God, lying and hiding sin.

What is the main purpose of content? ›

This diagram represents the four main purposes of content, which include to entertain, to inspire, to educate and to convince. Failure to create content that aligns with these criteria could result in missing out on attracting your potential audiences.

What did Paul mean by content? ›

Paul knew the full range of human experience and he says, “In every circumstance, I have learned to be content.” Contentment is a grace learned over time. I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content… I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. ( Phil.

What God says about being content? ›

1:19). Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The antidote to love of money is contentment, which comes from trusting in God's promised provision (see Deut. 31:6, 8; also Josh.

What are the 3 contents of the Bible? ›

How is the Bible organized? The Hebrew Bible has three divisions: Torah (Instruction, or Law; also called the Pentateuch), Neviʾim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). These books are known to Christians as the Old Testament. The Christian Bible consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

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