There is a lot of noise made about the fact that content is king, but as with everything else, all content is not created equal and it comes in many flavours. Time is an important factor in the importance of information. Based on its timeliness, content can be broadly divided into that which is timely and very rooted in that particular moment of history in which it is created, such as a news item, and content which is of universal interest, free from when it is consumed. This timeless content is a wonderful thing and an essential part of your content strategy. Or in simpler terms, you simply must create some timeless content.
The fast pace of news and information has lent timely content with a certain mystique. While the romance of reportage and the early scoop might have waned some since the wonder-years of printed media and daily newspapers, there is still a lot of weight given to content that is focussed on the now. The now is where the glamour is, but the now quickly becomes the back-then, which is why timeless materials are such a solid cornerstone in every medium.
Timeless content, as the name makes clear, is unfettered by time, and that is one of its major advantages. Breaking news has a shelf life, a very short shelf life. The moment a timely piece on current events is out, it is already obsolete and ageing dangerously unless superseded by a newer and shinier piece of reportage. Timeless material, however, never seems to age, and if anything grows in stature with time to attain a certain classic and authoritative status. This ability of timeless content to keep-on-giving after the initial effort in creating it makes it a very worthy investment for the content creator.
The scoop, the exclusive story, the shocking expose, all hold some power still in the world of media, but their power of uniqueness has faded considerably. In the old days of print, a scoop on a story meant that at best a rival newspaper could follow up on the story in their late edition, and more likely the next day. An entire day would have passed and your position as the first to break the story was secure and acknowledged. On the internet, your RSS feed is probably read by your competition before most readers gets to it and they can get out their own, possibly better, version of the report in a matter of minutes. You can’t be unique by being quick any more.
But with timeless content, you create the story, the particular package of information or instruction from scratch and so it comes with a certain level of guaranteed uniqueness. Even two content creators tackling exactly the same topic and the same specific part of it are almost sure to come up with a slightly unique take on it, and unique is more likely to separate you from the rest. Your form of unique will gain an audience and it’s often something that cannot be directly replicated. Timeless content can make you noteworthy.
It is more difficult to come up with a frivolous piece of timeless content than it is to create a frivolous report on a timely matter. Think of most reports in a newspaper or a news portal online. How many of those reports contain any useful information that has any direct significance to you? If you haven’t been suckered into the delusion of “keeping informed” you’re likely to know that the answer is almost none. Timely content simply tells you that something has happened or something is about to happen, for your information. This can have a limited use but that window of use is very narrow and is quickly gone.
Timeless content, by its very nature, needs to be something that has long-term or general value, which is why a lot of timeless material, articles and media are more informative or instructional. Those are the things that last. The very decision to make a piece of content a timeless one forces the creator to come up with something that will have lasting value rather than a fleeting popularity. That lasting value adds to the lasting value of your site, or magazine, or other medium, and it adds to the lasting value of you, the content provider.
Timeless content seems like a good proposition by default, because after all it has the word timeless in it and every one knows that means something good. But few understand why it is good or why you must attempt to create and provide more that is timeless. What is covered here are the basic broad advantages that timeless material provides. Hopefully this will help you make some tough decisions when you’re thinking of what to write next on your blog, what to add next to your YouTube channel, or what to make next month’s feature in your magazine. There’s always time to improve your content strategy.