The power of well-crafted content

May it be flawless user experience, captivating narrative, or merely efficient communication, crafting content does make a difference. Words are a beast of their own.

Shortly after I had started at Reaktor, I tried to explain my work to a friend.

”Oh, you are a content producer, ” she said.

One of the few things I’ve always been confident about: I’ll never become a content producer. There are two words in the title, and I’m not the biggest fan of either. Content is one of those generic, says-nothing-to-no-one-terms that can mean pretty much anything, and thus means nothing. And producer – it sounds like a production plant. Fortunately, the titles don’t make the difference at Reaktor. Our teams are always tailored to match the needs of the customer, so it’s all about people, not the tags.

While waltzing in the fields of content, I often end up in discussions about what does content even mean in the first place. What does it have to do with like – you know – the real things?

Friends. It’s all about meanings.

Sculpting meanings

Content work, as I see it, refers to crafting and delivering meanings. It’s about sculpting and communicating them most optimally. Therefore, content is strongly tied to thinking in general.

Creating content is based on using language. And language is a logical, shared system that is used accordingly by standard rules. The better you know the rules, the more precisely and functionally you can deliver the meanings.

Think about the vast amount of texts you read and write every day. They can all be regarded as content. And what are they used for? For helping or advising others, delivering and analyzing information, selling things, leading and connecting people, doing research, solving problems, entertaining, telling stories… Just to name a few.

To conclude, content work goes all over the place. It’s a profound, all-embracing phenomenon, not a quick make-up you do as a final touch. As they say: words are cheap, but using them wrong may get expensive.

Content strategy as a long-term mindset

At Reaktor, we pride ourselves on constant, never-ending thinking. By creating not only some beautiful code, UIs, and visuals, but also some thorough content, our thinking covers the whole journey. But in the Reaktorian context, what does content work mean in practice? As a real thing itself?

First, there might be a customer whose content strategy needs updating and challenging. Sometimes such an approach doesn’t exist in the first place – worry not, we can help.

Crafting a content strategy requires some honest talk about i.e. communications goals, target groups, and brand values. What are the key messages that should be delivered? Do they match reality? How could we tie more value and understanding to customer’s contents? It’s not about just some easy wins but a long-term mindset – about thinking better, further, and deeper, and doing it together.

Furthermore, carefully designed content can have a valuable role in strengthening customer’s resilience. As a powerful yet flexible tool, it can help to adapt in times of trouble and support bouncing back from the challenging period.

Hands-on experience in all things language

Moreover, the customer might be struggling with their content processes. Too much work, too few people – the usual. Often people tend to find something else they prioritize over content and communications. Or sometimes they are simply a bit lost or overwhelmed: How to get things done and how to get them right? Are the roles and responsibilities clear; who looks after the big picture? What are the steps that lead to concrete results? To me, this sounds like some organizing, concepting, and facilitating would come in handy. On many occasions, external help is the key to reaching fresh perspectives. We love to do that.

Or then we might be dealing with our rye bread type of things: UX writing or other hands-on content work. As we constantly occupy ourselves at the core of the content fieldwork, we can easily recognize the typical struggles and pain points. Even better, we do have a nice selection of potential solutions in our pocket.

Finally: we audit and assess content, organize content-related workshops and training, and spar writers at every level – all things language.

In bizarre times like these, I highly recommend a dip in the deep waters of good content. It can offer some peace, happiness, and future views – be it an old, dusty novel, pithy business insight, or a handy digital service that seems to speak right to you. Well-crafted texts inspire, strengthen, and empower, and as a content professional, that’s a goal worth aiming.

Three dives into great content

  • Not perfect linen is a small Lithuanian clothing brand that has won my heart with their way of communicating. It’s not especially snappy or witty, but they boldly encourage open discussion about the ethics of fashion and consuming. Especially their Instagram presence seems sincere and mature – and yes, their linen pieces look perfect in their not-perfectness.
  • I love Fridays not only for obvious reasons but also because that’s a day for Nieman Storyboard newsletter, coming straight from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Exploring the art and craft of a story, it always provides inspiring insights and links to great pieces of journalism I wouldn’t have found otherwise.
  • The great Finnish take of the previous comes from Long Play publication (also on Fridays, yay!). Always well-written and thus well-thought, served with a handful of enticing reading and watching recommendations.

Mirjami Haimelin is a content designer (not a content producer) at Reaktor. She’s seriously addicted to narrative journalism, rundown old houses, and fresh raspberries.

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