I just returned from a ten-day content creation retreat in Italy. It was old-school -- completely analog.
I fronted a blues band, re-creating songs from the dawn of American popular music in a land responsible for much of our popular art and culture. We turned a 14th-century villa into a 1960s blues club, raising the ghosts of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and dozens of bluesmen who themselves toured Italy and post- WWII Europe.
During the day, we visited with winemakers who make Prosecco -- the sparkling wine synonymous with northern Italy. These are family-run businesses that spend a year producing their "content." It's a game of patience, perseverance and total commitment.
For ten days I was surrounded by objects of beauty that have lasted for centuries. Now I return to a digital content world where we create objects that last for days if we are lucky. We mark our time and success in minutes, sending hourly tweets and Facebook posts in the hopes that we will collect a few likes and shares so our stories -- our memory -- can be pushed along a little further.
The content marketing world is growing fast. Spending on production and distribution rose to nearly $44 billion last year. Freshwire was one of the first to devote itself to creating daily content for brands when we opened our doors in 2009. We now share the field with a growing number of folks who aim to do the same. All of us -- and the brands we serve -- spend a lot of time reacting to what is happening around us. We have become trained to do it. We think it is the secret to relevance, SEO success and credibility. Every day, we are chasing a few more fans to make the CMO happy, to get our budgets renewed for the next quarter.
Bottom lines don't lie, and we are ultimately in the business of marketing, not art. Still, I'd like to see us all focus more on making content that lasts, that matters, that touches people's hearts. It's tough to do this in real time. But maybe not everything needs to be real time. Maybe we can throw a little patience and perseverance into the real-time content mix. After all, the real-time digital content engine is meant to power brands that aim to stand the test of time.
In the immortal words of Junior Wells from his 1953 song "Hoodoo Man Blues":
Lord, I wonder what's has got the matter
Wit' time, you know, wit' time
It seems like the hours
Oh, everything done changed
But I hold up my hand
I'm just tryin' t'make you understand
Lord, you know, everybody tells Little Junior
That somebody done hoodooed the hoodoo man.
In all honesty, it's not entirely relevant. But damn it sounds good. It's worth liking and sharing. For years to come.