Artisanal content? Stick with me…

Artisanal content? Stick with me…





Artisanal content? Stick with me…


Tony Hallett
Managing director

Tony set up Collective Content in 2011 so brands can more easily become publishers and tell stories. This built on 15 years in media, from reporter to publishing director at Silicon Media Group, CNET Networks and CBS Interactive.

Be honest. When you hear the word ‘artisanal’ do you:

  • feel good?
  • feel confused?
  • feel a little bit nauseous?
  • wonder how the hell you’re even supposed to say ‘artisanal’?


It is that kind of word. A love-hate, Marmite kind of word. So what if I told you about ‘artisanal content’?

If the definition of artisanal is something made in a traditional way, often hand-crafted or without machinery, does that sound good? If you hired an artisan to create your content, would you be happy?

Maybe not, if you want to replicate an ad in a million places at once. Computer software is much better at that.

But for most content projects, tender loving care from real experts is a big advantage.

Consider the alternative. The last 10 years have seen people talk about content farms, mills and factories. It’s like the Industrial Revolution… for content. But that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Most of the content farms that a decade ago started to game search by pumping out lots of low-end ‘How to…’ articles have largely disappeared. Good riddance.

But larger players in the content marketing space are very happy to set themselves up as exchanges, where brands and content creators meet – and the exchanges take a small cut in the middle.

When one client of ours contacted just such a provider last year they were told: “Oh no, we’re not a content agency. We’re a software company.”
I imagine the VCs like that line. But this client of ours – an actual software company, of all things – went elsewhere.

The trend for all kinds of companies to recast themselves as software or technology companies has been overdone. Some truly are digital-first. Many never will be.

Just because the cobbler shop at the end of my road next to the station has some accounting software, it doesn’t make them a tech company. And nor would many of its customers want it to be. We like the idea that cobblers with decades of experience know how to fix shoes and boots.
We like that they’re real artisans.

photo credit: Old shoemaking tools via photopin (license)

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