Can we learn something about producing high-quality content from high-quality… food? The Slow Food movement has taught thousands of people to put more time and effort into preparing food, which— ultimately — results in a better and healthier eating experience. Can we apply the same guideline to the creation of appealing, dare we say, “delicious” content? Find out the answer to this question with our author, Sam Urquhart.
The 1980s were dark days for the food world. With fast-food chains taking over in many places, consuming frozen ready-meals becoming a daily routine, and industrial agriculture churning up soil and turning animals into raw materials, it seemed like real food was a thing of the past.
Some people begged to differ. In 1986, an Italian named Carlo Petrini was stung into action by the opening of a McDonald’s right next to Rome’s iconic Spanish Steps. He gathered together a group of growers, chefs, restaurant owners and food lovers to create Arcigola.
Arcigola advocated locally grown ingredients, boasted a minimal use of pesticides and herbicides, and championed home-cooked meals which weren’t designed to be warmed in a microwave. This aspect of their work resonated so much that they rebranded as Slow Food, a group which now has more than 100,000 members spread across every continent.
Slow Food has nurtured local food scenes all over the world, but what relevance does it have in relation to creating quality content? Actually, the parallels are fascinating and could be very useful for writers and clients as they try to make their mark on the online world and develop their own content strategy. So, let’s find out more about how “Slow Content” can inform your writing strategy.
Celebrating Diversity and Focusing on the Local
One of the key elements of the Slow Food idea was that the food we eat should be sourced locally instead of sourced from a globalised marketplace. That way, indigenous diets could be safeguarded and carbon reduced, and biodiversity could be encouraged.
Things aren’t so different in the world of content. Instead of featureless, bland content that could have been written anywhere, for any audience, Slow Content focuses on creating culturally appropriate, targeted writing which connects on a personal level with people in diverse communities.
Satisfying the Senses and the Mind Alike
Taste is why Slow Food continues to thrive. Food cooked carefully with high-quality ingredients is almost always tastier than mass-produced equivalents. The richness of pasta sauces cooked over an afternoon isn’t a cliché; it’s something that can make any foodie salivate.
Now think about content. How often do you click on a Google link only to find a poorly-written, boring text which makes you yawn well before you reach the end?
Slow Content works hard to engage readers by providing texts that are nourishing and “delicious” – it appeals to the brain just as home-cooked food tantalises the taste buds. Writers of Slow Content understand that readers are willing to surrender a bit more time if the pay-off is useful information that’s presented in a way that they enjoy.
Bringing Provenance into the Picture
Before Slow Food, very few consumers made provenance a priority. Now, we routinely inspect food packaging for its country of origin, organic certifications, and whether it contains dairy products or GMOs.
Sourcing is just as important where effective content is concerned. Content creators know that readers demand information they can trust, so they put extra effort into fact-checking and providing links to back up their texts. They don’t hide anything behind deceptive wording, and there’s no flavour enhancing claims here – just meticulously chosen words and information on which readers can rely.
Creating a World for the Future
Both Slow Food and Slow Content also have an eye on the horizon. One of the key motivations of the Slow Food movement was the fear of ecological destruction, something that’s still really important as climate change and pollution continue to plague the natural world.
Slow Food’s content equivalent doesn’t have such a clearly articulated mission, but it’s really no different. Anyone who has been active in content creation over the past few years will be familiar with the proliferation of spun content and low-quality SEO-chasing spam.
That’s why slowness is spreading to the world of content. “Slower” content is designed to be relevant and to protect the integrity of search results. It sets out to be evergreen (or at least as long-lasting as possible) and wants to elevate the general quality of the content we read.
Slowness and Sharing Go Together
Slow Food is also designed to be a social experience, not just sticking a ready meal in a microwave and pressing start. The classic Slow Food experience involves sharing recipes and tastes with friends and strangers alike.
This is one of the clearest similarities with quality content. In today’s online world, creating shareable content is absolutely essential. But the sharing we’re talking about means providing useful information to the people you know, not sharing memes or celebrity gossip. Slow Content tries to create texts which are shared again and again by people who use it to help others enhance their lives.
The Recipe for a Thriving Community
Both Slow Food and effective content are all about community. As content creators and marketers, we want to create communities of readers who appreciate our work and the products we advocate. That kind of content is a solid investment, promoting brand engagement, yielding SEO benefits, and — in the end — helping to set brands apart.
Getting the recipe right is vital. So get started with greatcontent and – without pushing the image too far – we’ll create something tasty for the people you need to reach.
Text: Sam Urquhart