Farm fresh content – naming names is important

Do you source your meat? From farm or even individual cow to dining room table, more and more people are concerned with their food’s supply chain. That makes sense. It’s not just for reasons of ethics, fair trade and sustainability but food is what we put inside our families. It fuels us.

SteakAnd this isn’t just about beef. But I have a beef (sorry!) with those who don’t feel the same way about the various content that fuels our publications …in fact, all our efforts to communicate with the rest of the world.

When you have someone else creating for you, you have a right to identify the person who’s doing the creating. Not everyone feels this way. But it’s an important way to ensure quality content.

As I’ve written before, content is a team game. Just because someone has examples of previous work, a shiny LinkedIn profile and plaudits from important-sounding people, it doesn’t mean they didn’t get a tonne of help from researchers, editors and copy editors. No one tends to be brilliant all by themselves.

That said – and this is the gist of this post – be wary of content agencies that feed everything into a “black-box” content machine and present the finished article without attribution or pedigree.

With no sourcing and no acknowledgement of the wider team this can feel like factory farming. (And that’s “factory” in a bad way, not an Andy Warhol or Tony Wilson way.)

Sometimes those at companies buying or commissioning content are far from specialists in this area. They end up dealing with agencies who act like it’s some kind of mystical process. It’s really not.

Ask about the writer and the wider team you’ll be working with and how. Want to know their names? Give them a quick Google? Why not?

When someone like me tries to hide that information it isn’t a good sign. It can be a sign that inexperienced writers are being used. Or, worse still, it might mean writers at the end of an email address who the editor or agency owner has never spoken to, let alone met or worked with before.

Just like your steak or favourite cheese, provenance counts.

*photo credit: 2006-04-12-19-04-41zoomed via photopin (license)
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