Good Content is a Present



Because it manages to be TIMELY in addressing what you're thinking about and want right now.

While TIMELESS in leaving a mark, making it an experience that changes the way you think about something from that moment on.

Just like a gift.

Present as in timely

Timely surfaces a question and issue everyone is talking about.

When you're able to address a present moment conversation and provide a useful point of view that allows people to put things in perspective and helps them tackle related implications, you command attention

This used to be the domain of news media. In the everyone is a publisher world, being timely is a powerful attractor.

Examples of social media and technology publications that play here are Mashable, GigaOm, The Next Web, Read Write Web, Business Insider, and Venture Beat.

A good example of timely content in articles and books is the work of  Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell does have a gift for surfacing the most intriguing questions people are talking about and framing a story around them. Pushing hot buttons is familiar territory for Nick Carr.

Two extreme executions of timely in market now:

  1. pushing as many updates up as quickly as possible – brand as proxy
  2. pulling together the most thoughtful in depth take on the topic – brand more valuable than flow

I propose a third way: collaboration that pulls together assets creatively to support what you want right now. This is the new implementation that bridges online and offline. Timely can be just in time as a point of departure.

When timely stumbles upon a persistent issue and elevates it by deepening, broadening, or reframing a question/subject matter/experience, it becomes timeless.

Present as in timeless

Timeless addresses a question that often masks a universal problem.

Here's where you get to lay out some issues most people face along with a process and steps on how to deal with them. The answer(s) point to a new way of building of something enduring for quality of experience.

In writing we call this evergreen content. One example from the archives — is it urgent, or is it important?

In doing we call it startup or beta or project. Testing a creative execution of something that is timeless like learning, trading to make a living, by combining assets differently and making better promises. For example, transactional storytelling in retail. Examples of sites that make heavy use of evergreen content are Copyblogger and The Four Hour Workweek.

Another great example of this is the Domino Project, which opened the door for a new way of trading knowledge. Some executions of this that come to mind are in the higher education world with experiential learning.

You address these kinds of questions by building a frame around a "what if" question that leads to actions and behaviors from which you get new results.

Timeless partners well with timely by applying fundamental principles to recent issues and developments in media, and transforming a timely experience into one that helps people evolve over time.

Make the question universal enough, and you have the makings of a classic — a book, paper, article, research study, and yes, business that sets a new tone for what comes from that point on. 


Both timely and timeless can be useful when applied to your circumstances. I included examples of both in the collector's edition compilation of 45 of the most read and linked to posts from the last year.

Good content is a present — online and offline. My gift to you is this special collector's edition of Conversation Agent posts from 2011.

Find the magic (idea) — and experience, an unfulfilled want, a business model — find the user (people), connect the two. Make it a year of better promises.

Thank you for reading and sharing this content.

Download Conversation Agent 2011 Yearbook for FREE here.