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Let your content do the talking (and walking)

Inspirational content survives and thrives, as katana-wielding Gemma Houltby discovers…

Great content has legs. We all know this, but I don’t think it had really hit home just how much of an impact high-quality content can have until I attended an event a couple of weeks ago.

Let me take a step back: I have a favourite TV programme. Admittedly, I came to the party late – it was already past its sixth season, but as soon as I started watching it, I was hooked. Three years on, my obsession grows.

I love it for many, many reasons that I won’t go into now. Suffice to say that it makes me cry, gasp, hide behind cushions, bite my nails, and laugh; I finish each episode emotional and exhilarated.

Attention to detail

I love the attention to detail and the way that every person in the production team, from the writers and actors, to the directors and special effects artists, love it too and obviously put all of their skill and energy into crafting each second. It results in one of the most compelling entertainment programmes I’ve ever seen.

What is this amazing programme? Not telling. Why? Because you’ll roll your eyes and zone out – what can I say, it’s an acquired taste…

Delving deeper

Anyway, back to the content analogy. I started binge watching the programme, but I wanted more so I moved on to the spin-off show. Then I turned to the comic books from which it’s derived and was surprised that I enjoyed them so much – it wasn’t a genre I’d been interested in before. After, I moved on to the novels and webisodes that explored secondary or related characters and sent me deeper into this fictional universe.

And if that isn’t enough, I know that I can tap its title into a search engine and escape into any one of millions of websites containing endless reams of fan art, fiction, spoilers, theories and comments. Actually, I don’t even need to make that much of an effort, because I can just head into my own social media feeds and see what the groups and sites I’ve chosen to like are posting.

Don’t worry, if this is all starting to sound a bit weird, I should point out that I’m not completely obsessed. I do still find time to do other stuff like work, sleep, interact with my children etc. That said, a short while ago I turned up in London to attend the programme’s Comic Con (that’s a convention for those of you who’ve led a more sheltered life).

Inspiring and exciting

To say that I was excited was an understatement, and I wandered around in a state of the utmost joy for two days, sitting in on the guest forums, browsing the merchandise and staring unashamedly at the actors that make up its past and present ensemble cast, as they posed for selfies with other fans.

What I realised in the midst of this event is that I am far from alone in how I feel about this programme (maybe more so for the people who were having their love of it inked into their skin in public view). I was just one of thousands of people attending the same event – one of numerous similar international events that take place every year – all of whom are as invested in this emotional rollercoaster as I am. Oh God, I’m part of a community

Lasting impression

But this is what first-rate content does. It inspires, it excites, it leaves a lasting impression (and sometimes the occasional tattoo). It makes you want more, makes you create your own, it brings people together. And that gives it legs to go on and on, giving people the chance to take it further themselves or happily find existing content in a medium they prefer to interact with.

And standing in that exhibition centre, surrounded by fans wielding inflatable, barbed wire-encircled baseball bats, by vendors selling Rick Grimes bobbleheads, and by actors who spend half their year dispatching zombies, I saw that great content really does have legs. They may be shuffling, slightly oozy, undead legs, but they’re legs nonetheless.

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