Need engaging content? Don’t monkey around

One million monkeys using one million keyboards, may, over an infinite time, write at least one of Shakespeare’s plays. That is the principle behind the infinite monkey proposition.

This theory, the origins of which go way back to Aristotle among others, is disproved on an hourly basis by the internet and the plethora of content to be found therein.

Discovering the odd gem of truth that is reliable, accurate, relevant or of interest is so rare that it engenders an almost mystical fervor in the psyche of the finder. He/she is generally so overcome by the treasure that they feel it necessary to share with others this diamond among the turds.

Engaging content is our specialist subject. We have, for example, an automotive information site which doesn’t offer opinions, it provides facts about cars and vans. That is all it does. It is one of the gems referred to above: no turds, only diamonds. To paraphrase a rather clever ad by the long-gone ad agency HHCL, it does what it says on the URL.

Which begs the question: are opinions turds?

So long as the person proffering one knows what he/she is talking about – an expert, in other words – no. But in the case of most columnists and internet content, yes.

For example, we’d all like to know what Prof Higgs has to say about the origins of the universe. I’m 99.9 per cent certain Richard Littlejohn or similar has nothing of value to add.

One of Maggie Thatcher’s ministers, delivering a speech at a dinner, was disconcerted to receive a note from his boss as he was in mid-flow: “If you haven’t anything to say, hurry up and say it,” she commanded.

It’s exactly the same with the content on your website.

That’s my opinion, of course, but then I am an expert. And I can prove it.