Twelve months ago, I would have joked that content discovery meant memorizing the useless facts learned at trivia nights and underneath beer bottle caps. It would also have included my New Year’s resolution to get through the entire New York Times Guide To Essential Knowledge: A Desk Reference for Everything. Like most resolutions, I didn’t keep this one, but I did read some fascinating stuff on Art, Architecture and then (skipping from A to M) Mythology and Medical facts.
I never finished the book because I decided to pack up and move (without the heavy tome) from Australia to the US. It was an exciting, more than nerve-wracking, challenge. After all, I’d been to the US multiple times, English was the common language and the entire world is exposed to American culture via the Kardashians and Paris Hilton. This was going to be, as we say at home, “too easy.”
It was only after I started working that I realized my cultural and knowledge gap was much wider than I initially thought. In this industry, publishers, platforms, media personalities, even industry abbreviations were all new to me: Ganette, Hachette, Halifax and Hulu. Comscore, DMA, QSR, CPG. Common phrases were mysteries: “Reaching out,” “circling back,” “connecting,” “a ton (of people, of folks, of stuff),” “a bunch (of things, of people, of folks, of stuff).”
Trying to “acclimate” (not acclimatise) to these changes and learn more about the industry I worked in, and the new world I lived in, is what I equate with content discovery.
Content discovery now means consuming as much content as possible. I use Flipboard to aggregate all my feeds and subscriptions. I subscribe to a lot of previously unheard of publications. I watch more TV than I did before and I make a mental Google note every time someone references a person I think I should know, such as a thought leader, an entrepreneur, even movie and TV actors. It can be overwhelming at times and there are days where it’s just easier to read a good bit of mindless fiction. But content discovery is so much fun because so often, it means cultural discovery too.
It also means tackling my next New York Times task — reading Smarter by Sunday: 52 Weekends of Essential Knowledge for the Curious Mind.
Natalie Chain is Outbrain’s Marketing Manager for Self-Serve.