“Stay relevant, otherwise they’ll find another business who is.” This constantly echoes in our ears. “Oftentimes the biggest challenge we face is staying relevant.”

But is that really true? Is the pursuit of relevance really worth it? Or is there another way?

In this article, I’ll show you how it’s possible to stay relevant without focusing everything on it.

The Problem

The workplace is always changing. Consumer interests fluctuate. The product or service you’re selling might not have been interesting to buyers a few years ago, but is a hot topic today.

Plus, people are social creatures, so our conversation topics evolve, change, and grow. Something that is completely niché today could be mainstream tomorrow. For example, nobody was talking about the Coronavirus nor how it affects marketing 3 months ago.

Since business is ultimately about people, we seek to serve those around us. And it’s not helpful to offer solutions that aren’t practical or helpful at the time. Imagine trying to use a wrench to fix an emotional wound; if it’s irrelevant, it’s not going to help.

We serve best by remaining relevant. But should our focus be locked there?

What is Relevant?

‘Relevance’ is defined as “relation to the matter at hand,” according to Merriam-Webster. Although this is simple on paper, it isn’t clear to determine in the realm of business.

Would it still be relevant to discuss the 2016 election, given that there is another election happening in late 2020? Is it relevant to use the trending ‘#LockdownHouseParty’ to drive business, even if you knew for certain this would only work for 1 week? Is the video game Minecraft still relevant, even though it’s 10 years old?

This is all to say that so-called ‘relevance’ is a moving target. At the very best, it’s vague. More often, however, it’s just a guess that leads to pressure, failure, and stress.

How NOT To Be Relevant

We’ve all felt uncomfortable when confronted with clear attempts to ‘stay relevant.’ Take, for instance, Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be” commercial, which received enormous backlash. Although relevant to the situation in the culture, Gillette failed to actually be relevant and instead left customers and potential buyers with a bad taste in their mouth.

‘Relevance’ should not just mean a video “targeted to the times” or referencing the challenges of the day. Rather, to remain relevant, you should be creating content that lasts. Our cultural moment will change and, when it does, content that is clearly relatable to our specific moment becomes obsolete.

Once COVID-19 has become a thing of the past, will your content last? Or will it only make sense within the context of “the pandemic of 2020?”

What Kind of Content Lasts?

Focusing fully on building something great nearly always leads to great results. Trying to stay relevant leads to second guessing yourself, which leads to less success and worse content. Plus, as we already discussed, it means that your content becomes outdated far too quickly.

Consider the iPhone. Apple’s goal was to innovate – to create something great that would contribute to human flourishing. And they succeeded. Or Star Wars – an idea that nobody had tried before, simply to tell an excellent story. Or Toy Story, which grossed over $363,000,000 worldwide. Was their goal to create and sell a “relevant” story?

Relevance in and of itself is a good thing. We stay relevant in business in order to best serve our customers. But if we make it our sole purpose and focus, we won’t fare well. Because relevance is a moving target.

Focus instead on creating great content that lasts. This will lead you in the direction you want to go. Considering that video has been proven to last, why not give it a try?