“Marketers always ask me how to make more or better content, and it’s almost always the wrong question. The right question is: “How do I get my content in front of the right people?”” Joe Chernov – VP of Content at HubSpot
You were among those that embraced Content Marketing early. You truly believe that high quality, well-written content that informs and educates is a great way to present your own expertise. You have also spent a considerable amount of time and energy in building a process internally that listens socially to identify issues that matter in your area and then captures your own unique point of view about those issues in an article. Despite all this, the nagging fear is something is not working out. Month on month the trend is clear – “views” and social shares are down and so is engagement. Does that sound like your story? If – so you are not alone.
In essence, the problem is one of plenty – the content marketing case is so strong that everyone is climbing onto this particular bandwagon. The result is 30 million items of content being shared online every single day. It’s asking a lot of your content to grab the eyeballs while buried in that dense a thicket. Is it time then, to hang up your content marketing boots – not by a long shot! Here are 5 types of content that will still stand out from the crowd.
“The only way to win at content marketing is for the reader to say, ‘This was written specifically for me.’” : Jamie Turner, 60 Second Marketer
Something written for everyone makes sense to no-one. An ever-present temptation is to try to address the larger target segments with your content – in the current situation the reverse may well work better. Create more pieces of content – each piece specifically targeted at specific sub-segments or even smaller target groups. The fact is their needs are different in their own way – identify those differences , address them specifically and watch the small but highly targeted audience lap it up.
Research commissioned by 3M showed that nearly 90% of the information consumed by the brain is visual and as a result, visual information gets processed by the brain up to 60000 faster than text information. This gives a clue why in recent times the most shared content is all visual. In the context of the content of value to organizations, this suggests that the Content Marketing focus should be on creating Infographics, Process, or Flow Charts and text articles liberally supported by pictures and diagrams.
Audio / Video Content
The kind of videos actor Mike Henry had in mind when he said “We’re living in a world where one good video can lead to a massive social following” are perhaps not what most organizations would find useful. That being said one can no longer ignore the importance of audio / video content when YouTube is pushing to be the world’s 2nd largest search engine after Google. Bandwidths today are not a problem and creating webinars, podcasts, and animated or live action videos is no longer as challenging as used to be the case. The medium is still relatively underserved – a good opportunity for content you create to be viewed positively (pun intended).
Customer Generated Content
Surveys show that 51% of Americans trust user-generated content, 16% information on the company website and 14% news articles about the company – the numbers won’t be very different for other markets. While not the easiest to produce if you have a customer willing to lend their name and inputs to a piece of content this can swiftly become a magnet for similar organizations or for those with similar questions that need answering. You marketing team will also tell you that promoting content written by someone else has the ring of truth to it and is hence often easier to promote!
Randall Lane, editor of Forbes said – “Tell a relevant, targeted, transparent story, and the whole world will share it.” Attention spans are short and there is a lot of competition for the mental bandwidth of your target audience – a story told well that echoes the situation your own target audience is facing is thus more likely to strike a chord. Given a choice between a pedantic article and a story, the story will get picked each time. It’s obviously an easier read and the customers believe themselves smart enough to extract the right message from it.
This is a fast evolving space – everyone has bright ideas and the motivation to make their content better. My suggestion is, don’t be content if your outstanding content – the real value will be when it stands out!
(Note: This article first appeared in more or less the same shape in Social Samosa under my byline a while ago – I’m reposting it as it popped up in a recent discussion with a client.)