The marketing world has seen an explosion in the amount of content being pumped out by businesses eager to convert eyeballs into paying customers.
But there’s a problem with this approach. There’s even a term for it, coined by marketer Mark Schaefer: content shock. It means that the available time the average human has for reading is far less than you’d need to consume a fraction of the content out there. It’s harder than ever before to stand out. So are you wasting your time and money producing it?
Not if you do it right. Fortunately, there’s a better way than mindlessly churning out content. I believe in doing more with less, and always having a solid plan to fall back on. In an age of oversharing and shrinking attention spans, you can do more with less.
The answer is strategic thinking.
In my experience it’s currently 99% doing, and 1% thinking. You probably wouldn’t send a friend five texts in a single day, recommending different things they should buy. Yet that’s what content overload often looks like to customers.
The pressure to publish constantly through social channels leads to us publishing everything, when a lot of it isn’t very effective. This is especially true of small companies trying to keep pace with larger organisations, which might have the staff and resources to publish at that speed.
The pressure to constantly publish leads to unhealthy behaviours and low trust between brands and customers. We’re so used to ‘doing’ that being strategic doesn’t feel productive. The truth is the opposite. You’ll get better yields if you stop following the crowd and start thinking like a marketer.
I remember working with a client who felt under enormous pressure. The client wanted to pump out content from every possible channel. It took a lot of persuasion, but eventually they realised that investing in huge quantities of content wouldn’t generate more return. Proportionately, they could get more value from less frequent, more technical content.
Putting the customer at the centre of your content strategy is one of the key ways of overcoming content shock, according to the research group Econsultancy. Rather than publishing lots of content with little or no focus, it’s important to tailor your message to their needs.
The company above realised that their customers interacted most freely on Meetup. So, we repointed their strategy towards great conversations there, and things began to change. All of a sudden, fruitful conversations were happening.
Another way to avoid content shock, says Econsultancy, is to produce content with a pay-off.* Think of it as being like healthy eating. Healthy content isn’t sugary, fatty or bad for you. It should be filling, nourishing and leave you feeling good, like broccoli.
This type of ‘broccoli’ content offers something of real value to your customer, but this requires you to spend time thinking about, writing and editing work that perfectly fits your customer and your business proposition.
Did you enjoy reading this? Get more insights in our book, ‘Lean Content Marketing’ – available here: