Everyone wants their content to be seen, but with marketing messages competing for attention more than ever, the truth is that even great content goes unnoticed. No matter how valuable your content may be, your audience is spending a significant amount of their time elsewhere.
This can be a stressful situation, so what's the solution? The good news is, like many of life's challenges, this one could be cured with some laughter. Rational, informative content may elevate your brand to the next level, but the real challenge is to humanize it.
Whether we like it or not, the digital world is fueled by the power of entertainment, whether that be sport, film, music, fashion and whatever else we think of as entertainment. Sure, this category of content may not be intellectually stimulating, but there's a reason for its existence: people love being entertained. According to Craft, Buzzfeed's monthly unique visitors were reported to total some 165 million in January 2018, and a lot of that content is perhaps trivial at best.
As businesses, we want to build a loyal and lasting audience, so it's essential to achieve balanced content marketing. A good mixture of entertaining content and the more serious stuff will ensure that your target audience gravitates towards your content, developing a deeper sense of trust in your brand along the way. Once people are hooked, the rest of your content stands a far greater chance of getting noticed.
Crack the content code.
Today we spend endless amounts of time scrolling through social media channels. The ultimate challenge that we're faced with as brands is to convince our audiences that we're worth wasting time with too.
A while back I had a fascinating conversation with Mark Schaefer, author of one of my favourite books, The Content Code. Although it was a couple of years ago, the conversation is still relevant today, and I recall that Schaefer emphasised, "I think we're in the most difficult time to be in marketing. It's harder because the channels are so fragmented, audiences are fragmented."
With diverse social platforms at hand, our audiences are exposed to perpetual choice every second of the day. Discussing the customer journey, Schaefer pointed out that we're not only competing with other companies, we're competing with anybody who posts online content, whether it's on their Snapchat account or YouTube. So, forget focusing on long content or short content, as Schaefer says, focus on the right content.
Mix and match your content and channels.
Your audiences don't all consume content in the same way. Audiences will continue to be fragmented, so the key is to align with each segment and ensure that your content appeals to people on an individual level.
Schaefer drew my focus to the fashion industry, explaining "How do you get attention in the fashion business? You've got to create something consistently new, consistently conversation-worthy, visual, beautiful, daring." Of course, we're not all showcasing fashion, but we should be innovatively showcasing the essence of our brands from every angle. If we're going to think like the fashion industry, we should be reworking our past content and looking for new patterns and trends, weaving them into creating content that will rise to the top.
Strike a pose
Think of Vogue. We often seem to question whether magazines will stand the test of time, yet Vogue manages to crush these doubts every time they release something new. Most impressively, while creating the most modern, digital forms of content, they never lose the essence of who they are. It's pretty remarkable that a magazine that started in 1892 now creates consistently shareable, relevant content; always surprising and hooking their audience via social media, while leading them back to the magazine itself.
A perfect example of this is the celebrity interviews in their magazine; typically long, detailed pieces. However, these pieces are now accompanied by online micro-content, such as shareable Q&A videos, boosting awareness and enticing their audience to buy it. Essentially, their online content is a catalyst for selling magazines.
So, take a risk with your content and discover what makes your audience tick. If you can surprise your audience, or even just make them laugh, you're one step closer to becoming a brand that people are invested in, and trust.