The content tide is high and we’re sinking

Creating content is hard, staying afloat is even harder, writes Edge's Jessica Silver.

Forbes magazine has confirmed a massive boom in content marketing, with marketers increasing their spending and businesses increasing their demands. Within the span of 60 seconds there are 3.8 million Google searches, 3.3 million Facebook posts and 149,500 emails sent. What does this mean for content marketers? We are drowning in content quicksand – just as our feet touch the ground, the refresh button sends us 10 feet deeper into digital Narnia, a.k.a. irrelevance.

Despite the scrolling marathons our thumbs and eyeballs embark upon, our human attention is capped. After all, one can only endure so much Honey Badger spam. According to Mark Schaefer, this ‘Content Shock’ has us living in a marketing epoch where increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.

Audiences are inundated with content, while marketers are slowly losing attention. It’s this imbalance that has turned content marketing into a battlefield. The struggle is real.

So, why are we sinking more each day? Read on…

You’re one grain amongst millions

In TV the challenge is competing against other brands who can afford to be on TV. However, mainstream media is losing viewers and have entered into the informational war zone that is content marketing – organic is out and paid is in.

Rival IQ has explained this fatal reality, uncovering the reliance that media brands have on content, algorithms and social media data. What was once the battle of the niche has become survival of the media’s fittest. Stay in your lane if you deem, it’s the bold bribers who are taking the lead.

So, the race to relevance continues. Not only are content marketers competing against media top dogs, but they’re contending against every amateur filmmaker, vlogger and ambitious teen hoping to become an Insta-famous celebrity. What was once a content VIP zone has become ‘district ordinary’.

Self-dependence is detrimental

Your content may be dipped into genius, but without an audience it remains irrelevant. For this reason, organic reach is declining and we’re paying the price… literally. To be a key player, you have to be a payer. Marketers are on a mission to amplify their information and paid content is their solution.

Quick! Look down, we’re still sinking! Paid content is a double-edged sword that’s facilitating content quicksand. With an aggregate of marketers bidding for viewer attention, the reliability and benefits of paid content has diluted itself. So, how do you avoid being totally submerged by irrelevance?

Tilt yourself (and your content)

We’re all walking in the same streets but everyone is having a different conversation. Is your tilt strong enough to flock the herds to your chatter? Asking the fundamental questions remain pivotal to executing your dominance, starting with WHY. Why are you here? Why should anyone give a damn about your perspective? The answer is the key to finding a solid brand purpose. With a foolproof WHY, you’ll lay the foundations for a natural content tilt.

Tilting your content is equally a difficult chore. Content marketers and content creators stress out about trying to come up with unique content that no one has ever seen. However, when it comes to originality it’s important to realise that HOW your ideas are presented will be your ticket to escaping content marketing’s trough of disillusionment. As King Solomon said: “There’s nothing new under the new.”

Here are five recommendations:

  1. Get a goddamn personality, no one likes a bore.
  2. Talk with an attitude.
  3. Back yourself up with yourself. Your own examples should scream “LOOK AT ME, I’m credible”.
  4. It’s a tactic as old as time…employ storytelling.
  5. Choose an elite perspective or get controversial. Whichever it is, make it damn interesting.

Et voilà, tilted!

Take your time and do less – the more you panic the more you sink

We’re living in an area of micro-moments where vying for a split second of audience attention has become a game show in itself. In the famous words of Tyra Banks, you are no longer in the running to become America’s Next Top Model the Internet’s Top Viewed Piece of Content. Precision takes time, which is why you need to treat your content like it’s a piece of creative. Attention is a prize and quality is trumping bombardment. Go to a museum, people-watch, eat a Kit Kat. Whatever it takes, take a moment to find your inspiration and let your untapped creativity slay your competitors.

(I’ll take the Kit Kat please!)

Jessica Silver is a content analyst at Edge.


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