Are you finding it harder to get cut-through to your targets? Does it seem like the Law of Diminishing Returns or worse - Mission Impossible? Are they not responding the way they used to? You're not alone. It's mighty noisy out there - and grabbing a megaphone isn't the answer. Find out what does work in high tech markets.
The no 1 challenge for content marketers in 2018
Are you finding that visitors and contacts are no longer:
- Exploring your skilfully optimised website?
- Downloading your terrific e-books?
- subscribing in droves to your fascinating blog?
- Opening as many of your carefully crafted emails?
- Reading the resources your marketing team sweated over for weeks?
There’s a reason: for content consumers, the internet is a huge wall of noise: think Manowar (world’s loudest rock band) plus Verdi’s Aida - with 5,000 elephants as well as 1,000 emails a day to read. No wonder they’re too distracted to notice you.
Source: archiesays.blogspot.com Verdi's Aida performed at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
We’re drowning in it
Doug Kessler from Velocity Partners warned us about this years ago in Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge. We agree in our post the deluge is already here. It’s not surprising that most attempts to grab targets’ attention just don’t work anymore. Your targets:
- Screen out PPC ad panels and boom boxes
- Ignore or block out Google ads and others
- Close the squeeze panels that pop up (or leave because of them)
- See through Native Advertising for the Deception it is
It’s marketing’s fault
Marketers only have marketing to blame: your targets have been hardened into indifference by constant bombardment - and not necessarily by you. Your competitors are targeting them too, as well as every Nigerian scammer and promoter of organ enlargement or sexual performance. Targets feel that their trust has been abused, and they’ve taken revenge by shutting out almost everyone. Can you blame them?
The result is that marketing agencies are now busting their skulls to find ever more clever ways to knock targets out of indifference back into responsiveness, but most of the time that won’t work. Targets have switched channels or switched off completely and you won’t get them back unless they go looking for something and find that you have it. They want to be back in control, being the hunters not the hunted.
So, you need to start looking at marketing from their viewpoint – what they want, not what you’re selling – which is the whole concept of content marketing. Read more in our Slideshare Introduction to Content Marketing.
Just be useful
With so much useless, derivative material being force-fed to audiences in so many forms, the best way to stand out is to be really useful -- not dazzling, epic or even awesome – just useful. How? One simple way is to show how much you respect their time by helping them save it. You could sift through the mountains of information ‘rubbish’ for them, and pick out the gems they need.
An example is Gizmo’s freeware, a website run by a good friend. Not original you say? There are hundreds of sites promoting freeware and most have endless lists of it, don’t they? Yes, but this website has much more: a short list of freeware per category where each has been reviewed and ranked by one of his team. It’s not just a list but a test-drive by a trusted friend. It saves his subscribers a huge amount of time and they love it.
For instance, imagine you’re looking for the best free malware removal program. Gizmo provides 4 recommendations with brief descriptions, pros and cons and a few technical details. How long did it take to glance over this link to check if it had the answer you're looking for? No time. No wonder Gizmo’s website gets 120,000 hits a day. It provides real benefits to his subscribers. You can do the same.
Lists still cut it – but use a good tailor
‘Any headline that lists a number of reasons, secrets, types or ways will work because it makes a very specific promise of what’s in store for the reader,’ says Brian Clark at copyblogger.com. That’s why you see so many ‘list posts’, but that’s not the point here.
Time is the most precious commodity in business today. No-one has enough of it so, if silence used to be golden, time must surely be diamond these days - mind you we’re not talking the Kohinoor weighing in at nearly 200 carats. Size does matter, for sure, but here it's in inverse proportion. Your targets don’t want endless lists of 200 apps or solutions or shortcuts, let alone something like 557 Email Subject Line Hacks to Get You Noticed in the Inbox. They want to get to the gems without the stocking fillers, and fast.
Keep it short
To be really useful, give them a list of items (say pitfalls to avoid or hints or shortcuts or answers or something useful) that you’ve actually checked and selected, not just grabbed and copied. You need to cite credible sources, sift the items for relevance to your targets, add some valuable insights and present the information in a form that’s easy to consume.
This is classic ‘curated content’ and, if you’re following content marketing trends routinely, you might as well summarise them, add some value and share the lot with people you know will benefit. This is just one form of useful content; there are 9 more in 10 Sources of Great Content.
Earn their trust
Gizmo’s model is based on trust: subscribers know they can go to his site, dive into a category, grab what they need and leave whenever they like. For subscribers there are no strings attached, no ads, no deals, no selling. Gizmo has earned their trust over many years by offering reliable advice based on real reviews by real people, by not taking shortcuts and by preserving total independence.
By contrast, even some of the best known marketing agencies churn out truckloads of recycled stuff that add no new insights on the subjects they cover. That’s just plain dumb. These guys are also the same ones who say you need to blog several times a day.
We think that Tom Webster from Brandsavant and Rand Fishkin from Moz have a much better idea - produce content (blog posts, resources, emails) when you have something of value to share, not just because you feel you think you should post more often. Read more in Content Creation: Producing Junk at the Speed of Light?
Be persistent and consistent
It takes time to build a reputation as a source of really useful content. It also takes consistency; you can’t send an extraordinary piece today and a piece of junk next week. Readers will judge you on the latest piece and, if it’s rubbish, they’ll unsubscribe and never come back.
Yet once people understand that you’re doing all the hard yacka and saving them loads of time, they might even look forward to your emails. But don't overdo it with multiple emails per day or a dozen in a week - Read more about frequency in Stop Flooding My Inbox. Do it well, do it consistently well and your targets just might share and recommend your content to their friends. Nice.
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