It’s no secret that content marketing is on the rise, and brands that aren’t getting in the game are getting left in the dust. In fact, according to Forbes, content marketing has beaten out both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) in search popularity, trailing just behind social media marketing in interest. But with content marketing becoming the biggest buzzword in the industry and brands allocating huge portions of their marketing budgets to ever more content, many marketers are noticing that their content just isn’t packing the punch it used to among audiences. If you’ve noticed interest in your content trailing off or not even getting off the ground, don’t give up! Instead, figure out where your content marketing strategy is getting off track. Here are some possible culprits.
1. Your Content is Similar to Everything Else
As brands sink more and more money into producing content, it becomes harder for any one piece of content to stand out. Business consultant Larry Alton explains the problem in a very succinct way at Relevance:
Think about it; one ice cream truck in a populated area on a hot day is bound to make a lot of money. Ten ice cream trucks in the same area serving the same population are bound to make one-tenth of that total potential revenue. In the same way, the theory goes that over time, each individual content piece becomes less valuable and content marketing, in turn, becomes a less viable strategy.
But the good news is, there’s room for Ben & Jerry’s and Blue Bell, and content marketing is about figuring out what value your brand provides and providing your content in a unique and differentiated way.
2. Your Audience Suffers From Content Shock
However, like children surrounded by ice-cream trucks on a hot day, audiences are more susceptible than ever to “content shock,” which Mark Schaefer defines as “the emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.”
In short, we’ve made our information too available to consumers who are too easily distracted to absorb it. Losing audiences to content shock is much more likely if your content seems too much like your competitors’ and doesn’t strive to meet consumers’ specific needs in a brand-specific way.
3. Your Content Isn't Engaging
What if I told you that one of the most successful pieces of content of all time was based on decade-old linguistics data? It’s true! The New York Times quiz, “How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk,” was the site’s most popular piece of content for 2013 and is still being shared. Instead of writing a ho-hum piece of boring content to read, The Times made Harvard’s linguistics data relevant to each and every user by showing them how the research was applicable to their lives.
All too often, marketers do the exact opposite of The Times, trying to churn out content with a one-size-fits all approach that often results in dry, static content. White papers and case studies are effective means of B2B communication, but overwhelmingly, audiences are asking for those experiences to be tailored to their needs.
As a matter of fact, 91 percent of buyers are looking for more interactive infographics, calculators and quizzes to help them understand how new brands can work for them.
Interactive Content is Engaging
4. You're Being Impersonal
Showing audiences that you know them has become incredibly important to users more overwhelmed by choices than ever before. According to Demand Metric, 80 percent of your audience appreciates custom content, and 90 percent finds it useful.
But serving that content can prove to be a challenge. Curating conversation with audiences through interactive elements, such as quizzes and calculators, can create an invaluable feedback loop with consumers, offering them the chance to tell both marketing and sales teams which parts of their content journey they found useful and which parts they could do without. By encouraging interaction, brands can create content based on conversation.
5. Your Message Doesn’t Fit the Medium
In the age of content overload, you can only count on your audience’s attention for about 15 seconds (at most!) before they move on, and if you’re not serving the right message at the right time, chances are, you’ll lose them. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and, yes, even Twitter are all very visual platforms, and recent studies show that serving static content can actually hurt your chances of getting your message out there. But adding interactive content, such interactive infographics and sharable quizzes, or even breaking up your Creacontent into sharable parts, will make your information not only more accessible, but also will let the audience decide which parts of your message to pass along.
In a world where most brands are offering information but few are offering options, giving your customers choices over how they receive and share messages is a great way to rise above a flood of irrelevant content.
How have you improved your content? Let us know about it in the comments!