Content marketing overload is a real problem for all of us. There is just so much content posted every day that most of it will go unseen. It’s like trying to get the attention of a bartender in a crowded club by trying to yell louder than everyone else. Sure it can work but it’s not efficient. There are two challenges with content consumers that prevent your hard work from ever being seen:
Content Marketing Overload
We’ve got our Tweets, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook feed, forum posts, blogs, etc… to comb through every day. I set up Tiny Tiny RSS as a replacement for Google Reader and that imports at least 300+ blog posts every day. Then I’ll hop over to HootSuite and monitor social media accounts.
In any given day there are over 500 pieces of content marketing that are available for consuming. Of those articles, I might read 20 and share less than 3. Tomorrow there will be another 500. In the end there is just too much of it to read it all.
Content Marketing Fatigue
Content marketing fatigue comes into play when the same topics come up time after time. For example, I just added BuzzSumo to my list of daily research tools. It’s a great way to see how much discussion is going on for a particular topic. Today alone they reported 160 new articles in the last 24 hours for the topic “content marketing”.
Are there really 160 new topics on content marketing? There may be a few but none are revolutionary. Yes; I’m aware of the irony of me complaining about too much content marketing in an article about content marketing.
The broader and more competitive the topic, the more articles there will be. And when more marketers try to vie for eyeballs at break neck speed turn around times, the amount of fluff pieces goes up exponentially. People are getting tired of the same rehashed stuff. Content marketing has turned into content fatigue.
Overcoming Content Marketing Roadblocks
So how do you get attention in this overloaded over supplied content marketing landscape? Don’t worry It’s easy. Well, not really. It’s actually a lot of hard work testing, trying new things, and failing often. But if you do it right, you fail a little less each time. Here are some of the lessons I learned the hard way.
Title is vitally important
Take a look again at that screen shot above from my RSS feed reader. Your visitors are going to read at least the first three words of the title while skimming. If those few words catch their attention, they’ll read or skim the rest of the title. Upon passing those two tests, you’ll get a click to the full article.
The other challenge with titles has to do with search engine traffic. Any SEO worth their salt is going to tell you to put your targeted keywords in your title. Which will in turned be used in <h1> and <title> tags. Sometimes SEO and exciting copy are at odds with each other. What this means is that you are going to have to balance SEO concerns with writing a compelling enough title that will grab the attention of a skimming eye.
Quality over Quantity
Quality at the source. That’s what we were taught in Supply Chain Management. Any company worth a damn does not screw around when it comes to quality. Quality of your content in this context means delivering a lot of value. Over the years I’ve watched blogs pump out verbose fluff. They will take essentially a tweet’s worth of information and pad that into a 500+ word post. It’s interesting to see the same BS’ing techniques reserved for last minute college essay writing reemerge in the “real world”.
A great example of quality vs. quantity is Avinash Kaushik’s analytics blog Occam’s Razor. Any Internet marketer worth their salt reads his posts about web analytics. He provides so much quality information that he doesn’t need to spew out fluff every day to generate page views. People are coming back time and again for the quality content.
Granted, if you work for a company whose entire revenue model is based on page views, ignore what I just wrote. Your job is to churn out mountains of fluff. All I can say about that is, I’m sorry.
Get to the Point Quickly
Once you get that treasured visitor, you need to get to the point fast. That means near instant gratification as your title sets the expectation of what content they expect to consume. Again we are going to read the first couple sentence to see if the rest of the post is worth reading. If so, we’ll skim through it cherry picking the big points. I doubt anyone is reading this article word for word.
If you are making videos, keep them short. The rule of thumb is to keep them around 3 minutes or less in length. Have the action happen quickly. Too much set-up and you’ll lose the viewer. If you are going for viral marketing on sites like Reddit.com Go for videos less than a minute. The amount of content may be growing, but, attention spans are shrinking.
A long video has to come from a credible source in order to be watched all the way through. Take Moz.com’s Whiteboard Friday series. They can get away with 8-10 minute long videos because they pack a lot of value in that time frame. Plus, they cater to short attention span visitors by including a transcript of the video. Now you have a choice of watching or skimming. Transcribing videos is a major pain. I’d recommend outsourcing that.
Content Marketing Take Always
To stand out among the avalanche of content churned out by thousands of bloggers every day, you need an edge. A good title will get you past the first hurdle of getting them to click on your article. Once that reader is on your site you’ve got only a few seconds to get to the point and deliver a lot of value. By combing those three together, you go from being that person yelling at the bar tender for attention to the friendly faced regular that always leaves a big tip. Guess which one gets their drinks first.