Avoid Content for Content's Sake

Mark Nardone

Content is king, content rules, content lives. We've heard this consistently for the last several years. As marketers, there’s not an hour that goes by when we are not reading about the importance of communicating to customers, engaging with influencers and helping them navigate through the channels to advocate, refer and purchase.

But wait – there are some moments in a marketer's toolkit when content isn't always the king. Especially when the information being served up takes the quantity rule vs. the quality rule. What we've uncovered in PAN Communications’ 2014 Content Fitness (CFT) Report may surprise you.

Check out more key insights from CFT here.

As marketers, we must be stewards of the brand. But there’s a need to recognize that consumers continue to share a wide variety of content – whether they formally see the value or not. We understand key goals will be outlined to measure the effectiveness of our content program from engagement, to education, to hopefully supporting the conversion to sales.

Learn more about insight #2 and why traditional matters but mobile rules here

However, as you notice in PAN’s CFT, insight #3 analyzes the risk marketers face with the dreadful dis-engagement issue by realizing that sometimes consumers just share – for the sake of sharing. Even when they may not see any value in the “sharability” of the content. As a matter of fact, our survey shows that 93% of participants say they share news, despite only 75.7% feeling like it is actually tailored to their needs (see Figure 1.5). Why? It could be that social media has made it extremely easy to share content. Or they may feel the need to be “important” in social -- opting to be measured on activity rather than value.

Either way, marketers must recognize the risk/reward as they lay out their next content marketing plan. Here are some thoughts to consider as you build that “content is king” strategy:

  • Marketers owe it to their customers to create a more valuable experience than contribute to a growing fire hose of irrelevant content. Take the time to gather the insight needed to serve up content that will be relevant and further impact your customers’ affinity for your brand. The content should be nimble enough to address the life cycle of the relationship (return customer, first time buyer, etc.) and align to these personas.
  • Part of that means thinking beyond branded news or marketing content and appealing to other senses, aka surprise and delight, humor, well-timed content tied to themes or current events, etc. The key is to not over think or try too hard. Sometimes all it takes is a clever post that is well-timed and aligned to your customers’ behavior/interests, etc.
  • Consuming information and passing it along is the very essence of what makes new media social. Don’t be afraid to keep the content at your current pace – just make sure its' main goal is to provide value, not confusion.
  • Less is more. Aim for quality over quantity. Distribute content at peak times during the day. Otherwise, marketers risk turning their engagement strategy into a “dis-engagement trap.” Check out the following excerpt from our Content Fitness Test Report showing optimal times a day for sharing content:

When consumer or share

The third quarter is quickly approaching and marketing teams are scurrying to fill out their content marketing calendars with approaches, events, pillars, etc. Try and take some of these factors into consideration – and while you’re at, it read the entire Content Fitness Report link to help further guide and adjust.

Or maybe you have another thought, approach, insight – you’re welcome to share it and engage @markcnardone. Just please make sure it’s of interest to me or I won’t be sharing it anytime soon.


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