There is a lot of content out there, no matter what your interest or niche a simple Google (other search engines are available) search will lead you to enough content to keep you reading for a lifetime. For a lot of companies, this is a major barrier to adopting a sensible content strategy. As time goes by we will see more and more content getting less and less attention from audiences. Many “expert” sources are telling us that we should just give up and let everyone else fight it out for their audiences attention….

…I disagree! Perhaps there is too much content, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up, you just need to be a bit SMART about it:

Seek a way to make it quicker – Make it quicker to produce and quicker to consume. Imagine walking past a restaurant and seeing a person with an inviting tray of bitesized samples? You take one, eat it as you go on your way, and then decide that you might have lunch there later on that week. It’s the same with your content, a 5,000 word diatribe on something important might seem like a fabulous piece of content – and indeed will be highly valuable to those that read it…. But (in our attention deficit world) who has time to read it? Your existing audience probably will, but anyone new might be put off by the length. Try getting the author to write a 300 word opinion piece that highlights the key point. The short version will be much more accessible and you can flag up the longer article for those that want to read more.      

Make sure you choose & track the right metrics – A lot of content campaigns fail because of the wrong metrics, whether it’s shares, views or anything else you need to work out which metrics make your campaign a success. Instead of tracking page views, track where people go after reading your content. Add a call to action and track how many people respond to it and what happens to those people as they progress along your sales funnel. Just because one metric works for one company, doesn’t mean it will work for you – own your metrics!

Analyse, use data and evolve – Every article, blog post or video gives you data you can learn from. If a post gets no views, try changing the title. If a post gets read and shared a lot, work out why and use it to hone your strategy. Use short posts to test topics and enlarge upon the ones that resonate with your audience. If you aren’t doing your analysis on a monthly basis, you aren’t doing it enough!

Research how to get your message to your audience – Firing up a blog post or video on your website without any distribution strategy is a sure-fire way to get 0 reads! You need a solid distribution strategy, understanding where your audience live (online) and making sure you can distribute regular, timely, expert led content to those channels.

Try not to vomit up a sales message – Yes, the ultimate aim of your content is to get people to engage with your business and eventually buy what you sell, but that doesn’t mean you need to top and tail every post with a short paragraph about your product line. By all means have a call to action, but don’t treat your readers like they are idiots that need constant nudges to buy! If your audience is sufficiently engaged by what you give them, and you have built the right audience, they will use your company when the need arises. Also, be aware of those people in your audience that are interested in what you do but have no need for it – these are the people that (with the right nurturing) will become promoters of your company, recommending you to contacts and banging the drum without ever buying anything.

Finally, whatever your strategy, make sure you are looking at the long term, content marketing is a marathon not a sprint!