Friday, March 7, 2014

Strength is not in numbers

The backlash has already begun against content marketing. We're all going to be drowning in content, they say. Brands will flood their platforms with mediocre, me-too filler that accomplishes nothing, except to the extent that it trains customers to stop listening.

Just when everyone was gearing up to start developing their content, that approach to SEO has already been declared passé.

If you're listening, though, you can hear the sound of opportunity. When everyone else is chasing after content quantity, the opportunity is in content quality.

I spent years as an editor, and the method I always applied—the method that always worked—was to cut and condense. Fewer words work better than more. Shorter headlines drive higher engagement. Customers almost always prefer less content to more—particularly if we use the "less" requirement as an opportunity to make your content better.

The people who never really had a content strategy in the first place have devised plans built around empty numbers, and now they're adding their weight to the backlash against that non-strategic strategy. Your focus, though, should be on quality, not quantity: fewer, better, and shorter pieces that answer questions and solve real problems in your customers' lives.

When the world is full of noise, your opportunity is to provide a clear signal.