Content has been a buzzword in marketing circles for several years. In fact, as far back 1996 Bill Gates declared ‘Content is King’. This has never been truer than it is today but with the ever-growing volume of communications bombarding the average consumer it should perhaps be evolved to read ‘Quality Content is King’. Chris Callander explains why.
In a typical day, over 650 million tweets are sent, four million hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, four billion Facebook messages are posted and 22 million text messages are sent. Add to that all the offline communications we are all exposed to — on TV, radio, print, sponsorship, (the list goes on) — and it’s easy to see why studies estimate that the average consumer sees up to 10,000 brand messages every day.
So, it’s no wonder that getting your message to stand out from the crowd is becoming even more challenging.
What’s the answer?
Plenty of organisations offer quick-win methods to automate content creation and sharing. But there really are no quick wins and, quite frankly, many of these ‘solutions’ have the potential to do brands more harm than good. Bombarding customers and prospects with endless, poorly thought out messages is a sure-fire way to put them off. You may well gain followers or likes, but will they be the people you want to influence? I doubt it.
The answer is quality; creating content that catches an intended audience’s attention and provides them with interesting, useful information which adds value.
You don’t have to take my word for this either. Google’s approach is a great example. While exact details of how its search algorithms work is closely guarded, it is widely accepted that Google assesses the value of a web page and its content before deciding how high up the search rankings to place it. Re-share content from elsewhere, try to ‘game the system’ by publishing something multiple times or do nothing more than aggregate content from other sites and you will get no benefit in search engine optimisations (SEO) terms. You may even find your site penalised.
Facebook and other social platforms reward good content too. The more a post you publish is shared by others, the more likely it is to appear organically (without you paying) in other people’s feeds. And as these applications become more sophisticated they become able to tell genuine shares from automated ones.
And it’s not just online where quality is paying dividends. While many print-based magazines have struggled in recent years, the titles which are coming out on top are doing so because they offer their readers something they can’t get elsewhere. And many are growing as a result. In fact, recently the Spectator recorded the highest sales of printed copies in its 190-year history.
But why does it matter? Why does an organisation need to compete for the attention of its customers and prospects?
Because the way buying decisions are being made has changed. Today, purchasers are moving further along the buying process before directly engaging with potential suppliers. They are gathering information from a range sources — both on and offline — to inform themselves. Purchasing decisions are still being made on the basis of knowing, liking and trusting a supplier. But the ease at which information is available enables buyers to do some initial research in a less pressurised way.
Think about your last big purchase. I suspect you did online research into the options, and I also suspect you built a shortlist from brands you had some knowledge of, or perhaps already some affinity with. That knowledge and affinity will have come from content you will have previously been exposed to. And all this will have happened before you went into a shop to see and touch the product.
As you are reading this article, you are forming an opinion of G and C Media. Of course, we hope it is a good one and that you finish this article thinking, ‘that was interesting, these guys know their subject and are happy to offer useful advice.’ If it does, then hopefully, when you need help with your content, we will make it onto your shortlist!
The same principles apply to your organisation. If your business doesn’t have content which can give prospects the information they need to develop that sense of trust and affinity with your brand or to answer those questions that are stopping them pushing the buy-now button you could be at a disadvantage.
Focus on the content your business makes available, either yourselves or with the help of a third-party and you could be at a real advantage.