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Content Marketing - How to Cut Through the Noise Barrier

Tracey James - Friday, January 12, 2018

Content Marketing - How to Cut Through the Noise Barrier

Are you finding it harder to get cut-through to your targets? Does it seem like the Law of Diminishing Returns or worse - Mission Impossible? Are they not responding the way they used to? You're not alone. It's mighty noisy out there - and grabbing a megaphone isn't the answer. Find out what does work in high tech markets.

The no 1 challenge for content marketers in 2018

Are you funding that visitors and contacts are no longer:

Exploring your skilfully-optimised website?

• Downloading your terrific e-books?
• Subscribing in droves to your clever blog?
• Clicking through as  many of your carefully crafted emails?
• Reading the resources your marketing team sweated over for weeks?

There’s a reason: for content consumers, the internet is a huge wall of noise: think Manowar (world’s loudest rock band) plus Verdi’s Aida - with 5,000 elephants as well as 1,000 emails a day to read. No wonder they’re too distracted to notice you.

Source: archiesays.blogspot.com Verdi's Aida performed at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

We’re drowning in it

Doug Kessler from Velocity Partners warned us about this years ago in Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge. We agree; the deluge is already here. It’s not surprising that most attempts to grab targets’ attention just don’t work anymore. Your targets:

Screen out PPC ad panels and boom boxes

•  Ignore or block out Google ads and others
•  Close the squeeze panels that pop up (or leave because of them)
•  See through native advertising for the deception it is.

It’s marketing’s fault

Marketers only have marketing to blame: your targets have been hardened into indifference by constant bombardment - and not necessarily by you. Your competitors are targeting them too, as well as every Nigerian scammer and promoter of organ enlargement or performance. Targets feel that their trust has been abused, and they’ve taken revenge by shutting out everyone. Can you blame them?

The result is that marketing agencies are now busting their skulls to find even more clever ways to knock targets out of indifference back into responsiveness - but it won’t work. Targets have switched channels or switched off completely and you won’t get them back – unless they go looking for something and find that you have it. They want to be back in control, being the hunters not the hunted.

So, you need to start looking at marketing from their viewpoint – what they want, not what you’re selling – which is the whole concept of content marketing. Read more in our Slideshare Introduction to Content Marketing.

Just be useful

With so much useless, derivative material being force-fed to targets in so many forms, the best way to stand out is to be really useful -- not dazzling, epic or even awesome – just useful. How? One simple way is to show how much you respect their time by helping them save it. You could sift through the mountains of information ‘rubbish’ for them -- and pick out the gems they need.

An example is Gizmo’s freeware, a website run by a good friend. Not original you say? There are hundreds of sites promoting freeware and most have endless lists of it, don’t they? Yes, but this website has much more: a short list of freeware per category where each has been reviewed and ranked by one of his team. It’s not just a list but a test-drive by a trusted friend. It saves his subscribers a huge amount of time and they love it.

For instance, imagine you’re looking for the best free malware removal programs. Gizmo provides 4 recommendations with brief descriptions, pros and cons and a few technical details. How long did it take to glance over this link to see if it had your answer? No wonder Gizmo’s website gets 120,000 hits a day. It provides real benefits to his subscribers. You can do the same.

Lists still cut it – but use a good tailor

‘Any headline that lists a number of reasons, secrets, types, or ways will work because it makes a very specific promise of what’s in store for the reader,’ says Brian Clark at copyblogger.com. That’s why you see so many ‘list posts’ - but that’s not the point here.

Time is the most precious commodity in business today. No-one has enough of it so, if silence used to be golden, today time must surely be diamond - but we’re not talking the Kohinoor weighing in at nearly 200 carats. Size does matter, for sure, but here it's in inverse proportion. Your targets don’t want endless lists of 200 apps or solutions or shortcuts, let alone something like 557 Email Subject Line Hacks to Get You Noticed in the Inbox. They want to get the gems without the rough, quickly.

Keep it short

To be really useful, give them a list of items (say pitfalls to avoid or hints or shortcuts or answers or something useful) that you’ve actually checked and selected – not just grabbed and copied. You want to source and cite credible sources, sift the items for relevance to your targets, add some valuable insights and present the information in a form that’s easy to consume.

This is classic ‘curated content’ and, if you’re keeping up with trends anyway, you might just as well summarise them, add some value and share the lot with people you know will benefit. This is just one form of useful content; there are 9 more in 10 Sources of Great Content.

Earn their trust

Gizmo’s model is based on trust; subscribers know they can go to his site, dive into a category, grab what they need and leave whenever they like. For subscribers there are no strings attached, no ads, no deals, no selling. Gizmo has earned their trust over many years by offering reliable advice based on real reviews by real people, by not taking shortcuts and by preserving total independence.

By contrast, even some of the best known marketing agencies churn out truckloads of recycled stuff that add no new insights on the subjects they cover. That’s just plain dumb. These guys are also the same ones who say you need to blog several times a day.

We think that Tom Webster from Brandsavant and Rand Fishkin from Moz have a much better idea - produce content (blog posts, resources, emails) when you have something of value to share, not just because you can. Read more in Content Creation: Producing Junk at the Speed of Light?

Be persistent and consistent

It takes time to build a reputation as a source of really useful content. It also takes consistency; you can’t send an extraordinary piece today and junk next week. Readers will judge you on the latest piece and, if it’s rubbish, they’ll unsubscribe and never come back.

Yet, once people understand that you’re doing all the hard yacka and saving them loads of time, they might even look forward to your emails. But don't overdo it with multiple emails per day or week, or quantity will cancel out the quality. (Read more about frequency in Stop Flooding My Inbox.) Do it well, do it consistently well and your targets just might share and recommend your stuff to their friends. Nice.


Read more about how we recommend you do content marketing - with no megaphones, divas or elephants - or contact us directly. It's what we do.  

Tracey James
Chief Executive

Tracey used to be a bio-technologist but got sick of acid holes in her clothing. She switched to biotech marketing for companies like Merck and GE Health before taking a leap of faith into marketing IT.

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