We live in a time where we can learn just about anything about anything anywhere. We can blog, post, upload and tweet our thoughts and opinions to the world with the push of a button. Content is the driving force behind the continued growth of the internet and is a core component of effective inbound marketing.
With so much emphasis placed on content, many have rushed to post the most instead of creating content that really solves problems and enriches the lives of those who read it. This flood of poor content often seems to drown out the good, but changes in search and social algorithms have made steps towards weeding out the junk. The traditional “post and prayer” method is no longer a viable strategy and now is the time to start creating better, more purposeful content.
“...a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention...” ― Herbert A. Simon
One of the biggest issues facing all of us today is the decreased attention span of the public. While information is good, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. According to a study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds. 8…. SECONDS…. An article from Time published more on this study’s findings saying, "Microsoft theorized that the changes were a result of the brain’s ability to adapt and change itself over time and a weaker attention span may be a side effect of evolving to a mobile Internet.”
As a marketer, I am fascinated by why people do what they do and I am constantly in search of answers. The overload of content has actually made our jobs harder. We can’t rely just on publishing frequently or in mass, we must be more conscious of what we are putting out there. Here at our agency, this is something we have been tackling head on as of late. It is our goal and purpose to create personalized connections online. This means we must create content that not only appeals to our clients' audience but also gives them a reason to engage.
Creating good content isn't rocket science and honestly, it’s a lot more fun. No one likes writing, sharing and promoting stuff that sucks. So stop doing it. Instead, do what you enjoy and your work will reflect it. Creating better content takes a little more work up front, but in the end, it is easier to produce because you have a point, a purpose, and a process.
Every piece of content you create should have one clear and main point. This helps you stay focused and on-topic. No one likes to listen to someone ramble on and on about nothing and they sure as heck don’t want to read someone’s random thoughts. Whether you are writing a blog, creating a website page, publishing posts on social or marketing a video, ask yourself this question first, “what is the main point I am trying to get across.” Then write that point down and use it to guide you through the content creation process.
After you know what your main point is, you need to ask yourself "why is this important?" What is your end goal? What do you hope to achieve and how will that impact your overall goals? This is one of the biggest changes I have made in my own writing over the past year. By finding a powerful “why” I then have the energy and determination to follow through on my “what.” How many times have you sat down to create content because you “had to.” Well, here’s the truth, you don’t have to. Attaching a purpose to your point is a great way to shift “have to’s” into “get to’s.” It's incredibly hard to create compelling and powerful content when you have no purpose.
Now that you have your main point and a purpose, it’s time to create. “How” you do it must come last and for a reason. If you just sit down and start you are going to be all over the place. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way. How you create content is really up to you and the channel you are using to publish it will dictate a lot of the process. For me, I like to start on paper. I sketch out my idea using a diagram and then head over to my computer. It helps me stay on point and remember my purpose. The key in this phase is to find a process that works for you. Everyone is different, so don’t be afraid to try a few different methods before you find the perfect match.
Content is the fuel that keeps our audience's interest going. The fact that our attention span is so low can also imply that we are searching for better content and we are not satisfied with spending time reading junk. In fact, the best performing videos on YouTube are actually longer videos. The same goes for content. Good long-form content will actually increase reader engagement. People are searching for good, trustworthy information. The people who provide it not only add value to their audience, but to their own brand as well. Now go make some epic content!
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