Sunday, May 12, 2013

Content Marketing - New Rules For The Skimming Generation

There is an awful lot of information out there

It is said that the information created in the last two years exceeds all of the information produced before in human history, I do not know if this is true but it certainly feels like it. There is information overload and it will only get worse.  Currently new blog posts are only running at 2.5 million a day and new tweets at over 400m a day. There is a tsunami of information coming your way.

There is a lot of information that is awful

People are producing a lot of poor quality information. These are often short lists called ten top tips for ..., 5 secrets of ..., 7 ways ...., 5 things smart people do.... Unfortunately turning these into infographics, videos, slideshares and videos do not make them any better. In fact it compounds the problem.

I enjoyed Doug Kessler's article Crap: The Biggest Single Threat to B2B Content Marketing. For a summary see his slides below:


The Skimming Generation

People have less and less time, and they don't want to waste it on poor content. Often they don't have time to read they just want to skim headings. I myself can be guilty of reading an entire newspaper by skimming headlines. Occasionally I read the first paragraph and if something grabs me I go further.

People want more for less. They want well written summaries that provide the essence they need. They need content structured so that it can be easily skimmed. The rise of infographics suggests that pictures can say more than words in less time.

Skimming is a reason that online video for B2B marketing won't be as effective as people predict. Or at least not until someone invents a quick way to skim the content. There is simply too much information, too much poor content and too little time.

It is essential these days to make your content skimmable for this new generation. This doesn't mean a reduction in content quality. Skimmable content is actually better for both the full reader because skimmed content is easier to read and for the skimming reader as it is easier to skip elements.

Quality content is not the (only) answer

The most critical aspect of any content marketing strategy will be producing content that is original, high quality and that provides true insights and value to its audience. However, the costs of maintaining such quality will continue to rise.

One of the key things is to make sure that you amplify the value of your content including distribution through social networks. Mark Schaefer suggests some practical tips for giving your content greater exposure, such as:
  • Seek to provide guest posts on popular sites
  • Nurture relationships with high-impact influencers that are willing to share and validate your content
  • Establish a voice of authority so that the news channels come to you
  • Finding opportunities to place content in big “pipelines”
I also like the free advice from Mark "Invent social media platforms to expose more information in less time and you will become rich."