Unless you’re employed in one of the crucial frontline industries that are still operational during this uncertain time, the chances are you have spent a lot of time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. As record numbers of people are forced to stay at home, there are also record numbers of new content creators appearing. As any marketing professional will tell you, a saturated market becomes incredibly competitive, meaning that you have got to do everything you can to stay ahead. Quality matters and in a time when people are overwhelmed by choice, creating material that has genuine value is more important than ever. Here’s Probella’s guide to combatting content overload.
Do Not Create Content Just For Clicks
Clicks matter. They’re what keep the internet going and ultimately, how people make money from content creation. Unfortunately, terms such “click bait” were invented for a good reason. A lot of people will deliberately create poor quality, low value content that has a snappy or provocative title, just for the sake of driving traffic. If you only focus on mechanical factors such as SEO and keyword density in your blogs, or try to jump on trends by posting, vague directionless videos based on other things you’ve seen, it will be difficult to build a solid fan base. The public understand more than the marketing industry often gives them credit for and can see through cynical attempts to boost exposure without really offering anything. Every piece of content you create must genuinely offer something of value. This could be a new perspective, a critique of current trends, information that isn’t available elsewhere or just something that is entertaining enough to make people want to engage.
Announcements, Scheduling and Promotion
If you were to believe everything you read on social media, every business, event promotion company and side enterprise is constantly creating “must see” content. Vying for attention like this is one of the main symptoms of content overload and it is not helpful for anybody. The nature of digital communication means that your audience has the freedom to consume what you have produced when it’s convenient for them. That sense of exaggerated urgency that is so prevalent on social media shows desperation, not pride in your work. This is particularly true if you’re a relatively new business with only a limited number of followers. Writing as if you’re addressing thousands of subscribers, when in reality, you’re speaking to less than a hundred, will alienate more people than it attracts.
When it comes to scheduling and promotion of your content, think carefully about your competition. There’s no point in trying to convince people to read a brand-new top ten about product reviews when they’re most likely going to be watching Netflix or the news. Quick reads like that are best scheduled for during the working day or in the early evening when people are likely to have the time and inclination to pay attention to them.
Do You Really Need a Livestream?
The answer may well be yes, especially if you are enjoying a decent amount of engagement. If that’s the case, by all means continue doing what you are doing. In many cases, though, livestream content is of a poor quality with extraordinarily little actual content. The novelty of watching somebody go about their daily life while occasionally talking to the camera and responding to comments in the live chat wears off pretty quickly. At present, people are livestreaming in record numbers. From a business and marketing perspective, this is something of a double-edged sword. Quality livestreams can be an as entertaining and professional as a good TV show, but bad ones can be excruciating. If you do plan to move in to livestreaming, do some research and practice first. Though the medium is quite forgiving in that some people will watch almost anything, structured or more interactive content generally performs far better than stream of consciousness or improvised material.
Acknowledge and Reference Original Material
Repurposing, reusing and recycling content is an essential part of digital marketing but as the recent fake news crisis has proved, too many articles about the same subject can distort the facts and confuse the public. When you’re creating content based on something you have read, seen, heard or been told, never pass this off as your own and try to reference your source material if you can. Similarly, avoid churning out content that simply rephrases what’s already been said elsewhere. Though there are a few exceptions such as news related items, there’s no value in simply restating information that is already out there.
This links with the previous point but is arguably an issue all of its own. During times of mass content creation, facts can be difficult to come by. Always use reliable sources and make sure that any statistics, concrete assertions or statements about things like legal issues are true and based on solid, factual information. Even if the majority of your article or video is correct, including false information or making assumptions based on incorrect information will devalue it and ultimately deter your audience. The most successful content creators actually spend time addressing any factually incorrect information they have shared in the past and for the most part, this is a practice that is widely respected in the online community.
Share the Content You Want to See
Though content creators are in competition with each other, sharing things that you think are of a good quality is a positive habit to get in to. Promoting the values, you believe in, such as professional production, straightforward communication or a humorous approach will help your audience associate you with the same kind of mindset. Promoting other people’s content isn’t commercial suicide and may even open doors for your own business in the future. Essentially, the most important thing to do is to focus on everything you think makes good content and ignore or flag up anything you think is simply adding to the ever-growing collection of filler material.