Ever feel overwhelmed by all of the content available to you? The relentless stream of status updates and blog posts can be daunting.
It’s not surprising that we feel this way.
After all, there are more than 2 million blog posts are written every day, more than 100 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook every month and 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Although that’s a challenge for us as consumers, it has bigger implications for businesses using content to market their company.
My good friend, Mark Schaefer, wrote a thought-provoking article last week about the idea of “content shock” – that content marketing might no longer be a sustainable for many businesses because of the costs to compete.
I don’t think the need and value of content will go away, but it is going to be much harder for businesses to stand out and get heard above the noise and content available to us.
That means it will take a greater investment – of time, money or both – and a new approach to your content marketing efforts to get results.
Creating Content That Stands Out
Because I can’t give you more time or money, we’re going to look at the second way to stand out – to change your approach.
If you’re looking for ways to stand out from the crowd, here are a few ideas that might help.
1. Narrow your focus.
One way to stand out from the crowd is to choose a narrowly defined niche and dominate it. There are likely hundreds or even thousands of blogs in your industry.
To stand out, hone in on a particular topic or slice of your industry and focus on becoming the expert in that.
Instead of chasing larger traffic numbers, focus on finding the right audience. When you do, they will be more loyal and connected because the content you’re producing is just for them.
That means, instead of chasing page views and visitors, you’re more interested in the length of time spent on your site, repeat visits, subscriptions and comments. All of those are signs of a loyal audience.
2. Promote your content new ways.
As the competition for attention heats up, you may have noticed your traffic is dwindling. The same old ways for promoting your content may no longer do the trick.
If that’s the case, you might need to look for new avenues to promote your content. Here are some ideas:
- Share your content individually with influencers who might be interested. (Use this one sparingly and for your best content).
- Share it on social networks – maybe even try connecting on ones you don’t normally use.
- Use advertising to promote key posts on social networks.
- Email your latest blog post or piece of content to your email subscribers, clients and friends.
- Find forums or groups to engage with and share your content.
- Use the power of reciprocity – share other people’s content and comment on their articles. Oftentimes, they will return the favor.
3. Change or add delivery methods.
If you’ve been blogging regularly for a while, you might want to try adding another distribution channel for your content.
Here are some ideas for different ways you can present your content:
- Images and infographics
- Slideshows and presentations
- Ebooks and premium content
- Google Hangouts and webinars
You might find a whole new audience just by changing how you present your content.
4. Add new voices.
Adding authors to your blog can help you increase the consistency and amount of content you create. Not to mention, it introduces your audience to new voices and perspectives.
One way you can do this is by inviting members of your team to write for you. This would help your audience get to know key members of your company and introduce new areas of expertise.
You could also invite guest bloggers to write for you. This can help you get in front of a new audience – especially for bloggers who would bring a large audience with them.
Or, you could feature the content of your audience. Curating and featuring content from your audience is another way you could create loyalty and engagement with your efforts.
5. Become a destination.
As traditional media channels continue to decrease, brands may step up and fill the void by becoming media publishers themselves.
Brand journalism is a growing trend that goes beyond adding a blog on your website and creating a whole new online destination for a particular topic.
That’s what HSBC has done with their “HSBC Global Connections” site – an industry site to help businesses grow internationally.
This is where content marketing is headed for companies that really want to establish themselves as thought leaders.
6. Showcase your personality.
This is something you should be doing already, but if you’re not, I think it’s absolutely critical. People want to connect with people, so you must be willing to let your personality show.
Share your story.
Take a stand.
Be generous and go above and beyond what others are doing.
Find your brand’s personality and own it. Once you do, this will help people better identify with you and your brand. This is the path to developing a legion of loyal fans.
Which will you choose?
As you work to stand out amongst all of the noise this year, which path will you choose? What do you think it will take to compete with your content?
Image credit: Tokyo Times