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The Content King Is Dead

Steve Surdez

“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown,” wrote William Shakespeare in Henry IV.

For years, King Content has ruled over the masses; create more and better content, faster, and the content king will shower your organization with attention, new subjects and an unending string of shiny leads.

Alas! The content king is no more. He’s been usurped.

How could this happen, you ask? Following the content is king paradigm created a massive push to create huge amounts of content to beat out the competition. The problem is this: Organizations have focused too much on content volume at the expense of distribution, segmentation, and marketing. The result is that what you produce doesn’t connect and drowns in the massive floodwaters of unread, mediocre content.

In a recent blog by Digital Church, the author sites a staggering figure: "...statistics show that just 1% of content on social media is making up 95% of viewed content." Seems like 1% is not just for economists anymore.

What does this mean for your organization?

It means that content volume is less important these days than content marketing and to whom and how you distribute your blogs, emails, images, social media posts, and videos. Pushing more content at higher and higher volumes is inefficient and ineffective in today’s digital space.

Now that you are free from the content king’s court, what can you do to better utilize the content you have and keep your audience engaged and attract new leads?

Understand And Create For Your Audience

Stop pushing your team to punch out large quantities of content every week and turn some of that energy into a better understanding of the types of content your audience responds to and the distribution channels that resonate with them.

Really dig deep into your audience. Survey your current clients or customers. Audit your content to see what’s worked well in the past. Find a way to segment your content to better align with what has the best chance to generate consistent engagement.

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Focus On Quality Instead Of Quantity

It’s inefficient and not effective to simply focus on content quantity. If there’s intense pressure to produce an extraordinary amount of content every week, it’s very likely to be lower quality and less audience focused and therefore less engaging.

After getting to know your audience better, focus your team’s energies on creating content that’s more likely to engage. It’s quality over quantity that works in today’s content world. Don’t blast the content out across every channel at your disposal; instead, tailor both the content and its delivery mechanism according to what’s most likely to work with a given market segment or persona.

In a world where the content king has fallen--or perhaps more accurately is lost in a forest of unread content--less is certainly more.

Embrace Two-Way Engagement, Generate Connectivity

Colleen Dilenschneider, a seasoned marketing executive, says that the content is king mantra emanated from a time when communication was one-way: the business to the audience. She states this approach was a company’s “mouth.” Today, she says, things have changed: “Today’s most effective and efficient marketing channels have mouths and ears. That is, they provide a means of supplying feedback for the organization in addition to being soapboxes...In other words, content is not necessarily about your audience. Cultivating connectivity, however, breeds and helps to strengthen a relationship with your brand and organization.”

Your approach to creating and distributing content, and then engaging with your audience, needs to come from a place where connectivity rules. Connectivity, as Dilenschneider puts it, “...happens when an organization presents a passion or platform that resonates with a potential constituent. It’s about both the organization and the potential constituent.”

Quality content that’s tailored to a specific audience segment and delivered to them via channels they engage with is the key to building connectivity.

Distribution Is More Important Than Ever

Like the push for quantity, distribution often resorts to spitting out massive amounts of content all at once across all available channels. It tends not to be very targeted or strategic.

Increasing quality, reducing quantity, and improving your market audience knowledge should free time to focus more on how your content is delivered. Turning on the firehose without anyone to control and direct it is not an option any longer.

Forbes writer John Hall had this to say about the importance of thoughtful distribution: “Success in content isn’t an accident. It’s the result of careful planning, not just around the kind of content you create and how you create it, but also in how you distribute it to your audience...if you aren't setting up your distribution plan for execution and really putting all your content to use, it's not going to do a lot of good for you.”

The only way to get found in a morass of content is to make it more compelling and deliver it via a mechanism to which your audience is most receptive.

Distribution work can be dry and repetitive, but it’s well worth the time you invest, as it will amplify your content and grow your audience. You just need to embrace distribution’s value and allocate the resources and time to do it better.

Now more than ever before in human history we are inundated with information and images. Customers are more educated about products and services than ever before, often knowing quite a bit about what they want and who they think your company is before they ever engage with your brand.

It’s time to recognize that content is no longer king, and that producing quality, value-driven content is more important than creating masses of average content. Turning our attention to creating stronger content, understanding our audiences more intimately, and then delivering value-laden information to them in a way that’s meaningful can help your company cut through the clutter and make true connections.

The king is dead. Elvis has left the building...

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