In content marketing, there seems to be a general belief that it’s all about providing the right information. Well, it’s not.
For every second that you spend reading this article, an unfathomable number of other articles are being brainstormed, published, and propagated across the Internet. Our society provides far more free, easy-to-access information than a human could possibly need or want. In other words, information is in surplus. What this means is that it is no longer inherently valuable.
Now, before I lose you, I’m not saying that information isn’t valuable. Of course it’s valuable – access to knowledge is a sign of a developed society. However, its mass distribution means that it is not worth as much money as it used to be. Gone are the days when information was centralized in newspapers and the evening radio.
So then, there is no advantage to merely providing information. If we focus on offering information, our efforts will be wasted.
So what should marketers be focused on?
The rise of attention
We – and our target audiences – have a limited amount of attention that we can give. Information is endless, but attention is finite. Today, attention is the new commodity. In the words of Kevin Kelly, “Where attention flows, money follows.” Our job as marketers is to get attention – and keep it. It’s a much harder game to play than merely pumping out a lot of content.
The question is, of course, how do we get attention? Consumers are bouncing around on their favorite websites, already being exposed to hundreds of ads every day. How do you break through all of the other messages?
It starts with authority
Information only has value if it is given value by someone with authority. We see this play out on social media every day – your friend shares an article saying it’s worth reading, and you read it on their word. The power of value belongs to the individuals who direct information.
This also means that the creator is not always the one with value-creating power. You can pour your heart in soul into an article, but unless someone noteworthy (or, well, Google) says it’s worth something, it has no practical value. You might be the noteworthy person, or it might be someone you’re connected with. But at the end of the day, real exposure comes when someone noteworthy convinces his or her followers that the content is worth paying attention to.
And it ends with relationship
Of course, once you have attention, how do you keep it?
Write copy that is emotionally appealing. Now, I’m not saying it should be empty. On the contrary, make sure it’s good information that genuinely helps the reader. But again, information is cheap. What sets your information apart is its ability to make the reader like it. You goal is to create an emotional response of some form, whether it’s riling the reader into action or merely giving them the warm feelings. Build a sense of connection or trust with the reader and they will see you as an authority – and likely return.