Often when discussing content marketing, someone will say, “Aren’t we already saturated with content? How can adding more content on the Internet really help grow our company?”
These are legitimate questions.
However, if we take a walk back in history, we discover that there have been concerns about media overloading us with information for literally centuries. Believe it or not, there are actually biblical references about “information overload” and in the first century AD, Seneca the Elder, a Roman writer, worried about the abundance of books being published He viewed them as a “distraction.”
If Seneca the Elder thought information overload was an issue then, he should have seen what was happening in the 15th century. When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, the costs to produce books and other publications dropped dramatically. The result: information proliferation never seen before.
Today, because of the Internet, the amount of information we have at hand is beyond count. However, a 2012 study by Northwestern University found that “very few Americans feel bogged down or overwhelmed by the volume of news and information at their fingertips and on their screens.” Rather, the amount of information available “seems to make most people feel empowered and enthusiastic. People are able to get their news and information from a diverse set of sources and they seem to like having those options,” the report stated.
This does not mean that just because a manufacturer or other business starts a content marketing Web site, the readers (and sales) will follow. No, it is not that easy nor does it work that way. Instead, you have to earn readership, which is the result of a solid, well-planned content marketing strategy that addresses the needs and “pain points” of your target market.
Further, the content itself must not only be well crafted and well written, but also designed to grab the reader’s attention so that it can potentially lead to sales. The editors of the Coca-Cola content marketing site, Coca-Cola Journey, which is one of the most successful content marketing sites around, always ask themselves the following questions before they post new content:
- Does it answer the “Why Should I Care” test?
- Does it surprise the reader?
- Does it have universal appeal?
- Does it generate interest?
- Is it new—something readers haven’t seen before?
- Is it different from what the competition is offering?
- Is the content being measured systemically? (rank articles based on popularity)
The last point is especially important and one often overlooked. It is critical to know what articles, topics, or type of information is getting the most readership. Once this is known, not only can similar content be created, but instead of overloading people with information, visitors will come to your site because they want the information you are providing.