2015 has been the year of a leap forward in content marketing. During the last few years, digital marketing and communications have evolved intensely and interestingly towards techniques centered on the production of quality content. The core issue in this trend is about adapting to the digital environment where users can easily choose whatever they want. The internet is a place where information is openly available to everyone.
In this new environment, traditional advertising, which looks to bombard the user with messages which interrupt their experience, is becoming less and less effective because millions of people are erasing it using ad-blockers and due to this, there are serious growing doubts about its effectiveness.
This fact is a real challenge and/or opportunity for marketing and communications. One solution which is already being implemented by many is the ‘inbound marketing’. The philosophy behind this is that users find you while navigating the internet rather than you interrupting their experience. Three specific actions have to come together to make this possible and they are: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing and Community Management in social networks. The three techniques used together drive visits to our websites and to the services and products we offer.
However, it doesn’t stop there. Quality content is needed to achieve the goal. The content is the ‘hook’ for users. The better it is, the more people will share it, more interest will be created and as a consequence we will achieve more visibility. This will lead to ‘reach and ‘resonance’, people will know about us, follow us and recommend us. To sum up; our digital and marketing communication will improve. This is the theory; however, the practice is slightly different.
As more people join this tendency – content is already a ‘buzzword’ in the digital sector – what is known as an ‘infoxication’ phenomenon is being created. Internet users live in a sea of contents. To be more accurate, we live in a sea of copied and pasted contents. Everybody wants to do content marketing so we face a tsunami of posts on blogs and webs, along with tweets and Facebook posts, YouTube and Vine videos, Pinterest and Instagram photos, etc. The problem is that in many cases, marketers copy each other’s contents. Moreover, techniques called ‘link baiting’, which allegedly help to increase the opening of links and to foment distribution of articles in social networks, have become very popular. As a result of this, our timelines are invaded by very disappointing content together with impacting photos and phrases whose only aim is to draw attention and gain a click from the user. These techniques are very common in some popular webs which need lots of clicks to increase their advertising revenues.
We have reached a point where some people, like for example, Tom Webster, are talking about ‘content shock’. This is a plausible theory supported by the fact that Facebook and Google are continually changing their algorithms to help users find quality content, erasing useless content from their timelines and SERP.
So, the question is: what should we do to optimize our digital communication and make it meaningful? The strategy of the copying and pasting useless content will not serve our purposes. You might get some links and traffic, which is useful if your goal is to make money from advertising. But you won’t offer any real value or quality content to the users.
As communication professionals, we should stand out as colored buoys in this crowded sea; the buoy that offers users a safe haven in Internet, a place where they can search for content which is of valuable interest to them, a place where users can hold on to avoid drowning in the tsunami. If we could manage to create this place, then we would have a loyal and returning user audience recognizing the value of our content, sharing it and being active members of our community. This, in the digital world, is pure gold.
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