Reader fatigue is at an all time high, with over 6 million blog posts published online per day, and over 2 billion posts published per year. So how do you rise above the noise and get the attention of the people you really want to engage with?
The answer is quite simple (yet not so easy to achieve). Your content needs to offer genuine transformational value to the reader, while being packaged in a "snackable", easy to digest format.
As the world hurtles headfirst through the digital age, the volume of content being produced online has never been higher, and is set to continue growing for years to come as businesses start to recognise the power of thought leadership as way to build their audience and have customers build relationship with their brand.
We know that volume does not necessarily equate to quality, and in fact current statistics show that consumers find as much as 60% of content is not useful at all. This number is even more stark when it comes to thought leadership pieces, with a study by Edelman showing that business decision makers believed only 18% of all thought leadership they consumed to be of very high or excellent quality. (2019 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study)
These statistics are not surprising, as just a few years ago, you could get fairly decent results from your content as long is it was relevant, SEO-based, consistent, and in many cases, voluminous. This has led to good content being buried under heaps of bland content, resulting in reader fatigue.
These days, in an era of "infobesity", readers are increasingly watchful of their "content diet" content of inferior or even just “reasonable” quality just doesn’t cut it anymore. Why? Because the nature of what makes good content has changed and, so has people's relationship to it.
Currently, people respond less positively to content based on information, promotion or empty rhetoric, and more to the genuine relationships they build with the content producer and just as importantly, what values the producer stands for.
This makes outsourcing content production, a go-to for many in the past, increasingly risky and presents a raft of new challenges, especially for small businesses, start-ups who historically have relied on low-budget help in their efforts to feed their content beast.
And far from just being "ineffective", inferior content has a detrimental effect on your brand because consumers now have higher expectations, borne out of the saturation of digital content.
To succeed in producing effective, transformative content, that will position you as a market leader you need to stand out and be memorable, and frankly, while you may be hoping for a “quick-fix” or 10 tips here, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no easy way to do this.
At it's core, to stand out, your content offer some sort of transformation to the person consuming it.
If you can or help them figure out a way through their most pressing challenges and inch them close to their next big goal, you'll have an avid consumer waiting for your next offering, while you'll be positioned while simultaneously building trust and your reputation.
You can do this by providing timely insights, practical how-to's, offering a new perspective, or motivating the audienceto take an inspired action - and if you do this on a consistent basis, they will look to you as a trusted source and hungrily devour your content offerings.
You can however produce transformative content that will draw (and wow) your audience by keeping the following things in mind.
Most importantly, good, transformative content inspires change for the better - whether in business or life. If your goal is to become a thought leader by producing valuable content that elicits attention and reciprocity, you have to make sure that your consumers leave your content differently from before they consumed it.
You want the consumers to have gained some kind of new wisdom or perspective from your point-of-view. Transforming your consumers through your content is helped if you are already perceived by them as a thought leader on the topic, which is not easy to become, although if you implement the steps outlined in this piece consistently you'll get there soon enough.
This is why it is also important to add something fresh to a conversation in which you are knowledgeable instead of just re-hashing existing opinions or articles. With tens of millions of blog posts out there, you will never stand out as a thought leader and content producer if you don’t produce original content, drawing from your unique perspective on a relevant topic.
Good content in regards to thought leadership is also bite-sized. Going back to the Edelman study, 57% of content consumers prefer what they read to be in “snackable” format that can be consumed in a few minutes, preferably in a mobile-friendly format.
You want your content to inspire actions that lead to results for your audience. These quick wins are exactly what you need to build your brand, and should be the goal of much of your content. You want to produce something that is easy-to-read, useful, authentic, and most of all, actionable that helps your audience reach their next goal quicker.
Doing any or all of these things over a sustained period of time builds relationships with your consumers, making them more receptive to the messages you are sending. There’s a place for longer-form content in the process, but it’s further into the customer journey. For the initial interaction, small wins should be the goal.
You get out what you put in
As you continue on your journey of becoming a thought leader by producing transformative content, it’s important to remember just how saturated the marketplace is, and that you truly need to let your brand's unique perspective and voice shine through your content in order to connect with your audience.
While a large part of developing trust with your consumers after establishing the initial relationship is down to the consistency with which you post, you must remember that producing consistent content does not mean that anything goes.
If you put rubbish in, you get rubbish out, but if your content is gold, the results with enrich your brand and leave a digital legacy that will serve you for years to come.
Nina Christian is passionate marketer and mentor to marketers and entreprenuers around the globe.
Her marketing agency Braveda, founded in 2000, is a boutique marketing agency that specialises in building brands through thought leadership and content creation.
Braveda was named Best Marketing Agency at the 2018 Australian Marketing Excellence Awards and Nina was named 2018 Certified Practicing Marketer of the Year (Victoria) and National Finalist for both categories in 2019.
Nina believes believes every marketer deserves the chance to build a career that inspires and is helping young marketers become the marketers the world wants and needs through Launch Your Marketing Career.
She is also an entrepreneur with several start-ups under her belt, including a successful exit in 2008 of a pioneering ecommerce brand she co-founded in 2001.
In 2017 she co-founded EntreprenHer - a School of Entrepreneurship for Girls, inspiring and equipping young women and emerging entrepreneurs and leaders.
She is a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute, and Chair of the AMI State Committee in VIC.
Nina is a regular speaker on the subjects of Marketing and Entreprenuership and believes there has never been a more exciting time to be a marketer.
Outside of work (which she loves!) Nina enjoys the outdoors, is an active CrossFitter, and after 3pm most days is off-duty having fun with her five young children and doing mum stuff.
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