Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on March 11, 2015

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When It Comes to Content Marketing, Less Can Be More

less is more

While we may not own up to it, one of the concepts that most of us believe in is that more is better. More time spent on a plan makes it better. More meetings means something is more thought out. More money exchanged promises a widget that will do the job better. The truth is, more isn’t always better. Sometimes more is just more.

One of the places that’s hard to see this truth is with content marketing. You can’t click on a marketing best practices article without seeing that people are consuming more and more content. (MOAR CONTENT!) Blog posts, podcasts, videos, ebooks, and infographics. (Oh my!)

Heeding this battle cry, marketers have turned their content marketing up to 11. We’re churning out more content than ever before. And it’s not easy! In recent data from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs has consistently shown that marketers’ top challenge — across all sectors — is creating enough content.

However, strategist, speaker, and author Mark W. Schaefer points out a problem with this prolific level of content production. At some point very soon, with marketers creating more and more content, we will exceed the number of eyeballs in existence to actually consume all of this content. (Schaefer calls this dynamic “content shock” and it’s the focus of his upcoming book The Content Code — which every attendee of Social Brand Forum 2015 will receive with their registration.)

What’s a Marketer to Do?

In looking at the research from the Content Marketing Institute we see that marketers struggle with creating content that engages. Beyond the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to make even a basic blog post or video, it turns out that quality is a huge factor impeding our content marketing success. Engaging content is also critical in standing out from the crowd.

Especially when you consider that many are churning out “me too” content without thinking. Without coming up with a unique frame or worldview to apply. Without being able to answer the question, “why should this content exist?”

On a recent episode of the On Brand podcast, author and lecturer Daniel Rowles said that the only way to stand out among all of the content is to create better content. Even if it means creating less content. Another recent guest Bryan Kramer made a similar point noting that we need to, “Pick one or two things instead of trying to do everything.”

Beyond making this a promotion for recent episodes of my podcast, I bring this up to reinforce a point that many of the best and brightest experts in marketing today are clearly stating. It’s not about producing more content. It’s about producing better content. Even if you’re creating less content as a result.

Beyond “Me Too” Content Marketing

Though producing enough content is keeping marketers up at night, it’s nothing compared to the challenge of producing better content. Anyone can write a “me too” blog post or create a video “like that one that went viral.”

Creating better content requires a strategy on what to say and a unique brand voice with which to say it. Producing enough content is just the tip of the iceberg. These are not simple tasks. Before you crank your content up to 11 make sure you know who you are, what you stand for, and more importantly, what you can create that will help your audience in a form or voice that’s new to them.

Make no mistake. Online consumers are hungry for content. But they’re picky eaters who have a lot of options and only want the best. What will you serve up? Fast food or a fine feast?




Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, where he helps build better brands online. He also teaches at the University of Iowa and is host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.


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