By Emily Shea, VP/Partner & Executive Creative Director
November 19, 2013
People are tired of reading.
In fact, we don’t even do it anymore. Instead, we filter. Skim. Bookmark for never.
And if we’re tired now, think how we’ll feel in 20 years.
You might be wondering how we’re all going to keep up with this Content Marketing Monster we’ve created, as the content keeps piling up, and more and more voices join the party every day. Who’s going to read all this stuff?
And, really, at what point are we all just wasting our time?
No one can be awesome if everyone is awesome. What do we do when every single company on earth is churning out great content over and over, ad nauseum?
Well, being human: we adapt.
Here are 3 blogging approaches that, I predict, will rein supreme in the future world of advanced content marketing.
Seth Godin is the golden boy of micro-blogging. He’s somehow mastered the art of unveiling deep truths, in under 100 words, that leave you saying, “Woah.” People eat it up.
This marketing company posted a list of 12 reasons you need video on your website, without any introductory or conclusion info whatsoever. Just the cold, hard list. So revolutionary and refreshing.
As James Chartrand laments on his blog: “Some people have asked that I shorten posts down. That I deliver fast bites with impact, that I publish quick messages they can grasp in an instant. They want to hear what I have to say…they just don’t have the time to read it all.”
I’m not saying that every single blog post should be downsized into bite-sized chunks. Many, many topics need a beefier word count to effectively explain and persuade.
What I’m envisioning is a steady stream of thoughtful content—in whatever form that takes—unrestrained by the oppressive chains of Writing High Quality Content, and instead, driven by timeliness and bursts of ingenuity.
Blog posts featuring Slideshare presentations (like this incredible work of genius from HubSpot) have been a mini-trend lately. People have mixed feelings about them, since they can be tedious to flip through if not done well, but the underlying message is clear: people like visuals. And humor. And, especially, visual humor.
Also, anything that can straddle the gap between text (too tedious) and video (rate of consumption not user-controlled/potentially embarrassing in public settings) is welcome in this society.
Jessica Hagy has nailed this concept with her work on Indexed, where she explains life in the form of Venn diagrams. Her commentary is simultaneously smart and funny, while also being super easy to digest (even for the mathematically challenged).
Jay Bauer is adamant that collaborative content is the future of content marketing. He describes this as “a triangle approach to marketing, where the company works together with its employees and customers to create high volumes of massively specific content against the widest possible topical array.”
As the concept of storytelling in marketing continues to gain popularity, it’s going to become increasingly important to rally the troops. One person in the marketing department only has so many stories, but the stories from an entire company could keep a blog churning indefinitely. (An extremely insightful, interesting blog, at that.)
Shorter, Easier, Better
In our social-media-driven marketing landscape, content has a much shorter lifespan than ever before—and it’s getting shorter everyday.
Sure, you can focus your energy on repurposing content, creating evergreen content, and reminding readers of your previous content. But the other thing that’s changing constantly is the conversation. Is your blog post from 6 months ago really going to be sharp and timely enough to get traction today?
Jay Bauer’s second prediction, regarding successful vs. unsuccessful companies in the future, is this: “I see the differentiator being based on which company can create the most topical breadth, driven by hyper-relevant, low effort content made not by journalists, but by large groups of employees and current customers.”
The more we write, as a society, the shorter our collective work becomes and the less effort we put into it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—just a realthing, and a good one to understand if you’re planning to participate in the game long-term.