No one cares about “content.” Seriously, no one.
When is the last time you heard someone say they want content about building a house, cooking a turkey or the situation in the Ukraine? Unless you just hang out with marketers, probably never.
No, they want to know how much it costs, how to cook it, or the latest analysis of the situation. Content is merely today’s most common delivery mechanism.
As Mark pointed out recently in Content marketing and the challenge of radical filtering, we are turning to increasingly personalized search results and artificial intelligence solutions to get only what we want without ever exposing us to the masses of content that is available.
Like search did 15 to 20 years ago, radical filters will fundamentally change how we find or discover information. If you are a content marketer today, how will this change your world?
Here are six ways you may respond. Some are familiar, but almost no one today is taking the familiar approaches far enough for the future Mark outlined. Others are new areas of opportunity content marketers are not focused on today.
1. Get ready to pay
All those algorithms and artificial intelligence systems don’t come free. Expect to pay to promote your content “natively” alongside other recommendations, similar to search ads today.
In a world where refined algorithms surface only the information we are most likely to want, get ready to meet a very high bar for relevance in your promotions!
2. Create epic content
Extraordinary and ground breaking endeavors will continue to be discovered because they will earn the social and consumption signals that systems use to identify content for you. Unfortunately, what is epic now will be merely good in a year or two.
3. Have answers for when they go looking
Being discovered as someone is going about their day will be increasingly difficult. This is like someone discovering a gold nugget when walking down a path: it had to be perfectly placed and attention capturing or it would have been missed.
However, when we are really looking for something, from what car to buy to what ERP solution to recommend, we go in search of information and we don’t stop at a single source. Unlike the person stumbling across a gold nugget, someone searching looks everywhere. They get off the path, they get down on the ground, and they actively search.
If you provide reliable information people are actively looking for, they will continue to discover it through active search.
4. Strengthen your media relationships
As nice as epic content may sound, many marketers won’t be creating awesome content or delivering direct and concise answers people are seeking anytime soon.
Being included in the credible information that comes from tomorrow’s equivalents of WSJ, Business Week or The Today Show is your Trojan horse. As radical filtering becomes more common, today’s forward-looking PR agencies will become even more valuable.
5. Provide truly personalized answers and tools
As we have more structured data available about ourselves and our environment, marketers can create tools that directly answer questions specific to our own situation.
A great example today is the Green Button project in the electric utility industry and some of the apps that can use your own energy usage data. For two very interesting applications, check out Leafully or the (in my opinion) very cool Innovative Solar Demand Response proposed app.
6. Embrace the sharing economy
Sharing doesn’t only let consumers share a product, it also lets them experience new products. Innovative marketers will embrace the sharing economy not only as a new market to sell to directly, but also as a way to get more people talking about their products.
As the information we expect and the ways we discover it change, how will your marketing need to adapt?
Eric Wittlake spends his days working with B2B marketers and shares his marketing views on his personal blog, B2B Digital Marketing. You can find him on Twitter (@wittlake) when he isn’t spending time with his three young boys.