A blueprint for succeeding in a world of overwhelming information density

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content code

I could argue that this is the most difficult time to be in marketing … ever.

  • Fragmented channels.
  • Shifting rules of engagement on social, mobile, and digital advertising.
  • Tumultuous changes in SEO best practices.
  • A rapid and radical change in the skills needed to keep pace.

… and thrown into this mix is perhaps the most profound change to our industry since the mobile phone — malignant growth in information density. Most estimates center on a number of 500 percent growth in the amount of information available in the Internet by 2020. Do you think it might get a little harder to get our marketing message across?

Clearly more content is not the answer. Even “better” content is not necessarily going to help in this environment. We are past the days where content is merely a blunt instrument to get page views and search results. Organic content reach is plummeting, attention is at a premium, and the content arms race is growing more fierce each day.

We need ideas. We need alternatives, and a plan to fight through this challenge. We need The Content Code.

The Content Code is a blueprint for marketing today

For the last year, I’ve obsessed over this problem — how do you prepare for this content war and win? After months of research, more than 50 expert interviews, and an intense investigation into every nuance and angle, I’ve uncovered a path forward, accessible to any one and any business.

I’m proud of this book. I think it is my best book ever, and perhaps the best work of my career. It is the book we need right now to change the course of our marketing mindset and help us adapt to this intimidating wall of noise.

The book covers essential new ideas such as:

  • How the economics of content marketing are being forged by content saturation and content transmission, not Likes, followers, or page views — requiring a new business focus and mindset.
  • How, in many cases, successful content marketing has nothing to do with content and everything to do with branding, social proof, and the power of your website.
  • Dozens of ways to build “shareability” into your content that gives your efforts the very best chance to cut through and succeed.
  • Why marketing strategy needs to refocus on the elite 2 percent of your audience — your Alpha Audience — who truly drives economic value.
  • The six possible strategies to ignite your content — nearly all of them are available and affordable to businesses of any size.
  • Technological changes on the horizon that will radically alter every approach to social media and content marketing.

This is the path-finding book that should be an essential read for business leaders and any one in marketing, community management, advertising, and public relations. If you have enjoyed my blog, podcast and the years of free content I’ve delivered to you, this would be a great way to show your support for my work. Please buy it today, review it, and share it with everybody who loves marketing, social media, and the Internet.

The Content Code is now available on Amazon and Kindle, and will soon be available as an Audible audio book.

The Content Code was created, in part, through the patronage of Dell and gShift. Please support these amazing and generous companies.

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Standing out in a world of information density

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information density

I recently did an interview about the implications of information density and Content Shock with a PR magazine in India. Since it is unlikely most of my readers will see this magazine, I thought I would pass this on to you. I think the interviewer, Paarul Chand, did a particularly good job with these questions:

In the age of Content Shock, what should communicators keep in mind while creating content that stands out?

There is no blanket answer to the issue of standing out in a world of increasing information density. It is highly dependent on the competitive circumstances of your industry.

For example, some niches may still be devoid of helpful content, representing a ripe opportunity for a marketer.

However, in a crowded niche, you will certainly have to do something more strategic than simply pumping out blog posts or videos. You will need to examine your ability to maneuver very carefully — can you create different types of content? Target an under-served audience? Use promotion or distribution in a more skillful way? Dominate a certain platform?

You can’t simply create an advantage by copying a competitor. You need to have a thoughtful and unique response or your results will be disappointing.

As the way apps are viewed changes (driven by the new iOS8 interactive notification centre for example)  how will this impact content creation and designing of app centres.

This is a very key idea and a real concern for content marketers going forward.

Up until now, content marketing has been pretty straight forward — create helpful and compelling content and figure out a way to get it to the top of Google search results.

But that is all changing and let me provide an example. Today, much of my content is “pushed” to me through an app called Zite. Zite learns what I like over time, similar to the way Pandora might determine your musical tastes.

In this environment, the content I create and the SEO I invest in have NO impact on whether my content gets through to the user. The user, through these evolving apps, is essentially creating a filter based on preferences to keep new products and new ideas out!

The challenge for marketers will now be even more profound. We will not only have to fight though search results. We will also have to fight through app results and filters by creating experiences so interesting that we invite our customers out of their filter bubbles.

Can you share two of your favourite clutter breaking content driven campaigns?

I think the future belongs to the content creators who are focused on delivering quality content to a niche.

One example of this is the site SoulPancake. They are devoted to answering the big questions of life in a fun, entertaining, and sometimes profound way. Their approach has now resulted in a profitable business, a book, and even a television program. Their content is not focused on SEO or tricky headlines that drive traffic. Their success comes 100% through honest, amazing, entertaining content.

If you want to look at a more corporate type of example, I love the way Adidas is creating beautiful adventure videos to promote their Outdoor division. My neighbor told me he spent an entire evening just watching videos of athletes hanging from cliffs. He was living vicariously through these videos and building an emotional connection to the brand and what it stands for.

Where do you think content shock is heading? Is it going to become easier to manage as analytics improve? Are we moving to an age of personalised marketing content?

In some respects analytics will help us cut through, if we have the skills to know where to look! The key to winning is not just creating content, it will be creating content that MOVES. An investment in content will be under-utilized if nobody reads it, engages with it, shares it. So to get the content to move, we have to get people to FEEL something about it.

The content becomes like the clothes they wear or the car they drive. It is an external representation of their own self-identity. So from that perspective, yes – the content we share is a highly personal decision.

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Jacob Enos

Disclosure: Adidas is a customer

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