I’ve been a rabid consumer of content since the day I was born, and so has most of mankind for the better part of a century. For Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers, Millennials, and every other age group with whatever buzzword or label they have – our eyes have been glued to some screen or another our entire lives, consuming endless hours of content.
That being said, as a content marketer with more than a decade of experience, I’m baffled by the fact that content still takes a backseat to other forms of advertising. Even though its impact is absolutely undisputed. Take He-Man as an example.
Yes, that He-Man.
Netflix recently released a documentary series called “The Toys That Made Us” which really helped highlight this point. Practically anyone who grew up in the US in the 80’s can hum the He-Man theme to themselves – an animated series that was created with the singular purpose of selling toys. Star Wars films were also viewed as a vehicle for toy sales (just ask the Ewoks). GI Joe was revived thanks to getting its own animated series. Every toy maker pitched an animated series, a comic book, or a movie as a fool-proof way to sell more toys.
This practice wasn’t relegated to the 80’s. Modern counterparts abound – from the Shopkins series to blockbusters like “The Lego Movie.”
As kids, we were insatiable consumers of these things. And it hasn’t changed. As we grow we still like toys – just of a different ilk. Our tastes refine, our needs expand, but we will always seek out things that entertain, engage, and excite us.
These days our attention is divided in an insane way. Yet somehow we all take the time to consume content. Whether it’s reading an op-ed in the New York Times, watching a cooking demo on YouTube, or binging a Netflix show. Content is always king.
Marketing in the Age of ADD
As we get more immersed in a digital world, advertising has become more and more disruptive. How many times have you really looked at a banner ad or a random pop-up? Banner blindness is real, and it’s gone way beyond headers or the right rail. Companies keep coming up with new ad formats, but eventually, it will all become white noise. Over time we inevitably condition ourselves to focus on only what’s interesting to us.
All of this disruption is overwhelming. Which explains the continuous rise of ad blockers. Even Google is going all-in with its own blocker. “Adlergic” is an actual word being tossed around by advertisers. Deloitte predicts that things will only get worse over time.
A study from May 2017 by AdBlock shows 40% of laptops in the US now employ ad blockers. 15% of mobile devices do as well. This number is growing and will continue to do so. Note below how adblock awareness becomes more prevalent for younger audiences. In other words, if your audience isn’t that aware of ad blocking, your future audience sure is.
As users, we simply cannot continue to tolerate this level of disruption.The writing is on the wall.
A Content-First Approach is a Must to Get Ahead
Knowing all of this, it seems like a given that marketers have to start embracing content as a primary acquisition channel. Otherwise, they may be left behind. There is already market saturation. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, 86% of B2C marketers, and a whopping 91% of B2B marketers are already using content marketing. You’re probably one of them. The competition for attention is only getting harder. The learning curve for understanding what works is steep. The market is almost completely saturated. This is not the time to make yet another landing page. If there was a time to double down on your efforts – that time is now, before things get even more complex. You need to start understanding what really works for you and how to stand out from the crowd.
Of course, there are plenty of chinks in the armor. For brands, it can be hard to measure the effectiveness of content (though we have a few ideas on how to do that). Expanding content efforts also requires a serious buy-in and a bit of a risk. So what should you be doing?
In the immortal words of Douglas Adams:
When I say “double down” I don’t mean write twice as many articles, publish another white paper, or fall in line behind whatever trend is fashionable now. . I mean truly throwing your hat in the ring. Experiment. Try new things.
Go where your audience is. Create content that is truly relevant to them. Dare to take chances. Don’t go all-in on any one format -videos, quizzes, infographics, articles, etc. Try different formats, see what sticks. Do what you can to really understand your audience. There’s no time like the present.
You’ve read this far, so I can only assume that content marketing is important to you. How about getting its measurement right? Schedule a demo today to find out how TrenDemon can help you cut through the content chaos.