Humans are a species that converse using words that are bound together in sentences, paragraphs and stories. We love the play of words. We love reading. We love to know. And we search for information all the time. This realization is what paid-off for two Stanford University guys, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who went on to become the founders of Google. Though search engines were not a new concept altogether, an algorithm based on Page Rank was a path breaking discovery of sorts. There were others before them of course, but they weren’t nearly as close as Google. Google’s algorithm decided the relevancy of the multitude of content on the internet, based on the volume and frequency of keywords, the amount of backlinks and indexed results etc.
Search engines and SEO play a large role when it comes to making content discoverable on the internet. However, it’s social media that makes your content go viral. Even search engines have woken up to the power of social and have gradually begun to index activity from social platforms. And there’s a reason too. Who best to judge what content is more relevant, than the person who is actually consuming them – the Consumer! The consumer is constantly searching for information, they Google their purchases, they seek recommendations from their social network and they’re even discussing about different products/services with their friends. Eric Schimidt, Former Google CEO, said “We now generate as much information every two days as was generated from the beginning of time to 2003”. In such a scenario, it’s become increasingly important for businesses and marketers to generate engaging content. Having said that, one cannot become a part of the internet chatter, riding on the back of brand-generated content alone.
Businesses have also begun to realize that social media is not just another spoke in the marketing bandwagon. But this ‘Consumer Generated Media’ is a paradigm shift from the traditional media that they’ve been used to and there is a constant struggle to generate content. This brings me to a few pertinent questions that businesses are asking:
- How is content being consumed today with the introduction of social media?
– This is a catch-22 situation where, in order for you to be able to engage your social audience, you need to produce meaningful content. But in an endeavor to generate more content, you overlook the ‘meaningful’ part. How do you make sense of demand and supply when it comes to content?
– What makes for great content? How do you keep your audience hooked?
– Is it okay to sound sale-sy?
- Is there an overload of content?
– Whenever I log onto my Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts, I’m welcomed by a flurry of content. How much of it is really meant for me and how much of it is what I want to know about – How do businesses address this question? How do they implement segmented targeting?
– In a fast-paced world like ours where we rarely find the time to catch a breather, does it make sense to have whitepapers and case studies running into a zillion pages? What would be the ideal way to say more by doing less?
- How do you know if the content has worked for you?
– I could have a 1000 people downloading my case studies or 10,000 people viewing my videos, but is that the true measure of success for me? Content development is directly linked to the goals in your marketing strategy, but how do you know if you’re meeting those goals?
The questions above are relevant across industries and verticals, so how would you go about pragmatically solving these dilemmas? I’ll try and write a follow-up post to this with some of the solutions that I get to hear of from you.