The Age of Enlightenment, which started around 1650, promoted scientific thought, skepticism, and intellectual exchange; this age remains the foundation for many endeavors in global society today. Another definition of enlightenment is the action of attaining insight.
Yesler aims to make its content marketing materials enlightening. It’s part of our Relevant, Enlightening, Actionable, and Lively (REAL) content philosophy. The problem is that it’s hard to be enlightening in a content-saturated world.
As Marcus Sheridan notes, the number of content pieces on some topics runs in the thousands, resulting in a high Content Saturation Index (CSI). When many blogs (let alone Tweets, articles, webinars, videos, and other content types) focus on a single industry — for example, inbound marketing — the result is a lot of noise. Writes Sheridan, “The more content an industry or niche has written about it, the harder it is for a blog to make headway and find success in that field.”
Because of content proliferation, prospects don’t read blogs or even realize they exist. Experts offer solutions to this quandary. For example, publishers can create titles that include search terms and result in greater discoverability. Marketers can also create buyer personas and precisely target content to defined roles and stages in the buying cycle. But that’s not enough.
Moving Beyond CSI
The answer to content saturation involves the creation of fresh material that’s remarkable enough to warrant a spotlight. At Yesler, that means content that is relevant to B2B technology companies and aligned with industry needs. It needs to be authoritative, meaningful, and interesting. Each deliverable — like the Age of Enlightenment — should be built on a foundation of relevant research and promote intellectual exchange. If a content marketing piece is fabulous, that’s all the better.
It’s not necessary to publish the latest, most fashionable content type. Just because it’s an infographic doesn’t guarantee that readers will care. Instead, content marketers should focus on nailing quality — no matter what format is in play. Content should achieve an exhilarating standard of excellence.
As Quentin Crisp, the esteemed writer who gave us Manners from Heaven (now out of print) wrote, “Informality is a waste of time.” A content marketer should not be clever; that’s a waste of time. He should not be casual; that’s a waste of time. He should not churn out recycled sound bites from the blogosphere; that’s a waste of time. He should be bold and enlightening.
Trading Trends for Originality
This kind of content creation involves navigating uncertain waters because technology trends appear on the landscape at great speed and with significant unpredictability. The Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard was once an emerging technology. Recently it has been cloud computing. Now big data is looming. Time is compressed in the B2B technology market. Content marketing itself is a trend, one that — like mobile — is probably here to stay.
In October 2012, Gartner released its predictions for the top 10 technology trends for 2013, stating that this will be the year that mobile experience eclipses the desktop experience. Other cited trends include personal clouds that sync across devices, IT departments that play a greater role in business outcomes, and packaged software and services solutions that address infrastructure and application workload needs.
But predictions are fickle masters and the World Wide Web is an echo chamber.
It’s become second nature to use the Internet as a universal knowledge base that serves as a foundation for producing content. But it’s too easy to co-opt existing content and pretend that it’s original material. To avoid content saturation, content professionals can conduct primary research and rely on their hard-won personal “enlightenment.” They can interview subject matter experts and read books. They can turn to established resources such as IDC and Forrester Research. They can even go to the library.
Be Your Enlightened Self
Mostly, content producers need to lean on their creativity to generate extraordinary material. The true well of inspiration comes from a dedication to craft and a willingness to take risks. This approach means that content creators face the hazards of rejection, self-doubt, and humiliation. But to overwhelm prospects with boring, recycled content is the greater peril. In a landscape of proliferating content, no organization can afford to produce halfhearted collateral. Content marketers need to go big, or go home.
Are you creating relevant, enlightening, actionable and lively content? Download the Yesler REAL Content Assessment to find out.
Image Credit: Alan Levine