No matter how many years go by, content remains the indisputable king when it comes to generating leads or sparking interest among eager audiences. And every digital marketing expert can attest to that. From the days of printed ads to today’s sophisticated and laser-targeted popups and social media posts, there is nothing that converts that is devoid of carefully crafted and measured content. Everyone, from social media power influencers to email marketing experts and thought leaders, knows that no matter how beautifully designed a website or campaign is, if it lacks relevant, fresh and engaging content it will account for nothing.
But, how much content is enough?
This is a question that has haunted every online marketing expert since the internet was created. However, to answer it we have to understand why content is created in the first place.
There are two meanings to the word “content” and, believe it or not, they are closely related.
To be content generally means to be in a state of satisfaction. Someone who is content with the current state of affairs, finds everything to be adequate, and motivates a better disposition to take some risks or to spend more resources than usual (for example, subscribing to your newsletter or finding out more about the products you recommend).
Content also refers to the things that are held or included in something. When we create an email marketing campaign or a Facebook ad, we need to fill it with content. But not just any content. Whatever we pour into these ads or landing pages must not only fill empty space, it must make people feel content. They have to be satisfied with what they read or hear, otherwise, they just bounce away or keep scrolling down depending on the medium.
However, it seems that creating a viral article, web page, video, or Instagram post is not enough. People remain content for shorter spans of time today. They need new information and entertainment at faster speeds, which means that most pieces of content go stale in mere days.
That perfect email pitch you sent last month is now down the memory hole, so you need to keep writing and coming up with smarter ideas all the time, making content creation a veritable sisyphean effort.
So, What Do Digital Marketing Experts Say About Content Creation?
Well, everyone seems to agree that there is never enough content to satisfy our thirst for information and entertainment. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, unless you don’t like writing or coming up with fresh ideas every day. Thought leaders and digital marketing experts instinctively know this paradox and feed from it.
But let’s find out what the top digital marketers have to say about creating content.
The creator of Ubersuggest has a very simple piece of advice: always be ready for change. “Whatever you think is working, is not gonna work forever in the long run. So you better learn how to adapt and keep learning.”
The best example of this is how social media has changed over the last 20 years. Back in the day, we had MySpace and Facebook, and it was kind of easy to build a following base organically since only a handful of people used to create content on a regular basis for those platforms. Reaching 5k followers and hundreds of likes a day was not that hard to do. However, once most people became content creators posting family pictures or memes, the competition started to get heated.
Now in the 2020s, building a follower base organically is an uphill battle against the algorithm and everyone else. Big Tech platforms started turning the knobs towards an ad-oriented experience, and now regular unpaid content reaches a handful of people at best.
It does not mean you cannot make your brand grow organically and make some money while at it. It only means that, if you want to have a shot at it, you need to migrate to other platforms. For example, on LinkedIn only 3% of users create content, the rest only browse and react. It means that the platform needs content creators and will reward your content by placing it in front of the other 97% of users, making it an ideal platform for marketing today.
There are newer platforms such as ClubHouse or Locals where you can literally corner any niche if you are among the first ones to fill in the void, and they will appreciate any new content you can bring to the table.
But going back to Patel´s wise words, you need to be ready to move on. As soon as these platforms see that the content producing/consuming ratio is close to 30/70, they will start to find ways to monetize your content by favoring ads, making it hard to gain visibility without resorting to ads.
This takes us to our next expert:
Wine critic turned digital marketing expert, Gary Vaynerchuck talks in length about how traditional ads used to steal the attention of readers and watchers. However popular they were (and still are among those who still stay and watch SuperBowl ads), they had a problem: they interrupted our content consumption.
Every time you turned that page of your Sports Illustrated magazine you´d find a huge picture of a watch or a car. If you watched more than 7 minutes of TV, you were inevitably fed 5 minutes of repetitive ads. Whenever you are listening to your favorite record on Spotify, you will have to listen to 30-second ads every two songs.
Social media changed the game completely. Yes, they are now tilted towards paid content, but are careful enough to make people feel their content consumption is interrupted. Ads will never go away. Period. They will only evolve.
This does not mean that you can´t continue to grow on content-saturated platforms without spending thousands of dollars on PPC marketing. Here is where creativity comes to play. Now that people are being bombarded with posts, ads, memes, videos, podcasts, and anything in between, they only pay attention to things that stimulate their curiosity.
Many “experts” like to say that people are becoming dumbed down and dull, but I think that the contrary is true.
Yes, you will come up with a nice blog article or a great “how-to” video, only to realize that people aren’t interested. Why? Because they´ve probably seen the same kind of content a million times before.
There are so many blogs and media outlets out there churning out content, that it seems that everyone is regurgitating the same pieces of information over and over again. And audiences notice this. They are now so informed and up-to-date that digital marketing experts have a hard time keeping up with what they find fresh.
And this leads to a bigger problem according to Vaynerchuck; data-based content creation.
Blindly looking into Google Analytics to figure out what people might be into right now can be disastrous. Say you see a sudden spike in interest around sushi. Many are tempted to think “Hey, now is the time to start writing about delicious raw fish wrapped in rice and algae”.
However, the moment you start writing about sushi, you will soon realize that the spike represented the interest most people had in the subject yesterday. By the time you finish your piece, a million other content creators will have already flooded the internet with articles, videos, and memes about Japanese cuisine, making your piece completely irrelevant by the time it hits your audience´s feed.
See, the problem here is not that people don’t want to consume more content. They do, and the need for more content is not going to go away. But we have to understand that audiences want to feel content with what they´re experiencing. And social media now provides the perfect medium for content dissemination.
What you need is a well-thought-out content strategy.
Tim Ferriss became a digital marketing expert by creating a strategy behind his wildly disparate writing topics. He urges his followers to focus on creating evergreen content instead of what´s current. You have to face it; you cannot outcompete CNN or the Search Engine Journal in their own fields. They´re churning out news all day long, with pieces coming out every 30 minutes. If you´re a content producer for an eCommerce business or digital marketing agency, you must focus on creating content that is going to be as useful in 6 months as it is today.
You might not be able to drive too many eyes to your blog or landing page at the beginning, but it will help you build a small yet diehard audience who will trust the information you offer and ultimately convert.
And he is adamant on this point: never try to create something that appeals to everyone. Identify your first 1000 hardcore fans, and write for them. Trying to come up with posts, ads, or pieces of content that might appeal to everyone will get you into a death trap of never being shared because literally not one soul loves what you wrote.
If you write something everybody likes, it will always be something that no one loves. So, first focus on that few hundred people you know are listening, write something they love, and then expand from there. Never waste your time trying to appeal to all audiences.
That brings us to the last expert on today´s list:
This historian and podcaster is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. But he has a die-hard audience and he´s well known in the affiliate marketing industry. He will pretty much agree with everything Ferriss says, but he would add: your content needs to convert. If you´re not writing to convert, then you’re throwing money and time away.
Yes, your content must keep people satisfied with what they´re reading and watching, but if you love what you do, you need to be able to make others fall in love with your favorite things, so you can continue doing what you´re doing and make a living out of it.
Your audience will notice the minute you start feeling copywriting is a chore and not a hobby, and they will be robbed of all of that passion you feel about the topic. Instead, you have to convincingly relay your passion and tell them how excited you are to share the products and services that have changed your life. That is the best way to get the word out to people who need your advice and your clients to be content as they browse through your website or social media feed.
Ok, those are the different takes these digital marketing experts offer from their widely different fields. However, there is one thing that they all agree on; persistence and consistency.
Sometimes you develop a content strategy that you think is going to work, and then you see the data saying otherwise. Never take that as a signal that you should change careers. It only means that, like everyone else in this industry, you need to persist; learn what you can, develop a new strategy, and implement. That is how most successful copywriters and marketers got where they are right now.
The next thing is consistency. You need to keep doing what you are doing every single day. Maybe your business gets most of its sales from email marketing, maybe you´re running a blog, or maybe you´re a social media manager in charge of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. So you need to at least send your customers a newsletter or post a week reminding them that you have great info to share with them. And you have to keep at it for a long time.
We´re not talking a few months. To be a successful content creator, you need to be persistent and consistent for at least three years. That’s where you will start seeing the results of your hard work, and the great payoff that comes with being among the top digital marketing experts.
But, how about you? What can you share about the process of content creation? What digital marketing experts should have been added to this list?