Want to Cut Through the Noise? Embrace the Idea of 'Big' Content. If you want to get attention, consider investing in a long-form project that will set you apart.
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There's no use arguing with the fact that content marketing is here to stay. Almost all marketers, 92 percent, are using content, and 58 percent and 60 percent of enterprise and consumer companies, respectively, plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
But while these growing trends highlight the potential that marketers and advertisers see in content marketing, there's an emerging downside that's becoming more and more apparent. If nearly all marketers use content marketing techniques in some way in their jobs, how can a single company get its message heard amidst the noise everyone else is generating?
In a SlideShare presentation released by Marketo, content marketing specialist Maggie Jones shared that "90 percent of executives feel overwhelmed by the amount of content available." If you've ever found yourself feeling frustrated trying to keep up with every blog in your industry or every Youtube channel you follow, you probably understand exactly what these execs are talking about.
In truth, the challenge for companies in 2014 might not be adopting successful content marketing programs -- it might just be getting their voices heard in the clutter. While there are plenty of possible solutions to this issue, one in particular I'd like to draw your attention to is "big" content.
"Big" content is, well, big. To see the difference, look at your average corporate blog post and compare it to Quick Sprout's "Advanced Guide to Content Marketing." At 10 complete chapters, it's easy to see that this marketing piece represents substantially more investment and value than a 500-word blog post that covers only a single aspect encompassed by the guide.
Perceived value aside, what should matter to marketers most is results -- and the guide delivers there as well. Neil Patel, founder of Quick Sprout, shares that in just a few months, the "Advanced Guide to Content Marketing" and its companion piece, "Advanced Guide to SEO," received roughly 575,000 views, generated more than 8,000 new email subscriptions and help shoot the Quick Sprout blog to the top of the Google natural search results for competitive phrases such as "content marketing."
I don't know about you, but I'd definitely call that cutting through the noise!
If you find that your company is struggling to gain traction with content marketing, it could be that your voice is getting lost amongst your competitors. If you see the potential of "big" content to help get you out of this situation, take the following three steps to boost your results:
1. Create a "big" content strategy. Patel's "Advanced Guide to Content Marketing" represents one type of "big" content -- the in-depth guide -- but it's not the only option. You may also want to consider:
- Video: Feature-style productions or libraries of helpful clip collections.
- Long-form written content: Articles of more than 2,000 words that offer a well-researched position on a hot topic (more on how to do this well in an upcoming article).
- Interactive infographics: Dynamic data visualizations that take traditional infographics to the next level.
- Mini-sites: Complete standalone websites that offer fun content or educational value.
- Primary research: Unique market research that will be attributed to your company.
This list isn't exclusive, as every industry is unique. If you have an idea that you think would really grab the attention of your field, put it on the table.
2. Allocate necessary resources. Don't worry. Even though I shared five possible types of "big" content above, you don't need to -- and quite frankly, you shouldn't -- try them all at once.
Instead, pick 1 to 2 "big" content pieces to focus your organization's energy on. As mentioned above, the specific structures you choose will depend in part on what you believe will stand out most in your industry. It's also worth looking at your existing resources. If you have a staff member who's particularly talented at video production, start in that direction and give him whatever resources are needed to complete a project.
3. Promote the hell out of it. Now, unfortunately, you could have the biggest piece of content ever created in your industry, but that still doesn't guarantee that it'll get noticed or shared. Though Patel's "Advanced Guide to Content Marketing" was an early success, this should at least be partially attributed to the size and interest level of his existing audience.
If you've been struggling to make content marketing work for your business, you might not have the rabid audience base that helped Patel. Instead, you're going to have to get down and dirty with some promotional work. Share it socially and email your newsletter subscribers, then be prepared to keep pounding the pavement to build interest.
If you've done your job well, your promotional efforts will pay off with a "big" content piece that helps you cut through the digital noise and results in measurable gains for your business's most important metrics.
Related: 6 Ideas for Epic Business Blog Posts