For content consumers, the internet has become a huge wall of noise – we’re drowning in it. Think an AC/DC concert in your left ear and the Triumphal Scene from Verdi’s Aida in the other. Add dozens (100s?) of marketing emails a day and you’ve got enough sensory overload to melt the icecaps!
It’s all marketing’s fault
Marketers only have marketing to blame: your targets have been hardened into indifference by constant bombardment – and not necessarily by you. Your competitors are targeting them too, as well as every Nigerian scammer and promoter of “personal enhancement”. Targets feel that their trust has been abused, and they’re taking revenge by shutting out almost everyone. Can you blame them?
Time to cut the noise and increase the signal.
Like tuning a radio, there’s a lot of white noise – it’s only when you hit the right frequency that you get a clear signal.
So, you need to start looking at marketing from their viewpoint – what they want, not what you’re selling – which is the whole concept of content marketing. Here are our 5 Tech Torque Top Tips:
1. Just be useful
With so much useless, derivative material being force-fed to audiences in so many forms, the best way to stand out is to be really useful — not dazzling, epic or even awesome – just really useful. How? One simple way is to show how much you respect their time by helping them save it. You could sift through the mountains of information ‘rubbish’ for them and pick out the gems you know they need.
An example is a comparison website called Gizmo’s best. Not original you say? There are hundreds of sites promoting apps and freeware and most have endless lists of it, don’t they? Yes, but this website has much more: a short list of freeware per category where each has been reviewed and ranked by the gizmo community. It’s not just a list but a test-drive by a trusted friend. It saves their subscribers a huge amount of time and they love it.
For instance, imagine you’re looking for the best video to MP3 converter. Gizmo provides a handful of options with brief descriptions, pros and cons, and a few technical details. How long did it take to glance over this link to check if it had the answer you’re looking for? No time.
2. Lists still cut it – but use a good tailor
A headline that promotes a numbered list will always get attention because it speaks in specifics and outlines what the reader can expect. Whether it’s the 7 deadly sins, or to quote Paul Simon, 50 ways….
But when considering your list of ‘top reasons’, remember that time is the most precious commodity in business today – no-one has enough! So, size matters, but in this instance it’s in inverse proportion. Your targets don’t want endless lists of 200 apps or solutions or shortcuts, let alone something like 557 Email Subject Line Hacks to Get You Noticed in the Inbox. They want to get to the good stuff without the stocking fillers – and fast.
3. Keep it short
To be really useful, give them a list of items (say pitfalls to avoid, or hints, or shortcuts, or answers, or something useful) that you’ve actually checked and selected, not just grabbed and copied. You need to cite credible sources, sift the items for relevance to your targets, add some valuable insights and present the information in a form that’s easy to consume.
This is classic ‘curated content’ and, if you’re following content marketing and communication trends routinely, you might as well summarise them, add some value and share them as a package of insights with people you know will benefit.
4. Earn trust
Gizmo’s model is based on trust. Subscribers know they can go to his site, dive into a category, grab what they need and leave whenever they like. For subscribers there are no strings attached. Gizmo has earned their trust over many years. Offering reliable advice based on real reviews by real people, and by preserving total independence.
By contrast, even some of the best-known marketing agencies churn out truckloads of recycled stuff that add no new insights on the subjects they cover. That’s just plain dumb. We think that Rand Fishkin from Moz has a much better idea – produce content (blog posts, resources, emails) when you have something of value to share, not just because you think you should post more often.
5. Be persistent and consistent
It takes time to build a reputation as a source of really useful content. It also takes consistency. You can’t send an extraordinary piece today and a piece of junk next week. Readers will judge you on the latest piece and, if it’s rubbish, they’ll unsubscribe and never come back.
Yet once people understand that you’re doing all the hard yakka and saving them loads of time, they might even look forward to your emails. But don’t overdo it with multiple emails per day or a dozen in a week.
Do helpful content consistently and well, and your targets just might share and recommend your content to their friends. Now wouldn’t that be nice!
Until next time,