Think Big: Think Pure, Rich and True Inbound Content
I start to write this blog under the (perhaps foolish) assumption that you caught last week’s post – ‘Surviving Content Shock: Why It’s Quality Not Quantity that Counts’.
What d’you mean you haven’t read it yet?
Ok, ok – I’m happy to wait a moment while you catch up…. [So, Donald Trump is going to be President of the United States, huh? Yes, darling – it’s all in the bunker…]
Oh, good, you’re back!
Yes, so to quickly recap – the internet is becoming ever-more jam-packed with content. So much, in fact, that there is now more information out there than users could ever hope to consume in a lifetime. This phenomenon has been labelled ‘Content Shock’, which simply means that content supply is rapidly outstripping demand.
The consequences for content marketers are as follows: simply producing more and more mediocre content is not going to be enough to grab the attention of your target audience. One solution, therefore, is produce better content. It might mean that instead of writing 12 blogs a month you only write 6 or even 4 – but those blogs are going to be far and away better than anything you’ve ever produced before.
Indeed, it might mean that you cut down on your blog output in place of some more videos, infographics, SlideShares, or what have you. But, whatever you decide to do, from now on you must remember that it’s quality not quantity that counts.
Think Inbound – Pure, Rich and True
Even as we walk forward through a Content Shocked world, we must never undervalue what a sterling piece of pure, rich and true inbound content can do for our publicity.
So what do we mean by “inbound content”? Well, inbound is the stuff that essentially has no direct advertising or promotional message attached to it.
Take this blog post for example. What I’m essentially delivering to the World Wide Web is a written piece of advice about the importance of creating inbound content. There will be no direct marketing messages attached to this blog (well, maybe a sneaky little CTA at the end, but no matter). The hope is that when My Social Agency publishes this blog post and shares it among its social networks, a decent number of users will click on it, read it, and perhaps share the link across their own networks.
What this blog is not doing is promoting My Social Agency’s specific products or services – at least not directly. For of course, one of the purposes of this post (and nearly all of our others) is to not only give advice to marketers, but to also make them aware of the My Social Agency brand. Indeed, by raising brand awareness through content, we hope that a certain percentage of readers will think of us the next time they need a social media, content, web design, or SEM marketing service.
This is a piece of inbound content – i.e. content that helps potential customers find My Social Agency, as opposed to an outbound marketing tactic which would involve cold calls, email blasts, TV commercials, etc.
However, what I want to talk about today isn’t blogs such as this. Inbound this post may be, but it is not a pure, rich and true piece of inbound content, for there is indeed a subtle-sell going on that’s always pointing readers towards the My Social Agency solution.
Pure, Rich and True? What Do You Mean?
The sort of inbound content that I want to highlight today is the stuff that is absolutely, positively, 100% stripped of ALL marketing messages, indirect or otherwise.
Oh, yes. What I’m talking about is the type of content that has one purpose and one purpose alone – to appeal to the broadest user-base possible.
I’m talking about the type of content that goes viral – and indeed it is best illustrated with an example.
In 2014, Concert Hotels published what this blogger happens to think might be up there among the best pieces of inbound content ever created.
Concert Hotels differentiates itself by helping people find hotels near music venues so they’ve got somewhere close by to kip after a gig. Clearly, then, they have a brand that appeals to music lovers – which is pretty much everyone, right? Indeed, we’ve all got our favourite singers, and most of us have an opinion over who is the best the singer in the world – whether or not that makes them our favourite is by the by.
And so, some genius at the helm of Concert Hotel’s marketing team came up with an idea to publish a post that lists the world’s greatest singers by vocal range. Now, there are a number of ways that such a piece of content could have been approached. They could have simply written some sort of bullet-pointed list, they could have edited together some sort of video medley, perhaps made a SlideShare…. All such things would have had their merits, I’m sure, but what they, in the end, came up with was this:
(Image source: concerthotels.com)
I mean, just look at that! In fact, don’t just look at the screenshot – I’m once again more than happy to wait while you take a moment to go and check out the post. Go on…. Just click here…. [What’s that, dear? The wall? Yes, something about keeping out “next-of-kins”. I don’t know – perhaps he’s got some sort of family issue we don’t know about…]
Had a look? Bloody good, isn’t it?
Now, there are a couple of things that I want to point out about the piece. First, the interactive element – i.e. by hovering your cursor over each singer their vocal range is illustrated on the keyboard at the bottom. As impressive as this is in its own right, what also strikes me is the simplicity of it. Now, I don’t profess to be any sort of designer, but I know my way around InDesign well enough to know that including interactive elements in content is not particularly difficult. This, however, would require web design skills that I don’t currently possess – but, even so, I know people who could replicate such a simple thing relatively easily.
Second, let’s just take a moment to consider the research that went into this piece. It must have involved first forming a list of the world’s greatest singers, and then listening to their music to find their highest and lowest notes they were able to hit in the recording studio. Clearly this would have taken longer than the couple of hours that normally goes into the research and production of a simple blog post – but, boy, was it worth it.
The third thing I want to highlight is the post’s success. It has garnered 121k shares on Facebook alone. The post was also covered by The Huffington Post – an article that itself has generated a further 26k shares.
A truly deserved payoff for a truly brilliant piece of content. And the secret behind this post’s success is that it is a 100% pure, rich and true piece of inbound. There are no subtle sells, no hidden messages and no CTAs.
No, the purpose of this post was for it to go viral and drive a ton of website traffic by tapping into something that we all care about and have an opinion on. Whether we’re planning on going to a Radiohead gig and need a nearby hotel to kip in or not – it frankly makes no odds to our engagement levels with this post.
And so the lesson that I have taken myself and what I hope you will too is this – if we’re going to survive Content Shock, then this is the sort of thing that we’re going to have to start producing. If you think that you haven’t got the time or perhaps even the budget to produce something like this, then make it. For this one post is worth more to the Concert Hotels brand than 100 mediocre blog posts that hardly anyone is going to read.
Sure, keep producing blogs and your other routine output, but my suggestion is that you sacrifice some quantity to free up time and resources for creating something of pure quality. And I can’t wait to see it.
Need a pure, rich and true inbound content strategy? Get in touch today, and, assuming that your nuclear bunker has got Wi-Fi, we’ll get you back to you with a big plan for some big content.