The Future Of Content: Insights From Robert Rose
This week I had the privilege of traveling to a conference (remember those!??!??!) and learning from some of the best in the biz in person.
One of the speakers was the indomitable Robert Rose, of The Content Advisory. If you’ve heard Robert speak or read anything he’s written, you know that he is a futurist. He’s an expert at pulling together threads and lessons to tell us where audiences, strategy, and content are going.
As you think about the future of content, I wanted to highlight 5 insights for those who have a content machine up and running, are seeing some success at generating leads, but are wondering about what to do next.
1. Consumer attention
Combined with the proliferation of content, consumer trust issues, and multiple other factors, tolerance for interruptive content is at an all time low.
There is so much content, and we know what we want and need. Everything is pulling on our attention. This doesn’t mean long-form content is dead, but it has to be relevant, needed, wanted. We’re binging Netflix, but skipping over YouTube commercials.
We’re savvier than ever. We don’t fall for marketing that doesn’t interest us, and we’re annoyed if it interrupts us or interferes.
Rose suggests that it’s more important than ever to understand our audience’s contextual journey. Where are they? What are they doing, what do they want? And then work to create new interest and desire at every step or decision point.
2. Physical presence scarcity
I think we all feel this, especially as the pandemic morphs and changes, without a clean ending. Physical presence feels like a limited experience, a luxury item. We’ll still have these opportunities, but many of us learned that we can do almost the same work remotely as we used to.
Sales people like having better access to prospects via zoom, a tool we’ve now all learned to use. Maybe they don’t want to constantly travel, go to their kid’s soccer game more often, save travel for bigger experiences.
As we return to hybrid office work, we will likely be hybrid everything for some time...maybe forever. Hybrid sales, conferences, and travel. We need to continue figuring out how to connect our digital experiences and continue to use them as a physical proxy.
3. Democratization of digital content
Related to #1, competition for content, attention, engagement is everywhere. It is easier than ever to write something, and post it to a platform. Anyone can do it.
Think even about your LinkedIn feed. When is the last time you checked LI and did more than scroll a few articles or posts down, press a couple of likes, read one article (or skim it), and then go away again. There is just SO MUCH content and we engage with very little of it.
This, combined with record low trust and privacy concerns makes capturing the attention of your audience harder than ever.
Does your brand provide you the differentiation you need to stand out? That’s the only way you can fight and win against #3. You need to be more consumer centric than ever. You need to understand how to reach your audience, to move them, to earn their trust.
You should be laser-focused on differentiation. Why you? Why now? Why act? If your brand isn’t creating a memory with your audience, then you’re the same as all of your competitors.
Your buyer is differentiated too. Buyer is now an attribute, it’s no longer a person. The role of “buyer” is a short identity, depending on your product or service. You need more research than you think to reach the right person at the right time. It’s imperative that you understand your audience as people not just as buyers.
Robert asks the question “What would happen if you stopped producing content?” Would anyone notice, would your thought leadership be missed?
5. First Party Data
The consensus of most is that third party data is going away. Not tomorrow, but it will go away. You’ve also probably heard most marketers warn about data you don’t own. As many have found out the wrong way, you’re one algorithm update, or privacy change away from losing access to an audience that you feel is yours, but that you don’t actually own.
If your audience is primarily owned by a platform, or anyone else, you should be concerned. We’re going to go all the way back to the basics here as you think about building up your own audience.
Look for ways to convert users from other platforms to you. Do first-party research. Make sure that everywhere you are, you are trying to capture user information, especially emails. A newsletter signup is a great first step. In fact you can subscribe to ours here.
Maybe this means acquiring a blog or newsletter in your market for subscribers.So what’s next for your content program? How can you tackle these challenges and reach your audience with helpful content that they need and builds trust? If you need help with these questions, we’d love to give you a free 30 minute consultation and help you think through these important questions for your business.