A few weeks back, I posted a piece here on Market Leadership Journal raising the question of quality over quantity when it came to content marketing, and prospect engagement. I also posted this question in several LinkedIn groups: “Is there too much content, or not enough?”
Interestingly, Bryan, a friend and colleague here in Columbus chimed in with a perspective that I suspect many others share:
“I do believe there is just way too much for anyone to keep up with…and yes we are all self-promoting to some degree…so is this keeping the people we would like to engage with away? How do we cut the sea of [BLEEP] out there and find the good stuff; and how do we grab the attention of the folks we would like to have a conversation with to help each other move our business forward?”
He had other points to share as well, but what you see above captures the essence of it. I think what Bryan described is indeed the bursting of the content bubble–too much for people to digest (The proliferation of fee-based email inbox managers is just another example.). And I also think that for every ten people who say they never open email newsletters, you will find ten more who admit they do, and so on.
Even when I raised the issue of the Content Bubble, I didn’t have an easy answer then, nor do I today, other than to be mindful of what information people are seeking. What are your prospects’ prevailing problems or nagging questions? Focus on this, and provide answers and solutions. It really is about serving, not selling.
Try to sell, you won’t sell. Endeavor to serve, and you will sell. It’s ironic.
But I do think there is another factor to be addressed here: Frequency.
As I indicated before, one of the most powerful content marketing tools at our disposal is the editorial calendar. Through this tool we learn to think like a publisher—by planning out what we will put out there, and doing so months in advance. That helps us maintain consistency, which is vitally important to marketing. Indeed, we cannot touch our audience just once and hope for a response. We need to do it on a regular basis, and each time, we should strive to deliver value, not sales pitches.
But this now begs the question: how often should we do this? If we “market” too much, it can desensitize our audience to our voice.
Think about someone you know (family member, colleague, whomever) who talks too much. When they speak, are you eager to listen? Chances are, you aren’t. In fact, a while back I got into an argument with my teenage son (who really does know it all!), advising him of this same point and that he should talk less and listen more. I think there are a lot of the really aggressive content marketers out there are cranking stuff out so fast (in some cases several times per week) that no one can keep up with it.
I know I certainly can’t. What about you?
Then again, there is that content source or thought leader who is less frequent—maybe only once or twice per month. But when that source talks, they usually have something of value to say. Thus, we give it more attention. When their email arrives, we open it. When they talk, I listen.
As a former manager of mine once wisely put it: “Less is more.” Of course, he was referring to not buying it back (i.e. talking too much) during a sales presentation. But I think the same dynamic and principal applies.
So, if you are finding that your open- or click-through rates are not what you would hope, consider the frequency and volume in which you speak. Yes, it’s a tricky balance. But there is wisdom and discipline striving not necessarily to be the loudest voice, but that which only speaks when you have something important to say.