Stop the Content Carousel and Let Me Off!!!!

I’ve had it! I typically get 150 or more emails each day from people who are dying to share their news with me. And, despite my best intentions for reading everything, quite often I find myself doing what I’m sure many of you do: I hit delete.

It’s ironic, really. As a PR professional, I LOVE content and I live for new outlets where I can showcase thought leadership. Seriously. The availability of new channels, including social media outlets, countless blogs and numerous self-publishing opportunities have leveled the playing field for smaller companies with less substantial budgets. They have also democratized the PR process by removing the media as intermediary and arbiter of what people care about.

That’s the bright side. Now, for the bad news.

Keeping track of all the outlets available for coverage, filtering and processing the information available to us and feeding the content beast has become a job in and of itself. And, while the need for content has grown exponentially, the bar for attracting the interest of customers and consumers has gotten exponentially higher. The PR equivalent of The Perfect Storm.

Why?

A statistic I recently heard from a Google executive helps put this in perspective. According to Google, in 2012, we produce more content each day than we did in the period from the dawn of time until 2003. The bottom line is we are ALL — myself included — saturated and rapidly approaching information overload.

So, the real question becomes how can marketers cut through the clutter and get the attention they feel they deserve. The answer is simple: We must make our content count.

A few simple rules for achieving that objective follow:

  • Know your audience and what motivates them and develop content accordingly.
  • Listen and monitor. Even if you are not actively engaged in social media or blogging, you need to follow the conversation for your industry.
  • If you don’t have something smart to say, don’t say anything at all. Avoid saturating those with whom you want to communicate.
  • Remember that there is no “I” in content. Save the chest beating for your ads.
  • Think like a journalist. Know what’s newsworthy, keep it simple and stick to the facts.
  • Curate content. Distill and make sense of information from a wide range of sources to become a one-stop shop for your audience.
  • Your content should be verb- and not adjective-oriented. Focus on educating, advising and advocating, rather than describing.

Chances are no matter how good your content, someone is still going to hit delete, but following these rules will help increase your chances of breaking through — even with a jaded old PR person like me.

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