It’s what happens when consumers are so flooded with advertising material, blog posts, social media material, and visuals that they shut down and stop processing any information at all.
Unfortunately, content overload is becoming a larger and larger problem in our online world.
According to Buffer, 400 million tweets are sent each day, 4.75 billion daily updates are shared on Facebook, and a staggering 5.3 trillion ads appear online annually.
What’s more, the number of brand messages a customer encounters a day has skyrocketed from about 3,500 back in 2005 to over 10,000 today.
With all that content flying around at the speed of light, it’s easy to see why creating unique, original content that stands out has become so difficult.
Luckily, you have a secret weapon.
It’s called “The Three E’s:” and I’m here to help you learn how to use it.
Content Overload: An Unfortunate Truth
Wouldn’t it be great if you could sit down, write up a piece of content, send it out to your followers, and just trust that it’s going to go viral? While this may be the stuff of dreams for content marketers everywhere, it’s an unrealistic expectation. Today, the explosion of digital platforms like websites, blogs, social media sites, and forums has saturated the content market and companies of all shapes and sizes across all industries are using these platforms to reach their readers. As it stands right now, 94% of small businesses and 93% of B2B companies are using content marketing as a significant portion of their marketing strategies.
Unfortunately, this explosion in the popularity of content hasn’t coincided with an increased human attention span or ability to digest content.
According to recent research, most modern humans have attention spans (8 seconds) that are shorter than that of a goldfish (9 seconds on average).
Because of this, it’s critical for content marketers to learn to craft content that goes to the heart of readers and produces quick, effective engagement.
Content Marketing’s Secret Formula for Success: The Three E’s
How, you might ask, do I create unique, engaging content for people who pay less attention than shimmery yellow fish?
The answer lies in the three E’s.
With so much content out there for consumers to interact with, your primary tool for ensuring that they interact with your content first is to get them engaged. This, however, is easier said than done. Engaging your customers means identifying a target audience and knowing how to reach them. This allows you to understand the specific issues and questions your audience is grasping with and provide them with content that helps to answer their questions, address their concerns, and provide value.
Once you’ve determined who your target audience is, you’ll need to keep monitoring and updating it to accommodate the changes in your brand and your customer base. By doing this, you can ensure that the content you post on social media and other online platforms is valuable, original, targeted, and engaging for your target audience. Only once you’ve got engagement down can you move on to the remaining two E’s.
When consumers go online to search for content, what they’re looking for is information. Because of this, the second critical “E” you need to think about during the content marketing process is how to educate your customers. Once you’ve gotten them engaged with your content, you need to reward them by offering educational, exciting content that they can connect with. While there are various ways to educate your customers, one of the easiest and most reliable is to answer questions and address concerns.
While it’s obvious enough that writing informative, industry-specific blog posts is one good way to educate your followers, you can also educate them by taking steps to make your brand more accessible and human. This means offering outstanding customer service, granting coupons or discounts, and taking every available opportunity to educate your consumers about your company, mission, and products. In addition to providing value to your customers, this step also helps deepen the relationship with your brand and solidify your presence in your clients’ minds.
For a few examples of brands that are doing this well:
Whole Foods, which is famous for offering helpful tips, tricks, and information to its customers via its social profiles:
— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) May 31, 2016
Or even Mint.com, which uses its blog to help its primarily young user base navigate life’s pressing financial challenges in intuitive ways (even more appealing featuring a hipster surfing the web on an IKEA-style couch with his dog):
Through high-quality yet accessible education, these brands have managed to make names for themselves as industry leaders while also encouraging their customers to stay engaged with and interested in their content.
Once you’ve engaged and educated your reader, it’s time to close the deal by exciting them about your content or topic. Because there’s so much content available to today’s consumers, ensuring that they’re excited about yours is one of the best ways to ensure that they keep coming back for more. By doing this, you can generate content that helps create conversations within your follower base. This, in turn, keeps you relevant and ensures that customers will be thinking about your content, even when they aren’t actively engaging with it.
While there are dozens of ways to excite your followers about your content, some of the most common involve giving them ownership of the content in some way, shape or form. This explains the current popularity of user-generated content. User-generated content is content that brands encourage users to create and, when used correctly, it can have a significant impact on the success of your overall content marketing strategy.
As it stands right now, a full 64% of millennials want to be able to share their opinions with brands. What’s more, the vast majority of consumers place lots of trust on user-generated content, so including it in your marketing strategy is a great way to both excite consumers and inspire confidence in your brand.
For great examples of areas where user-generated content has worked well, think about a few brands:
- Starbucks, which virtually broke the internet with its 2014 White Cup Contest (and followed up throughout the years with other “hot” cup styles)
- Or ModCloth, which features the submitted photos of its customers in the “Real Weddings” portion of the site (just another reason I LOVE this cool brand):
By encouraging the submission of user-generated content, your brand can succeed in encouraging customer conversations about your products, goods, and services.
For added benefit, offer a small gift or prize to people who take the time to submit content. It won’t take long, and you’ll be leaving your customer with a happy little memento to remember your company by.
The Three E’s: What’s in it for You? 6 Key Benefits
If you’re wondering what using the three E’s will do for your brand and content marketing, here are some of the most obvious benefits:
1. Wider brand recognition
By using the three E’s in your content marketing strategy, you succeed in creating unique content that your users enjoy, which in turn leads to increased brand recognition and more visibility on your various social platforms.
2. More customer loyalty
According to Convince & Convert, 53% of customers who use social media to follow brands remain loyal to those brands. By using the three E’s on your social channels, you inspire brand loyalty and build a strong base of returning customers
3. Higher conversion rates
Whenever you publish something on your social platforms, you give customers a chance to convert. What’s more, whenever you post something that utilizes the powers of the three E’s, you increase your conversion rates and provide your consumers with valuable, exciting content they’ll want to share.
4. Increased expertise
Establishing yourself as an authority in your industry is tough, but the three E’s can help. When you utilize the three E’s in your content marketing, you establish yourself as a credible, reputable authority people feel they can trust
5. Greater SEO
Improve your SEO and earn more prominent Google rankings by giving the search engine more content to index and making yourself more visible to users.
6. More inbound traffic
As you share content on social media, your readers will share it again for you, creating a chain reaction of quality content that reaches around the web and helps boost your reach and improve your inbound traffic.
While there are countless benefits of using the three E’s in marketing strategy, these are some of the most obvious.
Transform Your Content Marketing
Today, content marketing is more challenging than ever before, and it takes a unique set of skills to make your material stand out.
Luckily, the three E’s are a fantastic way to ensure your content is more valuable than the rest of the online muck and that, rather than being a part of the content overwhelm problem, you’re a part of the new solution.
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