The amount of digital content people consume has never been higher. Data shows that in 2020, the average time spent with digital media equaled 470 minutes per user per day in the United States. We can only expect this number to grow as more content becomes available.
Sure, that people keep consuming growing amounts of content might seem like a good sign to most marketers. However, it’s essential to understand that it’s not just consumption that’s gone up over the past couple of years.
According to data from the Internet Live Stats website, there have been more than 2 billion blog posts, 232 billion tweets, and 25 billion Instagram posts between January and October 2021. While impressive, these stats only show one thing: it is increasingly difficult for brands to create content that stands out from the noise.
So how can you ensure that the posts you put time and money into stand apart from those published by your competition? And, more importantly, what strategies can you use to boost your brand’s visibility (along with your content marketing ROI)?
The following are some tips for producing eye-catching content.
1. Get Super-Niche
Creating content that appeals to everyone is almost impossible. After all, consumers have different interests. Additionally, most people have their preferred ways of consuming content. While some enjoy reading lengthy articles on complex topics, others will choose to watch a 6-minute YouTube video or listen to a 20-minute podcast episode on their morning commute.
So, instead of trying to make something lukewarm that meets everyone’s preferences, the best way to cut through the noise and create a loyal and engaged following is to focus on creating one-of-a-kind posts that deeply resonate with a smaller segment of your audience.
The best way to do this is to research long-tail and low-search-volume keywords in your industry and identify the terms your competition hasn’t capitalized on yet. Then, get to work and produce high-quality content optimized to win top positions on SERPs, helping you reach your target audience more quickly than by going after popular search terms everyone else is covering.
Talking about content produced to appeal to an underserved market segment would be almost impossible without mentioning the insanely creative ways content creators have managed to build followings online.
One such example comes from YouTuber :3ildcat, whose videos revolve around one of the most specific subjects out there. This person produces mechanical keyboard reviews that focus on the typing sounds each keyboard model makes. To the average person, the very idea seems nuts. But, the numbers show otherwise. Not only does :3ildcat have 386k subscribers, but their videos regularly get tens of thousands of views, proving just how effective niche content can be at grabbing audience attention.
2. Flaunt Your Credibility
Another huge contributor to producing marketing content that stands out from the noise is brand credibility.
Unfortunately, over the past two years, consumer opinion has shifted heavily. The result is a quickly diminishing amount of trust in governments, media outlets, NGOs, and brands.
According to the Edelman 2020 Trust Barometer report, 57% of people feel like untrustworthy information contaminates the media they consume. Moreover, while businesses rank on the positive side of the competence scale, the research shows that they’re unlikely to be considered ethical by consumers. Furthermore, the percentage of belief-driven buyers falls at 64%, showing that it’s more important than ever for businesses to approach all marketing strategies with credibility, authenticity, and transparency in mind.
Luckily, well-made marketing content can do a lot to support brands’ commitment to consumer trust and consequently differentiate it from the competition. And, the best part is, it doesn’t have to be complicated at all.
Example #1: Transparent Labs
Supplements manufacturer Transparent Labs ventured to build its reputation on a trustworthy, science-driven approach to health and wellness. The goal for this brand was to distinguish itself from the competition, whose exaggerated claims and unethical conduct have created a gap in consumer trust over the past decade.
What’s fascinating about Transparent Labs is that the brand built its authority and established credibility entirely through content marketing, adding two simple segments to each of its well-researched supplement science articles. The first is a highly detailed author’s bio at the end of each post. The second is a trust badge at the top of each post, stating that an independent advisory board had reviewed the content.
Example #2: SomniFix
Of course, it’s not just blog posts that need to be credible. The same should go for any sales content you upload to your distribution channels.
A great solution for showing the credibility of your claims is to create a dedicated science page, as done by SomniFix. This brand decided to put together a resource for potential customers who needed hard evidence regarding the brand’s claims.
What’s great about this example of trust-promoting content is not just that it gives approachable explanations on how mouth breathing impacts health. Even more importantly, it links to a dozen scientific research studies to back up its claims, helping consumers make their buying decisions with peace of mind.
3. Address Very Specific Pain Points
Another great way to create marketing content that stands out from the noise is to take a look at your value proposition and make it unique.
The reason to do this is that, most likely, your competition is looking to solve a generic set of problems. But, by focusing your efforts on addressing a specific consumer pain point, you can help your content become more discoverable by your target audience. You can secure a much higher conversion rate by targeting an audience with a well-defined position in the sales funnel.
Taskade is a brand that perfectly exemplifies how specificity in a value proposition helps businesses stand out in a sea of similar solutions. This SaaS company decided to create a dedicated comparison section on its website, where it explains how its features compete with popular apps addressing similar pain points.
In a post that puts Taskade up against Things 3, the marketing team behind Taskade explains how this app offers a higher level of creative freedom than its main competitor. Furthermore, it points out that the app allows for collaboration, not something Things 3 can say about its product.
The result of this approach is a piece of written content specifically made to illustrate how unique Taskade’s value proposition is. But, what makes the strategy cut through the noise is that it addresses particular consumer pain points. It plays to the fact that a growing number of people need powerful project management apps that do more than a single thing, all the while keeping costs low.
4. Tell Relatable Stories
When looking for a content marketing strategy that boosts your chances of standing apart from the competition, it’s not a bad idea to consider shifting the spotlight onto our customers.
The problem with branded content (in any format) is that it often focuses on the brand’s perspective. And, sure, having an effective way to communicate messages is an essential part of business success. But sometimes, talking about features and benefits is simply not enough.
For many consumers, seeking out content about the products isn’t to understand the technical specs. Instead, it’s to learn about the ways those products could improve their day-to-day lives. And one of the best ways to achieve this is to tell relatable stories that can show off the unique benefits only you can offer your audience.
Example #1: Salesforce
To anyone operating in the e-commerce industry, Salesforce is an established name. But, for people getting started with their online selling journey, the brand is just another SaaS company competing for user attention.
However, what makes Salesforce’s content marketing stand out from the crowd is that it understands how impactful relatability is in convincing consumers to convert. So, it created a dedicated small business solutions landing page that doesn’t just list features and benefits.
Much more effectively, it provides real-life examples of small businesses using Salesforce, providing data on how the solution benefited those companies, helping potential customers grasp all the possibilities offered by the program.
Example #2: SnapEngage
For a slightly more advanced way of making branded content relevant to consumer experiences, consider investing in the production of case studies you can use to exemplify the real-life applications and proven benefits of your products.
SnapEngage did precisely this in its Hootsuite case study, explaining the problems its client was facing before it implemented a live chat support feature on its website. Displaying detailed statistical data relevant to potential customers, SnapEngage managed to show the effectiveness of live chat in reducing support ticket numbers while boosting customer satisfaction. Doing so created a resource like no other, illustrating what potential users can expect from a software solution such as its own.
5. Go into Detail
Are you looking for a content marketing strategy that stands out even when targeting people in the awareness stage of the sales funnel? Well, if that’s the case, you might want to consider continuing with what you’re already doing but making sure to do it better than your competitors.
Going into detail in your how-to posts and ultimate guides won’t just help you answer the most common questions in your industry. More importantly, it can allow you to differentiate yourself from the rest of the brands in your niche, positioning your brand as an authority on a topic.
Example: GILI Sports
This beginner’s guide to SUP by Gili Sports is an exceptional example of how attention to detail can turn a traditional blog post into an all-encompassing resource that consumers will come back to time and again.
In addition to the standard instructions that users can find on all of its competitors’ posts of the same kind, GILI’s marketing team decided to include a bunch of extra information in this guide to paddleboarding. Added information includes photos showing correct technique, videos explaining different paddle strokes, overviews of essential paddleboard gear, instructions on adjusting a SUP, etc.
6. Create New Knowledge
Are you operating in an industry that sees a high volume of content competing for user attention? If you are, think about ways to stand out and become an irreplaceable resource for anyone looking for information in your field of work.
The best way to do this is to continuously work on providing your target audience with relevant, actionable data they can use to meet their goals. Think surveys, polls, original research, statistical overviews, and anything else that can help them expand their knowledge quickly and without too much trouble.
A brand whose content marketing approach greatly relies on producing original research is CXL. As a media resource whose mission is to bring top-of-the-line UX training to everyone, CXL built its reputation on a series of fascinating research studies covering everything from content to web visitor behavior to website performance.
But the impressive thing about this brand’s strategy isn’t that it has made a name for itself by providing marketers with relevant data. It understands the potential of research studies for brands looking for a combination of industry authority and high volumes of organic traffic.
Further Strategies for Content That Stands Out
When it comes to producing content that effectively attracts consumers and contributes to an organization’s branding strategy, it’s safe to say that there’s no single formula. After all, following a set of rules doesn’t guarantee uniqueness.
Instead, to cut through the noise, you will have to work hard. Moreover, understand that you must:
- Keep an open mind regarding topics, content formats, and distribution methods.
- Commit to continually increasing the quality of your content, ensuring that you always stay one step ahead of your competitors.
- Develop a unique tone for your brand that resonates with your target audience.
- Keep an eye out for your target audience’s preferences, pain points, and desires so that you can make the absolute best decisions when investing in new pieces of content.
Do all these, and you’ll be on a roll. But prioritize quantity over quality or, worse yet, fall back on copying your competitors, and you’ll quickly find yourself being just one in a million brands doing the same thing. Unfortunately, that won’t translate into longevity nor impressive business growth.
If you’re interested in learning more about content strategy, check out one of our upcoming social media strategy conferences.
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