Content Marketing, Owned Media
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The popularity of content marketing continues to spread like wildfire among corporate marketing departments. Every year, the amount of content available online is growing exponentially. A lot of potential buyers today feel like they are drowning in it.

This presents a problem for marketers. The more content that gets produced, the harder it becomes for them to gain and keep the attention of the readers we want to attract.

So what’s the lesson for content marketers? Relevance matters.

No, scratch that. Relevance is critical. If you are going to win readers’ (your potential customers) interest in spite of the tsunami of content on the web, you must grab their attention by being relevant to them.

A Formidable Content Marketing Obstacle

We face a lot of obstacles on our journey to content marketing success. One of the most formidable is posed by the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS helps you focus your attention on certain things, while helping you to ignore others.

This is the part of your brain that acts like a switch or gatekeeper for relevant information. It filters out information you deem to be irrelevant. On the other hand, it immediately focuses your attention when it becomes aware of something that’s important to you.

When you are trying to appeal to your target audience, the RAS can work for or against you. Use it to your advantage. You do not want to bombard your potential readers with irrelevant content. You want to get their attention with valuable information that resonates with them and is important to them, or else risk be filtered out completely.

Do You Know Your Audience Well?

It’s imperative to understand your audience intimately. Conduct extensive research and put together a profile of your “ideal reader”. What’s his world view? What does he like? What does he dislike? What does he respond to? What does he ignore? Tailor your message to appeal to your readers. Use this detailed profile to guide how you write your content and the way you market to your audience.

Remember that people are profoundly interested in themselves, so use your content to talk to them about their problems and circumstances that relate to your product. Offer them solutions to nagging problems they are struggling with, persuade them that you can help them overcome these problems and you’ll have their attention. Their RAS will let you in.

Avoid Marketing Narcissism

People don’t want to hear marketers talk in a self-centered fashion about their products and their company. If you use your content as a platform to do nothing but talk about yourself, you may very well be guilty of an objectionable practice that has been referred to as marketing narcissism.

If your audience thinks this is the case – if they think you only care about your company and telling everyone how wonderful your products are – your credibility with them will plummet. To them, your content will feel as relevant as an old, beat-up minivan is to a single guy in his twenties who is itching to buy a new sports car.

Instead, focus your message on your reader, not on you. This will help you in your quest to remain relevant in your readers’ eyes once they are engaged with your content.

First Impressions Count

How do you stand out from the crowd and capture the reader’s initial interest considering the overwhelming content deluge he is faced with?

One way is with your content’s headline or title. Your title is critical for grabbing your reader’s attention and focusing them on your message. Make your title stand out in a big way. Keeping in mind that your readers care about their needs and wants, use the headline to boldly promise, or at least imply, some kind of benefit.

Solid titles are important. You can have the world’s greatest, most value-packed, compelling white paper or case study, but if your title doesn’t strike a chord with your intended audience and if they don’t see it as being relevant to them, your content will be ignored.

Content marketing is challenging. And it’s getting tougher because our audiences are being bombarded with more and more content offerings. In an effort to prevent sensory overload, the RAS works to filter out such stimuli viewed as unimportant. Use it to your advantage by appealing to your audience in a relevant way to win their attention (and hopefully the sale).

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Our publication contributors combine decades of experience with unique insights into the content promotion and distribution industry.
Chad Pollitt Partner, VP of Audience Native Advertising Institute
Pam Didner Global Content Marketing Strategist & Author
Chirag Ahuja Head of Marketing WorkflowMax
Jayson DeMers Founder & CEO AudienceBloom
Erik Deckers Professional Writer Pro Blog Service
Bernie Borges CEO Find and Convert
Jessica Stephenson VP Marketing ExactHire
Michael Ferrari Marketing Consultant Pen Cap Online Marketing
Larry Alton Freelance Writer and Editor
David Tile Founder & Director Nimble Media
Jay Baer Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Author
Kelsey Libert Marketing VP & Partner Frac.tl
Dan Steiner Co-Founder & CEO Elite Legal Marketing
Joydeep Bhattacharya Relevance Contributor SEOsandwitch.com
Jonah Bliss Founder CMO ContentIntent
Andrea Lehr Promotions Supervisor Fractl
Fernando Labastida Co-Founder Content Propulsion
Dan Moyle Creative Dir. Marketing AmeriFirst
Dennis Yu Chief Technology Officer BlitzMetrics
Arnaud Roy VP Marketing Augure
John Rugh Copywriter/Content Marketing Specialist
Gini Dietrich CEO Arment Dietrich
Justin Spicer Content Researcher, Producer & Editor
Michael Becker Marketing Support Spec. Teradata
Anna Johansson Freelance Writer
Amanda DiSilvestro Content Editor and Writer HigherVisibility
Sujay Maheshwari Founder & CEO Netcurate.com
Kelly Coulter Online Marketing Strategist
Taylor Radey Senior Consultant PR 20/20
Rodger Johnson Public Relations Leader & Consultant
Simon Penson Founder & Managing Dir. Zazzle Media
Danielle Wolter Nolan Co-Owner
Jason Falls Social Media & Public Relations Thought Leader
Joe Beccalori CEO Interact Marketing
Fernando Cuscuela Founder & CEO Everypost
Kelly Smith Content Manager CourseFinder
John McTigue EVP Kuno Creative
Yogita Arora Content Strategist Zoomph
Jordan Teicher Associate Editor Contently
Jonathan Crowl Digital Marketing Writer & Editor
Brian Honigman Marketing Consultant, Writer & Professional Speaker Skyword
Katherine Halek Content Strategist Signazon.com
Amanda Drinker Dooley Community Product Marketing Manager Netline
Anton Rius Digital Marketing Consultant More Than Metrics
Matthew Zajechowski Outreach Manager Digital Third Coast
Kevin Bailey Co-founder DigitalRelevance
Peter Chen Digital Marketing Consultant DigitalRelevance
Luana Spinetti Multi-Specialized Freelancer
Kyle Harper Writer Skyword
Elad Natanson Founder appnext
Maël Roth Content & Inbound Marketer Park7
Quin Woodward Pu Marketing Director Audienti
Greg Shuey Co-Founder Stryde
Douglas Karr Founder & CEO MarTech.zone & DK New Media
Jean Bansemer CEO My Web Writers
Owen Andrew Journalist
Luke Kintigh Global Content & Media Strategist Intel
Dan Fahrner Director of Marketing Services SmallBox
Asaf Rothem Marketing VP & Partner BrightInfo
Jonha Richman User Acquisition Manager

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