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When silence speaks volumes

Calling all marketers – we carry a responsibility to our brands. The responsibility to only speak when we have something of value to say.

There was an article doing the rounds the other day, written by an influencer who recommended publishing content every single day. They claimed posting on every channel every day was the key to a profitable business, a successful personal brand, and other untold digital riches.

Perhaps this is controversial, but we think this is nonsense.

Content for content’s sake

Advice to ‘create something new every day,’ and play ‘the content creation game’ is not only unachievable for most businesses, it’s very unlikely to be helpful.

We are in a state of ever-increasing content fatigue. Users’ trust for advertisers is diminished (just 16% of British adults trust advertising execs to tell the truth. We are less trusted than politicians, government ministers, journalists, and estate agents put together). And the saddening fact that we require algorithm changes and laws to stop us from bombarding our audiences.

The idea of content fatigue wasn’t new in 2015, and yet we’re still stuck here. Despite this, 57% of B2C marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets this year. Unless budgets are focused on strategic, high quality content that adds some form of value, we can’t see the problem abating.

Value over volume

We marketers have forced each other into a content corner. Our industry is naturally competitive, but instead of trying to be clever with targeting and creative with messaging, many have simply become louder and more prolific.

Content marketing is an industry of shouting to be heard, and often being lost in the wind. The trope ‘Content is king’ has been so overused to become ironically devalued. Do you think Bill Gates ever regrets saying it?

What’s most frustrating about this ‘always on’ tactic is that when done well, content is a brilliant thing. Really brilliant. It can give direction when needed. It can encourage action through emotion. And at its simplest, it can add a little value, to one person or to a lot of people. That’s powerful stuff.

But in the scrimmage to be seen and heard by everyone, we’re diluting content, and downright drowning the powerful messages.  

A call to arms

We want to start a movement.

We feel very strongly that this belief in publishing every day because you should, rather than because you have something worthwhile to say needs to end.

Content isn’t about volume, it’s about value. It’s about what you can give your audience. And if you’re not passionate about that value, if you don’t believe in it, then ‘content success’ will ever evade you. Focusing on creating content to make yourself or your business successful is wrong.

Of course, brand messaging is about balance – if you go the other way and never publish anything, it’s going to be very difficult to stay in touch with your users. You do need to talk to them, but every conversation should be relevant, timely, and considered.  

We think there’s power in a brand sitting back and deciding only to speak when it has something of value to add. Take LUSH’s recent move to delete it’s parent social media accounts. Slated by many, we respect the brand’s decision to try and connect with its audiences regionally and via live chat, rather than broadcasting to everyone and yet no one.  

Like anything worth doing, it’s a scary concept, because of course your competitors will continue shouting without you. But in order for change to happen, it takes bravery to break the deadlock. Hopefully, with all the time you’re saving by not publishing, publishing, publishing, you can focus more time and energy on the content that really matters. And if everything you do has a purpose for your user, we think that’s a pretty good place to start.

Do you agree or disagree? We’d love to continue the debate – let’s chat!

Written by Alice Crick Senior strategist at ifour