The most surprising thing about attending Content Marketing World 2013 was how many people were there—over 1700. I was thrilled to see so many people finally figuring out how important content marketing is to the success of their brands and its potential to help them build lasting relationships with their customers. But it also struck me that with so many people now focused on developing great content to engage their customers, and potential customers, you can’t afford to be off your game. “Just get something out there” won’t cut it anymore.

One of the most interesting things I heard at a session was that as content marketing goes mainstream, it stops conferring advantage. It shook me out of my back-to-back-to-back session stupor and stuck with me throughout the entire conference. I started to see that presenters, speakers, and attendees were talking less about how to “do” content marketing, and more about how to do great content marketing that breaks through the clutter, that “confers advantage.” This is the reality of the world we live in—the early adopters gain a strong advantage out of the gate, but as everyone jumps on board, the advantage is lessened and suddenly everyone is on an even playing field.

This is what we are moving to in the world of content marketing. It won’t be enough to just have a content marketing strategy and produce content—you will have to create high-quality content that breaks through the clutter. Your content will also have to set itself apart by not just being high-quality, but by being in a format that stands out. Let’s be clear though, high-quality content in a format that stands out does not have to equal expensive or time-consuming. The barrier to creating high-quality, multi-formatted content is gone, and the tools have never been easier to use. It could be:

•    An interview you conducted at a conference using your iPhone and an inexpensive tripod (like Gorilla Pod).
•    It could simply be a picture you took using Instagram with a few lines of text, as long as it resonates with your audience.
•    A blog post that deals with a specific issue that resonates with your customer base and offers an effective solution.

Experiment, measure, test, play, and find the type and format that works for your brand and your customer. Find out the best way to break through the clutter to reach your customer, and simply stop “doing” content marketing and start doing great content marketing.

Brendan Jackson

Brendan Jackson