Stop Polluting Content!

By Matter

I recently attended a seminar where social media gurus from a popular credit card brand and an American car manufacturer shared strategies and best practices. The woman that oversaw social media for the car company talked about producing content for 175 platforms. My first reaction was “175 platforms!” But when she went on to explain that each car model had its own personality for Twitter, Facebook, Pintest, YouTube, and Instagram, and that there where additional channels for the actual car manufacture and its customer service, accessories and parts departments, the numbers added up and it started to make sense.

Further into the presentation, a certain phrase quickly got my attention– “Content Pollution” The presenters referenced that from the 750 million Facebook users (and growing), where the average user posts 90 times per month, 69.5 Billion posts are generated per month. That’s a lot of content and that’s only from one social media platform. According to a Forbes article, “Every minute of every day, 30 hours of new videos are loaded on YouTube, there are 100,000 new tweets, and over 204 million new emails sent. By 2015, it will take you 5 years to view all the videos that cross our networks each second.”

Based on that these stats, I kept thinking how easy or scary it is to generate content and press “publish” that could potentially reach millions of people instantaneously.

So, how can a brand create good content that actually serves a purpose? First, you need to identify who your audience is and then tell the story. Whether it’s through words, pictures, graphs, maps or video, content creators need to grab its audience’s attention right off the bat in a way that is “disruptive” – so they will read the next line, finish watching the video, etc. And content producers need to be very aware that “long” stories or something that takes a person more than two minutes to view is not likely going to gain as much attention then something that is short and concise. In fact, the Associated Press recently instructed its staff to produce articles between 300 and 500 words, while top stories can be between 500 and 700 words.

Here are some tips to help stop content pollution:

  • Make sure your story is authentic and engaging and your content is interesting – Not everything your brand/client wants to say is worth sharing.
  • Know your audience – Are they under 30 or over 60? How do they get their news?  What social media platforms are they on? Do they engage by email, phone or neither? Your audience has a time and place to be receptive to a campaign, new ideas, etc.  Listening to their needs will help determine what they want to hear. All this information is insightful and will help create a successful campaign.
  • Optimize content for a simple experience Content should be created and tested to work on multiple platforms to include social media platforms so visualization and mobility are key – think about all those popular videos, graphics and maps that are easily shared across platforms and viewed mostly on mobile devices. Remember to listen to your audience and know what they need in order to determine the best channel to deliver the content on.

And yes, I realize that I just created a piece of content to discuss content pollution.  Hopefully, this was helpful and took less than two minutes to read.