In reference to my article Why less is always more about the ongoing trend in Content Marketing, I have received a response that motivated me to sit down and write this piece. The response was in agreement with the point I was making that less content is more, and asked for advice on how to make that content stand out with quality instead of quantity. So here is a follow-up opinion piece where I want to dig a little deeper on the matter of today’s content noise and how to join the music with soft tones of quality content.
I believe the answer to how to make less content still stand out to be a simple one. And for this, let me take you back to the history of marketing seen from a very simplistic view. When people started promoting their services on handmade flyers back in the old ages, they were simple and honest in what they were offering. Offering shoe cleaning service for an amount of money. Now imagine more and more people hanging up their flyers for that service. How does one stand out from the other? With different colours, fonts and the addition of selling adjectives and personalisation. Offering a quick and thorough shoe cleaning service for a cheap amount of money.
The more competitive it got, the more the usage of the comparative or superlative. Offering the quickest and most thorough shoe cleaning service for the cheapest amount of money in the area. The ones that did this best, won against the competition and gained the most customers. With quality of the service and kind treatment, these customers returned and were likely to recommend others. And this trend has been ongoing ever since. Chances are, your products or service already exists. Maybe it’s very common. Maybe your product or service can’t stand out by simply existing. Of course, the more competitors, the more you need to work to stand out. The more noise you need to make. The louder your metaphorical (or not) flyers need to be. Right?!
That’s where I personally believe many have gone wrong. You can stand out by not adding to the noise of marketing and social media. Such as back in school times when you didn’t join in all the gossip and stood out because of it. You can produce less content. You can reverse this “Be louder, Be quicker, Be cheaper, Be more” trend by simply going back to its root.
From personal experience, the content that does stand out in all this content noise of “We’re greater. No, we’re greater!” is the one that is authentic. Whether we work in advertisement, create or are in charge of content or simply put photos of our lives on social media. Most of it is far from authentic. But it can be. We are so used to seeing the most perfect hamburgers, faces, bodies, homes that this trend opens up one big possibility to those willing to take it: There is more room than ever for authenticity. To stick with the shoe cleaning service example, imagine reading this on a flyer: Offering a shoe cleaning service that might not differ from others but uses clean brushes and towels every day for an amount of money that is fair for the both of us.
Remember a brand that sells razors for women and shows hairy legs in the advertisements? For decades we have watched women shave their shaved legs. Or that time a brand for body lotion showed cellulite? When a burger actually looked like the one you hold in your hands? Or when a woman in the morning looked like she had just woken up without a full face of make-up? Job ads where companies state they’re not perfect but are making much needed changes to improve?
THIS is how you stand out. With authenticity. And if you’re really good, you make an impact with genuine authenticity because you understand the importance of it, not solely for the sake of promotion. It’s a win-win-win situation, too.
By going the authentic way, you not only stand out amongst all the brands that opt for unreachable perfectionism. But you can leave a positive impact on your audience and society. And help promote the change to less and more authentic content. Here’s to less noise and more music! Something, I believe, we would all be grateful for.