I want to start by saying that the headline is slightly misleading. What we are now facing in digital marketing is not a trend, but a paradigm shift – a substantial change.
It’s not only in the digital development, but in the very needs and behaviours of people, and in who owns the information and marketing online. And in not falling victim to the trend. Crazy exciting.
But I’ll try to be as brief as possible.
This is for those who want to create online reach, long-term value and credibility. For those of you, who want to own your field.
Something has happened with our confidence in sources on the Internet. Today a source is not only a book, a newspaper or a website. It might be an organization, a company and, above all, a brand.
The reason for this is that we are beginning to understand that the entire Internet is all about information. To own an audience online you must act as an information business. You have to create information, distribute it and establish a reputation of being the best information provider. At least within a specific niche, where you can be the king – of content marketing.
Then, why is this? And why is it relevant?
It’s up to the customer – or is it?
Information has become a currency worth its weight in gold. This is because it’s no longer journalists, newspapers or media companies who provide the stories in people’s news feed, but the people themselves. They think.
People choose what companies they follow on Facebook and what brands they want to see in their news feed. They can mix articles from New York Times with ads from McDonald’s and blog posts from H&M – all in the same feed. They design their own subscriptions to information in social media, or in apps like Omni.
You would think that this leads to chaos. But it doesn’t, because Facebook, Instagram and Google have already found the solution to that: new algorithms.
For people to get their tailor-made feed, Google and Facebook have changed their algorithms from showing information published in chronological order to showing the posts according to what you seem the most interested in. Therefore you mainly see what they think you like the most – based on your, and sometimes your friends’, online behaviour.
Your brand can be up there. At the top. Frequently. Ranked as the best.
How to own your target audience’s feed
It all comes down to one thing: what you do to deserve that position and attention. If you know the way to get to the top of your target audience’s feeds, to get shared and renowned, it’s unbeatably more effective than paid advertising space like AdWords or Facebook Ads. Then you are aiming at the very heart of your target group – and they not only find you, but they choose you.
How to do it then?
Until now companies basically have been able to piggyback on this phenomenon, that is to say social media’s ways to present content to their users. But from now on Google and Facebook want to charge you even more for exposure.
Unless your content is so great that Google and Facebook WANT to promote it, because its quality says something about them and their ranking system.
Now, this is the key.
It’s not enough to just create content based on SEO keywords or the insights about your target audience. That’s yesterday’s marketing.
Here’s where we get to the heart of the matter.
The new brand tactics of Google and Facebook
Today the two giants Google and Facebook mainly want to do three things:
- they want to overtake the journalists’ role as gatekeepers to the news bills, i.e. deciding what content and ranking will be seen in our feeds,
- they say they want to downplay the ‘filter bubble’ phenomenon, i.e. wanting to balance our social media feeds so we don’t live in different realities, and
- they want to eliminate clickbait, i.e. ’11 signs that you…’ and ‘You won’t believe what happens next…’ articles.
These three things all aim to rank, promote and reward high-quality content instead of mediocre content. Partly because it has become their responsibility and partly because it makes them look good.
The trend is not to follow the trend, but to create something sustainable and lasting: quality.
It’s a reaction to spam, and ‘spam’ today is not only junk mail, but everything that is not highly relevant for the user (the target audience). Simply because it’s damaging Google’s and Facebook’s brands and credibility. They themselves however, say that it’s because they have a social responsibility.
‘High quality’ doesn’t mean high quality
Therefore a high-quality text doesn’t necessarily have to be a well-written text like those by Dostoyevsky or Jean-Paul Sartre. Here, high quality means as correct and relevant as possible for the target audience. If that means using slang or a specific jargon, then that is high quality – if it’s found, consumed and appreciated by your target audience.
And all of this is measurable. You can even measure how far down the reader has scrolled.
- that has understood the algorithms of the big Internet oligarchs,
- that offers something highly relevant for the target audience,
- that’s appreciated and glorified by the target audience, and
- that’s not only published occasionally, but continuously, and on a long-term basis
This is my trend forecast, based on my work with digital communication for both big and small brands in several countries.
High-quality content is the next big thing in marketing.
Not only does it increase the reach of strong brands. It builds them, and creates even more satisfied customers. It gives you the possibility to own your field.
Even Google highlights this, and emphasizes that it’s not about ‘good content’ but ‘original, high-quality content’:
Google recognizes syntax quality
Every day, Google and Facebook become better at detecting and recognizing quality. Not only if a text online is interesting, but also if it’s well written. Their algorithms understand sarcasm, irony and syntax (sentence structure) and know when something is badly executed.
The development towards increased sensitivity to quality is moving fast.
This means you need to be BRILLIANT.
Then, why does Google care about quality?
It’s a direct result of the fact that Google and Facebook have taken over the journalists’ job to curate, evaluate and present something customized, nuanced and qualitative – a form of truth. Because we go to their feeds and search engines for information, and expect to find answers that are relevant and true.
As shown below Google writes that the search results nowadays prioritize ranking and showing ‘high-quality, in-depth content’.
The recipe for successful communication
Do you want your deserved attention?
Here’s the recipe:
Create high-quality content for the right audience. Invest in it: engagement, research and competence. Don’t mass produce. Don’t put any writer on the job – get a good one. Then share and publish it according to a strategy. Remember: your brand is at stake every time you publish something.
SEO is no longer just about keywords. Search Engine Optimization is about providing the high quality content that the search giants are looking for. Not only the words, but the whole picture.
SEO = keyword optimized for Google
SEO = targeted and quality labelled
(the SEO is just one piece of the puzzle)
If you play by the rules, you will create content and marketing that is irresistible. You will own your market segment and your target audience. Not only does your communication distribute your brand, but it constantly builds it and adds value to it.