5 hand-picked articles from across the Startup Digest Reading Lists. Sign up to receive great weekly content on various topics from expert curators.
1. Wearing headphones at a concert is music to your ears with this app
By Richard Trenholm
Curator: Katie Chase
An app that lets me wear headphones at live music events to improve my listening experience. Um, what? Read More
More from this reading list: http://eepurl.com/bS3pgf
2. How This Power Mom Disrupted the $121 Billion Skin Care Industry From Her Kitchen
By Maisie Devine
Digest: Women Entrepreneurship
Curators: Babs Lee & Lilibeth Gangas
Meet Funlayo Alabi. She needed a natural and effective solution for her son’s eczema. So she turned a tried-and-true West African remedy with shea butter, in her kitchen, into a skin care company. Her bootstrapped company is positioned to make $300 million by 2020. Read More
More from this reading list: http://eepurl.com/bSZsxH
3. Outside the Box – Netflix and the future of television
By Ken Auletta
Digest: Corporate Innovation
Curators: Carie Davis & Shane Reiser
A fresh look at Netflix’s journey, Blockbuster’s demise and the future of television. (long but great read) Read More
More from this reading list: http://eepurl.com/bSX7GT
4. Dudley the duck gets a 3D Printed foot
By Mark Prigg
Digest: 3D Printing
Dudley the duckling takes his first steps on a 3D printed leg – after losing his own in a fight with a chicken. Read More
More from this reading list: http://eepurl.com/bSXMLz
5. Storytelling Techniques from 2016 Oscar Nominees—What Content Marketers Can Learn
By Taylor Holland
Digest: Press & Storytelling
Curator: Claire Topalian
“The most important element of any story—the audience. The device and the length are irrelevant to the story, which is a central concept that content marketing has embraced more than anyone.” Read More
More from this reading list: http://eepurl.com/bSXuuX
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With the proliferation of search engine penalties, marketers are moving away from illicit online-marketing strategies and towards content marketing. Gone are the days where buying links, getting listed on article directories, or forum spam can get your site to rank safely in Google. In the absence of these cheap and quick tactics, companies are focusing on creating vast amounts of content — both written and visual, to improve their visibility in Google. As a result, we’ve entered a stage of “Content Shock.”
A Great Shock
In early 2014, Mark Schaefer, author of “Social Media Explained,” posited that consumers will soon be overwhelmed with the flow of content dictated as one of the major tenants in what is known as content marketing. Readers will be unable to keep up with what the marketers continue to churn out.
In the article, Schaefer argued that content marketing is an unsustainable strategy because the supply of content will soon outpace the demand for it. With more and more marketers adopting a strategy hinged upon delivering content regularly: the content available will be expansive and unending, while consumers will still only have 24 hours to read it all. This, Schaefer argues, will lead to an overload of information, or “content shock.”
An Evolving Method
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Content marketing, like all marketing strategies, evolved from more traditional marketing methods. Consumers, thanks largely to the convenience that modern technology now afforded them, had almost completely tuned out tried-and-true marketing strategies by simply circumventing commercials and ads. Viewers no longer tolerated the ads that they had put up with in the past, because they had options to do otherwise, leaving marketers with the simple fact that no one was consuming their ads anymore. More so, consumers now had the ability to pick and choose exactly what they wanted to consume.
To exploit this, marketers would have to appeal directly to the consumers, in stark contrast to the sweeping ad campaigns targeted at large demographics and veritable blanket statements meant to appeal to the masses.
Supply and Demand
Image credit: Shutterstock
The theory of supply and demand is perhaps the most fundamental concept of economics. Its simplicity allows it to be comprehensible to the average joe, but its scope is what garners it the title: “backbone of a market economy.”
What made content marketing so successful was its ability to communicate with consumers without selling. It was a subliminal sales pitch that left potential customers with the desire to learn more about a product; a result of consuming relevant and moving content. Sites had to develop their message to appeal to consumers by creating a repository of interesting content.
With the amount of content growing rapidly, the ability to consume the content stays the same, despite technology having enable users to consume it at a higher rate than previously possible. Simply put: there aren’t enough hours in the day to consume the content available, requiring another great evolution to marketing theory in order to appease a group of consumers that have become oversaturated with different subject matter.
One of the most positive effects of the massive adoption of content marketing was its open market nature. Sites that developed great content could compete with other sites that may have had more resources available. However, supposing that consumers will grow tired with content marketing, Schaefer predicted that content marketing would produce three major changes to the method:
- Those with access to greater resources (i.e. big businesses) would triumph over those that didn’t have nearly as much, resulting in the price for content being driven-up considerable.
- Expensive content would make it that much harder for the smaller sites to recover from the content blitzkrieg. The necessity for quality keywords, competitor research, and method for tracking results require access to greater resources. With great content now too expensive for many sites, the overwhelming of the market by these larger companies would prohibit sites from entering the market and surviving.
- The surviving content marketers–as a result of their own oversaturation of the market, and the subsequent decline in content demand–will be forced to entice readers in different ways.
This, of course, will require more man hours, funds, and advertising, further limiting the effectiveness–and appeal–that content marketing once possessed.
Think About It
To revisit the parallel with supply and demand: content shock reflects a change in consumer demand. To an extent, readers have become spoiled by the amount of quality material available to them. Dedicated content marketers provide information that is useful and fun, but the fact remains that they will need to change their strategy in order to avoid the oversaturation that may come.
Antes de la proliferación de las redes sociales y de la penetración del Internet, los medios tradicionales de comunicación eran la forma más fácil de mercadear un producto. Un simple anuncio en la televisión o en el radio, con información básica sobre los productos o servicios (dónde, cómo, por qué, y cuánto), era suficiente para captar la atención del público.
Hoy día esto ha cambiado. La saturación de anuncios en Facebook, Twitter, Instagram e inclusive los que se envían por email, han hecho que el consumidor pierda interés y no preste atención a la publicidad tradicional. Los consumidores ya están hartos de tanto anuncio. Piensa en cuanta publicidad dejas de ver en tu Facebook Newsfeed.
Lo importante ahora es contar historias.
El poder de las empresas reside en producir toda una historia alrededor de sus productos y servicios. Como explica el gran mercadólogo, Seth Godin, en su libro “All Marketers Are Liars”; el inventar y producir ya no son los motores del crecimiento de las compañías. Contar historias auténticas, transparentes, emotivas, empáticas y sobre todo excepcionales, es lo que motiva y atrae la atención del consumidor.
Cuando comenzó The ZFive se sabía que los productos no se iban a vender por si solos o con publicidad tradicional. A pesar de tener un producto de alta calidad, creativo y único en su diseño, sabían que lo que tenían que vender era un estilo de vida que atrajera la atención de nuestros clientes potenciales.
Dedicaron los primeros meses a crear contenido que generara simpatía con los consumidores. Diseñaron imágenes que atraparan la atención de esos consumidores.
¿Cuánto triatleta no se ha perdido en buscar su equipo entre un mar de bicicletas después de salir del agua? Esta imagen nos ayudó a generar tráfico a nuestra página sin vender el producto directamente.
El éxito de The ZFive dependerá de su habilidad para atraer a su mercado potencial y contar historias que capten su atención. Estas mundanidades tan simples con las que nuestros consumidores se identifican, generan interés en la marca. Esto se hace con el fin de incrementar tráfico en la página y vender sus productos.
Cuando quieras vender algo, piensa en quién es tu cliente y fabrica un historia que ellos puedan creer y compartir con su red de amigos. Esto te ayudará a crear una relación con tus clientes potenciales que con el tiempo generará ventas para tu compañía.
The most powerful tool you’ll ever use is storytelling. That’s it. Done. You don’t need to read on.
If you’re still reading, you probably agree and appreciate validation or you disagree and want to find flaws in my reasoning. I’m sure you’ll get plenty of both.
Wikipedia defines storytelling as “the conveying of events in words, and images, often by improvisation or embellishment.” Although it seems intuitive when pointed out, it’s insightful to observe that storytelling happens across cultures. In fact, “humans [inherently] think in narrative structures and most often remember facts in story form.” Have you ever noticed how often and how naturally we use story-like analogies to explain complex situations? Or how people binge-watch their favorite TV shows?
The problem with Wikipedia’s definition of storytelling is that it only states what it is and misses what it does. Stories are used for a variety of purposes. They entertain. They inform. They create bonds. They can be applied for the purposes of good or evil, but they always have a purpose and are most effective when carefully crafted to achieve that purpose.
Stories are incredibly powerful. Every startup that has ever been funded, has received its funding because of a story. Sometimes it’s the story the entrepreneur tells and sometimes it’s the story the investors tell themselves. Either way, an investor who’s willing to commit a significant amount of money to an extremely risky endeavor believes that a series of events that hasn’t happened yet is going to happen, and result in a happy ending.
Stories even have remarkable effects on the course of world-history. In 2008, Barack Obama was elected as president of the United States based on a powerful story that millions of Americans believed in; the idea that the American dream still exists and that no matter who we are, we can achieve it. This story wasn’t accidental and neither was the success of the campaign.
Any time we interact with others, all the complexities of these interactions emerge. Every day, we repeatedly face the need to influence others. We have to convince people to join our team, we have to convince people to use (and pay for) our products/services, we have to convince people at other companies to partner with us.
And the best way to convince people? By telling great stories, of course!
So, how do great stories come into existence? The short answer is that great stories are intentional and carefully crafted. Think of storytelling as an art that can be enhanced by science. Art, or instinct, places constraints on a world of infinite dimension, making it conceptually manageable. Art “solves” the blank canvas. Then, once we have some idea as to what we want to paint, we can leverage science to optimize the layout and colors for maximum effect.
When we take control of our story and design it to deliver information in a convincing and compelling way, we win the hearts and minds of others. And we take a big step toward achieving our grand vision.
All of this is not to say that telling a great story is easy or that success is guaranteed. It actually takes a lot of effort. However, the most incredible thing about storytelling is that it’s a learned skill. Think of it as a super-power you can gain without being bitten by a radioactive spider.
If you want to accomplish great things, start by learning how to tell a great story.