Content Filter: How to Consume Content That Matters
Here’s a common question a lot of our students at Web Marketing Academy ask: “With so much content available online, how do we know what to consume and how much to consume to stay relevant?”. If you have a similar question, this post is for you.
(Podcast) Listen to the entire show on Content Filter here:
You can’t get away from the fact that there is a lot of content and not enough time. Even if we shortlist only the best content publishers, there’s still too much to consume in the finite 24 hours’ day that involves your juggling a range of other responsibilities as well.
Yet there’s no escaping the fact that digital marketers have to read, listen, watch and experience to stay updated. Time has to be made.
In this post, I’m going to help you come up with a strategy that will keep you updated on what matters. You will learn to:
- define your goals and understand why content is important,
- know the different content types and formats that will maximize value to your career,
- discover relevant content through social media channels,
- save great content and keep it ready for reference,
- appreciate the timeliness of content and practical application for competitive gain.
- Defining Goals
First, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Why?”. Why do we need to consume content? What happens if we don’t? What will we miss out? Is it FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or is it because if we don’t read, listen, watch we might not be able to do our best in our work and life?
If its just FOMO, the solution is simple. Digital, social media is dynamic. It changes all the time. For example, Facebook images were doing well in 2013, but then came videos. So it’s easy to learn what matters at this moment.
As Gary Vaynerchuck, social media maverick, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author, self-taught wine expert, and serial entrepreneur says, “You will have to create content that works today not in like 1999.”
Search is rapidly changing so when you are ready, you can always learn what is relevant at present. I am not saying, this can be an excuse to not staying up-to-date nor am I encouraging you to stop reading. But if your zeal is based on FOMO, you can get by without investing in content consumption as a discipline. You don’t need this post.
But if your goals are beyond FOMO, keep reading.
What is content?
In the simplest terms, content is information – practical, functional, tactical. Want more definitions? Check out the Top Rank Blog that has 40+ definitions from experts in the industry.
What is Content Marketing?
I’m going to share the definition given by Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute. “Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach 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 Institute has a great resource on definitions of Content Marketing as well in the Getting Started section.
Mark Schaefer’s popular blog posts on Content Shock is another great read. Link to Content Shock
We discover content through various means, such as:
- while browsing other websites
- Facebook updates or other social media channels’ posts
- native ads on websites
- references by friends and family
- search on search engines and social media platforms
- clickbait Buzzfeed style content (For example, “Here’s How I Lost 85 Pounds In Eight Months Without Going Crazy”)
Examples of discovery content
- 12 ways you’re sabotaging your career without even realizing – Business Insider via LinkedIn
- Content marketing is so last year – LinkedIn Pulse, Peter Himler
- 5 Trends that will Impact Social Media Marketing Strategy for Enterprises in 2016 – Social Media Today
Is discovery content useful?
When I have time, discovery content can be useful. At the same time, you will come across spam and tricky headlines too.
What to do with discovery content?
Keep your goal in mind. Whenever you read something, ask yourself, “Is this going to help me achieve my goal?”. Maybe you have mini goals. If the content helps fulfill your mini goal, it’s good.
Sometimes discovery content is good to know but not necessarily useful. If you come across some amazing content in discovery content, tag it for the next phase – bookmarkable content.
If you think the content you’re reading is not really productive, drop it. Don’t waste time.
2. Bookmarkable content
Simply put, this is content you either bookmark or download to read when you have more time.
Examples of Bookmarkable Content
- Getting started with Content Marketing – Content Marketing Institute
- Annual Research – Content Marketing Budgets, Benchmarks and Trends
- State of Inbound – Hubspot
- 23 Tools and Tips for Social Media Marketers – Social Media Examiner
- The Periodic Table of SEO Success – Search Engine Land
- Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy – BusinessGrow
What to do with bookmarkable content?
Bookmarkable content is useful and evergreen. You can read it anytime and it will always inspire. Should you spend time on it, you will learn. You will improve your skills and whenever you need some guidance, you can use this content for reference.
How much time should you spend?
In my opinion, there is no specific time period, but spending at least an hour on bookmarkable content will be a good start.
3. Timely Content
Timely content is perhaps the most useful of all content types. Why?
- You actively search when the need arises
- This is content that matters now, at this moment
- It directly helps you do your job efficiently
- Enhances your career
- Adds a skill set
- Makes you smarter
- Helps you stay on top of whats happening
- Makes you the go-to person for that specific skill
Examples of timely content
- How to create a Facebook Lead Gen Campaign
- How to Run an Instagram Contest Four Easy Steps
- Instagram Marketing Your Complete Guide to Instagram Success
What to do with timely content?
We are actively seeking these types of content, to use it as and when required. But the question is with so much content, how do you know if the content you’re consuming is the right one? Today everyone writes but there may/may not be strict editorial and reality checks.
Here are some tips to validate & filter content:
- Know the author’s reputation. Is he/she an authority on that topic?
- Is the content from a well-known company?
- Check the popularity of the article – who is commenting, sharing and talking about it.
- Ask experts – Quora, LinkedIn Pulse & Groups are great places to ask.
- Attend well-known industry conferences. If you can’t attend, follow the live blogs. For example: SMX East PubCon Live Blog and Speaking Schedule.
- Look for the author’s reference in media.
- Check for any interviews or if the author is featured in TV, newspaper, or magazines.
- Official blogs are the number one resource to find the right information.
- Check if the content is recommended by any industry associations.
- Is the author writing for well known online media like Inc., Forbes, Wall Street Journal?
- Another way to get information on the author is to follow her/his LinkedIn, Facebook page.
There you have it. Define your goals, categorize the content and give it time and attention as needed.
If you like this article please do share with someone who needs it
Digital & Social media blogs; event and conferences to follow in 2016
- Google Official Webmaster Central Blog
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Journal
- Search Engine Journal
- Google Webmaster Central YouTube Channel
- Top Rank Blog
- SEO by The Sea (Google Patent)
- Matt Cutts
- John Muellers Google + Hangout Sessions:
- Bruce Clay
SEM (PPC)/Google AdWords
- Content Marketing Institute
- MarketingProfs – Ann Handley
- Grow – Mark Schaefer
- Convince and Convert
- Online Marketing Blog
- Brian Solis
- Social Media Examiner
- Social Media B2B
- Social Media Today
- Gary Vaynerchuck
- Amy Porterfield
- Jay Baer
- Chris Brogan
- Six Pixels of Separation
- Jeff Bullas
- Mari Smith
- Amy Savvy Sexy Social
- Marcus Sheridan
- LinkedIn Blog
- Facebook Newsroom
- Twitter blog
- Instgram blog
- Snapchat blog
- Pinterest blog
India Specific Blogs
Similar blog post:
- “Content Shock – Content Ignition – Content Magnet – Be More Human – Content that Moves Creates Power” – Mark Schaefer http://www.bit.ly/markinindia
About the Author:
Suresh Babu is the Founder and CEO of Web Marketing Academy (WMA), Bangalore which offers certification courses in digital marketing. The institute trains students, professionals & corporate personnel.
Find more guides on the WMA blog.