Content… the Disgraced King
Confusing, loud and annoying content is not working...
What is happening to the content experience? From video content across financial markets to online retail content, and everything in between; we need to ask some questions.
It seems that the notion that 'Content is King' has been taken to the extreme for many brands. Sadly, they have missed the unwritten rule around the kingship of content... (Good) content is king. And good content does not mean lots of content. Brands littering their campaign holding pages with link after link, pop-up surveys and unnecessary text options have missed the point entirely.
And before we look at how social media content is largely becoming an excuse for advert overdrive, I'd like to share with you the average web content experience:
1) Open desired page.
2) Read the title on the pop-up about cookies that takes over half the screen.
3) Search hard for the minuscule box with a cross inside it to close text down.
4) Close pointless cookie monster text.
5) Identify desired content amongst many text boxes, ads and external video links.
6) Read content until you're interrupted by paid-for content from a different brand.
7) Count to ten to reduce the risk of hurling your tablet into the yard.
8) Approach the end of the content to be diverted to a rate-us survey.
9) Sink your head into your hands and question whether the internet is a curse on sanity.
In the newsroom, you're taught how to get to the point of a story. I was actually once told by an editor "Don't even think of putting an opinion slant in the copy, nobody gives a shit about what you think." Ironically, online news websites are now amongst the worst for overfilling their pages with lots of gear, but no idea. To access your desired content on a news website these days is like entering a labyrinth at night, drunk.
Why are brands doing this? Did anyone consider the customer when they approved adverts that literally slice through the midway point of a video or an article? How on earth can value be added to the customer experience if you bungee jump into their content experience with unrelated nonsense and noise?
Across social media, be that written or recorded content, I am starting to think some brands' objective is simply to infuriate the customer. A good social media manager will know that it is far better to say very little than piss your audience off by saying too much.
The content experience seems to be getting louder with every update. I predict that the brands that dare to strip things back to the essentials will see the benefits long term. We simply don’t have the appetite or time for more than that, unless of course we are reading for pleasure, but in that case it is more likely we are going to be reading a book than online scrolling.
Some helpful questions before publishing anything:
What are we saying?
Why are we saying it?
Why should anyone care?
Does the additional noise around the story add or detract from the customer experience?
Is this genuinely content that you would share with your friends?
And given that we are in the Donald Trump era of communication, is it fake news or based on hard facts?