How To Help Your Customer Cut Out The Noise And Hear Only You? Given the information overload hitting the customers these days, it was only a matter of time before every solopreneur content-marketer had to ask himself or herself this question. Increasingly we now see blog posts and articles by very important organizations and experts about “noise-cutting” becoming the next big preoccupation for content marketers.
So much of content is being produced every day that the word “content” has become synonymous with “claustrophobia”. It’s become easy and affordable to hire Content Writing Expertise, so marketers are tempted to offload vast amounts of money to freelancer-bloggers who are willing to grind out “listicles” hour after hour, day after day, and month after month. No matter how much content we all churn out, though – or perhaps because of it – the customers collectively seem to have spaced out. What’s worse, sometimes, we want to gnash our teeth, because customers only hear the mediocre competitor, while they turn deaf ears to our content masterpieces. Now, we content marketers are left wondering less about what content to produce – and more about how to “blur out” the competing noises.
The sound of silence is as appealing to the content marketer as to the consumer!
Even as marketers are looking at helping mute out noise-levels for the consumer, to get the consumer’s sole attention on themselves, the consumer himself seems to be getting more into his shell, preferring less and less intrusion and seeking more space and alone time. The more a content marketer wants to be heard, the more the consumer is longing for quiet somewhere or learning to turn a deaf ear.
I was surprised to read some research of late which questions why in any social chat, just a few noisy people keep up the decibel levels, while most others seem to prefer being “silent ghosts” spectating on the action but barely saying a word.
Marketers’ desperation and frustration can be heard in the words of Jordan Kasteler writing in MarketingLand.com:
It’s a jungle out there. Social networks are littered with people and pages clambering for attention. For your page to draw a crowd and a response, you need a more advanced strategy. As a content producer, I can relate to the challenge this task presents. You’re competing with so many other status updates. Getting your content seen by the right audience isn’t just hard — it can feel downright impossible at times. Facebook isn’t making it any easier. With the new algorithm prioritizing content from friends instead of pages, the struggle for businesses is real.”
Did you all read that one sentence there about marketers now needing “an advanced strategy”? Well, it appears that this new “advanced strategy” is actually veering towards the question of how to make everything around fuzzy enough for the customer so that a small focus spot alone hits his vision and within that small focus spot your own message is read!
I have been reading a lot on this issue of “noise-blocking” of late, and I wanted to share here 3 sets of ideas that people are talking about the most …
2 ways to cut noise for consumers: using “graphics” and “calm technology”
Idea 1: The simplicity of the doodle on the paper napkin is taking hold. It’s about making things graphic and visual to save the reader from 400 words of text.
Getting more and more visual and graphic could create less “noise” for the potential consumer and create more “breathing space.” Making the visual area of posts larger could also help. The less text, the less clutter (or so it feels like apparently!).
Even when using visuals, use just one uncluttered clean single-pointed visual. When you need to explain a point in some detail, use the “paper napkin doodle” principle of drawing your explanation with boxes and arrows instead of spewing verbiage. This is an old trick, but it is getting currency again as a “noise defeater” tactic that many brands are now looking at to hold the runaway customer for just that little while longer – by providing visuals for easier comprehension or to create oases of calm.
I feel like I’m transported back to my old advertising days when we had to hard-sell clients on the idea of “white space” in their ads. Most clients thought it a shame to waste their advertising dollars on “white space” and it was always an uphill task to explain to them that to get their own message read they had to create loads of empty distance between their words and the rest of the newspaper page.
In the final analysis, “white space” became the costliest item on a press marketing budget … and so is the case now with content marketing and social media. You may find you have to spend more to pay for the gap you have to create between yourselves and other brands shouting into the same ears.
Idea 2: Use this new notion of “calm technology” to separate your audiences from the surrounding noise. What is “calm technology”? Read on …
Macala Wright has explained in Mashable what “calm technology” is about. According to her, it’s a kind of “streamlining of information streams”, where you have sites that will only serve up certain limited kinds of information so that the consumer can opt for these sites as their haunts of choice, to avoid the crowded places.
Macala explains her point that there are many ways to streamline streams. She writes:
The Facebook ticker is one example. If the Facebook newsfeed is updated in real time, then it might move too quickly for the average user. But by moving real-time updates to the periphery, the user has a more calm and satisfying Facebook experience.
Calm technology is also leading the growing popularity of curation and social product discovery sites such as Lyst, Mulu.Me, Buyosphere, Svpply, and Discoveredd. These sites offer a more focused stream of content than standard social networks. Moreover, the rise of interest networks, solely following someone based on similar likes and shared interest topics, is another way that calm technology has impacted user behavior.
To be clear, calm technology does not necessarily jibe with marketing goals. The whole idea is to reduce the flow of information to people, not increase it. The public, however, seems to be ready for applications that will streamline the information, something marketers know has inherent value.”
2 more ways to cut noise for consumers: using “big content” and “blur-and-focus”
Idea 3: Become the purveyor of “big content”. Yes, you heard me right. Instead of writing less, write more than ever before till you’ve turned any topic inside out and upside down.
The simple but ingenious idea here is that if you gave so much (torrential information!) on any topic, the reader wouldn’t need to search anywhere else, thanks to your encyclopaedic content. He would then just bookmark your page or post after digesting what he can, and plan to return to the same place many times later to finish the rest of the meal!
In this tactic, your attempt to become the “most comprehensive resource on earth” on your topic , you hope, will render all other competing noisemakers pathetically “meagre and marginal” to the consumer …
… and rather than go through many Google searches to get bits of the same topic from here and there (along with all accompanying ambient noise) the consumer will prefer to mark out your page to return to on rainy afternoons when his mind is capable of accepting more than usual.
Idea 4: The use of “blur-and-focus” may replace “zoom” for mobiles. Some technologists and content designers for mobiles are toying with these technologies.
Of course we are all familiar with the “zoom” factor in mobiles that allows us to get closer to read what we find most important, while the rest of the content vanishes from the screen. But inherent in this technology is the negative that the reader never is able to see what he is reading in context. If he loses the rest of information around what he is zooming into, the context of the piece he is reading is lost and become just a piece of disjointed information.
Instead, it seems, people are now working with the idea blurring the context while allowing an in-focus area to render clearly the information that the reader wants to read. In this way, the context is retained, albeit out of focus and blurred out a bit, while the relevant area is lit up as if with a centre-spot filter.
To me, this still doesn’t solve the space constraints on mobile to provide adequate information … but again, if my idea of adequate information is nothing but “noise” to a consumer, what use is it complaining about less screen space?
2 extra ways to cut noise for consumers: using “on-demand marketing” and “neuromarketing”
Idea 5: The idea of “on-demand marketing” is getting big reviews. McKinsey have done a great article on this whole concept and how it can work.
The idea here is not to reduce information – and in fact it’s always there for the consumer’s asking – but the consumer has the handle on what to see and when, thus allowing him to pace the information he consumes.
McKinsey’’s article states that:
As these digital capabilities multiply, consumer demands will rise in four areas:
- Now: Consumers will want to interact anywhere at any time.
- Can I: They will want to do truly new things as disparate kinds of information (from financial accounts to data on physical activity) are deployed more effectively in ways that create value for them.
- For me: They will expect all data stored about them to be targeted precisely to their needs or used to personalize what they experience.
- Simply: They will expect all interactions to be easy.”
One thing is clear: the consumer’s experiences with brands and categories are set to become even more intense and defining.”
Idea 6: Using the principles of “neuromarketing” brands may be planning to create more emotional messaging than rational content. What is “neuromarketing”? Read on …
Neuromarketing is the new science of studying consumer behavior to advertising stimuli, and the hypothesis it works on is that consumer buying decisions are actually made in split seconds in the subconscious, emotional part of the brain. All rational content therefore, by implication, is nothing but “justificatory noise”.
The marketers’ goal therefore is to explore Neuromarketing to see if they can create content that blows consumer minds with products they deeply desire – and thus try to drive purchases purely via emotional appeal, eliminating the noisy rationalizations that accompany marketing communication. The logic here is: Why bother with creating tons of rational stuff, if it takes barely a few seconds for consumer decisions to be made purely at an emotional level? What’s more, emotional appeal is also known to encourage better product loyalty!
These are all trends in their early days, so everything I have said here bears watching. But I must admit, I had a feeling that sooner or later marketers will switch off their content-creation machines to see if they can now offer “silence and space” as the next big offering to the beleaguered consumer. Weren’t you also expecting this?
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Writing Expertise”:
- How To Create Truly Original Content – And Not Be A Copycat!
- Learn To Write Content Like A Pro With Force And Authority!
- Writing content for customers versus writing for influencer outreach!
- Content Engagement Vs. Content Consistency Vs. Content Variety!
- How To Write Headlines For Your Articles That Scream “Click Me”!