In the war for attention, what does Covid teach us?

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – CONTENT MARKETING: Are you tired of hearing about Covid? But… it still gets your attention, right? That’s because it is relevant to you today, and here’s why that can help you grow your audience.

Love them or hate them, the media are masters at getting your attention, and one of the reasons for that is they understand the critical factor called ‘relevance’.

What can brands, thought leaders and business owners trying to break through the noise and grow their audience – and their business – learn from this?

If your stories, blogs, articles, videos and podcasts (your content) are as applicable five years ago as they are today, they’re not relevant.

A significant factor in relevance is timeliness. People engage with the problems, questions, issues, opportunities and challenges of our time – the past is gone, and the future is not yet here.

If you want to be relevant, your messaging needs to be present.

How do you achieve relevance?

In a recent Tax Management New Zealand podcast interview I did with Terry Baucher about thought leadership, Terry points out that the more current your content is, the more relevant you are.

Terry was referencing the fact that Google and social media engines value current content, but what he says is also an important factor in winning the war for attention.

One of the values that journalist associate with good content is timeliness, defined as, “Immediate, current information and events that are newsworthy because they have just recently occurred”.

In short, if you want to be relevant, you need to reference the events and issues that are happening now and how they impact your audience – in the context of your business, industry or cause.

This is where I differ from some other reputation and content marketing specialists who promote evergreen content as the way to go.

“Evergreen content is search-optimised content that is continually relevant and stays ‘fresh’ for readers over a long period of time – as the name implies”. 

If it stays fresh for an extended period, it loses relevance. It may be other good things, but relevant is not one of them. I would go so far as to call evergreen content ‘lazy’.

And it has to matter to your audience

Well known American journalist Michael Kinsley makes this point succinctly: “The proper question isn’t what a journalist thinks is relevant but what his or her audience thinks is relevant”.

As somebody aiming to build a business, it is not what you think is relevant, but what your audience thinks is relevant. 

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