Have we reached the content tipping point?

content tipping point

How did you feel when you sat down this morning and switched on your computer? Dozens of emails, hundreds of tweets, updates, newsletters, offers. We’re under siege from content these days, and we ignore most of it. My morning routine is ‘delete,’ ‘delete,’ ‘delete.’

If we’re all feeling like this, is there any point in creating more content? What kind of content actually does get read, and acted upon?

The content I read

For me, the lists of emails I open and the content I actively read goes something like this:

  • Emails from friends and colleagues. If they send me a link, I’ll usually open it. They know me, and they’ve got my best interests at heart. (Unless I see a very long addressee list, that is, and then I might assume it’s okay to ignore it. Not specifically sent to me, and I figure it’s probably safe to skip.)
  • Content I’m looking for myself. This week it’s tips on ‘how to do presentations’ that I’m after. However if you’d sent me this two months ago (before I knew I was doing a presentation) I would probably have deleted it, and been a bit cross with you for sending it me. Timing is everything.
  • Links on Tweets or Facebook pages from people I trust – to make me laugh, or think, or because they’re usually interesting or thought provoking so worth a click. There are a few people who I always want to read – because they’re leaders in my field, and they’re consistently good value. These people can get away with not including intriguing headlines – just their name and picture is enough to pique my interest.
  • Good headlines. It might be something topical, something funny, something completely random that catches my eye. Pot luck tweets can sometimes be the start of a great Twitter relationship.

The content we all crave

We are awash with content, so much so that we willfully ignore most of it. But what I, and I believe many people will always seek is:

  • Connection – real conversations, valued relationships
  • Learning – to be better at what we do
  • Feeling – to smile, to laugh, to be moved – we want to feel alive


So don’t just create content that adds to the pile of stuff nobody wants to read. Create content that helps, connects and entertains your particular group of clients. For god’s sake make it valuable.

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  1. Neil Fletcher

    Sharon, the whole tone of your (very good!) article illustrates why content marketing, however valuable the content, should never be used in isolation. The key phrase for me is “Timing is everything”. By your own admission, what is valuable to you now would not have been two months ago. The content itself hasn’t actually changed, you have. How is the content producer to know that?

    Even the ‘smartest’ marketing automation system will take some time to catch up with the new paradigm (I just love that word!) and even then it may get it wrong. I’ve been foolish enough to download a few interesting articles from HubSpot and now I’m getting e-mails from the Head of International Marketing (or, more accurately, her robot) offering to “help transform my marketing.” Talk to Marketing, lady, I’m in Sales!

    The downloaded content is valuable to me but everything else is pretty much wrong.

    However, an integrated approach to sales and marketing would most likely inject a real human being into the process at some point and they would find out that I’m just a collector and hoarder of interesting bits and bobs and not a real prospect. The human being, most likely a salesperson, would establish if timing is actually relevant.

    I’ll echo your plea for valuable content but add the caveat that the value may be different for every person that reads it.

  2. Sonja Jefferson

    I totally agree Neil. Thanks so much for the comment. People – whether it’s your sales team or your consultants/technical experts on the ground – will make content marketing really work. Produce something really useful on your website? Make sure they know to point it out to the customers and prospects it’s relevant to. This joined up approach often takes an attitude shift from both sales and marketing in my experience.

    Robo-marketing rarely works for me. I don’t want to be automated into someone’s sales funnel! Invariably the message is off track as in your example and then it’s nothing more than spam.


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