Change is inevitable. Know why content works, and embrace what lies ahead.
The jeers and jokes rolled in immediately after Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of Facebook and his vision of the metaverse in a cringeworthy 77-minute opus. Putting Zuck’s specific predictions aside, it is widely agreed that a metaverse is coming and it is sure to be a wild, wild west (particularly for regulators and cybersecurity). The content landscape is already changing at an increasingly rapid rate, now throw in the metaverse? How’s a content marketer meant to keep their head on straight, and navigate so many unknowns?
Know your first principles, and do not stray from them.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of first principles, the team over at Farnam Street has a great primer. The TL;DR is: First principles are principles that cannot be derived from anywhere or anything else. They are essentially the “truths,” or foundational beliefs, that comprise the core of your thinking. We thought this was a good opportunity to outline the first principles of content marketing that many of us share. Taking a moment to remind ourselves can be valuable, as these principles will remain the bedrock of engaging and effective content in the metaverse and beyond.
1. What your audience values is the top consideration.
If you get this one wrong, nothing else matters. You can nail the format, channel, word choice, photography, hashtags — you name it, but if you’re not resonating with your audience’s values you’ll be left with a grove of fruitless content. Is your audience primarily concerned with price? Convenience? Quality, proximity, fashion? What about sustainability? Often what your audience values is a unique cocktail of all the above.
Job #1 will always be diagnosing those priorities in as much detail and nuance as possible. Once you have a firm grip, do not let go and let those gauges be the filter through which you run every idea, every headline, and every image.
2. Find where your audience’s attention is focused.
Hustle guru and social media legend Gary Vaynerchuk has been saying it for years, and while some may turn up their nose at his delivery, one of his mantras is without-a-doubt true: Attention is the currency, attention is the asset. We spend time carefully crafting journey maps for good reason (see our blog series: part I, part II and part III), but a prerequisite to journey mapping and strategy work is knowing your target audience’s habits. How often are they on social media, what channels do they prefer, and what types of content are they most engaging with? Do they prefer email or texting communications? What devices do they likely have in their house and how are they using those devices?
Who knows what these questions will be 20 years from now, but we must be asking them. The answers will dictate where we focus our efforts in the metaverse the same as they do now in the “real world.” If your content is not where your audience’s attention is, they won’t see it. It’s just that simple.
3. Clearly communicate the value you offer, and why you’re different.
We think our audiences are flooded with content now? Just imagine the infinite worlds Zuckerberg and others have described, with a constant flow of newly created tools, landscapes, games, businesses and more. This first principle has continued to grow more and more important, and we expect the metaverse will only accelerate that trend. Once you know what your audience values and where their attention is focused, the last critical piece is finding a way to clearly communicate with them exactly how you can improve their life, and why you’re different from the last dozen providers they encountered. And don’t limit your thinking to just copy; visual language can be a powerful tool here as well.
By clearly communicating these two things, you instill confidence in your audience and make it more likely they’ll consume more content (e.g. move down the funnel) rather than getting frustrated with deciphering what they’re looking at then directing their attention elsewhere.
Change = opportunity
The metaverse — or whatever the future has in store — will require paradigm shifts for most, if not all, content marketers out there. You’re not alone. But this massive change presents a massive opportunity for those who are rooted in first principles.