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How Information Finds You: Hyper-relevant Content Marketing - by: Gaurav Pathak

This (in)famous declaration was made by an anonymous college student in 2008 during a focus group conducted by Jane Buckingham, founder of the market research company Intelligence Group.

Since 2008, this remark has made the rounds. It’s been quoted and discussed in both media and marketing worlds. It’s even been cited by the New York Times. And if you have to ask why, you haven’t been paying attention. This statement, which seems like a throw away (let’s be honest) has proven to be the number one guiding principle in both media dissemination and marketing in the new digital age.

As Joshua Benton remarked in a recent piece for NiemanLab, “If the news is that important, it will find me. I can’t tell you how many conferences, how many symposia, how many gatherings of worthies I’ve been at where some version of that line has been tossed around.”

It’s true! I’d heard it mentioned during a class on 21st-century journalism in 2009. At the time, old time journos scoffed at the student’s “laziness” or “lack of interest” in the wider world. But today, no one scoffs at the idea of providing valuable, relevant content, served up directly to viewers through the various social media channels. This is now the expectation. If it’s important, it will find you.

Marketers, like the media, have adapted. And one of the methods hyped over the last few years is content marketing. But with massive quantities of information bombarding us daily, we are reaching what is referred to as “Peak Content” or “the point at which this glut of things to read, watch and listen to becomes completely unsustainable,” according to author Kevin Anderson in 2014.

With Peak Content looming and with the understanding that a story (or content) MUST be important enough to reach the reader/viewer, successful marketers are turning to extra relevant, extra valuable content that will cut through the fracas. As this happens, the question then becomes “what’s relevant?”

Relevance often depends on individual circumstances and numerous other factors that may be at play at any moment in a person’s life. But there are some general assumptions that can be made. For example, most people will be thinking about breakfast in the morning. Or, if someone is awake late at night, information on insomnia might be something they’d like to see.

Enter the hyper-relevant content marketing plan, predicted by some to be a major social media marketing trend in 2016. Hyper-relevant content marketing takes into consideration the season, time of day or other societal factors that may be affecting a person’s need for a specific type of information.

One such marketer, Amanda Todorovich, manager of Digital Engagement for Cleveland Clinic, is achieving major success producing hyper-relevant content by fine-tuning her organization’s marketing to maintain “evergreen” value for everyone and then offering it wisely within marketing channels.

“We are trying to put content in front of people at the right time,” Todorovich said. “We try to marry the best times of day on each channel with the best content and what people are using those channels for. Not everything gets posted on every channel we're on.”

By assessing the relevance and value of the content being used within a marketing strategy and utilizing the channels as well as season or time of day effectively, a marketer can be sure to hit the target more directly and at the same time find they’ve contributed something of genuine value to the online community.

Peak Content: The collapse of the attention economy, Kevin Anderson. Jan. 4, 2016. e

“If the news is that important, it’ll find me.” But what determines if it’s important?, Joshua Benton, Feb. 20, 2014.

Behind the Scenes of the Cleveland Clinic’s Content Marketing Strategy, Brianne Carlon Rush, Dec. 2, 2014.

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