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“More content will be created today than existed in entirely before 2003.” – Steve Rubel EVP of Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman at Mashable Connect 2011.

That statement tells me 3 things:

  1. People are consuming content at an astronomical rate.
  2. Digital overload is a very real challenge. As Rubel also stated quite correctly, “there’s to much content and not enough time.”
  3. To stand out you must know what the hell you’re talking about.

That last point means you must have authority on the subject. It’s true that the value of peer recommendations about brands is extremely important, but it’s also true that the value of peer recommendations about brands is declining. To be exact, it has declined 4% between 2009 and 2011 according to the Edelman Trust Barometer survey.

Quora, Wikipedia, and even the rise of high profile Twitter accounts for specific topics also point to the increasing role that experts play in the online conversation. While news stations are still scrambling trying to input viewers Tweets and poll questions into their programming, many people are looking for something more than “man on the street” answers. Rubel calls it “Validation.”

It’s the rise of the expert. Experts are creating larger audiences and wielding greater influence in the online marketplace.

Content marketing strategies need to take on the persona of experts; they need to be experts. But how?

  • Product research – Know why your brand or experience is unique.
  • Audience research – Know who is looking for your brand, your voice, your opinions.
  • Be aware of what you don’t know – You can’t fake it.
  • Participate – Ask and answer questions, be a part of the audience.
  • Use the right digital tools to reach your audience – Videos, promotions, high quality content, etc.
  • Optimize, promote and analyze – Learn from success and have no excuses for failure so you can learn from it.

In the Validation age of the internet, expert content is valuable content. If you aren’t producing valuable content about your brand, you are not giving your audience a reason to advocate and grow.