Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 9, 2017 6:39 PM

Pump And Dump Does Not Generate Great Content

"Let's share everything. There's lots of good stuff here. Did you catch that?"

Put aside the issue of narcissism (and, this is both brand and personal brand narcissism). With the persistence of live video and push to real-time marketing, there's not just an inflection point between those creating content and the saturation of content on media channels. There's also this ideology that if you capture an idea, that the idea should be shared... instantly. You see this often - especially in video content. Something is said in passing in a video, and then an entire diatribe goes off along the lines of, "did you catch that? We should turn that into a blog post? Maybe turn the quote into an image and post it on Instagram!" More than often even the content that is being recorded is also being filmed/streamed on another platform. I kid you not. Do you know how many times there are posts on Snapchat and Instagram of people creating content for YouTube

Content has become very meta. It doesn't have to be that way. Maybe it shouldn't be that way?

You could easily dismiss this as a quantity over quality argument. That argument has been made. That argument could still be made. There's something else - that most people who create content across multiple formats at a frenetic pace - don't, necessarily, know and/or respect about content. Sometimes, you need to actually spend time thinking and digging deeper into an idea that you have for it become valuable content. Just because a concept floated across your mind and out of your mouth, does not mean that it doesn't require some time to sit.

Pop that cork and chug that wine or pop that cork and let the wine breathe?

We let the best of everything sit. Always (or mostly). Content is no exception. This arm's race to pump and dump out content has not only created a vacuum between consumers and the brands that they love, but it has also created a mis-understanding on the brand side. Brands (mistakenly) believe that consumers just can't get enough of them. Brands pump out content with the attitude of trying to capture everyone's attention everywhere. It's not working. You have to give consumers a reason to care. Few brands do this.

Just how bad of a content strategy is it? 

If you go back a few years, and look at how Facebook really started generating the massive revenue that they're now pulling in, it is directly correlated to this pump and dump content strategy. In the early stages of getting brands on to Facebook, they allowed anyone and everyone to open a page and post whatever they wanted. The hunt for likes was a game of intensity. Brands wanted more "likes" and "fans" than their competitors. Brands compared their fans and likes to celebrities. Brands would post and post and post. Then, it got to the point when every brand had a Facebook page, and would chase likes and fans with increasing expense. They would offer up prizes and run contests to up the likes and fans. They would pull stunts to get people to share and like their content. It got so crazy, that many brands ran out of content to post. It got so crazy that brands would (and, I'm not joking here) post a picture of the sun (yes, the one in the sky) and write: "Like this is you like the sun." In short, they would do anything for attention and - because Facebook offered up that attention and impressions for free - they went for it. There were no "wasted" impressions. On Facebook, every impression was a way to get into the consumers' feeds and fight for that attention (and, of course, a picture in a post would be much bigger than just a text post, so you can imagine how big these images wound up being). Consumers pushed back. The numbers told the tale. Consumers were following brand pages that they had long forgotten about, but were still being assaulted with their content. Consumers were starting to mistaken the brand pages content for advertising and complained to Facebook about how polluted their feeds had become. Facebook had a serious problem. Facebook's solution was two-fold: They started throttling the content on Facebook pages and limiting how much of that content made it to the consumer's feed. They also started amping up their sales program, by allowing brands to "boost" pieces of content by paying to do so. So, on one hand, brands now had to pay to reach the audience that they had worked so hard to build. On the other hand, Facebook knew that they could both charge the brands (and make lots of money), while instantly cleaning out their consumer's feed. Brand started to think (seriously) about what they wanted to pay for in terms of feed worthiness. Quite the elegant solution.

A lesson for brands from Facebook's earlier revenue model.

If you could not immediately post everything that you're creating, what would happen? What if you had to wait 24 hours before posting content to your feeds? Would you still post this content if you had to pay to do so? These may seem like trivial questions. They are not. Try this: pull together all of your content, and take a serious look at the value, quality and power of the content. Then layer on top of if the two questions from above (what if you had to wait to publish it, and what if you had to pay to put it out there?). What would you really do? It's easy to make a run at impressions. It's easy to post everything you record. It's easy to pump that all up with some ad spend. Great content is not easy. Great ideas take time. Not only to breath in your mind, but to breath on the page, on the screen or in your ears. Yes, some people have an easier time pumping out quality. Most do not. There is a grace and elegance in thinking before publishing. Look at each piece of content that you see. How often do you wonder how much effort, thinking and patience went into it? How much care? Does the brand really care about the content - and what it represents - or do they care more about how many people liked and shared it? 

What kind of brand do you want to be?

By Mitch Joel