A recent article in the Chicago Tribune pointed to two pieces of research that show people do not read links shared on social channels, only the headline. How do they know? Because they tracked articles that were made up of gibberish to find that people would comment on them and share them as if they had read them. According to the research, six out of 10 people will do this.
Now think about the data that we create and consume every second of the day. The site Internet Live Stats will show you the scale of information on the web and the rate at which it is being created. This is our context. We are surrounded by information.
What does the research tells us? Two things.
First, too many people are adding to the noise of the internet by sharing rubbish (quite literally in the case of this research).
Second, there is a huge opportunity for you and your business to be the signal amongst all the noise.
Both points can be addressed if we take a more curatorial approach to content on the web. By this I mean you becoming the filter and sense maker of information – thus reducing the noise for your audience. And then sharing relevant information which helps you become the signal amongst all the noise.
In order to do this successfully you need to:
- Understand who you are doing this for – internal teams and stakeholders, customers, peers, potential customers.
- Understand what content they need – that means asking them about their challenges
- Understand how they like to receive it – which channels and what frequency
- Get comfortable with the fact less is more, but make sure you promote what you are doing because it has a lot of value
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of asking people about their challenges so that you can curate content to help overcome them. This is different to asking them what content they would like to receive from you. People tend to say they would find something useful but in reality won’t read it – it becomes a nice to have rather than essential reading. Helping with challenges is much more powerful.
Once you know this, design a process for filtering the web and a process for sense checking and sharing it in useful, relevant and timely ways. We have shared some tips on how to do this here.
Once you you have your feeds, think about how to add context to what you are sharing – reading time to blog posts and articles, 50 words to explain a link in an email, some context to tweets and LinkedIn updates. These devices help people decide whether or not to click on your link. This is where you add value versus sharing links you have not read.