Why Context Beats Content Every Time

Why Context Beats Content Every Time

There’s a lot of talk out there, especially in the marketing world, about content. Phrases like “content marketing”, “social content”, and “content creation” are getting tossed around so much that I think we’re getting so lost in the idea that we need to produce content as a message that we’re not looking at one of the most important factors about content. That factor is the difference between content and context. I really want to lay that out there because I feel that if we put an over focus on content, we kind of start to produce crap.

Some things only have meaning in the right context.

For a while, I was focused so much on content and pushing out an article every day. I completely lost touch with exactly what I was pushing out. I didn’t have a plan beyond putting one out every day. After a while the content became so important that I started to force it. I think that when you force the content, you wind up damaging the context, sometimes losing it all together. It becomes this sort of lost, empty content that winds up doing you more harm than help in the long run.

Producing good content is critical to good marketing. We know that. Good content keeps everyone engaged and paying attention. But what makes content good? Context does. Context is delivering value through the right kind of content at the right time. When you look at things from a context perspective, you see the nuances of the material you’re producing. What I mean by that it that you have to really start paying attention to what your demographic cares about as it relates to what you offer, and when they care about it. There are constant shifts in trends and in your demographic’s behavior and mentality, and you have to really understand it.

Good context requires a sense of awareness and empathy for your demographic. So how do you gain that awareness and empathy? You have to put more effort in to research. I know that no small business owner wants to hear that they’ve got to put in more work. You’re busy enough as it is. But this is important enough that it really has to happen, especially if you want to stand out ahead of your competition. If you focus on context and do it right, your competition can’t beat you even if they’re doing it to. You’re not only paying attention to what your demographic wants, but you’re also paying attention to what they’re getting out there.

Providing an opposing viewpoint doesn't have to mean a fight.

Even if you are providing the same content as your competitors, you’re contextually providing your perspective on that information. What you’re doing is capturing attention by either being a congruent viewpoint, or an opposing viewpoint to what your customer believes. And by the way, you can still gain them as a customer while being an opposing viewpoint. But you have to study what they want, and you’ve got to be aware of what else they’re getting out there. Watch what’s getting the eyeballs that relates to your content, study it, break it down, and figure out what context is relevant.

Good context requires a sense of awareness and empathy for your demographic.

The real data you want to understand, however, is psychographic data. This is the kind of data that lets you know your demographic’s interests, habits, trends, and emotional points. These are all bits of data that you can use to understand the customer cycles, which allows you to create content that keeps them engaged in the right way. Eventually, if you’re putting in the work, your content doesn’t just get the views. It begins to convert those views in to paying customers. But remember, it’s all about context. The right value, the right information, and the right content at the right time.

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Why Context Beats Content Every Time

by Michael McNew Read in 3 min