Disposable Content: Is It Right for Your Brand?

Content Creation

Disposable Content: Is It Right for Your Brand?

February 17, 2016 Disposable Content: Is It Right for Your Brand? Katelyn Waara

The very sound of the term “disposable content” doesn’t ring too well today when so much emphasis is being placed on high-quality, evergreen content - the type that can continue to attract audiences for years to come. Plus, why would you want to put your time and effort into creating content that could have a very short shelf-life? Yet, it’s difficult to overlook the fact that a surprisingly large share of online readers find it hard to resist the lure of utterly pointless but catchy titles and numbered lists.

Think of article headlines such as “10 Celebrities Who Look Younger Than They Are” or “20 Pictures That Only Cat-Lovers Will Understand” - these are the kind of things many Internet users have a hard time resisting. This type of disposable content doesn’t add any value to anyone’s life and its impact, limited such that it is, soon fades. Still, it has a place online for now. BuzzFeed, as partisan and controversial as they may sometimes be, is an obvious example of a brand that has built its empire on a foundation of disposable content. But the question is: Is disposable content right for your brand?

Let’s face it. If you are a non-media business, disposable content could be a risky choice. Why? Because this type of content isn’t created with a higher purpose in mind and it doesn’t really deliver on its promises because it doesn't make any to begin with. And, that is certainly not the kind of first interaction you’d like to have with a potential customer.

However, that’s just one part of the story. In this age of shrinking attention spans, the younger audience is increasingly warming up to real life, real time content that’s bite-size and short-lived - a fact reflected in the rising popularity of Snapchat, Periscope, Vine, and Meerkat. These ephemeral mediums offer limited options to archive anything for future viewing, which means if you’ve missed something, you’ll probably never see it again. This blink-and-you-miss-it kind of urgency allows brands to achieve high-touch engagement with their audience - something blogs, tweets, or posts rarely do.

But here’s a word of caution; off-the-cuff and spontaneous content creation may seem like low-hanging fruit, but it offers very little room for errors. Once your content goes live, it’s up for everyone to see. Gone wrong, it can make your brand look stupid and make you a target for ridicule on social media. Plus, you need to make sure you create content that your audience will genuinely love and want to share with their friends. Therefore, if you don’t tread the waters of disposable content carefully, you may risk driving business away.

Here are three ways to know if—and how–your brand can benefit from disposable content.

Who is your audience?

If your brand wants to connect with a younger audience, it makes perfect sense to create fun, fast-paced, and shareable content for channels like Snapchat and Periscope, which are attracting millennial users in throngs.

If you happen to be in the B2B space, this approach will not work directly. However, the days of dry, boring, and emotionless B2B marketing are coming to an end. Therefore, producing lighter content alongside ‘professional’ articles, posts, and white papers can help you achieve a well-rounded experience for a diverse B2B audience.

What is your intent?

Determine the goals you want to achieve through your content. Disposable content entertains, triggers social shares, and drives short-term awareness for your brand but honestly, it generally isn't designed to do much else. So if you have plans to reap long-term benefits from your content for lead generation and marketing automation, this is not for you.

When do you plan to use it?

Just as you can never expect disposable content to offer wide-ranging benefits, you can’t expect to use it effectively on every channel and at every customer touchpoint. Remember, your readers will consume disposable content differently. Will they read it when just browsing? Yes. When looking for a solution? No. So, if you’re serving a customer segment that’s single-mindedly focused on getting their problems solved (again, think B2B), then disposable content may not be right for you.

Do you create disposable content for your business? We’d love to know your experiences with it! Share your comments below, or tweet us at  @wyndsoft!

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