By Ann Gynn published August 5, 2021 Est Read Time: 12 min

26 Eye-Opening Ideas for Putting an End to Digital Content Fatigue

Fatigue sets in. You know the feeling.

As a digital content consumer, you scroll through your inbox and social feeds, conduct searches, and visit websites only to find your eyes glazing over. You’re tired of everything you see.

As a content marketer, how do you energize your audience? How can you break them out of the slump? How can you reignite the spark?

We asked the speakers lined up for 2021 Content Marketing World to share their recommendations on how to break through your audience’s digital fatigue.

To our surprise, we got some pushback on the premise.

“Who’s fatigued? Audiences are searching more. Consuming more. And sharing more,” replied Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group. “Too many brands are still spending the bulk of their budget on ads no one wants. Marketers need to create helpful and consistent content and stick to the plan.”

Who’s fatigued? Audiences are searching for more helpful and consistent #content, says @BrennerMichael via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Inbar Yagur, vice president of marketing, GrowthSpace, said something similar: “I don’t think anything has changed, fatigue or no. You need to give your audience real value … The fatigue sets in when you see more and more of the same junk.”

The #content fatigue sets in when you see more and more of the same junk, says @content_fairy via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Michael and Inbar hit on the premise behind the question: How can brands avoid content marketing that causes their audiences’ eyes to droop?

These 26 strategic and tactical solutions should help.

1. Be as good as – if not better than – individual creators

The playbook hasn’t changed at the same rate as attention spans. Look at the rise of TikTok during the pandemic. If we truly had digital content fatigue, the platform would not have grown in popularity the way it has. TikTok encourages great content because the creators of that content make money from it. Everyday users have learned how to leverage the platform to make extremely entertaining content, and now they expect brands to do better. – Amy Balliett, CEO, Killer Visual Strategies

If we truly had digital #content fatigue, #TikTok would not have grown in popularity the way it has, says @AmyBalliett via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

2. Make something that counts

Throw out the playbook and start over. Put the time and budget you’re about to put into your next 10 pieces and make one, incredible, memorable, delightful, smart, entertaining thing. Pour all the time, talent, craft, and love into it that you can. – Doug Kessler, co-founder, Velocity

Put the time and budget you’re about to put into your next 10 pieces and make one, incredible, memorable, delightful, smart, entertaining thing, says @DougKessler via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

3. Set up your lure

Three things: 1. Make an appointment with your audience. 2. Attach a person to the content you create.  3. Make sure your content has a hook – a simple twist on a familiar theme designed to ensnare or entrap your audience. – Andrew Davis, author and keynote speaker, Monumental Shift

Make sure your #content has a hook – a simple twist on a familiar theme designed to ensnare or entrap your audience, says @DrewDavisHere via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

4. Spend money or spend money

You mean content shock? There are only two ways: Spend the money to create exceedingly brilliant content that earns their attention, or spend the money it takes to promote it and break through the noise. – Mark Schaefer, author, Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business, and Life Against All Odds

Spend the money to create brilliant #content that earns attention, or spend the money to promote it, says @MarkWschafer via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

5. Make it personal and in person

Even before the pandemic sentenced us to a 15-month term of virtual reality, “modern marketing” was automating the life out of human experiences, imposing a digital lens on everything from body language to nurture. Now that we’re all Zoomed out and so over the novelty of working in our jammies all day, every day, ordinary, IRL interactions will feel extraordinary. The real breakthroughs will be authentic, unexpected, handcrafted, and personal. – Carmen Hill, content strategist and writer, Chill Content

The real breakthroughs will be authentic, unexpected, handcrafted, and personal #content, says @CarmenHill via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

6. Get (inter)active

Make everything more conversational. Ask questions, create polls, go live. People may be tired of passively consuming content, but they are craving human interaction now more than ever. – Michaela Alexis, LinkedIn trainer and LinkedIn Learning instructor 

People may be tired of passively consuming #content, but they are craving human interaction now more than ever, says @MickAlexis via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

7. Give meaningful support

Create engagement experiences. Your audience is craving meaningful connections with others. Give them an opportunity to interact with your brand and their peers in a way that adds value and helps them to reach their goals. – Sydni Craig-Hart, CEO and co-founder, Smart Simple Marketing

Give your audience an opportunity to interact with your brand and their peers and helps them reach their goals, says @SydniCraigHart via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

8. Get real problems 

Produce emotion-based content – content that shows real people being real, solving real in less than perfect ways so others can relate. Content that is emotion-based and believable breaks through content fatigue. – Bernie Borges, vice president global content marketing, iQor

#Content that is emotion-based and believable breaks through content fatigue, says @BernieBorges via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

9. Try some improv

It starts with an experimental mindset: “Yes and …” If marketers are fatigued as marketers and as customers, then it’s time for change. It’s time to do things differently and lead with empathy and an improvisational mindset that co-creates with customers. – Kathy Klotz-Guest, founder, Keeping it Human

It’s time for change. Lead with empathy and an improvisational mindset that co-creates with customers, says @KathyKlotzGuest via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

10. Play one-on-one

I’ve been preaching personal connection to my library clients – focusing on having meaningful personal conversations to deliver one-on-one service to patrons. It’s more time-consuming and tedious, but it’s necessary. We have to be accessible in spaces other than just online. – Angela Hursh, senior engagement consultant, NoveList

We have to be accessible in spaces other than just online, says @WebMasterGirl via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

11. Get specific

Focus on smaller audiences. This is the genius of account-based marketing. For the audience, the super-specific content is more likely to meet their needs. Stop worrying about traffic and page views. Start focusing on that small group of a few dozen ideal accounts. Produce content specifically for that group and personally invite them to get involved. It’s a whole new game. – Andy Crestodina, co-founder and CMO, Orbit Media

Focus on smaller audiences. Produce #content specifically for that group and personally invite them to get involved, says @crestodina via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

12. Be engaging

Don’t forget what you know — quality content wins out over quantity. I think that most of the digital fatigue that’s happening is caused by a high volume of low-quality content being pushed out from brands. The focus needs to shift from mass exposure to engagement. – Jacqueline Loch, executive vice president, customer innovation, SJC Content

The focus needs to shift from mass exposure to engagement, says @JacquelineLoch via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

13. Stop and ask why

The next time you feel compelled to hop on a trend, replicate a meme, or release a statement because “everyone else has,” don’t. Instead, stop and ask yourself why three times. If you don’t get to a compelling reason for doing so, then just don’t do it. – Erika Heald, consultant, Erika Heald Consulting

The next time you feel compelled to hop on a trend, replicate a meme, or release a statement because ‘everyone else has’, don’t, says @SFErika via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

14. Listen and customize

The things that will break through are the things that are meaningful and valuable, both of which can vary wildly from context to context. Content marketers need to listen more to their audiences and adapt their strategies based on what they hear. – Matthew Rayback, creative director, Adobe

 #Content marketers need to listen more to their audiences and adapt their strategies based on what they hear, says @matthewrayback via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

15. Go deep

Content marketers, especially those in B2B, tend to create a lot of 101 content. That means there are already a ton of those 101 resources out there, winning the search battle. Instead, focus on niche topics and depth that help your audience to cut through the crap and make sense of the world. – Zontee Hou, head of strategy, Convince & Convert

Focus on niche topics and depth that help your audience cut through the crap and make sense of the world, says @ZonteeHou via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

16. Do less, invest more

Create fewer pieces and invest more – more useful info, better insights, more noteworthy presentation – in the content you do create. – Jonathan Kranz, principal, Kranz Communications

Create fewer pieces and invest more – more useful info, better insights, more noteworthy presentation – in the #content you do create, says @JonKranz via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

17. Be part of the routine

You have to create content that’s a part of your audience’s routine. Morgan Stanley does a great job of this with their Thoughts on the Market podcast, for instance, which was the top-performing series in Contently’s recent State of Finance report. Each daily episode is about three to nine minutes and perfectly crafted to appeal to busy executives. – Joe Lazauskas, head of marketing, Contently

You have to create #content that’s a part of your audience’s routine. @MorganStanley does a great of this with their #ThoughtsOnTheMarket podcast, says @joelazauskas via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

18. Have a purpose

Be helpful. If you can’t be helpful, at least be entertaining. Ideally, your content should do both. – Ruth Carter, evil genius, Carter Law Firm

Be helpful. If you can't be helpful, at least be entertaining. Ideally, your #content should do both, says @RBCarter via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

19. Open the gates

Stop doing whatever anyone else is doing. There’s amazing content on the internet that can be delivered asynchronously. For the first time, business conferences are competing with Netflix and YouTube. I love the conferences that make all their material available for free on YouTube since I can watch it on my own time, embrace it – don’t gate it. – Eli Schwartz, growth advisor, 5le; author of Product-Led SEO

Deliver event #content asynchronously to let your audience watch it on their own time, says @5le via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

20. Reformat, reuse, recycle

Content marketers can break through the digital content fatigue by mixing up their content and recycling it in different ways. Everyone has different preferences for how they consume content. Turn a blog post into a captioned video, a podcast episode with a transcript, multiple standalone tweets, and a shorter post on LinkedIn. – Meryl Evans, digital marketing pro, meryl.net

#Content marketers can break through the digital content fatigue by mixing up their #content and recycling it in different ways, says @MerylKEvans via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

21. Build different packages

Try different content formats, like livestreaming, podcasting, etc. Find ways to stay in front of people with tidbits of content versus just sharing huge content pieces at a time. – Christoph Trappe, director of content marketing, Voxpopme

Find ways to stay in front of people with tidbits of #content versus just sharing huge content pieces at a time, says @CTrappe via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

22. Add digital tactics in print

Surprisingly, print marketing has been cutting through some of the noise. Use print marketing to direct people back to digital assets using QR codes, vanity URLs, etc. – Rachel Mann, digital engagement supervisor, American Fidelity Assurance Company

Use #print marketing to direct people back to digital assets using QR codes, vanity URLs, etc., says @Rachelizmann via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

23. Print regularly

Create an amazing and consistent print publication. – Joe Pulizzi, founder, The Tilt

Create an amazing and consistent print publication, says @JoePulizzi via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

24. Make something tangible

Try doing something non-digital. For your best prospects, do a limited print run of a magazine or a book or something tangible. It’ll stand out far more than shouting about your latest webinar. – Christopher S. Penn, chief data scientist, Trust Insights

Try doing something non-digital for your best prospects, says @CSPenn via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

25. Be outstanding

Digital marketers need to create thoughtful, informational, and visually attractive content. LinkedIn newsletters are a case in point. I follow some that are clearly last-minute word vomit to get in on the trend. But newsletters that are thoughtful, researched, informational (like Andy Crestodina’s Digital Marketing Tips) deserve every second of my time and stand out from the rest. – Viveka von Rosen, chief visibility officer, Vengreso

Digital marketers need to create thoughtful, information, and visually attractive #content, says @LinkedInExpert. @Crestodina’s #DigitalMarketingTips stand out from the rest. @CMIContent #CMWorld Click To Tweet

26. Don’t make your goal remarkable

Focus on relevance over remarkableness. – Tamsen Webster, CEO and chief message strategist, Find the Red Thread

Focus on relevance over remarkableness, says @tamadear via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Tamsen’s response is a good note to leave you on. How do you cut through digital content fatigue and energize your audience? Above all else, it must be relevant. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how great, different, or unexpected your content is.

Hear more from these presenters about ideas for engaging audiences at Content Marketing World. Join us in person or online – it’s your choice. Register today. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Ann Gynn

Ann Gynn edits the CMI blog. Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. Former college adjunct faculty, Ann also helps train professionals in content so they can do it themselves. Follow Ann on Twitter @anngynn or connect on LinkedIn.

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