Doctor SpinDigital FirstContent & InboundLevel 5 Content — Go Big or Go Home

Level 5 Content — Go Big or Go Home

In the age of algorithms, only the laser-focused will stand a chance.

What is level 5 communication—and why is it important?

In this article, you’ll get a brief explanation of how algorithms are sorting away not just mediocre communication but good communications as well.

I’ve been advising clients on content strategies for over a decade. In short: What used to work doesn’t work anymore.

Today, you have to go big or go home.

Here’s why:

Table of Contents

    Digital is Evolving at Light Speed

    “Social media is dividing us,” critics claim.

    We live in the age of algorithms, and even the laggards are starting to catch on. We find ourselves battling a long series of unexpected issues, from online activists to journalists hiding behind paywalls.

    One of many outcomes is the rapid professionalization of the Internet, i.e. the Money Web Content creators are pushing the limits of fast and agile productions with polished results. The competition is more challenging than ever.

    While most brands will struggle to keep up with influencers and social media naturals, the idea has always been that brands can produce valuable content.

    However, it seems like good social media content just won’t cut it anymore.

    What’s happening?

    Is Your Communication Good Enough?

    Imagine your communication activities grouped in five levels based on PR quality.

    Level 5 communication - 1
    Will “good enough” communication be allowed by algorithms?

    Most would agree that it’s reasonable for algorithms to sort away lousy, bad, or even average content activities.

    But today, the algorithms are also sorting away good communication.

    Level 5 communication - 2
    The cut-off point for an algorithm is narrowing the potential for success.

    We know that competing for attention is constantly getting more demanding. For professional communicators, it’s not getting any easier.

    Gatekeepers are Slaves to Algorithms, Too

    One might argue that the algorithms aren’t in complete control—at least not yet. There are still powerful gatekeepers yielding their influence across huge audiences.

    However, the power of these gatekeepers stems from their ability to negotiate the algorithms.

    Journalists are learning what will drive clicks and social sharing.
    Influencers are learning what will entertain their audiences.
    Site owners are learning what will attract traffic and convert.

    These gatekeepers act like Pavlovian dogs, conditioned by the algorithms. Gatekeepers influence user behaviour; behaviours influence the algorithms, the algorithms influence gatekeepers. And around we go.

    Love them or hate them, embrace them or fear them. Algorithms are the backbone of the digital media landscape.

    Or, as Marshall McLuhan stated, “the medium is the message“.

    Marshall McLuhan - The Medium is the Message
    Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980).

    And we, as PR professionals, must change the way we prioritize.

    New PR Rules, New PR Strategies

    Today, we need strategies based on what’s rapidly becoming the most valuable commodity in the world—attention.

    We must adapt because the algorithms dictate the rules we get to play by. We need to go bigger.

    The PR profession must invent new playbooks.

    Because we know it works to pick an epic fight with a stupid majority.

    Because Content Themes work.
    Because Surround Strategy works.
    Because Iceberg Publishing works.

    All are big, ambitious, bold, yet focused PR strategies.

    Go For Level 5 Content—or Go Home

    The key takeaway here isn’t that great communication works better than good communication. We already knew that.

    The critical point is that good content will steal resources from great content—whatever that may entail in your niche. To paraphrase business author Jim Collins, “good can be the enemy of great.”

    In the age of algorithms, the winners take all—or at least most of it. Traffic. Conversions. Engagement. Share of voice. Attention.

    We must be laser-focused in what PR objectives we pursue. And, we must abandon everything that doesn’t qualify as Level 5 Content.

    If this means producing less good content to make the occasional great content—so be it.

    Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Prints/Instagram)


    Jerry Silfwer
    Jerry Silfwer
    Jerry Silfwer, aka Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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