Four options to transcend the social media clutter. Pick one and do the work.

Mark Schaefer
4 min readNov 16, 2023

My friend left a thought-provoking comment on my blog the other day. I had written about the necessity to provide quality content over time as the only sustainable strategy to rise above the social media clutter.

She challenged me, contending that there are marketing gurus out there over-posting tons of useless AI-generated crap every day, and they seem to be rewarded for it. How can this be explained?

A good question, and here is my answer.

The four ways to stand out

First, let’s step back and look at the four ways you can transcend the social media clutter and get noticed in this world:

1. SEO

Traditionally, most of the content marketing strategy aims at winning at Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but earning your way to a place in the top three search results requires a relentless, brutal battle of attrition. The SEO competition is like a bunch of nasty dogs fighting over the same keyword bone and if you aren’t one of those dogs, there is little hope to win.

One note: An SEO strategy still depends on quality content.

2. Authority

A better option for many businesses is to establish authority. You more or less abandon the SEO fight and establish a relevant audience. Instead of writing for SEO, you become known by creating content for the benefit of your audience. You earn their attention through stellar insights and helpful, authentic, human-centered content. This is not necessarily an easier battle to fight. Competition demands that you remain consistent, relevant, and superior to win.

3. Entertaining

There are a few “social media influencers” I enjoy following simply because they are just so funny and interesting. They’re not building authority, they could care less about SEO … they’re endlessly entertaining. A person certainly can earn attention in this world by creating amazing content that makes you sit there and laugh or go “wow.”

This is especially true on TikTok where there is incredible pressure to be entertaining every day!

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Mark Schaefer

Keynote speaker, marketing strategy consultant, Rutgers U faculty and author of 10 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Belonging to the Brand!