Most online content competes for audience share. In this competition there are categories of content that are more popular with specific audiences. Within each category of content there are types of media that are more popular than others.

There are certain content categories that drive some of the highest audience attention in the world (Google Trend research 2011). The entertainment world and “cute animal” content both command millions of visitors. In the entertainment category, popular content includes videos from popular artists, movie promotions, novelty “guerilla” produced videos, social channels pertaining to personalities, and news tabloid Websites. The cute animal category consists primarily of videos and pictures of pets or other animals performing tricks, doing something novel or being just plain cute.

How does your organization’s content compete with cute puppy content? Plainly put, most Internet endeavors don’t have the latitude to compete, so they don’t try. Smart businesses, however, recognize the opportunity to advertise in these categories whenever the proper advertising opportunity exists. “The Ultimate Dog Tease” on YouTube received 12 million page views within one week, making it one of the 10 most liked video clips in Canadian history. I noticed that it had an SPCA ad prominently displayed at the top of the page.

But seriously, can a business compete with the cute puppy content? Well, yes and no. It depends directly on your business. Does it make sense to associate something cute with your brand? Forced associations with a “cute puppy” will most likely be viewed as contrived and could actually create negative customer attention. In order to resonate with the consumer, content, regardless of subject matter, must be honest and appropriately targeted.

As well as being honest and targeted (and, ideally, a bit cute), content must also be informative, presented in an interesting way, and helpful to your audience. Not all content has to be compelling, but anything your company puts up on the Internet and in social media should meet the needs of the target audience. People are busy, and organizations must be considerate about the time required to interact with their content.

This piece is excerpted from “The Digital Dollar: Sustainable Strategies for Online Success” by Joe Wozny. Available from FairWinds Press. Copyright © 2012 Joe Wozny. All Rights Reserved.