WHY CONTENT IS NOT KING
In 1996, Bill Gates was reported to have coined the phrase “Content is King”. Since then, it seems that nearly everyone (including myself) jumped on the content marketing bandwagon. I’d heard the mantra enough times that I almost believed it. For years, I thought that being a source of content was all I needed to become successful in social media. I was wrong. If you’ve ever seen Speed 2 you know that all content is not necessarily good. Great content is good and the rest is, well … meh.
Through curation or creation, many of us believed that sharing content was all we needed to build an audience, to engage and be authentic. “Content Is King” thinking is akin to the proverbial shit on a wall. Throw enough of it and some will stick.
While it may have been true in 1996 when content producers were few, marketers today are faced with a new problem. That is, that there is far too much content being thrown for most to notice.
Unless, that is, we create relevant and remarkable content for our audience.
What if we we misunderstood the meaning of the phrase “Content is King”. Perhaps Bill didn’t mean content as in material or ideas passed through mediums, but rather an emotional state of your customer.
THE SECRET REASON WHY CONTENT ISN’T KING
There can only be one king in any kingdom and that throne is occupied by your customer. Customers are king and your content is the tool to serve them with. If you are able to produce great value through physical and digital experiences, then your king (the customers) will help you build a kingdom (thanks to Chris Brogan for the reference). More importantly, if you are able to make your customers happy, you’ll have taken a big step towards earning the most trusted source of advertising… referrals by word of mouth.
MOBILIZE THE KINGDOM
As marketers, we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface on how social media and the empowered customer is changing business. Forward-thinking brands like Coke, Nike and Zappos look at marketing in it’s wholistic form. These brands look to leverage marketing communication on all three forms of today’s media landscape: Paid, Earned and Owned.
By orchestrating their customers experience, these types of brands aim to create a better emotional experience for customers, differentiate from their competition and deliver ROI. Make no mistake, the transition of content from a material to emotional state has started and evidence of its success is mounting.
THREE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER’S CONTENTEDNESS
First – Think Dialogue
Over decades of traditional media training, businesses have become well versed in monologues. While you may think your content is fantastic, what really matters is whether your customers think so. If your company’s content isn’t generating conversation or a reaction it’s not good enough. Go back to the drawing board and find ways to be better. Be awesome on purpose. You could start by taking a course on writing or journalism. Learn to listen and monitor social platforms (check out netvibes or industry specific hashtags) for feedback.
Second – Think Individual
In a traditional media mindset you try to reach as many targeted people as you can with repetition of message. Maximize coverage, blanket the city, out-voice the competition. This tactic doesn’t translate well to social platforms. Your customer has a name, a family, a pet and publicly shares lots of information. Find out about her. Say hi, one person at a time.
If a customer walked into your business right now, would you ignore them and wait until there were 100 others before acknowledging each of them? Of course not. You really only need to care about the person in front of you…even if they’re online. We should think about social media as an iHandshake. That means that the number of Twitter followers, Facebook friends or subscribers we have is really irrelevant unless we speak to them as individuals and choose to listen when they speak back. By conversing with individuals, you’ll be better prepared and understand more about the collective.
Third – Think Value
Start by giving your content away; I promise you will not run out of ideas. Creativity is like a muscle – the more you create the more your creative muscles grow and the stronger your material will become. The stronger your material gets, the more you’ll improve your customer’s experience. By enriching your customer experience, you will be able to retain more clients and become a preferred provider when the customer (and their friends) are in the market.
Think about how your digital content can add value to the customers that you already have. Think about what they want and what kind of content they want to share with their friends. Heck, you could even ask them what they’d like to know more about.
Do you think the right form of content is it about the material or about the emotion? Do you have any other thoughts on who is king?
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