Digital Strategies

Digital Tactics

by Stacey Hood

Four Building Blocks of Content Marketing

Posted on 27 Jan 2011 in Blog Posts | 3 comments

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Houseofblocks 300x300 Four Building Blocks of Content Marketing

The phrase, “Content Marketing” is getting a lot of attention of late, appearing on many trends and outlooks lists as an emerging and important discipline in social media.

But, what is it anyway, and is it really all that “new” ?

When referring to online content, on one level, we’re talking about making sure the content is found, via marketing efforts. i.e., “the marketing of content.” One might argue that it sounds a bit like SEO, a discipline that has been around for decades. Enter social media, and businesses have more ways in which to produce, publish and market the content we create. Enter SMO. Maybe it’s actually a mix of all of them.

The important thing, here, is to ensure that this translates and is put into practice effectively.

Whether you use the term content marketer, digital strategist, PR 2.0 practitioner, SEO consultant, or something else, I think we would all agree on some fundamental building blocks for creating marketable content, based on what leaders in the industry are discussing about this discipline:

Good enough content isn’t good enough.

Short and simple advice from Joe Pulizzi. For better or worse, everyone and anyone is now a publisher. Whether you’re producing content online or off, it simply can’t just be good enough. You can do all you can to “market” crappy (or, good) content, or, even decent content, but, to be successful, you have to ensure that what you are producing is great enough to cut through the clutter.

Great content is customer focused.

Social media offers an opportunity to market from a customer-centric perspective (another discipline that’s been around for decades). It is important that we help businesses to conceptualize a customer-centric philosophy and apply it to their marketing efforts.

“Your online content must be the right sort of content: Customer-focused. Authentic. Compelling. Entertaining. Surprising. Valuable. Interesting. In other words, you must earn the attention of people.” - Content RulesAnn Handly and C.C. Chapman.

Listening fuels great content.

The social media fishbowl gives us the opportunity to eavesdrop on unlimited conversations. It’s critical to understand how to combine the right monitoring tools with human analysis to uncover and learn from conversations taking place about a brand, their competition or industry.

“Marketing and public relations professionals spend a lot of time trying to craft and deliver the perfect message. Listening helps make sure that the language you’re using as a company is the same language being used by the people you’re hoping to hook.” - Amber Naslund and Jay Bayer, authors of The Now Revolution.

Great content is relevant.

This can be a tough one for traditional marketers. Countless hours are spent researching personas and crafting the messages the business wants them to hear. But, if that’s not what they are looking for, you’re missing an opportunity, or worse, closing a door. Translating knowledge gained through listening into relevant content and conversations that will build meaningful relationships.

“Relevant information, consistency, and insight are the attributes of those who build credibility among their peers…Conversations are meaningless without substance, insight, collaboration, or a helpful exchange that offers mutual satisfaction.” - Brian Solis, author of Engage!

These are only four building blocks, enough to get started on a foundation, but it’s not the entire house – what would you add?

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  1. Keith Privette / January 27th, 2011 17:14

    Yes content has lately been thought of as the next “silver bullet”, but I do like the way you lay out the framework to use content within different contexts. Now that the publishing information goes both ways companies have the ability to have insight, questions, opinions, and feelings directly from their customers. Now what you do with that content realtime is up to what the company feels comfortable with.

    The listening to markets, customers, news, trends, and conversations between customers, and between your customers and maybe your competitors helps a company make relevant content for engaging different layers of their customers and employees.

    There are best practices for content and how to publish it, but there are still those content releases that boggle the mind about how they gain traction. Then everyone tries to replicate…..oh off track sorry.

    So if you are listening or monitoring content publishing for professional or personal purposes you can use for blog posts, comments, @replies, finding jobs, finding customers, answers to questions, helping customers, helping other people, connecting people. So content just does not have to be used in the backrooms for research or blog posts.

    Look forward to more posts Kary!

  2. Kary Delaria / January 28th, 2011 7:39

    Great points, Keith.

    Truly, today’s social web gives us greater opportunity for both success and failure. Businesses that have a solid strategy and understanding of what makes good content are far more likely to succeed in this space that those who jump in and start producing just for the sake of producing. More is not better. Our customers are as savvy as ever and the bar is high.