Get Content-Centric, Or Be Disrupted In Search And Social

My friend Gini Dietrich (who we featured in our latest digital marketing blogs list) recently published a post sharing 10 content ideas.  But that’s not actually what I want to talk about today.

I caught this post via her Tweet on the subject, in which she said the post was “for all of you who write content.”

To which I responded: so, everyone then. Gini replied and noted that there are lots of people reading that run businesses, are in real estate, or other industries that “aren’t content related.”

Maybe it doesn’t appear that these people or companies are content related at face value. But in a world where every company is a media company, every business is content related. And that makes every passionate professional, marketer or otherwise, a content creator.

A lot of people pushed back on this concept which we touched on in a previous post titled: if your team hates blogging, you need a new team. Like it or not, that’s the world we live in. Besides, how can anyone hate to create content in a category they are involved in and have commitment to?

Adopting the publisher mindset provides a distinct advantage in the form of content, a currency that builds inbound traffic, helps establish authority, influence and trust as well as positions your company as a premium brand. Not to mention attracting talent, PR value, social shares, alleviating customer service requests, nurturing qualified leads, etc. The list goes on.

Of course, you don’t have to embrace a content-centric approach to the world. But others are going to: whether by known competitors or those you didn’t even consider competition seeking to dominate a category on the web.

Some additional thoughts about being content-centric from my own experiences getting brands to embrace this approach:

Your subject matter experts can speak from an insider perspective

I’ve not only helped countless brands create digital strategies over the years, I’ve worked hands-on with team members (including those outside the marketing areas of an organization) on developing a voice and creating content as part of their jobs. And time and time again, we see subject matter experts providing the highest quality ideas that organically resonate with insiders. Your marketing team members certainly can make this content web-friendlier, but don’t ignore the power of insiders to create content (and, ideally making content a part of their daily process). The right subject matter expert can be as valuable as an entire PR firm.

Don’t just think in terms of blog posts: content could be video, forum discussions, you name it – create, then optimize / re-purpose

Match the appropriate medium to the individual. For example, I previously worked with a CMO who we were never able to get to write a single word of a blog post. We tried video which he was equally reticent against creating with frequency. Then we tried podcasting, which he loved. We couldn’t get him to stop. But we didn’t stop there, we had the audio transcribed, optimized, paired with an image and turned into blog posts. This also accomplished our text-based goals for thought leadership. Get creative with this and extend the life / reach across platforms with what you do get created.

Those with the most passion for what they do participate in industry discussions

Many of my peers (digital natives) who grew up to be business leaders live at the top of  Jacob Nielsen’s participation inequality pyramid. The ones who really cared about what they’re doing were meta-cognitive about their category and created content surrounding it. It was just a natural extension of our lives, so it wasn’t something we thought we “had to do,” we simply did it. It was a joy, not a chore. Find and tap those with passion and content starts to be seen as something they “get to do” vs. “have to do.”

If you’re embracing the notion that every company is a media company, all your team members are media producers (aka content creators)

Limiting content creation to marketing or PR is shortsighted. Sure, one department can own it, but it should also be shared throughout the organization. There is a huge competitive advantage for everyone from customer service, to engineering departments, to the leadership teams creating content. Brands who socialize content creation internally and make it a part of everyone’s job description, whether that job traditionally involved creating content or not, are far better positioned to win their niche.

Educate your clients / company: the captive audience is dead, in a fragmented media world quality content isn’t a “nice to have” …it’s a requirement

No one has a monopoly on attention anymore. And in a world where the captive audience is dead, content is advertising (and advertising is content) as Mike Masnick likes to say. Embrace this notion and flip your communications so quality, valuable content is produced consistently (by marketing and beyond) and you’ll be far better positioned to build an opt-in audience who wants to hear your messages.

If you don’t think you can become content-centric, you’re probably right. You have to want to. But for those who want to it’s entirely possible. Here are some ideas if you think you’re too busy (you’re likely not, you only think it).

I actually think Gini and I are on the same page about this stuff, but I get it, priorities, priorities – perhaps content isn’t at the top of your list. With that said, my personal opinion is this stuff isn’t optional: this is the new world we live in and it’s (past) time to adapt.

image credit: Shutterstock