I read a really good article today written by Mark Schaefer for Ragan on content marketing. It echoed a lot of things I stress to clients each day about content marketing done right. It also added a perspective I hadn’t considered — that content marketing done right might redeem the concept of social media marketing.
Too many companies make a halfhearted and purely tactical stab at social media without connecting it to strategy. The Facebook page and Twitter account, check mentality. Then they don’t prioritize it, assign it to their most junior staff and eventually complain there is no demonstrated ROI.
However, they are aided and abetted in this disconnect from business value by too many social media gurus and evangelists, who refuse to articulate any link between social media activity and positive business outcomes:
The legitimate idea of social media marketing has become lost in a sea of simplistic guru-isms like, “It’s all about the conversation,” “It’s all about the listening,” and, of course, the famous, “Measuring the ROI of social media is like measuring the ROI of your mother.” All of these handy sayings are simply a disservice to businesses everywhere.
Content marketing done right succeeds “by creating brand-related content that is so good it is even better than mainstream news and entertainment.” Amen! Content marketing is challenging because it demands constant effort, and it challenges the company producing it to express clearly why their customers should pay attention and engage.
Content marketing is a red hot term today, analogous to what social media was three years ago. Consumers have the technical tools to filter out all types of advertising. Consumers demand something of value in exchange for their time. Social media is a channel to deliver that content to them, encouraging engagement and if interest is great enough a purchase.
Content marketing might represent a “do-over” for social media. We have an opportunity to have a more mature focus and put the emphasis on real business results instead of a strategy based on the fear of being left behind because we don’t have a Facebook page.
That’s a very thought provoking statement. But whether content marketing is a do-over for social media or not, we need to push our clients and ourselves to get it right.
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