When Microsoft’s Bill Gates wrote his essay containing the phrase “content is king,” a snowball of reality began rolling down this digital mountain we all reside upon. It is true, content of all kinds is still king, and will always be, but the ways in which audiences consume it, this is what communicators need to understand – this is the so called “leading edge” of digital speak.
I know, volumes have been written about this subject, in case the reader is condescendingly chuckling. But, what about those reading this from “out there” who are not Brian Solis? Who are not social media mavens and life coaches with 20 billion twitter followers? Maybe you need to know about next-gen marketing strategies? The meaty tidbit for you impatient marketing gurus here is (or should be) “Making digestible content bon-bons.”
Social Currency – Don’t Come Online Without It
The social web is powered with a currency we are all familiar with, content. Blog posts to white papers, podcasts to Angry Birds and seemingly ridiculous Facebook apps, our digital world is pretty full up with value. Wait! Did I just say value? Now there’s a relative term if there ever were one. I think the old saying goes; “One man’s trash is another’s…” Angry Birds is king for Bob, Steve Jobs’ slightest utterance is Jill’s, and so on. The one thing everyone has in common though, is short time. That’s where a recent AOL and Neilsen study comes in, adding some re-discovery we all need.
Now the seasoned ad guru out there is saying; “Well duh, I knew that.” Did you now? Let’s get past negativity here. AOL & Neilsen discovered that a quarter of all social content contains links to still more “value” or content. Something we take for granted, but which bears amplified importance when we discover that industry specific messages stand a 50-50 chance of being shared – and this is across almost all industries. Plus, you might be interested to know, email is by far the most popular method of sharing by everyone. The “you got mail” thingy outdistances Facebook and all the social networks combined. I’ll explain one reason why in a moment (even though you already know this). But think about something Ian Schafer said on AdAge too;
“…Brands are about to get two very important content distribution channels (in addition to Facebook), and should be developing their content distribution strategies now, if they haven’t already. Facebook will likely remain a channel for consumers to have a relationship with the people and brands they “like,” but Google+ and Twitter look to be on a collision course as channels that may drive significantly more content shares and views due to their platform, device, and software integrations. Add Google’s Search and product importance into the mix, and you don’t just get distribution, you get filing, storage, and streaming as well.”
And Now the Good & Bad News
Let me be blunt here. AOL, Neilsen, anybody knows, if your products and/or message sucks, no one is going to share it. Trust is on the rise as a variable in content absorption, for obvious reasons. Think of it this way, a herd of fly by night marketing peeps has stampeded over the top of people on the web these last few years – the bumps and bruises pretty much cover everybody now. Factor in normal human time management constraints, and voilà! The need for people to manage their Internet streams of info becomes paramount. Enter content curative – exit Digg, Facebook as we know it, MySpace (already gone), and most other networks. At least for the original reasons we joined.
BUT! The big news is (or at least there is evidence) that branding by association may still be the real superstar of marketing! Think subliminal jingles and those old TV ad dogmas. That’s right, with all our profound evangelisms over engagement, the social graph, the conversation prism, a whole range of “fussiness” spun around social media with purpose – what we end up with are two time tested salesmanship standbys – Top of mind awareness (TOMA), and a new and improved digital reciprocity (communicating). How’s this for the long way around the barn of digital marketing strategies? According to AOL and Neilsen, so called “link back media” and old fashioned display ads – they contribute in ways you forgot about.
Pepto-Bismol for Content Indigestion
The short tail of this marketing query is, “you cannot be all things to all people.” Your business (or your client’s) has to become sniper accurate in targeting, not just at your market, but at “content” that can support your goals – more precisely, the needs and wants of your public.
Take as a “for instance” the graph below. For the sake of argument, let’s assume the studies that show women are better at multitasking than men are true. Then the information clutter that social media tends to become, would explain to a degree the result below – correct?
As it turns out, women may NOT (Amsterdam study 2011 PDF) be better at juggling than men, but “distracting” elements and having to multi-task may make us all a bit more stupid – especially, say, Baby Boomers? Too much information, I know. Put simply though, we may end up right back where we started where marketing and advertising are concerned. Blogs becoming the daily news, YouTube as the boob tube, a video game as the corner playground – the only difference being building the environments. In a very real way, we are all just hanging out at Facebook because everyone is hanging out at Facebook. Like a bunch of 12 year olds huddled together looking for something to do – value.
So you get started on the right path, information overload was bound to happen, it always does. As social creatures we cannot get enough of socializing – that is, until we have had too much. MySpace was in, now Facebook is, soon G + will be, and Twitter is only good for saying; “Hi!” Isn’t then next iteration obvious? Content, like (video, text, or scratch and sniff, whatever) has to be packaged in meaningful and useful ways – aggregated, filtered, condensed, and even expanded upon – what people are looking for is a Twitter than when you click a button, explodes into a rich formatted full feature film – we are talking ultimate flexibility.
We are in a period of flux where our communicative skills and efforts are concerned. Those who learn and adapt, will go forward into the forefront of online outreach, and those who lag behind in their methods… This story is ongoing, it’s not just about DO you curate content, it’s about what type of content curator you ARE. Investigative or Artistic, Social or Enterprising, even down to Earth Realistic, methods have to adapt to the people and their stereotypical traits too. This is the complex versions of, “we need to understand one another.”
To embark on your new marketing march, you might want to take a look at this list of content curation platforms, if for no other reason than to find more targets. :) For the consumer out there (everyone) memorize this term – “EVERYTHING PR, EVERYTHING PR, EVERYTHING is PR!” For more information about their company, or this news segment, we recommend reading the original press from them via Business Wire.