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Content Marketing: Speak from the Heart (Or Not At All)

by Allen Weiner  |  February 25, 2013  |  Comments Off on Content Marketing: Speak from the Heart (Or Not At All)

I was inspired by a great piece in AdAge that took brands to task for forcing themselves into Twitter conversations. It’s the annoying party guest who interrupts your conversation about college football to talk about his recent trip to Yellowstone. All that’s missing is the home movies. Or, as the AdAge article aptly states: “Is it just me, or does it seem like every commercial ends with some half-assed attempt to drive social media traffic?”

Based on some recent conversations, a lot of video demos and some good old fashioned reporting, I fear the art of made-for-social media content is just getting warmed up. Under the guise of emulating traditional newsroom behavior, digital marketers are being told to plan their content strategy as if they were preparing the “bulldog” edition of the daily paper and then, essentially, force content to fit as opposed to looking at the fit before planning. As a journalist with more than 15 years of newspaper experience, I assure you 1) that doesn’t work and 2) audiences are smart enough to know the difference between the genuine and the artificial. Here’s a motto, content marketers need to tattoo across their foreheads: content happens. The best strategy is to read and react.

While my colleague Jake Sorofman and I will be going into greater detail in our upcoming research about the best strategy and deployment process for content marketing (also featured in our recently published “Digital Marketers: Are You Ready to Think Like a Publisher?”) here are a few thoughts:

  • Hire the right people: There are lots of out-of-work journalists who would be great hires for your content marketing group. You cannot teach the editorial judgment and skills that working on deadline provides.
  • Listen carefully: Beyond complex sentiment analysis, follow the streams and Tweets created by your target market. Do not try and copy their tone or voice but do speak in a language that makes sense to them.
  • Be skilled annotators: Commenting on a Tweet adding your two cents to a story in the form of annotation can be as powerful a way to express your point of view as creating your own original words of pictures.
  • Have a point of view: Being wishy washy does nothing to your brand other than make your sound…well..wishy washy. Be bold but be smart about being bold. Pick your spots and be prepared to engage in subsequent conversations.

That should get you thinking…stay tuned as there’s more to come.

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Category: digital-marketing  

Tags: content-marketing  digital-marketing  

Allen Weiner
Research VP
7 years at Gartner
23 years IT industry

Allen Weiner shares insights on how to monetize digital marketing through commerce. His focus on “Commerce Everywhere” provides perspective on how social, mobile, search and emerging channels can be tapped to improve customer experiences and drive business results … Read Full Bio

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