Audience Engagement Content Strategy

Do Context and Opportunity Trump Content?

The truth is, I’m tired of reading all of these proclamations from marketing experts that “Content is King.” First, I think that statement misses a huge part of the equation: the role of opportunity identification. Second, I fear that marketers, hearing that content is King, will revert back to being content pushers. In fact, that’s exactly how most marketers use social media today. They push content. There’s very little interaction or engagement with the audience. Today, in Forbes online, there’s an article titled “Is Content King for Business Marketers?” The author’s premise, which is correct, is that you have to have content to engage consumers and foster relationships. In the end, it is about creating value for the audience. (I would argue that content is just one element in building value – and in building relationships. It is not supreme. It is essential.) However, what so many people miss, is the fact that sometimes there is value in simply creating the opportunity for consumers to engage with one another and to share insights. The kind of values that I think we often overlook include the need for community, affiliation (and pride of affiliation), a sense of belonging to something special, connecting with others who have similar experiences and perspectives, relationships, etc.

I recently read a blog post by Bill Faeth that recaps Gary Vaynerchuk’s position that “If content is King, than Context is God.” Both Bill and Gary have it right. You can have amazing content, but if the tone is wrong or you’ve chosen the wrong forum to deliver that content, then you’ve missed the boat. Context really is vital to successful audience engagement. In the world of social media, it is far too easy to appear inappropriate given the context, something that drives me crazy. I’m reminded immediately of those people I will follow on Twitter who then have an auto-response set up that thanks me for the follow and invites me to like them on Facebook. Please, take a minute to learn something about me before you try to sell me on your Facebook page. And don’t do it via an automated response. (And stop Tweeting about your need for 20 more followers so you can reach the 1,000 follower milestone! You clearly don’t get it.) That’s just one small example of the importance of context.

I would argue that, as marketers, identifying and creating opportunities for engagement is just as important as content. Essentially, you have the opportunity to create the context for engagement to occur – to create interest, to stir passions, to relate!

If you’d like to read more about how “Content is or is not King,” I’ve provided a short list of resources and links below:

I’d love your thoughts. Let me know what you think. Is content King? Or, as Jeff Goins says, it it simply a prerequisite?

8 comments on “Do Context and Opportunity Trump Content?

  1. Reblogged this on Brand Expeditions.

  2. I was quoted saying “Content is king” in Health Leaders’ column last week (http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/content/MAR-284641/4-Reasons-Hospitals-Must-Dive-Into-Social-Media). But I get your point and I couldn’t agree more! Really, content that is of value to our audience is king! As marketers and content creators we have to always consider the audience, and more importantly, make our clients/c-suite understand the audience’s importance in the process. Love your blog!

  3. Oh, and I am posting this for PRSA Health Academy @PRSAhealth!

  4. Ahava Leibtag

    I agree with you wholeheartedly Dan, but the real problem in our industry is that we don’t test content. We test everything else, but we don’t test content within different contexts. And your comments about social media are more about behavior patterns and netiquette then they are about content itself.

    The truth is content is the power that drives your pipeline. Without it, you can’t run a business, establish relationships or inform your customer base. I think what really bothers you, and this fits in perfectly with your context argument, is that we don’t do enough around content types. When is a video better than an article? When is a short article better than a long article? When does an infographic capture our messaging?

    Content is absolutely king. But it can be a very drunk, deranged king. With that I agree.

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