Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Content: King or Crap

ADDENDUM: Had I discovered this two days ago, this would have lead the blog -- Brian Solis' Brandsphere.

The battle over the future path to networked communication success often boils down to this basic battle -- is quality of content vital to ultimate success or is it just a matter serving up as much information to as many people as possible.

Daniel Tisch got this started with his PRSAY column about how public relations is losing the battle to communications.  (Sidebar guffaw: kinda how sports information lost the war with media relations, hmm fellow CoSIDA'rs).  In lamenting how consultants are moving clients away from traditional PR through focusing on communications (and one infers, strategic communication), he reminds the PRSA community of two important items:  content creation is the domain of public relations and that customer service is the new marketing (which that line smells a little like "Your New Trend of Choice is the new Black").

Tisch is a great read, but he gets down to this 140 nugget:

Solving a problem in public — in front of the entire community — does wonders for an organization’s reputation.

And that is done through well crafted content.

Doing the minimum or letting the next interface/app/gizmo/whatsit do the job in attracting and interacting with customers is yielding to technology a solution that is as relavent in today's market as Don Drapers'.  Having a message that connects is vital, regardless of the platform, and making darn sure whatever information is there is tuned for the growing mobile market.  Jason Falls weighs in here with a lengthy post-presentation story at Top Rank Online Marketing.

Why is it all important?  Remember a few weeks back when GM famously pulled out of Facebook advertising, launching the meme of advertising on the social media giant was not useful?  That's launched a back and forth about the measurement and efficacy of social advertising.

One corner of this battle is comScore and Reuters' surveys about the impact Facebook ads have, and within that, another key nugget.  Whether you think it's effective or not, what you get via Facebook and the news feed is earned media (yes, you can buy the ads and feature posts/stories).  The payoff from All Things D:

ComScore says that Facebook “earned media” ads — the kind that Facebook users distribute on their own, via “Likes” and “Shares” — do help sell stuff. In their words, the ads have a “statistically significant positive lift on people’s purchasing of a brand.

Even inside the Reuters' survey, there's a couple of supportive points:

About two out of five people polled by Reuters and Ipsos Public Affairs said they used Facebook every day. Nearly half of the Facebook users polled spent about the same amount of time on the social network as six months ago.

No one really believes all 900 million "members" are engaged.  Most experts are looking at active groups roughly a third of that number (or hey, "two out of five").  According to skeptical Reuters, what drives users away from Facebook?

Of the 34 percent spending less time on the social network, their chief reason was that the site was "boring," "not relevant" or "not useful".

Let's circle back to Jason Falls:

Brands still don’t get content. They still don’t understand that the content you deliver that appeals to and attracts an audience isn’t about your sale items or your promotions. It’s about what’s useful to the audience.

ComScore promises more info next week in a new whitepaper on the "power of like."

Think about your content for a minute.  This Facebook Five run is all about creating a specific kind of content.  Focused.  Encouraging interaction.  Getting the reader to click.

So if it's not about the quality of the content, then we could all just set up our websites to RSS into both our Facebook and Twitter feeds and maybe pick up some feeds from other generic sources and we'd have all the traffic in the world.

Grab that shotgun and see how well it hits your target.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion of what makes good content for social -- The Facebook Five -- already in progress.

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