Monday, June 29, 2009

Making Marketing Content More Sociable

If the Web gave marketers reach, the Social Web gives us responsibility.

To be successful with social media, marketers need to create better, more “sociable” content – content that’s thoughtful, clear, and meaningful to customers.

More so than ever before, content needs to “pull.” It needs to engage readers intellectually and emotionally. It needs to earn their time, as well as their confidence – or they won’t believe it, talk about it or share it with others. And it needs to adapt to their consumption patterns. This means that I now need to be as engaging and entertaining in 140 characters as I have been in the past with 1,500 words, and on a BlackBerry screen as well as a PC screen.

This change may be a big shift for many brand marketers. Most marketers are accustomed to pushing tightly controlled stories over tightly controlled, paid channels. Today, every customer has an audible opinion – and many inexpensive and instantaneous ways to air it. So, customers and other influencers are constantly rewriting and contributing to your story.

As a result, brand marketers need to be constantly “on,” in listening mode, and able to respond quickly to brand challenges and opportunities. As marketers we may hate Yelp and other consumer-rating sites, but they are a fact of marketing life. Today, marketers need to practice “behavioral branding,” by delivering products and services that work as advertised. Think good works well-communicated; errors promptly acknowledged.

I see all of this as a very positive change for marketing. (For one thing: I am looking forward to having the word “spin” disappear from marketers’ lexicons.)

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