1. Every market is now a community.
“What you used to call a market, or a market segment, is now a networked customer community. Attitudes are no longer driven by your carefully crafted message… The internet makes it easy for people to connect and share information, and they know there’s a lot more value in learning about products from others like themselves than from marketing campaigns.”
2. Invoke behavior change through the use of content. Successful content communities are developed from listening to and researching your buyer base.
“…markets are increasingly driven by content, conversation and community. Instead of flooding the market with pick-up lines, you need to listen, engage and catalyze your customer community. If you do it well, if you have something of real value and interest for your market community, they’ll spread your message for you.”
3. Engagement is crucial.
“…get engaged as an interested participant, not as a product shill. As a useful analogy, think of your market as a dinner party. Imagine your attitude toward someone who butted into a conversation, talked about how great he was for a few minutes, and then walked away to barge into the next conversation. Unfortunately, that’s the impression many marketers are making today as they trawl blogs, dropping self-serving comments and then disappearing. Communities are much more welcoming to people who have something interesting to say, are authentic, and take a genuine interest in the people around them.”
A key to your content marketing activities as it pertains to social media is to integrate valuable and relevant content into these communities. Yes, all these programs have underlying marketing objectives, but think of yourself first as an active member of the community with something important to say, not something to sell. This is not easy. Historical custom publishing programs are completely controlled. That has always been one of the major benefits. Now, marketers are posting their content on the web and allowing customers and prospects to comment. Yikes! Very scary. Today marketers are being thrown into actually constructing content together with their customers on forums, corporate blogs, or wiki sites. At this point, I feel it’s okay to take it slow, but this is where we are headed and what buyers expect out of their brands. Cutting edge brands should be there now. All brands should be planning if they don’t have one in place. Your focus right now on gaining buyer intelligence and creating relevant, anti-sales content will make all the difference when you launch new community-building efforts.
Author: Joe PulizziJoe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe's latest book,
Epic Content Marketing
(McGraw-Hill) will be released in the fall. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.