Content Marketing’s Unfinished Symphony

Unfinished Symphony graphic

The New Content Marketing

The Content Marketing revolution created an erroneous impression – that you and your team must create content that wins hearts, minds and loyalty. Yes and no.

If you and your team never wrote a sentence yet were able to create a community attracting millions is that online marketing success? Probably since we don’t join unless our hearts are touched and minds engaged.

The web is the world’s largest amplifying lie detector.

Start at the beginning or you risk amplifying confusion and creating distrust. Why does your company, brand, website exist? What movement are you and your growing tribe creating? Why should others join? What roles will those who join have?

The web is full of one way conversations. Many brands haven’t received the, “It’s About The Conversation, Stupid” message:

Social Media: It’s The conversation, stupid

Don’t Finish That Sentence

If your content marketing is a conversation with yourself about yourself who will join? As marketing guru Faith Popcorn said, “People don’t BUY brands they JOIN them”. Popcorn’s sentence speaks to the uber-goal of every website – creation of sustainable online community.

If “creation of sustainable online community” isn’t at the top of your web marketing team’s goals tracking related Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as Link Efficiency Index (LEI), social following, quantity and quality of inbound links and heuristic measures such as time on site, pages viewed and bounce rates you aren’t creating the “new content marketing”.

You may be speaking to yourself about yourself.

When customers or brand advocates comment do you curate those comments? Do you use your customer’s comments in social media? Do you “curate in” relevant posts suggested by your tribe?

Listening in a social / mobile / digital world is different.

In conversations there are nonverbal clues. Clues help develop two way give and take communication. Online clues such as Retweeting, curating content in, sharing, supporting and thanking those who engage create community. Creating community can be frustrating.

Many web marketing teams give up before reaching the new content marketing’s summit. Creating, sharing, broadcasting and investing in content marketing takes courage, persistence, a finely tuned ear for feedback and C level executives willing to give support and encouragement especially during the dark early days when it feels like NO ONE CARES.

Fastest way to create community is to NOT FINISH THAT SENTENCE.

Martin's Ride To Cure Cancer Mt. Monarch, Co

Ask For Help

Asking for help may be the hardest lesson learned. Americans buy the Malboro Man ideal. We are rugged individualists. Nonsense, we play team sports throughout most of our lives. We work in teams.

Yet we hesitate to ask for help.

Are we afraid of appearing weak? The Big C teaches many lessons. The absolute necessity of asking for help is one of the most important lessons. Over the past ten years I’ve had to ask for help over and over. Survival instincts trump appearing weak (apparently).

The magical part of asking for help is response. Never disappointed and always amazed at how response changes the journey makes asking for help the most underutilized marketing idea on the planet.

Yes, like most people, I am weak and strong simultaneously. The fastest way to make weaknesses strengths is to ask for help. Fast and CHEAP. It is possible to abuse people’s natural altruism. You can cry wolf so many times no one cares, but it’s hard to miss the feedback loops sure to warn you away (from abusing asking for help).

Some “Asks” create more engagement and return than others. Here are a few lessons for creating a great Ask:

  • Don’t ask for things you aren’t willing to do.
  • Value every reply in some meaningful way.
  • Modify your ask based on feedback since to do so says you are listening.
  • Find “universal” stories.

“Universal Stories” are sticky. When Janet McKean and I created in 1999 (now gone sadly) we noticed a strange thing. When people found out what we did they shared their gift idea. The response was so common we realized there was a large tribe of unrealized dreams out there, dreams we could support, encourage and educate. Creating an unrealized gift idea was a universal story.

When the Martin’s Ride To Cure Cancer team rode bicycles across America in the summer of 2010 we noticed how everyone has a “cancer story”. A loved one, friend or more often than we would have thought the person we just met battled or was battling cancer. Cancer is a universal story.

When our client discusses headphones we noticed MUSIC is a universal story. Everyone has a favorite band, concert attended or musical moment to share. Giving voice to those stories via a platform capable of sharing, encouraging and educating will be an important 2015 goal. Music is a universal story.

“Our business is boring, there is no universal story,” some readers may think. Sorry every business starts with an entrepreneur’s passion generating the most valuable gift any person can give a company – their time – means there is “universal story” close by.

Finding your company, website or brand’s universal story, asking for help, listening to and curating from the waves your shares create develops sustainable online community. What’s your universal story? Share in comments or email to martin(at) and we will share your, your company’s or brand’s universal story.