The Shift In Advertising: How Content Leads The Way

    Paul Adams spends his days contemplating social media marketing and advertising. He should- -he’s part of Facebook’s product team and previously worked on various high-profile projects at Google. Paul recently described his theory about the future of social media marketing:

    To create a successful online presence, “you will need to build content based on many, lightweight interactions over time.”

    It’s a seemingly avant garde approach that he says is simply based on the way humans have always built relationships – with small, incremental interactions.

    The result? Advertising and marketing content based on disruption and flagrant attention-getting is becoming pointless in an environment where we are entirely overwhelmed with information. Big and bold just doesn’t stand out any more, and it can be purely annoying, certainly counter-productive. Instead, successful marketing content will offer small touches that fit naturally into people’s everyday conversations and activities. And just as in “real life,” friend-to-friend sharing and referrals will be the key.

    Adams actually predicts that within the next two years every website will be personalized for each viewer. Regardless of whether this happens so comprehensively and quickly, dramatic change is underway and small interactions with marketing content will drive future success. After all, it’s called relationship building for a reason. One piece at a time.

    Adams notes that short-term ad campaigns will still have value, but only if they sit squarely on your “lightweight interactions” foundation. Be happy, he says – this methodology provides a wealth of creative opportunity. You can tell your product story like any good presenter, in non-linear ways. And your story’s components will blend more easily and naturally into people’s conversations.

    Social media advertising is a booming business.

    The meteoric rise of social media marketing is astounding. Forecasts indicate social network advertising will pass $10 billion by next year (with more than half that already going to Facebook). But new surveys indicate these spending figures may even be significantly higher.

    The field is thick with advertisers, which underscores how important it is for your marketing content to speak as directly as possible to individuals, personally and in incremental ways that fit them and their lives, with content that begs to be shared.

    Marketing content development fundamentals will continue to serve you well.

    Follow these key precepts to assure the best return on your client's investment:

    • Know your audience(s) so you can properly target messages.
    • Make sure what you’re communicating has actual value to them.
    • Put in the time and effort necessary to create, monitor and manage your social media program, whether you do it with internal staff or outsourced professionals.
    • Continuously listen and quickly respond to your audience. This can be as important as the first three put together.

    Planning is always in style. If your clients don’t already have a marketing content plan for this year, they should create one right now. They can’t afford unfocused efforts that waste time and can quickly waste money without producing any results.

    You know the maxim: marketing content should be fresh, relevant, consistent and posted often. Always something interesting or useful to the audience, to keep them attentive and encourage sharing. Compelling enough to identify your client as a reliable industry expert. Something that makes people want more information. In other words, marketing content should consist of lightweight interactions that function like stepping stones, leading the audience toward your client and ultimately turning them into advocates.

    Blogging remains a primary marketing opportunity, too. But let’s face it, creating all that content is a major time-consumer. So use professional writers whenever possible, and learn how to incorporate content created by others to augment and elaborate on material. It’s another form of sharing.

    Embracing the concept of many lightweight interactions over time can help your clients forge ahead of their competition. It can make marketing content development more fun and help you create more interactive results.

    However, with the rapidly increasing number of channels and devices available to support digital marketing, be sure you’re sifting carefully to choose those that will be most effective to reach your clients goals without over-stepping their budgets.

    Topics: marketing content - content marketing - content marketing strategy

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