Must I begin my article with "Content is King?" Guess so.
Okay, if you don't agree, I won't even ask what you're smoking. You're excused.
It's just us content believers now...
Cool. Let's hit that "the old playbook is dead" theme real quick for the beginners in the room. Raise your hand if you're still betting the bank on TV, or radio, or print. Now, a show of hands for those whose web site is an electronic brochure with a contact us page. Thank you. And finally, if you'll indulge me, please make yourself known if the bulk of your marketing dollars go into direct mail, email, telemarketing, or some such thing where your ROG (Return on Gullibleness) is measured by immediate purchases.
Yeah, sorry old schoolers, this really does suck. Someone pulled the rug out from under you and your Ogilvy education has been rendered moot. What the heck happened? Well, having read 90, going on 100, books about new millennium marketing, I suppose I could give you the multi-chapter answer. But please settle for the three word version for now: the Internet happened.
This crazy little thing called content caught fire.
King Content is the man. He's producing how-to articles, industry reports, expert interviews, blogs, podcasts and videos. And that's just for breakfast. For lunch he emails his followers daily lessons on how to do what he does-no charge. To satiate his hefty dinner appetite he writes books and if his PayPal account doesn't get fat fast, he simply converts the paper to PDF and gives the damn things away for free too! Oh, yeah, and between meals he snacks like a junk food junkie on social media, contributes his point of view to social commerce sites, curates things that come from the king's court, and links into any network that will embrace the mighty monarch.
However, a royal wedding has occured.
Get used to it folks. His highness has taken a wife. Introducing her Majesty, Queen Conversation. And like all marriages, if this one's going to work, we must share the power. We must work together. We must recognize that we must communicate or the king shall sleep alone.
It's probably a good idea to concede the Queen really reigns.
Please don't misread me. All due respect goes to King Content. He's estabiished a new empire by converting his palace (or web site) from a sales catalogue to a library, a virtual treasure trove of wisdom. Give him your email address and the keys to the kingdom are yours. Come in. Help yourself to aisles of seriously educational and highly entertaining materials. Cup o' tea for you?
But whoa, whoa, whoaaaaaa. Stop this calvacade now! The Queen wants to talk. The Queen wants to share her feelings. She wants to form a relationship based on (yeah, you guessed it) trust. Women.
All bow to the Queen.
Gentlemen, let's admit we've met our match. Your date for the ball is exchanging ideas. Without conversation the deal doesn't get done. Content's merely a royal euphenism for foreplay. (We now give this royal metaphor a rest to examine why the throne actually belongs to conversation.)
- We crave feedback. We end our blogs with questions and long for answers. After we make a sale, we desperately need to hear our customers are satisfied. If we can't have 5 stars, we want to know what we could have done better.
- We want to earn your trust. There's no place in the connected world for your wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am thrill seekers. We want our patrons to come back for more. We establish clubs, offer loyalty programs, deliver discounts, and give the loyal customer the royal treatment in every way we can fathom.
- Please tell your friends. Word of mouth, word of mouse, recommendations, referrals, reviews... call 'em what you will. These are the 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of commerce, the royal straight flush, the jackpot. When the conversation includes genuine fanfare, your credibility increases in the biggest way.
Okay, so now back to the top, the headline that commenced this special time we've spent together here today. I called the Queen (her name is Conversation) King Content's better half. Why? It's not real easy to trump a king. Again, we're talking about making a marriage work. The goal of content is to engage. And true engagement is a two-way street you get to travel when, and only when, you strike up an interesting conversation.
When your company joins the content marketing generation, your goal is to converse. You need to understand those you serve. You need to tend to their needs, win their favor, get invited to their chambers, and consummate. The real reward comes from the relationship. Though it sounds a bit crude, Queen Conversation holds the cards, the credit cards, if you will.
Tell me, do you do well with conversation? Don't be afraid. Talk to me.