If content is truly king, as so many would have us all believe, why do so many marketers still get it wrong? Companies right and left seem to have adopted a knee-jerk reaction to the explosion in social media. Anything and everything makes its way to YouTube and Facebook, and some companies have added Twitter statistics to annual performance reviews. In their defense, abusers cry out that ‘content is king’ and that producing content in wild abandon is the key to success, leads and world peace.
In many ways, this rampant abuse of a marketing vehicle is reminiscent of the degradation of public relations that occurred during the dot-com era of the late 90s and early 2000. During those few years, issuing a press release became the de facto standard for marketing collateral. Akin to planting a flag atop a mountain, technology companies scrambled to issue release after release with the latest technological “breakthrough” that would distinguish their company from the rest. The result? Media stopped listening, and the very purpose of a press release – to inform press – was convoluted beyond repair.
Consider for a moment how many press releases were issued from technology companies via BusinessWire and PR Newswire in 1997. In 1998, that number had ballooned by more than 100%, followed by greater gains in 2000. Was there really 5 times more news to announce year to year, or had we bastardized press releases for some other purpose?
Today again, we see a potential marketing vehicle maligned by the race to be first, to be online, to get social.
In order to benefit from social media, marketers need apply the same fundamentals as they would to a traditional marketing campaign or program – Who am I trying to reach? What message am I trying to convey? What method will be the most effective? Companies and marketers who apply rigor in this most fundamental process will be the ones who ultimately reap the greatest reward. Without this understanding, marketers are just throwing ‘stuff’ on the wall to see what sticks.