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Thank you Flickr user xjy

Are you kidding me? He’s going to be just like one of those other SEO guys who blog about blogging or about blog content?

Yes, and No.

I have been struggling lately with this concept and so I’m going write my struggles and invite you into a process/growth/learning/development I’m going through.

Content is King

If you haven’t heard it before, please search on the terms content and king. You will find a wealth of bloggers discussing how it’s about the content you put out there.

It’s true: A Twitter profile, a YouTube channel, a Facebook fan page, a blog, these are all methods of putting content out there. So to be social, to take advantage of the new marketing style, one has to have content.

I thought it was about Listening or Listenomics

If content is king, then perhaps listening is queen? Or is it Duke? I never did understand royalty.

The long abused metaphor of the social web as a cocktail party helps us understand this relationship. Even the most popular person at a cocktail party will lose people’s attention if they only talk and do not listen. No matter what topic they talk about. This is not a speech, a monologue or a diatribe. This is being social.

So yes, spend time listening –a lot of time. But the converse is true. A wallflower at the cocktail party is not going to be interesting nor will he sell anyone on his next business idea. Not until he opens his mouth and begins to talk, aka provides content.

Produce Content and Listen

It’s a two way street, dialogue, etc. These all point to the fact that we were given ears and mouths. So please when approaching social media consider it a two-way media. You will be producing content and consuming content (also called listening).

What Content to Produce?

This is where I struggle.

Ad agencies in the past have created ads about their products, like a car driving on some nice street around a corner – with a tight shot of the wheel while talking about control. And this is the content they and the car companies produced. Focused on them, on their product, on its benefits.

That doesn’t work anymore. Granted these are targeted to a segment of the buying population, but the costs and the ROI on traditional messaging is not effective or beneficial anymore.

Take any statistic you want, people trust recommendations and referrals (Word of Mouth) over any advertisement.

Most of marketing is about selling a product or service. That’s the ultimate goal. So we use advertisements (traditional and non-traditional) to get the product or service sold.

Yet hearing from your company about your product is not going to make me talk about it. I’m not going to rave at how well you presented me with the fact that you think you are better than your competition.

What will get me talking about you?

So if it’s not product or service-focused content, is it industry focused?

Take the car example: If Ford were to talk to me about the process of launching a new product or the process of designing batteries or the process of choosing how to gear their new Fiesta for the American market, would I care? Would I care enough to talk about it?

What if they gave me a free car? Would I, an average-joe-american, rave about the car? Or about having a free car?

Is Word of Mouth Marketing all about Gimmicks?

Some call it viral marketing, others call it guerilla marketing. But, is that the only way to produce content that will attract attention?

Is it about being Edgy?

Mashable recently covered a law firm who tried an edgy marketing piece. Is that the only way to get attention in the 21st century, borderline lying?

I don’t know.

So what do I tell my client? How do they use the social web to sell more of their products or services?

In my opinion, my client needs to:

  • Listen
  • Provide a great product
  • Provide great customer service
  • Answer potential customer’s needs with content
  • Produce remarkable content
  • Produce highly relevant, specifically targeted content

It’s just that simple. :)