The content continuum

The distribution of online content is changing fast.

Today there are three basic ways to find stuff:

  1. Navigate to it;  
  2. Search for it;  
  3. Find it through social media (actually, in this case, the content usually finds you.)

If you're producing content and it looks the same for each of the three, start again. These are separate pieces, and your content needs to be framed appropriately for each.  

For the first, if you've never built an online destination (your website or blog), consider hiring someone who knows how to do it right.  Or, invest enough time figuring it out so you don't look like an amateur.

The second one will get better on its own.  Search engines are getting smarter every day.  The days of paid SEO are fading fast - thanks to number three - the most important of them all.  In fact, it's so important we'll let you in on a not so secret, secret.  The next sentence is likely one of most important questions your organization will ask itself over the next 12 months. If you haven't asked it yet, copy this down and biring it to your next team meeting:

How will you work with social media to disseminate professional, high quality content for your existing and potential customers?

This from Richard Rosenblatt, Co-founder Chairman and CEO of Demand Media:

I truly believe that content is marketing and marketing is content.  That may sound confusing at first, but it’s actually quite simple.  Creating and distributing relevant content allows companies to engage consumers in ways that traditional advertising-based marketing simply hasn’t.  So instead of pitching users products, we can provide them with meaningful experiences.

Bottom Line: The future of business online is rooted in direct customer relationships.  The more you establish and maintain direct relationships with customers the better chance you have at adding value to their experience as it relates to you.  Value is what will keep them coming back - and value is what will get them to tell their friends.

Alternatively, you can continue to spend money on advertising, which populates on a limited number of mediums that fewer and fewer people engage and trust. But you may end up spending more and more to reach fewer and fewer people.  Instead, take a percentage of your radio, print and television budget and put it online content.

Now is the time to put your money where your social media mouth is.