The difference between content that hits and misses is...

by Angus Nelson on Sep 19, 2012

“Content is king, marketing is Queen, and your blog is their castle”.

It was former Salesforce Social Media Director and now startup of Addvocate, Marcus Nelson, who stated this. And though I agree, I would add an element that sustains it all…

Context.

Context is the “story” told: “how will your widget help me?”; “why should I trust you?”; “who is your company and staff?”; or “what is your company doing for my employees, my industry, or the world?”

These are the elements of your story shaping and creating the connection you have or don’t have with your audience. And the real strategy is not only the content, but the context in which that content is perceived.

Too many companies tell their story, over and over again. However, like a bad movie, they’re simply accounting a series of hopelessly boring events where “they don’t go anywhere” and/or “we don’t like the characters”.

Stories are far more exciting when we are endeared to the characters, when we care about what happens to them, when something great is at stake… this is a powerful story.

This is context.

So why should I care about your company? Here are 9 elements to powerful content (AKA Context):

1. Personality

We all despise interacting with someone soulless. Craft posts for your blog or Twitter stream with a sense of humor or creative flair. Don’t get carried away, but make it interesting to read, inviting to share.

2. Generous

Share interesting content from other sources related to your industry or audience. Add a snippet of perspective or insight on the RT. Offer a shout out to members, offer advice online, post free content, coupons, or deals only to your followers.

3. Physical

Send the social media team to events and trade shows for networking, putting a face to the brand. Loyalty dramatically increases when a face gets involved. Highlighting the social team with pictures and video reinforces a human sense.

4. Cause

Supporting a non-profit endeavor reveals a corporate value to your brand. More importantly, selecting a niche organization elevates your brand even higher. For example: Kiva offers micro-loans to individuals in developing countries, Charity Water digs wells to provide clean water, or Grantoo helps college students win tuition grants, rewards, and donations for their favorite causes.

5. Personal

Seek out conversations in your space and offer quality contribution. Many brands send out a “thanks for following” direct message; that’s shallow. Learn your loyalists, check in on them, celebrate them, and like the Generous context, give shout outs. Everyone loves to see their name.

6. Transparent

If your company is perfect, you’re delusional. Sharing mistakes or failings as a company not only builds trust, it causes the reader to cheer on your behalf. Customers find it refreshing when a brand accepts, even owns their blunders.

7. Testimony

Nothing endears people more than hearing someone else brag about your brand – how it influenced, improved, advanced their life/company/product.

8. Emotion

As a company, have an opinion on your industry. Share a perspective, wisely and respectfully, that reveals your corporate culture or values. Speak up for something/someone when necessary. Showing some spine and gumption has more positive impact than negative… just steer clear of the typical religion and politics. Unless, of course, that’s your space – then by all means.

9. Swag

Who doesn’t like free stuff? T-shirts, coffee mugs, apps, or whatever. Just make sure it represents your company’s sense of excellence not just junk trinkets.

In a digital stream deluged with brands and organizations competing for attention and loyalty, your company can stand out from the rest when you actually care for the individuals on the other end of the wi-fi. Truly powerful social media occurs in relationship with the context.

So again, why should I care about your company?

 

Post Author

@angusnelson is the Community Manager for Addvocate.com and you can join him over at LinkedIn. He's a social business strategist, an author of Love's Compass, and speaker on issues regarding relationships and manhood. On a personal...

  • http://www.nxtsm.com Victor Canada

    All good. Opportunities to connect your content to others and your community are missed each week by many. Adding context is great Angus. Would love to hear about some organizations your readers think are doing this well. Have you found any hitting all 9 points now?

  • http://about.me/angus.nelson Angus Nelson

    Thanks Victor. Do I know of any organizations hitting ALL 9 elements? Not yet. But that’s not a bad thing. If a company can incorporate a handful of these, I think they can be very successful. Ironically, many non-profits have a knack for telling their story better than brands. The point of this piece is for brands to avoid being like that person at the cocktail party only talking about themselves – no engagement, no personality. But some good examples, off the top of my head, are Threadless, Zappos, Chris Brogan, Michael Hyatt, and the organization People of the Second Chance. Hope that helps.

  • iVision Mobile

    Thanks for providing such a great post. I found your post to be of such great use and much of great reading!!

  • http://twitter.com/angusnelson angusnelson

    Thanks Victor. Do I know of any organizations hitting ALL 9 elements? Not yet. But that’s not a bad thing. If a company can incorporate a handful of these, I think they can be very successful. Ironically, many non-profits have a knack for telling their story better than brands. The point of this piece is for brands to avoid being like that person at the cocktail party only talking about themselves – no engagement, no personality. But some good examples, off the top of my head, are Threadless, Zappos, Chris Brogan, Michael Hyatt, and the organization People of the Second Chance. Hope that helps.